Category Archive for: ‘prestige’

Why Wealth & Title Are NOT Your Brand

As my business grows and I’m blessed with new opportunities, I get new titles with each new position.  Just last month I was on a site visit of various hotels in order to book a hotel venue for a conference I am chairing.  The hotels put all the spotlight on me, since I am the decision-maker.  If I say “yes”, the hotel stands to gain lots of business from my members attending the conference.

In all of this, I had to stay focused.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the moment and get an over-inflated sense of myself with each visit to a new hotel.  I had to keep in mind the wise words of my mentor, James Espey, who brilliantly says, “it’s not about you, it’s about your title”.  He should know.  After all, James Espey spent many years leading the creation and building of  some of the world’s greatest brands including Baileys, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and Chivas Regal 18.  He’s been recognized by the Queen of England for his achievements to the spirits industry.

Wow, is James Espey correct as I learned and continue to learn each day.  In my case, the hotels were not treating me like royalty because they liked me or respected me and my brand.  The hotels were behaving in response to the title I carried. They would have treated any person with my title in that way.  Kind of hard on the ego at first, and then it is very liberating to know who you are as a human is NOT your title.

Wealth is also not tied to your brand. I think many of us strive for wealth in order to get respect.  However, once again I think people aren’t necessarily respecting YOU, if you are wealthy.  They are attributing things to you based on your wealth- they may not even know you and your brand.

Just last weekend I was at a party- well over 100 people in attendance.  Here’s what I noticed.

There were three very wealthy couples/families at the party:

Couple #1: Self-made uber wealthy people.  Very down to earth and have worked very hard for their huge accumulation of wealth.  They share it with others.  People love to be around them and acknowledge this couple.  Why? Because the couple is not just wealthy, but fun, easy going and humble.  Their brand commands respect because they give respect.

Couple #2: They started out with lots and lots of family money. However, they worked very hard at two separate businesses to add to their wealth.  In other words, they didn’t just eat mom and dad’s money.  People acknowledge them and notice them at the party because this couple has worked hard to stay successful.  They are also humble and never flaunt their money.  They seem to recognize their wealth is not who they are. Others see this, too.

Family #3: This family is comprised of three adult children of a very wealthy father.  Their father accumulated his massive fortune working with his brothers running a very reputable and honorable business globally.  Their father has passed on.  Unfortunately, the three adult children (now well into their 50s) have never done anything to “earn” their fortune.  To my knowledge they have spent daddy’s wealth.  As a result, the siblings show up “demanding” respect because they are their daddy’s children.  It’s really sad to watch.  One of them even raised her voice to me once and said I was rude to not go up to her and acknowledge her and say hello to her.  Really very sad.  This person was clearly wrapped up in her wealth– actually in her daddy’s wealth. People do recognize the three adult children.  However, it is not because people respect these three children.  It’s hard to respect someone who has never worked for their wealth and who demands others to respect them.  I’ve come to realize if people recognize and respect the three adult children, it may only be out of respect for what their father achieved and not for their own brand values.

So what does this mean for you?  Stop and consider:

  • How often are you wrapped up in your title or monetary status? 
  • Do you find your real brand shines through at these times? Or does it feel fake and forced?
  • If you are considerably “wealthy” (define it however way you wish), do you allow your wealth to be a “silent wealth” where you show up humble and down to earth?  If so, this is the only way you can garner real respect and positive attention from others.  This is also the way to be a role model for others.
  • If you have an important title (define “important” however way you wish), stay aware to distinguish when the limelight is on you, the real person, and when the attention is directed at your title only.  There’s a big difference, as James Espey so beautifully points out. 

First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.