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.