“We Hired Your Brain, Not Your Ass”

(Reading Time: 2 minutes)

“We hired your brain, not your ass.”

I received these words of wisdom from one of my first bosses, half a lifetime ago.

It’s one of my all-time favorite quotes. It (usually) brings a chuckle, but it also delivers a solid point in only seven words.

It’s a reminder that whatever it is you’re being paid to do, it’s not to just fill a chair.  So bring your best every day.  Own your area fully.  Be a reliable contributor to the conversations happening a level or two up.  Challenge the orthodoxy when it needs to be challenged. And engage the most powerful asset you have: The point of view created by your unique collection of experiences.

And if you’re managing others: Make room for the above to happen.  Remove obstacles wherever you can.  Let your team know that you want more from them than to merely parrot your opinions.  Don’t punish them for challenging sacred cows.  Seek to develop your people into not just doers, but thinkers.

The longer I do this branding & business thing, the more I realize: Surrounding yourself with the right hearts & minds makes all the difference.  And there’s no substitute for a team of people who are truly invested.

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About Matthew Fenton: Matthew is a former CMO who helps brands to focus, stand out and grow.  Since founding his consultancy, Three Deuce Branding, in 1997, he’s helped hundreds of brands to achieve “brand clarity.”  His consulting services and speaking engagements help brands to focus on what matters through positioning, strategy and ideation.  Contact Matthew here.  He’s based in Chicago.

Copyright 2020 – Matthew Fenton. All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this article with the original, unedited text intact, including the About Matthew Fenton section.

Advice to Young Marketers

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)I haven’t always been a consultant. In my client-side career, I’ve held positions ranging from Brand Assistant to VP-Marketing. And in 14 years of consulting, I’ve worked with marketing teams of just about every size, shape and industry you can name. I regularly meet with young marketers, many of whom ask for advice as they start out on their career path. The following are some thoughts that I’ve shared (with absolutely no claim that I got them right myself):

Stop worrying about your “personal brand.” Do consistently excellent work, be of good character, and be emotionally mature. You’ll become known as a trustworthy achiever, and your “brand” will take care of itself. Let’s talk a bit more about a few of these ideas…

Continue reading “Advice to Young Marketers”

The Power of NO

Power of No Brand Strategy

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)There’s been a lot written about the “Power of YES” – the belief that life is best experienced through an attitude of affirmation.  And I agree with that, in most instances.  But I’m an equally firm believer in the Power of NO.

Stephen Covey

The Power of NO is really a matter of focus.  Stephen Covey crystallized the concept for me when I first read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People nearly 20 years ago.  Mr. Covey wrote: Continue reading “The Power of NO”

Get the Job Interview Right

get the job interview right handshake

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)Earlier this week, Esquire magazine published an article titled “How to Nail the Job Interview.” It’s written in the style of Esquire‘s recurring “What I’ve Learned” feature, which I also love – concise little statements with lots of wisdom per ounce.

In my most recent client-side position as vice-president of marketing, I hired 10 staff.  And I interviewed 40-50 others in the process.  With that in mind, I’d like to expand on a few of Esquire‘s tips that I thought were spot-on: Continue reading “Get the Job Interview Right”

Why You Can’t Sell to the C-Suite

(Reading Time: 3 minutes)I’ve recently completed my tenure as Vice-President of Marketing for one of the largest confectioners in the US. Like most executives, I was the target of a huge number of sales calls, most of them cold.

And if my experience was representative, then the modern sales industry is in trouble. Even as they tried to sell the C-Suite, I observed disturbingly low levels of forethought, professionalism and effectiveness.

If you’re a sales professional trying to reach the CMO – or any other executive – here are the things that are working against you: Continue reading “Why You Can’t Sell to the C-Suite”

You’re Not a Brand

(Reading Time: 4 minutes)You’re not a brand.

Can we agree on that? It’s not a bad thing, and it’s not personal. I’m not a brand either.

There’s a lot of fuss these days about “personal branding.” And though I make my living as a brand strategy consultant, I can sum up my feelings about personal branding in two words: “Mostly bunk.” Some of it is tried-and-true concepts with a lazy new label. Some of it is authors trying to sell books. Most of it is flat-out misguided.

Allow me to present five arguments against the notion of personal branding: Continue reading “You’re Not a Brand”