Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Your Story is Your Brand

Yesterday, my friend and colleague Dr. Colby Jubenville spoke to my sports marketing students. His visit has become a tradition in my class as I look to Colby to share his insights as a former football coach and mentor to graduate sport management students. Among the points Colby made to the class was the importance of telling your story. After all, our personal brand and identity are comprised largely of the stories of the events, trials, and accomplishments of our lives. Our story makes each of us unique, enabling us to stand out in a crowded field of personal brands that all want the same thing: a shot at working in sports business.

One of the most poignant suggestions Dr. Jubenville made with regard to the importance of our brand story is that if it is difficult to tell or reads more like a short story than a novel, we must work on creating more content. How? By getting off the couch or from behind the screen and experiencing life! For students aspiring to launch a career in sports business, it means acquiring relevant experiences and becoming immersed in the industry. A suggestion that fits point was made by Rob Farinella, founder and president of Atlanta-based Blue Sky Agency, who says people wanting to work in sports business should become a fan of sports business. Read publications and blogs on sports marketing, follow sports business professionals on Twitter, join relevant groups on LinkedIn. In other words, let sports business consume you like baseball fanatics track batting averages and ERA. The knowledge gained and interactions experienced if this strategy is followed will help in building one's brand as a prospective sports business professional.

In addition to committing to following sports business, we build brand stories through what we do. For students wanting to position themselves for sports business careers that means attending presentations by business experts (regardless of whether it is sports related), reaching out to meet and learn from people already in the industry, and volunteering to gain experiences that add to knowledge. Our stories arise from what happen to us; it is hard to write a story about "nothing"... unless you are Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza!

We should always be working on our brand story. One of the best pieces of advice is this quote from Charles "Tremendous" Jones: "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read." You are author of the most important story that needs to be told- your personal brand story. Your story is your brand; prepare for your career now by working on the stories that define you.