What Getting Kicked Out of School Taught Me About Brand Management
4 Minute Read
Not the post I think any of my closest peers thought they would ever see me write. But I have to admit that while my name is extremely similar to Beyoncé, I’m actually not perfect. Once upon a time, I got kicked out of school due to my lack of focus and a lot of poor decision-making along the way. When you’re in the midst of a lot of hysteria, it’s difficult to figure out what are the next best steps when you have yet to identify a clear vision for yourself. So in these heavy and often embarrassing moments, what exactly do you do? Here’s a few notes on what I’ve done to bounce back into a better space.
1. Create a vision for yourself.
All of these elements are a part of a brand strategy, right? My biggest challenge as a 21-year old knuckle head was trying to figure out where I saw myself in the future. What are my long-term goals? I knew that I wanted to be successful – who doesn’t. But what does that look like? I knew I wanted to be a thought leader in media and communications. I knew I wanted to build a really cool media company at some point. I also knew I wanted my parents to be proud of me. So I made it my mission to get back into school to fulfill the vision.
2. Define yourself before someone else does.
It’s extremely dangerous to allow other people to define you. That’s the quickest way to set yourself up for failure if you don’t have a strong understanding as to who you are. That goes for companies as well. It’s a positioning issue. It’s your job to make it clear as to what your company or personal brand is all about. If you mess up, apologize and own up to that. Because you will make mistakes along the way. From there, audiences will decide if it’s right for them or not. The internet can get be extremely petty in nature so it’s your job to control your narrative.
3. Your story isn’t boring.
I struggled with this even in launching my website just to say “hey, I’m here.” But that lack of confidence in wanting to share or even believing that someone may connect with you impact your visibility. If you copy someone else’s narrative and try to finesse it as your own, not only it is boring, but it’s overall whack. Your job isn’t to create a story that resonates with everyone. Your job is to share your story with your target audience and those are the ones that matter.
4. Small Wins Build a Strong Foundation
So the interesting part about getting back into school was the small wins that gave me the confidence that it would actually happen. This laid a foundation for building myself back up from a screw up. My game plan aligned with my vision. So, I focused on doing things that made sense to my mission. Beyond other people believing in me, I needed to believe myself. Kind of like, alchemy. From getting a meeting with the head honcho who could make that call, to showing case studies about what I’ve accomplished prior to me getting there, to showing even showing next steps with clear KPI’s to measure my success, these small wins executed my game plan to walk across that stage.
BrandChannel defines a brand as "a living business asset, designed to enhance the connection between a business and a customer or consumer." So what does that actually mean for a person? That's essentially your reputation. How people view and connect with you is important in building long-lasting relationships and even creating opportunities for yourself. '
Focus on being your authentic self. Allow yourself to make the mistakes and let your character guide you to your vision.