Strategy & Marketing

You Can’t Brand a Lie

I spoke at a worship conference years ago at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church.  It was a great group mostly focused on music, and we discussed personal branding and how it can impact your career.  One of the points I made that I also discuss in my book “Unique” is the principle that you can’t brand a lie.  Whatever your brand story is, you’d better be able to live up to that promise.  In that sense, a compelling brand isn’t much different from your reputation, and as many have said, it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it.

We’ve seen another sad example was Governor Mark Sanford from South Carolina.  He based much of his political career on values and morality.  He voted to censure Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, and has long been a voice promoting family values and religious faith.  With four young boys, he was an example of a solid family.  But we discovered that he was having a year-long affair.  He spun out of control and at the end disappeared to Argentina to see his lover.

On top of those revelations, their erotically-tinged emails have been published on TV and in newspapers across the country.  In a media-driven culture, nothing stays hidden for long.

Be who you say you are.  Be honest and authentic.  Because once your brand story is exposed as a fraud, it’s almost impossible to recover.

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  1. It’s also very easy for anyone with a little media savvy to destroy you if they so desire. I think everyone should consider how living our lives SO BRANDED and SPUN in an online world has come around to make everyone (at worst) believe nothing or (at best) believe only what they want to believe. Credibility is a dying characteristic.

  2. Just the other night I heard Anna McCoy, author and life coach, say this. “Our brand? Jesus! We must be authentic!”

    So…it comes down to a relationship with God.  A BRAND worth representing.

    Thanks again for your powerful insights. i’m so blessed to see a voice in the media wilderness speaking such truth as you Phil!

  3. Some interesting thoughts.  Hence this highlights the danger of pedastalising yourself as a font of moral virtue.   Only Jesus can take that place.  “For ALL have sinned & come short of the glory of God”.   Maybe it is a case of wrong branding in the first instance – which turns off a lot of non-Christians.

    Your humble servant.


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