Would you think it was an overreaction when I tell you that if I see one more person self-masturbating on social media about “building my brand” I think I might vomit?
I know that right now it’s fashionable to have swallowed the Gary Vaynerchuk ‘kool aid’ hook, line and sinker – but please allow me to burst that overhyped bubble.
First of all, an admission.
I can totally buy into the school of thinking that “you are your brand”.
For years now, even when hiring senior “non-fitness” people, whenever I see an interesting CV my first action is to look them up on social media. How you represent yourself there is of critical importance. In effect, you are your brand.
In that same context, “you are your brand” when you arrive at a meeting on time/late/early with polished/scruffy shoes and a firm/limp handshake.
The point is that everything we do in this (too) highly-visible modern world is somehow in the public eye and therefore you shouldn’t represent yourself in a way that would leave you uncomfortable if a potential client/employer/mate was to witness.
All of this, plus the out-and-out bullsh*t spouted by internet business ‘gurus’, has lead to too many of you thinking that your focus should be on building a brand rather than the nuts and bolts of building your business.
Coca Cola is a brand. Apple is a brand. Guinness is a brand. Aston Martin is a brand.
My business is about to open on its fourth different continent and I still don’t think we’ve built our brand. It’s getting there and over time as we’ve attained scale I’ve become more convinced of the value of brand building exercises, but I’ve never ever set out with a goal of “building a brand”.
I would argue that you build a brand through actions and deeds. Hopefully, at UP we’ve built our brand based on getting consistently better results with clients than the rest of industry.
For me, any company (or individual) that has built a “brand” has first built its business.
It’s utterly clownish behaviour to spend money on t-shirts, logos, press events, and waste productive hours every day getting the fast, crack-high feedback of social media gratification, all in a quest to “build my brand”.
Your time would be infinitely better spent focusing on the things that count – your clients, your staff, your marketing funnel, your ability to close inquiries, budget control, and your various incomings and outgoings.
Only when you’ve nailed your business and got money in the bank should you allow yourself the luxury of standard “brand building” exercises.
A business that doesn’t make profit is just an exercise in futile self-indulgence (outliers like Amazon aside of course) so for God’s sake, get the basics right first.
Don’t fall for the guru trap of “brand building” – they only care about giving you the dopamine-raising soundbites that keep you buying their products. Your long-term health/prosperity is of zero interest to them because giving advice on that is boring, unspectacular, and always 95% about the consistent execution and mastery of basic fundamentals.
And as a closing note, if you’ve read this far, that last sentence applies to pretty much everything that we do in life – from building a business and writing a book to getting in shape and achieving your best health and fitness!
Master the basics, don’t get distracted by the bullsh*t.