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Unless You Are An NBA Sta; Protect Your Brand

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Unless You Are An NBA Sta; Protect Your Brand

By TonyaWilson
Published: July 22, 2010 Updated: March 2, 2012

Last month I discussed the difference between a personal brand and your business brand and tried to make the connection between the two more clear. I also discussed how your personal brand can impact your business brand and gave examples of how it can be harnessed beneficially. One thing I did not address is protecting it. Here, in an abridged version of his latest post*, Michael Bowers* of the Ohio Small Business Development Center reflects on a celebrit;s recent use of their personal brand and discusses the importance of being cognizant of the choices you mak-

Although I'm not a huge NBA fan, like many other Ohioans, I found myself following the Lebron James* 'Decision'. Throughout the process I was fascinated with the deterioration of the 'brand' that he had spent the past 10 or so years building. By the time he finally made the announcement I found myself thinking...what a waste. A waste of all the years spent in developing a fan base, steeped in home town loyalty, gone in a moment. What was he thinking? Was this bad strategy, bad positioning or bad branding? Basically it was all three. As time passed I started thinking that this could have been a calculated effort to shift his brand to appeal to a different demographic. But I think in Lebron's case he got caught up in his celebrity, being coveted by multiple teams and, of course, the hype of moment. There is a lesson to be learned here.

Lebron James is a brand. His superb skills and image are his product. He is his business. Lebro-s actions alienated a large segment of his target market and damaged the image h's worked so hard to achieve. Now, Lebron James wo't starve because of his actions. In reality both he and the State of Florida stand to fair pretty well, but that would't be the case for most Solopreneurs. Most of you won't get paid millions of dollars regardless of how yo're perceived so it is important that your brand be managed to maximize its potential and not just allowed to form and change by happenstance.

Honestly your brand is not how you see yourself; it is how others see you. You can attempt to influence, but you can't control the perceptions of others. This is why managing your personal brand is important. Try to anticipate how decisions will impact your customer base. Could a move potentially alienate a large segment of your audience and followers? Maybe tha's ok because you are focusing your efforts on a more lucrative market segment. If you are not, be sure your steps are in alignment with your compan's strategy. For example, if yo've built your brand on product quality, that should't be an area you can cut back on to, reduce costs.

As you move along your business' life cycle think about what your company is all about. Be true to your mission. Avoid actions, partnerships, associations and decisions that are or could become contrary and damaging to your business' brand.

PS: Need a refresher on developing your business brand? Check out these 5 Steps offered by my friend Caron Beesley.

You can also find Tonya on twitter at @TonyaWilson

* This hyperlink goes to a non-government website

About the Author:

Tonya Wilson
As a member of the Ohio SBDC at Columbus State, we provide entrepreneurial development assistance and business consulting to start-up, emerging, and existing business owners. In addition to one-on-on advising, we create, coordinate and promote programs and events to inspire, educate and engage individuals who wish to start or grow a small business.


From experience, I indeed can indeed influence the perception of my clients - by asking straight forward questions like: 'Did you like our services? If yes, what? If no, please explain in detail. What can we do to make sure you visit us again? etc.' Dagmar ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.

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