Re-Blog: Truth in Brands

By October 5, 2014Blog

Below is a re-blog of my interview with Stacy Ennis for the Price Associates blog.

Operation Intentional Disruption — that’s how Justin Foster, brand strategist and social media expert, jokingly refers to his recent move to Austin, Texas. Justin realized staleness and sameness were creeping into his life and decided he needed to do something bold and big. He wanted to test the theories he writes about and teaches to others.

“I believe that if you don’t blow up your life — and I say that in a healthy way — it will get blown up for you,” he says. He wanted to change things up. Travel with his family. See more of the country. So, he set out without a certain destination in sight and eventually settled into Austin with his wife and younger son.

For people who know Justin, this move isn’t surprising. He hasn’t followed a traditional path, at least not in the way most of us think life should progress. But for someone who has never felt like he quite fit anywhere — a Tinkertoy in a Lego world, as he describes it — he’s had to forge his own path. Over the years, he’s found ways to overcome his “bad DNA” and create a life that is truly awesome.

Perhaps the most important quality he’s learned is the importance of telling the truth. It seems a simple enough concept. But Justin has found that the most challenging times in his work are when clients want him to help create a perception in the marketplace, rather than help them amplify the truth — something that, quite frankly, doesn’t work.

“I believe that inside of every brand is a truth, waiting to be amplified. And it will get amplified, whether you like it or not,” he explains. “So, if you have a bunch of good things in you that are true as a brand, then those are the seedbeds for your message, for what makes you different, for your audience, for your marketing campaign.”

His newest book, Human Bacon, is all about highlighting individuals who are amplifying their truth. Interesting title, right? The name comes from what Justin calls “Bacon Brands,” people or companies whose internal values are reflected in their external marketing. While his book highlights people, corporate Bacon Brands are all around us: Whole Foods, Apple, Mini Cooper, Lululemon, Under Armour, and IKEA. Still, even with all of these awesome brands, only about 10 percent of the market is what Justin considers a Bacon Brand.

Again, it comes back to truth. As Justin explains, “Bacon Brands have a built-in enormous competitive advantage of being perpetually interesting. Marketing is hard when you’re boring or a liar. Marketing is really easy if you’re interesting and compelling. There’s nothing more interesting and compelling in this era of social business than being authentic and value-driven or values-driven.”

In his work with Price Associates, he helps leaders realize that there’s no separation between leadership, culture and brand. Awesomeness has to exist in order to amplify it. His clients — the ones who really want to succeed — are looking for their own form of intentional disruption, to make bold moves that will amplify their truth. And now, Justin can be his own case study for success.

Written by Stacy Ennis

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