Have you noticed the recent articles and posts being written about your personal brand? I was recently asked what is your personal brand? By definition, your brand is your reputation in the marketplace. Ideally, your brand, whether personal or business, aligns with your approach to doing business. I have challenged conventional thinking throughout my career. It comes naturally to me. I like to call it “swimming upstream.” Others have described it as “going left when all others go right.” Taking a path less traveled (another cliché) is not intentionally rebellious. For me, it is how I see things and it has led to amazing outcomes and results throughout my career and for my clients. I am fortunate to say I have no regrets. How about you?
I attribute my approach to life and business (AKA brand) to two experiences: how I was raised and my wife’s job. First, I am the first-born child of two professional parents who raise me to stand tall (never an issue as the tallest kid in my class) and be confident in yourself. They taught me to discover and challenge and learn without fear. My parents gave me the room and support to take risks.
The second experience that has helped build my personal brand is my wife’s job. My wife, Jana, is an oncology and hospice nurse. It has been Jana and her experience with her patients that has given me the support to do as I see fit now. She has encouraged and supported the idea that life is too short so do what you love. I can honestly say I have been able to do just that my entire career and I have no regrets.
Building Products Manufacturers
Have you noticed most building products manufacturers (BPMs) take the road MOST travelled? The home building industry is conservative, slow to change and risk averse. It takes decades and often generations to see meaningful change in our industry. BPMs are rarely leaders in the innovation we see in technology or the change we experience in fashion or most consumer goods. At the same time, we have a society that is increasingly stimulated by innovation, change and risk. This combination of an industry slow to change and a world that is demanding it seems to present a perfect environment to take the path LESS travelled to success. This is the mission of Draper DNA. It is how I think as a person and a business leader in the construction industry.
The challenge I see with most BPMs is overcoming the lack of desire for change or stated differently as “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.” Where are the BPMs that are looking to embrace the opportunity to STAND UP and STAND OUT in the industry? I can share dozens of examples of businesses taking the safe route of doing what others have done before them and I am certain you can too. If not, take a look at the exhibitors at IBS or any other trade show. Better yet, look at the daily posts on any social media channel. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between any given brand or product. Let’s talk about the gorilla in the room – direct online sales. No? I assure you while you may be afraid of the risk of innovation and change, there is a competitor within or outside of the construction industry building a business around the risk you fear and the benefits it will likely offer.
Our challenge to you is to add a little risk to your marketing plan. Set aside 10% of your budget to take a risk. I suspect you know where you would like start. If not, I can help you find a starting point. Concerned you will not have the support of your leadership? Let me know and I can help you establish and present the reason to believe in the path you would like to take.
When asked, people with regrets most often point to something they wish they had done but did not. Whether in your personal life or business, taking the risk to try something new, different, unique, innovative or instinctive is exhilarating, meaningful and rewarding. Have the confidence to bring a new idea to fruition. I can help you if you wish. I have been doing it successfully my entire life.