12339268_10153416482722869_2010560881584405127_oBranding 101 – What I Learned from the Most Interesting Man in the World!

Recently, I was invited to speak at the Business Experts Forum at the Harvard Faculty Club.  How exciting!  Our assignment was to share our most important, essential, legacy message…in 5 minutes.  As I was putting my materials together for the event, I struggled – again! – with my title and my topic.  There are lots of wonderful and helpful things that I do for clients.  I have volumes of advice to share.  I’ve got all kinds of monikers and achievements I can use to identify myself.  However, I was assigned 5 min.  Not a half day.

Can you relate to my struggle?  Are you also brilliantly talented in a myriad of ways? 🙂 Do you fill your marketing messages with dozens of features and benefits?  And are those the same messages that your competitors are broadcasting?

Another speaker at the Business Experts Forum at Harvard was Jonathan Goldsmith.  In 2005, Jonathan was auditioning for the part of The Most Interesting Man in the World, and he realized he was one of thousands.  A veritable sea of actors had turned up at the casting call.  As he was called on stage, he knew he had only a few minutes to make an impression.  So, he took off one of his shoes, and then his sock.  He put his shoe back on, and put the single sock in his pocket.  Then, wordlessly, he indicated to the stunned casting director that he didn’t want to talk about it.  It made an impression.  He was forever referred to in the casting process as, “That guy who took off his sock.”

That made him different.  What made him better?  As the casting choices were whittled down to the final three, the casting director told Jonathan’s agent, “If only he were younger.  We are going to go with one of the other two because they are younger.”  The agent replied, “Then you would be making a mistake.  The Most Interesting Man in the World has to be an older man.  You just can’t be that interesting as a 30 year old.”  And it was kind of int