Building Brand always starts with good ethics
College basketball coaching legend, Rick Pitino’s Hall of Fame legacy has once again been sullied by the latest allegations of graft. He stands accused of illegal recruiting tactics that include $100,000 payouts to the top-ranked athletes if they chose to attend Louisville. Pitino was also cited for hiring escorts to “greet” these top-ranked recruits and ensure they enjoyed their campus visit.
Of course, Pitino is not the first sports personality to resort to underhanded tactics. Nor is sports the only place where the temptation to break the rules occurs. One could argue that Rick Pitino was merely doing what he needed to in order to remain competitive within a corrupt industry. But illegal, unethical behavior is not only wrong, it’s also risky. Pitino might well lose the legacy of a successful, 40-year career, because he chose to build his brand on corrupt, under-the-table tactics.
The truth of the matter is many of us have worked in environments that have challenged our integrity. But as entrepreneurs, it is important to establish an unshakable foundation for business, and that means embracing not just business savvy, but also ethics.
Here are three keys to building brand the right way:
1. Stop Thinking Survive and Think Thrive!
If you’re building your business and brand on survival tactics, you’ve already lost! A survival mentality limits your capacity for success because it’s drenched in insecurity. Focus on what will make your business thrive—value your legacy over short-term success. Get to know your customers on a first-name basis, remember birthdays, and send holiday greetings. 20 lifelong customers are worth more to your brand than 100 one-time sales.
2. Patience, Patience, Patience… and More Patience
Building a brand that your target market can trust takes years, decades even. It took Nike 23 years to supplant Converse as the number-one sports sneaker retailer, but they got there. Don’t panic and think you need to resort to tricks to speed things up. Patience also gives you the grace you need to be able to sustain success without it overcoming you.
3. No Rubbernecking!
In the era of “followers” and “likes,” it’s easy to compare ourselves to our peers. Are we ahead or behind? But comparison is entrepreneurial suicide. Too often, comparison causes you to devalue the gifts, talents, and opportunities you’ve been given. The seeds of self-doubt grow into big, strong weeds. On the unpredictable road of entrepreneurship, it’s important to keep your eyes in your own lane.
Obviously, building a successful brand takes more than three quick tips in a blog post, but if you let go of that survival mentality, have patience, and keep your eyes in your own lane, you will see how to build your brand without being tempted to take down others. And your success, when it comes, will be durable. You won’t have to worry about getting caught, like Rick Pitino did.