Brand adaptability or how the west was won (and lost) by the Marlboro Man

I believe that your brand needs to be self-monitored on an ongoing basis.  Values don’t change but the manner in which they are interpreted does change based on the environment, cultural norms and country.  In North America, for example, the Marlboro advertising campaign, created by Leo Burnett Worldwide in 1954 was thought to be one of the most brilliant advertisement campaigns of all time. The Marlboro Man horseback riding into the horizon lasted until 1999. Now of course, this ad would be totally unacceptable.

Once upon a time, it was customary for executives to book leisurely two-hour lunches in pricey restaurants accompanied by their favorite scotch or martinis.  Now of course lunching and heavy drinking in decadent restaurants are totally faux pas’.  So is driving to your client’s office in a six-figure car unless you want them to question if they’re overpaying you. Discretion is the name of the game and that applies to your own personal brand in the business world.

That is not to suggest that you can’t indulge in expensive lunches nor drive expensive cars.  But in an economy where unemployment is high and jobs can be scarce, you need to have a pulse on what’s valued in today’s culture. Sure you can get attention by defying what others are doing but be cognizant of the type of publicity you are attracting. Everything you do and say and write (blogs, email, etc.) defines your personal brand. Pushing the envelope too far through your behavior, image, networking tactics or relationship management can put you at risk of tarnishing your credibility, and of course your brand.  In a recent blog on dress, there were conflicting views as to whether you should care what others thought about your dress. It goes beyond the exterior to what’s appropriate in today’s challenging economy. There’s a price to everything and the best question you can ask yourself is…”Is it worth it?”  I’m confident that you have the answer.

Happy branding.



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Author and Host of the PI Window on The World Show on Blog Talk Radio.

One response to “Brand adaptability or how the west was won (and lost) by the Marlboro Man”

  1. Dr. Susan Biali, M.D. says :

    Very interesting, this article has been on my mind all day since I first read it. I drive a Mercedes and travel all the time, both of which might seem ostentatious or frivolous and could give people a certain impression. They wouldn’t know that I bought my little Mercedes used (it cost less than a new Honda Civic), and that in order to travel as much as I do I live simply and choose not to have a lot of the “toys” that most other people have.

    I write about this carefully designed lifestyle occasionally, so some people know that I’m more about simplicity and joy than wealth and spending. That said, others who don’t know that might assume I am a bit of a princess. Some have said so, in fact, in their comments regarding the era during which I moved to Mexico to live, write and dance. The reality was that I was still paying off student loans, and wrote articles and taught flamenco classes in order to help pay for rent and tacos! I’m not going to give up my travel or my car any time soon, and I certainly won’t stop writing about my travels…but I will definitely keep this brand issue in mind.

    And what if the principles which one lives by (and teaches) naturally generate prosperity, and one wants to share these secrets of success with others? As a leader or teacher it’s good to have a life that has elements that people would aspire to, as this would be evidence of results, no? Not sure what the final answer would look like for my brand…much food for thought!

    Thank you, Roz!

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