I’m not afraid to take a stand… Everybody come take my hand… We’ll walk this road together, through the storm…Whatever weather, cold or warm… Just let you know that, you’re not alone…Holla if you feel that you’ve been down the same road.
When it comes to business and branding, and in my book just about everything in life, we should all take a page from Eminem’s notebook, and not be afraid to take a stand on the things that are important to us.
I’m a big believer in that old adage “if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything” and feel that if you don’t know where you stand on something… you need to step up and work on figuring out.
It’s OK to not know right now… but it’s not OK to not know forever, just because it’s easier to do nothing and let others decide your position for you.
I mean seriously.
Why would you want to leave anything, especially something as important as your image and your brand in the hands of other people instead of yourself?
Why would you want to give other people that much power over how the world sees you, without attempting to make the world see you as you’d like to be seen? Without attempting to make the world see you as the amazing, unique being that you are, the good, the bad, and the ugly?
For me, I’ve always been the sort of gal to “beat to my own drum” if you will, and do my thing. I’m extremely independent, and have always tried to be as true to me as I can.
I’mma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly…And all those who look down on me I’m tearing down your balcony…
Whether that always gained me popularity points or not, I did it anyway because it made me feel good. There’s no greater feeling in the world than the ability to be really be me, whether being me scores points with the rest of the world or not.
Put simply, how I feel about me is way more important to me than how you feel about me, or how anybody else feels about me for that matter. Approval isn’t necessary when you’re able to live your life and run your business in a way that feels natural and authentic.
So How Does All of this Apply to Branding?
Good question. I promise I have a point, so keep a readin’.
Like Maria Ross states in her book Branding Basics for Small Business- How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget:
“Brand is your business’s story, your core purpose, and your customer promise. Brand is your reputation- which ultimately lives in the minds of your customers. Brand is what your customers say it is, not what you say it is, but you can shape and influence it through intentional decisions and actions.”
See, your brand isn’t just some logo you slap on some paper and a website and call it a day. You’re brand is like a living, breathing promise to your people, a promise that you back up every day with your words, your thoughts, and your actions.
And with those words, thoughts, and actions, your brand is reaffirmed in the minds of all of your “right people” that you are indeed “right for them”. And remember, to create an effective brand doesn’t mean you have to impact thousands of people or be right for everyone. You just have to impact the ones that resonate with your core message, and this will create a ripple effect that will begin to draw more and more of your right people into your orbit.
A strong brand can often have a sort of polar effect too. With a strong brand, not everyone has to love you. Hell they don’t even have to like you.
My world, haters can make like bees with no stingers, and drop dead…
But even when they don’t like you, you’d be surprised how many still folks will still respect a business with a strong brand, a business that takes a stand and acts in ways congruent with their inner truth and congruent with their promises to their people.
In fact, it’s often said that if you aren’t ruffling a few feathers here and there with what you’re doing, you’re probably doing it wrong! Does that mean you have to go out and purposely stir up controversy over something, just to gain attention?
No, not at all.
But it does mean that when it comes to your brand and your reputation, if you feel passionately about something you should never be afraid to let the world know it. Never be afraid to take a stand if it matters to you. And never be afraid to be loud if you want to.
Sure in a perfect world you might want everyone to love you and respect you, and appreciate what you do each day. Who doesn’t?
But we already know this world ain’t perfect and never will be. So stop trying to be perfect, stop trying to please the masses, stop trying to fit someone else’s view of how you “should” be, and start doing you.
You can try and read my lyrics off of this paper before I lay ’em…But you won’t take this sting out these words before I say ’em…Cause ain’t no way I’m let you stop me from causing mayhem…When I say ’em or do something I do it, I don’t give a damn…What you think, I’m doing this for me…
As they say, the people that matter don’t mind, and the people that mind don’t matter. Your brand is your business, and it should reflect you and what you believe in, no apologies.
So Where Does Eminem Fit Into All This Exactly?
Ok quit playin’ with the scissors and shit, and cut the crap…I shouldn’t have to rhyme these words in the rhythm for you to know it’s a rap…
Good question again, and I’ll tell you. For me, Eminem is one of the greats when it comes to branding. His brand is a personal brand that pretty much envelopes everything he does.
Eminem’s fans are rabid. His haters even more so.
But at the end of the day, love him or hate him most people have some hardcore respect for him. You might not like his language, and you may not always agree with his message, but when looked at objectively, it’s often hard to deny the ring of truth in just about every lyric he rhymes and every word he spits.
He doesn’t sugar coat his point of view on anything… he takes a stand and sticks up for it, both guns blazing. He’s created a promise just with his stage name “Eminem”. And as Danielle says, pure art is not about pleasing your audience. When people think Eminem people think “White rapper with balls” and “A man not afraid to speak his mind”.
They don’t think “people pleaser”.
Not only that, when people think Eminem they think “talent”! Seriously, it takes some really raw talent to do some of the things Eminem does in his music, if you’re a fan of rap at all. He’s arguably one of the best rappers out there, and he’s built his personal brand “Eminem” into a household name and a hip-hop legend.
And to his fans, he’s loyal.
And to the fans, I’ll never let you down again, I’m back…I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact…
Honestly I think the world could learn a lot of hard lessons from Eminem and his work. I’m a huge fan, and have been from day one. While some of his music I don’t always love, still more of it I adore. He’s led a screwed up life with a lot of ups and downs, but he’s managed to triumph in spite of them.
He’s trying to raise his daughter and be a good father, which in this world of dads that don’t give a shit… I personally have a lot of respect for. He’s overcome a lot of adversity to get where he is today, and through it all, you can always count on him to say what he feels, straight up and no bullshit. His lyrics often hit hard, and you can’t help but concede to the weight of truth they often carry.
And I just can’t keep living this way…So starting today, I’m breaking out of this cage…I’m standing up, Imma face my demons…I’m manning up, Imma hold my ground…I’ve had enough, now I’m so fed up…Time to put my life back together right now…
The bottom line is he’s trying to live and create a life for himself he can be proud of, just like the rest of us… and by extension he’s created a brand and a public persona that his fans can love and be proud of too. And that’s pretty powerful branding in my book.
Cause I’m raising the bar, I shoot for the moon…But I’m too busy gazing at stars, I feel amazing and… I’m not afraid to take a stand… Everybody come take my hand… We’ll walk this road together, through the storm…Whatever weather, cold or warm… Just let you know that, you’re not alone…Holla if you feel that you’ve been down the same road.
So how about you? Are you afraid to take a stand when it comes to your brand and your promises to your people? Are you afraid to take a stand when it comes to your blog or how you come across to your readers?
How about in your personal life? Are you afraid to take a stand on something that’s important to you? Drop your thoughts in the comments below and let’s discuss it… we can take a stand together.
P.S. If you’re inspired to listen to the song that sparked this post, you can find it here- Eminem: I’m Not Afraid. Who knows, maybe it will light a spark for you too.