Sticks and Stones…….

December 28, 2009

Two weeks ago either bravery or some unidentified ingredient in my eggnog let me throw caution to the wind and I actually took a definitive ‘personal’ stance in my weekly MarketingSmack blog.  I don’t typically write about public figures nor do I usually disclose such personal criticism of others. Given I believe the majority of my readers are close friends that share similar beliefs, I thought it safe – a couple of more sips of that eggnog and I posted these thoughts on a few discussion groups in LinkedIn.

Hornets’ nest.

The first email notification of: “New comment on “Can You Camouflage a Tiger? – I am insulted that Tiger thinks it is ok to ask for privacy….” brought an instant sense of exhilaration.  I had written something worthy of discussion – something timely and relevant.  I clicked on ‘go to full discussion’ believing I would see adulation, sycophancy – my eyes devouring the wisdom and insight from fellow LinkedIn Group members – the likes of: LinkingRaleighNC, RTPconnect and Triangle Networking Group.


Dozens of people began to add comments; at first directed at me – most of them not in agreement, to put it mildly and then; at each other.  What I found interesting here is that I KNOW that it is critical to the world of branding – both company/product/service and individual – to take a stance; have an opinion; define clearly who you are and who you are not and confidently broadcast it to your audience with polite relentlessness.  I was somewhat surprised when upon reading the first “I don’t agree with Jack” comment – my initial reaction was defensive somewhat akin to the way a Junior high school student feels when discovering he’s the one with bad breath via a Slam Book.

On the one hand – people were talking about me….on the other hand – people weren’t seeing it my way…… What I learned from this experience is that there is a key component to the branding process that I have been leaving out. 


I spend a great deal of time helping companies and individuals brand themselves.  Countless hours spent on key executive interviews, customer focus groups, competitor reviews, market research etc… Helping them to create a unique position and message that states who and what they are – but in that same instant it states who and what they are NOT.  You have to be brave to take a stance – a stance that you know will resonate with some (and you hope that the some is large enough for you to be successful) but in this day of transparency you’ll hear from those that DON’T too.

Suffice it to say that as the conversations over my Tiger Woods’ blog continued over the last two weeks I watched the score board fluctuate ala basketball style….Jack 0  Nay Sayers 2……. Jack 4 Nay Sayers 2….. And so on and so on.  Not sure how the final tally looked and what I realize is that it doesn’t matter – I won.  I took a position, made it public, generated a healthy debate and made my personal/professional brand that much clearer.

The brave world of MarketingSmack can be found on: or visit us at


8 Responses to “Sticks and Stones…….”

  1. russell1200 Says:

    Obliviousness to the risks is not bravery. It is obliviousness.

    Studies of entrepreneurs has indicated that it not that they are brave, but they underestimate the risks involved.

    What exactly is this new brand of yours? The I will get up on a soap box and rave like a lunatic brand?

    Hope it works for you.

    • Just curious….are you suggesting I am oblivious? Or something I said would promote obliviousness? Not sure I understand the comment. Although, I have to admit I am pro-soap box.

      • russell1200 Says:

        I am objecting to your wrapping yourself (and your clients) in the mantle of bravery. Very few business owners actually believe that they have only a 20% chance of success over the next 5 years (roughly how many start ups survive to their 5th year). They believe that they are smarter, faster, etc. It goes very much to the studies that indicate that 80% of employees believe that they are in the top 20% in ability.

        Thus, it is not that your clients are “brave”, it is that they are unaware and/or unaccepting of the risks as it applies to themselves.

  2. Ron Weinberger Says:

    Enjoyable and insightful, Jack. In regards to your scrapes and bruises, I learned a long time ago… when you carry the ball, you sometimes get hit!

    Next time, keep your chin down!

    Ron Weinberger

  3. Ron Trebbi Says:

    Obliviousness is WAY overstated … but you, Jackie, do need to be prepared to take some hits (Helmut, helmet)or not … Tiger Woods is a celebrity who’s public persona and private life appear to be in direct conflict with one another … the media loves guys/situations like this and Bloggers get say whatever is on their minds, about this person or anything else that strikes their fancy … The key, IMHO, is to do it, as you note in this article, with “polite relentlessness” and hope that you’ve picked and appropriate item to comment on, for your audience, and that it says something meaningfull to that audience about your brand …otherwise it may just be construed as noise ….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: