Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Living Brands...

The other day while I was preparing for a big speech I began to soul search on my brand. I am always looking for new ways to position our company and I realized that I am a “living brand.” First of all I really do practice what I preach, but more importantly I am not static – I am alive with energy, real, living life on the road and sharing my passion with people every day. With me it is all about “what you see is what you get.” I am in China working right now and noticing that some of the “wholesale” brands that are sold here are pretty unbelievable. It is so far beyond the counterfeit purses, watches and luggage. It is about the ability to copy anything. Let’s take the empty bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild that is selling in China for $200.00. Remember it is an empty bottle. Obviously the “wholesale” Chinese company fills it with red wine and resells it for $800.00 which is still a steal for a very expensive bottle of Château Lafite, if you were indeed buying the “real bottle of wine.” Are you kidding me? When I was doing some research on the wine I read that the name Lafite comes from the Gascon term "la hite" meaning "small hill". Here is a famous legendary and expensive brand of wine that cannot be copied – so they use the original bottle and fill it with a basic red wine. Note that the bottle is original. Lafite, one of four wine-producing Châteaux of Bordeaux was originally awarded its status in the 1855 Classification, which was based on recent prices. Since then, it has been a consistent producer of one of the world's most expensive red wines. They can’t copy the wine, they can’t even copy the bottle – but for those who don’t know the difference they are buying the shell. In business I call this the “empty suit.” The person who fakes it through life copying others and calling themselves original is my definition of business or people counterfeit. Remember there is only one that is original – is that you? So what does this have with my “living brand” story? The thought that someone can copy your logo, your identity and your look does not mean they can copy your inner strength. If you are a “living brand,” you are original, authentic and no one can ever copy it because it is alive and not static. Lafite meaning “small hill,” has to do with the region and the fertile soil these grapes are grown to make this fabulous wine. There is only one “small hill,” yet people can try and convince you their hill is the same hill. So if you are not living in the present, and alive with energy, someone can take your brand and run away with it, unless of course you are a “living brand.” In that case they would have to kidnap you! As said in China - “Mountains are high and Emperor is far away!”

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Help Comes in Little Ways - One Person at a Time!

Every person at one point or another has problems in their work, with their family, friends and even with themselves just trying to make it one day after another. I consider myself very lucky that I have been able to ride the storms, sail through tough times and continue on with success. I do however try my best to help everyone around me make it through their day. Too many people ignore the problems right under their nose and then wonder why things finally blow up. Think about your own life - the co-worker that comes to work lately with a frown on their face and seems to get irritated every time you approach them, or the friend that hasn’t returned your calls, or the family member who is struggling, or even as simple as a lost person at the airport who doesn’t speak English and everyone including the airline staff ignores them. How can this be? Why don’t you ask more questions – why don’t you step up to the lost person and assist? Why? My thought is that it is easier to walk on by and not get involved. It isn’t your problem, you are too busy to deal with someone else’s issues – you have enough of your own! You can and will make a difference if you just take a few minutes out of your crazy schedule to show you care. It is a call, a quick text or email or just taking the time to talk to someone who needs you. Keep in mind that not everyone will respond to your help and you must be prepared for that. Sometimes the more you try to give, and the more you try and help, the more YOU are ignored and your help goes un-noticed and un-appreciated. So it can become a vicious cycle – but I would rather ride that cycle out than live with regrets that I didn’t even try and help. So who should you help today? Who could you make a difference for today? Sitting back in your easy chair and observing life versus participating in it will not make you feel good at the end. So show up, make a difference and never look back.