The Ultimate Brand

I fell in love with Apple not because of the innovative products the company offers, but because of a speech I heard from Steve Jobs. Sitting in class my senior year of college, I listened  to Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Feeling uninspired and frustrated with college at the time, Jobs’ speech was exactly what I needed to hear. It reminded me to choose a career I’m passionate about and never to settle. Every time I’ve had to make a major decision, I listen to that speech again and I usually see things much more clearly after hearing it.

Everyone is now talking about Jobs’ retirement as CEO of Apple. We all know the story, and I hesitated to even blog about it this week. However, being a long-time Jobs fan, I felt a duty to share what we can all learn from the legend.

Trust your gut.

Though Jobs had been fired from Apple, a company he started, he continued to do what he loved. He trusted his gut that he was where he needed to be, and not only did that lead him to creating Pixar, but he returned to Apple as well.

Lesson: Things won’t go as planned, but if you trust your gut, it may end up even better.

Follow your curiosity.

Jobs had no idea what good a calligraphy course would serve, but it’s a topic that piqued his interest, so he took a class on it. He ignored anyone who may have pointed out the impractical application of such a course in his life. What he learned in that course was incorporated into the first Mac years later.

Lesson: Don’t dismiss an opportunity to learn something new out of fear of never using it. You have no idea how it may help you later in life.

Insist on your best work. Every time.

Jobs was notorious for obsessing over the details. There’s even a story of how he insisted the font on the invitations to a company outing were perfect.

Lesson: Everything you do represents you, so insist on giving your all at everything. It may not seem that important on some things, but people will take notice.

Focus on your strengths.

Jobs learned what Apple does best–innovative technology–and focused on that. He didn’t lead Apple into other business ventures. Jobs ensures the company puts their time and energy into what makes the most sense, leading Apple to become the leader in the industry.

Lesson: Learn what you do best and hone those skills.

Know when to throw in the towel.

Jobs’ retirement from Apple represents his deep commitment to the company. Jobs is not one to pursue anything half-heartedly, so rightfully so, he stepped down as Apple’s CEO.

Lesson: If you are unable to put your all into something, it’s best to not do it at all.

Though he’s stepping down as CEO, Jobs will likely remain a strong presence at Apple. However, as marketing guru Seth Godin points out, it’ll never be exactly the same. And that’s what a strong personal brand can do.


Amanda is an account executive at MarketWave, a marketing and public relations agency in Addison, TX, where she works on everything from media relations to writing and editing client materials. Prior to MarketWave, Amanda worked as a publications intern atSouthwest Airlines before hired on with the company and working full-time at the airline for two years. Amanda gained experience writing for Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine, Spirit, while working on her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North TexasMayborn School of Journalism. She’ll graduate in August 2011 with a degree focused on strategic communication and a minor in marketing. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalistsand is passionate about traveling, writing and nonprofit organizations. Connect with her on Twitter (@amgleason) and LinkedIn.

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  3. Pump Up Your Brand with Your Strengths and Interests

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