The more successful you become, the easier it is to completely kill your brand.
Yes, another rant on “Brand”. Brand, brand, brand, brand, brand. There aren’t enough hours in the day to convey how important it is to capture, create & cultivate your brand and to protect it at all costs. In previous rants we’ve called your brand “your reputation”, “your identity” and your “baby”. Today we’re going to call it “your cake”, “your castle” and “your stadium event”. We’re going to discuss building defenses, rules and gates for your brand to protect it to ensure that you achieve your goals faster and more efficiently.
***If you are just starting out… this is still for you but you may need to get out there, take some bad deals and fail a bunch to start to figure out what your “brand” even is. This rant is for those who have their brand/ vision dialed in and are making moves.
Context: Lately, many Revo Models and myself have been inundated with comments, messages and emails from organizations and individuals who want us to be “brand ambassadors”. Models have also been consistently contacted by photographers to “come shoot”. Another model got a casting offer for a commercial shoot. I am contacted to shoot a variety of people and/or events on a regular basis. All of this is great… We are getting more attention and that is a prerequisite for building a larger audience and having a greater impact.
That being said, not every job or partnership is beneficial. Also, what’s beneficial to one brand could be the death of another. I’ve talked often about “pointless vs purpose”. I’m taking it a step further today. Not only could certain jobs or content you post be pointless, they could be slowly diluting your brand over time, making it harder and harder for you to succeed in the long term.
Let’s say you are baking a cake for example and the end result, super delicious chocolate cake, is your brand’s impact or goal. Every job you take and everything you post are like the recipe ingredients that go into it. Now I LOVE Ketchup. There is nothing wrong with ketchup… I even like it on my Mac & Cheese. But If I start adding ketchup to the mix while I’m baking a chocolate cake what will happen? Every ingredient added will either take me closer to my goal or further from it. Some ingredients will not only take you further from your goal, they will destroy your “cake” (your brand) completely.
Yesterday a fitness/ fashion company contact me for a “deal”. They love my work and want me to capture some engaging content for their brand. At first, this sounded like a great opportunity for Revo and our models. In continuing the conversation I was even confident enough to message the “revo fit” models about the potential opportunity. Once we started talking numbers it quickly became a “brand ambassador opportunity” “(only 2 spots left)”. You’ve all seen these. “Save 10% off our products and post pics of you wearing them/ tell all your friends to earn more money.” It’s basically network marketing over social media. I don’t have anything against this business model I just wish they would be upfront about it. I worked my way up the corporate ladder with them getting that 10% raised to 20, then 40 and ultimately 50% of their entire line… which is actually pretty incredible. Ultimately though this is not where Revo is focused. This is not the commercial work we are devoted to in this season. And how many of these so-called “deals” could we take before our brand credibility becomes diluted completely? This morning I respectfully declined the deal. They were somewhat shocked (after all the communicating we did). They were also very respectful and even admired my commitment to our brand and our cause. I really believe I have a better chance doing a big deal with them by walking away than by taking their “ambassador deal”… why? Because I’m protecting my brand. Maybe I’ll never speak with them again… and I’m okay with that too.
If it isn’t an asset to your brand it is a liability to your cause.
Does this mean you don’t “brand ambassador” for companies? Not at all. But make sure it’s a good deal and that it’s on point with your brand identity.. your mission. If you just start taking every deal, every offer, every shoot you will lose all brand recognition and credibility. This will make you less and less appealing and less likely to be approached by the companies or opportunities you actually want. Nobody’s buying “ketchup cake”.
Castles and Stadiums
So how can you prevent this from occurring? How can you ensure that you are taking the right deals and posting the right content? What system can you have in place to make sure you’re saying “yes” to the right opportunities when they arise? What defenses can you have in place to prevent brand dilution and/or destruction? We’re going to look to Castles and Stadiums for our answer.
Every major sporting event takes tickets at the gate. There may be several types of tickets but a ticket is required. This process of controlling their gate allows them to maintain maximum profits but also the safety of the stadium. Only a certain amount of people may enter and they must have a valid ticket. Castles have high walls and heavy gates to keep the bad stuff out. If you really understand your brand and your vision… your purpose, then you will be able to figure out your “gate process”. You will be able to come up with qualifiers for what deals you’ll take and what content you’ll post.
This concept will make your business much more efficient and much more drama-free. If your offer doesn’t meet “X, Y, or Z” then it’s a “no” from me. It’s not personal in any way at all. In fact it will save both parties a ton of time and frustration. For Revo, I’m an 100% clear on my X, Y & Z… my qualifiers or criteria for what will be an asset to our brand. And I am very confident saying “no” to anyone not holding one of those “tickets”. Yes, I still want to fill my stadium. It’s just as important once you figure out your “qualifiers” to get in front of the right people and/or organizations that will meet your criteria. But learn to quickly identify and say “no” to the “non-ticket-holders.”
It’s up to you how broad your qualifiers are. Some of you need to take a lot more deals than others. Some of you haven’t yet honed in on your brand. Some of you are very specialized and have a very narrow path forward… That’s the beauty of it. You can open your gate as little or as much as you want. There will likely be some experimentation with it. Just make sure it’s you who control the gate and be keenly aware of it.
Your Next Steps:
Answer these questions:
Do you fully understand your brand?
Do you fully understand your “why”?
Do you understand your target audience and/ or target client (or market)?
What “tickets” or “ingredients”…. What qualifiers will you put in place to protect your brand and also help you find the right partnerships and deals to accept?
(Example for fitness model: reputable fitness apparel that’s in-line with my style and business ethics)
Remember: everyone is in a different place and everyone’s brand-goals are different. This means one person should take an offer that another should run from. This is why it is so vital to understand your brand and your purpose. Yes there are some pretty universal bad-deals out there. Yesterday a fitness trainer-model I work with turned down a shoot ( a shoot that I’d recommend for other models) because it was not even close to in-line with her brand.
This concept will save you so much time, so much money.
I think the most important time is the time you didn’t throw away.
For more on capturing and creating your brand check out “RR12: Why would I follow you”
What do you think?
Do you agree with this strategy of acting out with more intention? Do you think I’m off base? Send me a message I’d love to hear your rant as well.
Man your gate! Let’s roll!