The brand truth: ‘You are what you do’

Last night, in a rugged NBA playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, LA’s Kobe Bryant was sent sprawling to the floor after being tripped by Denver’s Dahntay Jones. After seeing the TV replay, the ABC announcers all believed Jones intentionally tripped Bryant, although the referees missed the obvious foul. Play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, in an apparent defense of Jones, said the Denver player was not considered “a dirty player” in the NBA. To which analyst Jeff Van Gundy responded, “You are what you do.”

In other words, it doesn’t matter whether Jones is considered a clean or dirty player, because that was a dirty play. And if he continues to make plays like that (in an earlier game Jones pushed Bryant in the back as Bryant went in for a layup), he’ll earn an undesirable reputation as a dirty player. 

Maybe only an NBA fan and branding consultant like me would offer Van Gundy’s words as a caution to those who oversee their firm’s brand. All of our carefully researched and cultivated efforts to develop a certain image among our stakeholders are only as effective as the collective behavior of our organization. That’s why I believe managing your business’ brand or reputation is not simply an exercise in marketing. Who you say your business is in your marketing counts for far less than what you do as a business. 

Logos and slogans do not define your brand. Actions do. When the spotlight is bright and the pressure to perform is great, how do the executives and employees of your organization behave? That’s where you’ll find the truth of your brand.

May 26th, 2009

Leave a comment