Two weeks ago either bravery or some unidentified ingredient in my eggnog let me throw caution to the wind and I actually took a definitive ‘personal’ stance in my weekly MarketingSmack blog. I don’t typically write about public figures nor do I usually disclose such personal criticism of others. Given I believe the majority of my readers are close friends that share similar beliefs, I thought it safe – a couple of more sips of that eggnog and I posted these thoughts on a few discussion groups in LinkedIn.
The first email notification of: “New comment on “Can You Camouflage a Tiger? – I am insulted that Tiger thinks it is ok to ask for privacy….” brought an instant sense of exhilaration. I had written something worthy of discussion – something timely and relevant. I clicked on ‘go to full discussion’ believing I would see adulation, sycophancy – my eyes devouring the wisdom and insight from fellow LinkedIn Group members – the likes of: LinkingRaleighNC, RTPconnect and Triangle Networking Group.
Dozens of people began to add comments; at first directed at me – most of them not in agreement, to put it mildly and then; at each other. What I found interesting here is that I KNOW that it is critical to the world of branding – both company/product/service and individual – to take a stance; have an opinion; define clearly who you are and who you are not and confidently broadcast it to your audience with polite relentlessness. I was somewhat surprised when upon reading the first “I don’t agree with Jack” comment – my initial reaction was defensive somewhat akin to the way a Junior high school student feels when discovering he’s the one with bad breath via a Slam Book.
On the one hand – people were talking about me….on the other hand – people weren’t seeing it my way…… What I learned from this experience is that there is a key component to the branding process that I have been leaving out.
I spend a great deal of time helping companies and individuals brand themselves. Countless hours spent on key executive interviews, customer focus groups, competitor reviews, market research etc… Helping them to create a unique position and message that states who and what they are – but in that same instant it states who and what they are NOT. You have to be brave to take a stance – a stance that you know will resonate with some (and you hope that the some is large enough for you to be successful) but in this day of transparency you’ll hear from those that DON’T too.
Suffice it to say that as the conversations over my Tiger Woods’ blog continued over the last two weeks I watched the score board fluctuate ala basketball style….Jack 0 Nay Sayers 2……. Jack 4 Nay Sayers 2….. And so on and so on. Not sure how the final tally looked and what I realize is that it doesn’t matter – I won. I took a position, made it public, generated a healthy debate and made my personal/professional brand that much clearer.