What do you do best?
Are you great at sports? A killer comic? A fabulous writer? A great friend?
Maybe a gourmet chef, an incredible storyteller or a passionate artist?
All of the above; some of the above; none of the above….
The bottom line is that there are things you do better than most, that help define you, that differentiate you, that make you who you are and, in my own personal case, make me happy as well.
Then there are the other things. The other stuff. The “wish I could do that,” the “only if I could,” and “wouldn’t it be great if” stuff. Sometimes aspirational – sometimes a good stretch – sometimes a pipe dream.
And here is the thing – we are all Brands – “Brand Me” – and like all Brands we have equity – pluses and minuses – that is what makes us special and unique. And like all Brands we are best known for what makes us who we are.
Now – that doesn’t mean we can’t do more – look at Apple – no big instruction books come with the iPad or iPod – rather we discover their functions ourselves, knowing as we do the basic road map. But it is an Apple.
Relationships are the same – we discover, we experiment, we learn – and the most successful stay fresh and new – but, like the best Brands, at some point the extensions can be destructive.
Now – let’s be clear – I’m not advocating boring adherence to some predetermined, predestined life – NO WAY. In fact, learning new skills and sweating new ideas keeps us young and alive – and at my advanced age that is important!
What I am saying is that we should learn from the best – Google says that they are not a technology company – that they are all about data and media; Amazon is a retailer…plain and simple; eBay was most successful when it was an efficient flea market for collectors and bargain hunters, and stumbled when it tried to become Amazon. And on and on – PLEASE ADD EXAMPLES OF YOUR OWN.
As it with us, so it is with the companies we work with and for – our own or others. Selfishly, Wunderman has been successful for fifty years because we have stayed a true course – we are known for focusing on the customer – data and all that it entails – everything else is commentary and in another fifty years still will be. See where I’m going?
And there you have it. I can go to a weekend Formula One Experience but will I really be known as a Formula One driving star? Outside of Xbox (and that is in doubt too – but I do have my strengths there), I doubt it.
We should build on all that we can; we must learn all that we can hold – but it seems to me that we should be known for who we are…
What do you think?