Bill Leider has had a significant impact on my life.
I had no way of knowing that 20 years ago when I hired Bill to consult with my previous company. I had no way of knowing that our relationship would progress from vendor, to partner, to dear friend. But what I have always known, from the first moment I met Bill, is that he would be my mentor. He will always be my mentor.
And so, when Bill asked me to help him in the editing of a book to be titled, Brand Delusions, I was honored. Over the course of a year, Bill would send me Word documents. Sometimes the documents were just a concept, sometimes just a few paragraphs and sometimes an entire chapter. He wanted me to be an honest sounding board and share my thoughts on the characters and the obstacles each of them faced in coming to grips with his definition of Brand. I happily gave it.
Yesterday, Bill delivered my personal copy. It was nice to hold it in my hand. I’m thrilled to have played a small role in shaping his book. “There are parts of Brand Delusions,” Bill said to me, “that simply would not be there if you had not been involved.” And there are whole segments of how I think about brand and vision and values that would not be there if Bill Leider had never been involved in my life. When I read Brand Delusions, I see bits and pieces of our relationship in the characters he brings to life.
So, I highly recommend Brand Delusions to you, and was delighted to write the following introduction to the book.
My Introduction To Brand Delusions
I was a very young entrepreneur when I heard the following words come out of Bill Leider’s mouth: “Your Brand is a commonly held set of beliefs and expectations about what you deliver and how you deliver it.” That simple sentence changed more than just my understanding of corporate brands, but of personal brands as well. It began what has become a two decade long exploration of this powerful definition, and a relationship with Bill Leider that has spanned that same time.
Before I met Bill, I’d never given much thought to the idea of “brand.” In my mind, brands were the manufactured images that marketing and advertising agencies created for their corporate clients. Branding and brand building were actions taken on behalf of a company. Executives hired a creative team to dream up actions, ads and logos for the company or product.
I gave even less thought to people as brands. The only individuals I would have considered “brands” were celebrities, like Elvis or Madonna, or politicians, whose images, I assumed, were “manufactured” in the same way corporate brands were manufactured. I was wrong about both.
What I have learned from Bill in these last 20 years is now being shared with you, the reader of this book. I believe it has the ability to alter your relationship with the concept of a brand on multiple levels. Without question, it will help you see, perhaps for the very first time, how brand impacts every area of a business: from accounting to customer service, and from marketing to manufacturing. It’s told as a story. The characters struggle with their own understanding of brand. And as they learn, you will learn with them. You’ll experience the holistic nature of brand through their journey. You will begin to see that there are no insignificant people when it comes to shaping a brand inside an organization.
It’s a business book, yes, but it would be mistake to look at this with only your business eyes. If you pay attention, you’ll learn how this definition can positively impact you as an individual. “Behavior is the truest form of communication,” Bill shared with me once. “Our words either confirm or deny truth.”
And so it is with brand. Like our values, our brand is not what we say; our brand is what we do. It is not just what we deliver, but how we deliver it. There are no insignificant acts. There are no meaningless conversations. There are no throwaway relationships. Everything we do and say, both in a company and in our personal lives, contributes to our brand.
Brand Delusions will open your eyes to a truth that will positively alter how you see your business and your life.