Every Leader Needs A Vision

Hello Branding Cats,

Leaders are not always managers. Sometimes leaders can be the rookie trying to make a positive impact in a new environment. But to those leaders who happen to be in a higher up position, here is some advice for you: Focus your vision. Don’t just repeat a mantra or tell your employees to read the mission statement. Focus your vision and share it with your company. Vision as a leader is important; a leader without vision is just someone with people behind them. Without vision, your leadership is a temporary figurehead that will be replaced with a new trend, a new idea or any vision for that matter.

When I was in college, I was a part of the MYRA Radio Network, the official internet radio station of the college. When MYRA was founded by a core of energetic and vision-focused students, it flourished. The station broke away from the traditional AM/FM dials and tapped into the unlimited reach of New Media. I was proud to be the host of the classic country show and learned so much about broadcasting and time management from my producer. The station was treated like a legitimate startup, with the school acting as our investor. We had a CEO, as the head of the station with two directors, one for production and promotion. The students didn’t identified as students, this was the launch of their careers. Myself included.

While we all had different goals and reasons for involvement, our vision remained the same. We aimed to bring MYRA to the quality level of Sirius XM, and most of the shows could have made it. Our vision was clear and our worth ethic showed the college their investment was paying off. So, why is it that you know about Sirius but not MYRA? A change in the guard lead to the dimming of the vision.

While the students ran the station, there was one who outranked the students. The overseeing professor who trained officers and called himself the Sheriff of the Station. You might recognize the same archetype in your office, he was ours. He walked into the weekly production meeting and told everyone that started MYRA would no longer be involved. We spent months on developing our programs; hours on editing, producing and hosting our shows and some even years developing the skills to work the switchboards.

When the Sheriff sacked the founders, he brought in new students who didn’t even know MYRA existed. He gave them full range with the condition he’d oversee production,much like he did with us. Three days later he left the school to venture off to be a rock star. Shortly after, with no vision of their own and no way for us to help restore the original vision, MYRA died off into cyber space.

So founders and leaders alike. Keep your vision clear and open with all involved. You never know when you might not be there for your team or company and a complete rookie tries to knock it out of the park but gets struck out. This is why vision is so vital to leaders. The point of leaders is to build more leaders. If the Sheriff would have known that, maybe MYRA would be your favorite podcast station instead of some hobby that the school paid for.

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Creepypasta is New Age Storytelling

Hello Branding Cats,

One of my favorite classes in college was Mythology, it was one of the few classes that made me feel a real metaphysical connection to my ancestors. I have family heirlooms, of course, and I know which countries my forefathers traveled from and I know my parents. But the stories that was told over an open flame, the legends that spread among the people and stood against the test of time, that spoke to me more than the physical possessions.

Recently, I found myself on YouTube; no, I wasn’t procrastinating… Okay, maybe. I didn’t plan on visiting the website, it was a subconscious reaction when I was trying to find the website I was looking for. I was only on one page and that was enough to make me think to write this article. The video that was recommended was not a TEDtalk or a DIY instructions, it was a top ten list. A top ten list for the scariest Creepypastas. I didn’t click on it, I’ve read a few Creepypasta stories to know not to click on the scary ones. For those who aren’t familiar, Creepypasta’s are a collection of online urban legends, a complete user-content website that provides a platform for anyone to tell a scary story. Some of the stories developed a cult following and gathered negative mainstream attention. But I must protest the mainstream media’s witch hunt: Creepypasta is my generation’s new innovation!

Storytelling is mankind’s oldest tradition, and is the secret to successful branding. A good story will resonate throughout the ages, and that is what Creepypasta’s are, stories. But how does a scary story showcase the innovation of a generation? Well, simply look at the development of storytelling itself. Don’t have time to spend in an Archaeology class? Alright, let’s highlight the last hundred yeas of cinema.

In 1925, the Phantom of The Opera took stage. It’s visual effects on Lon Chaney is still remarkable by today’s standards.
In 1960, Psycho made showers a scare zone. The sexual overtones and psychological development assisted the counterculture.
In 1973, The Exorcist was called. the topic of religion was able to be discussed openly.
In 1984, A Nightmare on Elm Street became real. Dreams and meanings went from the palm reader’s tent to the living room.

Critical thinking, creative freedom and the ability to fuse it together is what makes a good story. If a story promotes a raw, unfiltered emotion from you, then the story did it’s job and deserves to be told. Creepypastas are scary, and most of them have a devout following. That shows how good of storytellers my generation is, that with a blank space and a prompt we create something that resonates throughout the hive. Each generation has a story to tell, and it has it’s own challenges. With the heaping anti-millennial articles around here, we needed to show how good we really are.

