Should you care about what people say or think about you or not?
Alfred Nobel was a successful scientist who invented dynamite. He never knew he had a terrible public image until the day his brother died in a ghastly motor accident and the media began to carry the news with the assumption that it was him who died.
Then, one of the newspapers got to him while he was in his house, and he saw the headline, “Alfred Nobel, The Merchant of Death, Has Finally Died.” That singular experience shook him a lot, and it was as though he had the opportunity to see his own obituary while he was alive.
Later, he became the person who founded the well-known Nobel Peace Prize, and it is still assumed that he made that decision to redeem his brand legacy.
While the idea of “Don’t give a d*mn what people say or think about you” has been widely accepted by many, there are some questions that threaten the infallibility of the statement.
1️⃣ Can you succeed in life alone without people being part of the equation?
2️⃣ Can you get all you want/need in life without someone cooperating with you?
3️⃣ Can money alone get you everything you want out of life?
4️⃣ If your answer to 3️⃣ above is “YES,” can you print your own money to start spending or you’ll have to exchange something with someone to get the money?
Take the time to answer these questions as objectively as possible, and you’ll realize how important it is to actually be concerned about what people say or think about you.
If you agree that people are essential to your success and that you’ll have to always exchange what you have with someone to get what you want in life, then people’s opinions about you become a very strong factor.
I decided not to even start from the angle of branding because that would have been the easiest way to win the argument. But I decided to come from the angle of real-life logic. And this is also to let you know that branding works with the same life principles that run the universe. Every true piece of knowledge is interconnected with others.
Now, what is the balance between caring about what people say, and being free from people’s mixed opinions and views?
The balance is: don’t leave your identity and public perception to chance. If you leave it to chance, then you’ll be forced to cower under the pressure of people’s mixed opinions and views.
But when you stay in control of it through your intentionality with your message, values, associations, story, and style, you only need to keep monitoring and ensuring alignment across your channels of interaction. This is where your valid concern should be, and this is why PR is a very powerful thing.
Even Jesus asked His disciples, “What do men say that I, the son of man, am?” And after they had fed him several reviews, He went further to ask his disciples (the people closest to him), “What do you say that I am?” My stand is that if Jesus saw that question as important, even if you’re a staunch believer, you should too.
I’m mentioning believers because we’re often the ones who use words like, “What God says about me is the most important!” While this is valid when it comes to having a sense of self-worth and dignity that aligns with God’s promises towards you, it can be very faulty if you’re using it in the context of your relationship with men. When it has to do with your relationship with men, what men are saying also matters.
A woman in the Bible was told to go borrow jars from her neighbours so that she could pour the oil she had in the house into them and have something to sell to clear her dead husband’s debt. I began to ask myself, “What if this woman has been so terrible, and no one was ready to lend her a jar?” What would have happened to the prophecy? Think about that for a minute.
I remain your BrandCore Strategist.