Allen Iverson's Move and Understanding Brand You

How Reputation is All You Have in Business

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Allen Iverson has been traded from my hometown Sixers basketball team to the Denver Nuggets. If you're a hoops fan, it's a
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big deal. But when a colleague of mine asked me what I thought of Iverson leaving town after almost 11 years in Philadelphia, I responded like a true marketer: AI was a global brand, and that was good for the awareness of the Sixers team. That will not be replaced by whomever they get in exchange for Iverson. Yeah, despite the fact that our team isn't winning too many games these days, wherever Allen Iverson went -- from Philly to China -- he was mobbed by fans and press alike. What is that worth to the Sixers organization?

Come to think of it, we're all brands. Walking, talking brands, with reputations that go with them. We spend our lives creating distinctive personalities for products and services. Yet, how often do we stop and consider how we're managing the brand in the mirror? An athlete like Iverson can cheat on his wife or hang around with the wrong crowd, or not show up for practice, and that may actually enhance his "authentic" reputation. The rest of us who are not world-class athletes, however, have to have a better plan.

If your reputation matters to you, and it should because it's all you've got in business, here are a few things that you might want to consider to grow Brand You:

  • Be consistent. In your interactions with peers, clients and senior management.

  • Stay true to your values. If that includes integrity and candor, then live it. If it's living a lie, then stay true to that, because you are what you are.

  • Be strategic in your decision-making.

  • Communicate often. When you don't, words are put in your mouth. Ask any PR guru.

  • Be yourself. Because you are being judged every day by every one you come into contact with. Authenticity stands out. So don't try to be something you're not.
Fortunately, you don't need a big budget to build Brand You. Or focus groups. Or a written plan. Though you might consider a few well-placed tattoos and a good jump shot to help separate you from the pack.
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