Now go read a creepypasta, and remember that my generation wrote them. Just keep the lights on. Stay P.U.N.K

Hiring Me Makes Sense (And Money)

Hello Branding Cats,

It seems I have failed my promise to you. While my blog has been more active and more focused, I have not been as real as I’d like. So let me break character a moment. You might see me as the Punk of Branding, a Social Networking Instigator or just a Millennial. These are accurate ways to describe me, but I’m quite the multi-layered fellow.

This entry isn’t for the job seekers, this is to the key holders. The decision makers, the ones who have been hunting for the right candidate nonstop for days. I’m Wes, and I’m the guy you’ve been looking for.

For the last year I have generated sales, by myself, that kept me in business for a year. I have written articles that got featured on Pulse, I have mentored and trained hundreds of future thought leaders, and in my career I have won three Best Customer Service Awards. I want to be part of a team, I miss it.

I had the chance to work for Disney but they blew it. They fired me and blacklisted because I said I didn’t have a record in my application, and turns out I do. It’s because someone stole my identity and even though I was found not guilty, it still showed up. And the Mouse won’t hear any of it.

So Disney’s mistake can be your gain. Look at my LinkedIn, contact me. I’m open to relocation (gets hot in Florida). The Punk of Branding can be yours,today! And your company will grow from it.

Your Personal Brand Comes in 3’s

Personal Branding. It’s just a buzzword. It’s everything. It’s meaningless. It’s a fad. It’s all the above. When it comes to personal branding, there are different definitions, mainly because there are different personalities. No matter what you define personal branding, it is there, it is relevant. One thing that seems to escape the conversation is the different levels of your brand. Like in psychology, there arethree parts to a personality, there is three levels to your personal brand.

Those levels are on paper, online and in person.

On Paper: We are all familiar with resumés. They are the very basic level of your personal brand. Theoretically, it’s where all your experience wraps into a few pages to show qualifications for a position. Practically, it’s a handcrafted document of your personal brand and experience.
During my teenage years I was into the card game Magic: The Gathering. I would spend hours creating my battle deck for tournaments, friendly battles and after school amusement. Like your resumé, you should prepare it for tournaments (job boards), friendly games (interviews) and amusement (preparation).

Online: I love LinkedIn! It helped me learn how to network better, offered me keen insight and quite less frustrating than Facebook. But contrary to what you might read, there are more sites than Facebook or LinkedIn. Your digital footprint is the second level of your personal brand. More people will have access to Google than your resumé, so make your personal brand more personal.
Personal websites, blogs, YouTube videos and many other websites create a web presence. Web presence is the new reputation. The good, the bad, the creative and the boring, you can find anything online; in Cyberspace Everyone can Hear You Scream.

In Person: Web presence might be the new reputation, but reputation is still real. No matter how digital campaigns get, how automated our payments plan get, people will always want to do business with people. You are the highest level of your personal brand, because you are you, 24/7, 365 days (expect for Halloween).
I was thrilled when I found out my favorite book as a teenager, The Giver, was given the film treatment. My wife and I watched it when it came out, and it shows exactly what I’m referring to. People need people, no person is a single island. The Giver shows a Utopian society that eliminates personality on every level. I won’t spoil the book or movie, but it shows why I’m a proponent for personality and human difference.

Three levels of personal branding, finally explained. From paper to people, there is no “one” formula for a brand, as there is no “one” absolutely alike. Your personal brand should be a reflection of your personal brand maximized (yourself). Be yourself, always, from documents to profiles to meetings.

Adults Like Referrals

Hello Branding Cats,

The other day I was wishing a friend of mine a happy birthday. With our friendship lasting over a decade, we spent some time to laugh about the past and plan a reunion, much to the dislike of our respective significant others. It’s worth to note before my days as a personal branding artist, writer and social entrepreneur, I was like any other teenager. A punk kid who knew everything about nothing, except we will form the band that makes metal rule again. In high school the administration knew us quite well and not because we were on the honor roll every semester. We were much like Steve-O and Heroin Bob from Salt Lake City Punk.

Then something clicked that I thought was funny. Here we are, both 26, each with a different type of business (branding/social media for myself, dog training for him), and always open to referrals. Yet, turn back time to when we were 16, each with a different type of favorite metal (Death metal for him, Thrash for me), we hated getting referrals from our teachers.

Different in meaning, the words are the same. Adults love getting referrals, while teenagers roll their eyes at them. Amazing what ten years can do to two punks.