...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Be subversive: be connected.

The brand warrior in training can start building a personal brand by getting connected to the people in an organization who make things happen as well as those who stop projects dead in their tracks. It's fact-finding that goes far beyond the facts, and begins to help the brand warrior understand the dynamics of the organization so you can better leverage the strong connections and get around the barriers. And it takes the following steps:

Find the other brand warriors - When you talk to others about your findings in step 1 (be observant) you'll soon pick up positive and negative feedback. Take note of both and get closer to those who smell what you're cooking. By connecting with others, you begin to build critical mass for the brand battle to come.

Find the other strategic thinkers - Who are the big picture people? The ones who think long-term and understand the methods that make businesses great. Start hanging around this crowd. Their thinking skills will come in handy when the time to launch the offensive arrives.

Find the naysayers - Who are the ones that hold the company back with short-sighted thinking and negative thoughts? They can often be found by honing in an irritating cackle that sounds like this: "we'vealwaysdoneitthis way" or "wecan'tdothat". They are usually at the center of a group of young strategic thinkers or other would-be brand warriors who have all quit talking at once and sat down dejected in their seats at a big meeting.

Find the ones who can say "no" or "no go" - Who can shut down a project or fully fund it with a "yes" or "no"? These folks usually hang out in the executive wing. Understand their motivation. Understand their hot buttons. And understand how to formulate your ideas into their language.

By circulating in these crowds, and observing how they speak, how they process information and how they make decisions, you can begin to form a game plan for creating positive change.

Next up: be vocal!

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