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  • Bob Burg

“A no-nonsense approach to building your business through relationships.”

~ Jane Applegate, syndicated Los Angeles Times columnist

The Next Best Thing to Controlling Our Brand

July 16th, 2014 by Bob Burg

To What Degree Can We “Control” Our Brand?At our recent Speaker Certification Training for a group of our Certified Go-Giver Speakers, the following was pointed out:

“Bob, you are really protective of your brand.”

All heads nodded in agreement…including mine.

Allow me — if I may — to set the stage: On the day that our speakers were giving their presentations, whenever there was a statement that could possibly be misunderstood, I would, afterwards, gently (yes, gently) point it out and explain why.

I’m also known to politely email bloggers and those on Social Media platforms who take the philosophy of The Go-Giver out of context or misquote. And, it happens often.

Does it drive me a little bit nutty keeping on top of it? Sure, to a certain point. Fortunately, it also teaches me two very valuable lessons:

  1. To the degree you can care without emotional attachment to the results, that’s the degree to which you’ll have peace of mind.
  2. You can manage your brand, but you can’t really control it.

We, as business people in today’s environment, cannot control it any more than we can really control anything that is outside our direct influence. We can manage it by taking all the steps that are within our influence. That begins by communicating our message correctly, always doing our best to provide an exceptional customer experience and being ultra-responsive to our customer’s needs.

Along with that, we can utilize various Internet and social media “alerts” to let us know when something about our brand is positively or negatively mentioned, stolen (accidentally or…”accidentally on purpose”) 🙂 or simply misinterpreted. People who are “watching our backs” will also let us know, and this includes customers, clients and friends.

There are major corporations that — especially in their utilization of social media — do this extremely well. Others? Not so much. And, we continue to see examples of both.

Regardless, whether huge or mid-sized companies or small entrepreneurial firms, none are actually controlling their brands. Those days are along gone. We can manage our brands; not control them.

Wisdom is knowing the difference.

Success is doing it effectively.

How do you do in that regard? And, do you agree with my premise or have I missed the mark?

Agreement and disagreement are both welcome, as I hope you know.

6 Responses to “The Next Best Thing to Controlling Our Brand”
  1. Steve Pohlit said at 2:13 pm on

    Bob, people come to their own conclusions about what they experience. For that reason we can control what we do and say. We can only manage the reaction to our actions and are wise to do so when reactions are inaccurate.

    Thank you for sharing your view on this topic.


  2. Bob Burg said at 3:11 pm on

    Steve: Thank you for your very wise thoughts and feedback! Right on!

  3. Doug Wagner said at 12:06 pm on

    In a way we are more managing the inputs to our brand. The output is filtered through people we can’t manage at all.

    Thanks for the post Bob.

  4. Bob Burg said at 12:27 pm on

    Doug: Very well-said! Thank YOU.

  5. Bill Ellis said at 2:13 pm on

    A blog on branding so tremendously insightful I wish I had written it.

    Your point is very well taken – we can NOT control everything – actually we can control very little and that is why ‘Control’ is the first of my Seven C’s of Branding (http://brandingforresults.com/about-branding/seven-cs-of-branding/)

    My point is to identify what we can control (very little) but more importantly to identify all of the things we can’t control (quite a bit).

    There is a very common tenet of branding “If you don’t manage your own brand – someone else will” which your blog demonstrates beautifully.

    Well done.

  6. Bob Burg said at 3:16 pm on

    Wow, Bill: Thank you. With you being such a well-respected branding professional, I must admit to wondering whether you were going to give this a thumbs up or not. Almost ran it by you before publishing and then decided to let go of my “control issue” in terms of knowing the outcome in advance. 🙂 Seriously, thank you for your kind words, and for the terrific points and branding wisdom you just shared with us. And, of course, I look forward to tomorrow and your weekly edition of “Friday’s Fearless Brand.”

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