We are gathered here on this special, joyous occasion, in the presence of family and friends, to witness and celebrate the joining of two personal brands: Jennifer Carbondale and Mark Gossich. In this holy place, Jen and Mark will merge personal brands to become a single, bottom-up, full-service brand entity.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know these two brands over the past few months — heck, I’ve known Jen since before she had a fully-integrated web presence — and all I can say is you won’t find two more aspirational brands, who not only talk the talk of insourcing crucial member-facing functions, they actually walk the walk. They cook for each other, they laugh with each other, they make each member feel that they have a unique personal connection to the brand.
When Jen was a fledgling brand just trying to get a foothold in today’s competitive marketplace for talent, she told me her messaging strategy was strong, and she was even fully search engine optimized to give her the best shot at an easy win. But as anyone who has been around long enough can tell you, there are no easy wins, not even for digital natives. There were moments, it’s true, when Jen doubted her brand’s integrity and value. But then Mark came along.
Mark. Has anyone ever seen a more personable and trustworthy brand? I mean, when you look at him, don’t you immediately think, “Market leader”? And we aren’t talking about a niche market, folks. We are talking about a legitimate blue chipper who will give consumers more reasons to believe in his brand than they have resources to acquire its prestigious image. He is exactly what Jen’s brand needed, and Jen is exactly what his brand needed.
Because, before Mark set up his first face-to-face with Jen, his brand was in a decline stage. His previous relationships with other brand entities had wielded little return on investment, and he had even started setting his sights down market, thinking that was the best he could do. The marketplace became flooded with Mark’s brand, as he aligned himself with other brands without first researching their market compatibility, and that’s not a good spot to be in. But after he did lunch with Jen, he knew what he had to do: use his brand’s nimble size to synchronize his entire organization and create brand harmony with Jen. So that’s what he did. And the rest, as they say, is strategic change in the service of streamlining all offshore accounts in order to maximize the brand experience.
Today is not just about the past, of course. It’s about the future. It’s about choices that minimize the brand’s conflicting messages. It’s about love.
That word. Love. What is “love”? Is it the loyalty one feels because the sum of all points of contact with a brand is a net positive? Is it the tactical pivot a brand makes when it changes from a platform-specific service to a cross-platform, technology-agnostic entity in order to better support the team leader’s attack strategy? Or is love something more than that?
I have been told that Jen’s maternal grandparents are here, Marge and Thomas. Marge? Thomas? Could you stand up, please? Folks, they have been married for sixty-one years. That’s right, I think applause is warranted when a brand merger leads to that kind of big-win positioning. Jen and Mark: Look at Marge and Thomas. That’s your future. That’s the inspiration behind your brand vision. What you need to learn is that because of the here today, gone tomorrow nature of our fast-paced Web 2.0 world, brands may not always want to go down the road of what’s trending. So look to Marge and Thomas. Their love is timeless. They’ll steer you toward rock-solid long-term brand stewardship.
A few weeks ago, I was merging two brands — in this same God-leveraged market sanctum, actually — and the father of the bride came up to me afterward and said, “J.T., you’ve been doing this for nearly three months. What keeps you going?”
And I looked at him, and thought for a bit. And I said, “Because I love being there at the very beginning, at the point Gandhi called ‘the great and unknowable acquisition of talent with untapped skills who can jumpstart the brand’s moonshot projects.’ ”
I think we can all relate to that feeling. So family, friends: please welcome into your lives @JenniferMarkTrueLove!