Expand Your Core, but Don’t be an Idiot, Stay on Brand

Expanding the Core

The last little while I’ve devoted Sunday Success posts to your core interests, first on protecting your core, then on expanding your core and most recently on taking time and care when expanding your core. I thought the last bit was going to be the wrap up, but then I got to thinking.

I’ve written a fair bit about how I’ve expanded my core interests here at Standupright.ca from posture, to back pain, to exercise, and finally to living a full and healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise. Along the way I’ve developed sidelines in ergonomics, stress management, and even this weekly bit on success.

Each new step along the way grew organically out of the things that came before; I didn’t just decide on a new topic to start writing on, completely out of the blue. In short, I chose my core, I developed my core and I (carefully) expanded my core.

This past weekend I was chatting with a graphic designer, who will be helping me with my graphics, as I develop this site, and my app, and add the podcast, I’m going to need graphics to unite the whole mess.

Your Brand

We were chatting about all this, and he was giving directions, and asking questions, to help me clarify in my own mind what I’ll need, and what I’ll want. To do this I need to define my brand.

What is my brand? So far it’s been a work in progress.

  • I started out as the posture guy.
  • Later I became the back pain and posture guy.
  • That morphed into the back pain, posture and exercise guy.
  • In turn, that became the healthy lifestyle guy.

Each change in the brand developed naturally, along the path I’ve described. Any deviations, like studying copywriting, weren’t to change the brand, but to help create/develop the brand. Adding something like podcasting won’t change the brand, it will just add to the delivery system.

In the couple of days since we were talking, I’ve had a little time to noodle it, and I realized that in the last few posts on defining, developing and expanding your core, I could replace the word “core” with the word “brand” and nothing would change. If anything, it would clarify the message.

  • Define your brand
  • Develop your brand
  • Expand your brand

Don’t be an Idiot

There is one, critical, step to add:

  • Stay on your brand

It’s one thing to add a new skill to your stack, even if that skill seems somewhat unrelated. As long as it’s not in conflict with your brand, go for it. It may turn out useful, it may be a complete flop, but as long as you haven’t trashed your brand, it doesn’t really matter.

So don’t be an idiot. If your brand is, for example;

  • “Screaming hockey guy,” don’t start dropping political snark into your videos and podcasts.
  • “Diet and exercise guy,” don’t get yourself into the climate change debate.
  • “Podcast guru,” stay the hell away from religion.

One of these examples is pulled from thin air, another actually happened and the other is similar to a real case (you can decide for yourself, which is which). However, which is real and which are not isn’t important, what is important is that I’ve seen a lot of people completely trash their brands.

If you want to succeed, and let’s be real here, we all want to succeed, do you think it wise to put in the hard work necessary to succeed, only to throw it away? I certainly don’t, and so I make this commitment to you;

Whatever level of success I achieve with Standupright, I will stay on brand, only expanding in ways that sensibly, organically grow out of what came before.

Whatever your brand, your core, your area of expertise and success, I suggest you do the same.