A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of a traffic jam. Not the slow moving type, but the “get comfortable you’re going nowhere type” that shouts, “You missed your morning meeting!” Realizing that a traffic accident could be to blame, I decided to practice gratitude.
“I am thankful that I am in a comfortable car, safe and sound. God, if someone is in an accident up ahead, please be with them and provide comfort.”
A short time later, the traffic began to move. It’s a good thing because I can only meditate for so long before I feel trapped. I’m sure I was there for at least an hour practicing mindfulness and gratitude, which means I was stopped for about 27 seconds.
As we moved up, sure enough, I could see what was causing the delay: an accident. I did what you would do. I steeled my eyes on the road ahead and drove without so much as glancing. Yeah, sure you do. Trying to keep moving, I glanced ever so quickly to note the vehicles, the emergency responders, and a fleeting view of the injured. I try not to look—I’ve read that rubberneckers cause numerous secondary accidents—but I’ve also read that looking may be good for you. Eric G. Wilson, the author of Everyone Loves a Good Train Wreck: Why We Can’t Look Away, argues that it helps us understand life’s deeper meaning.
At the very least, we can tell ourselves that studying wrecks helps us learn from others’ mistakes.
As with accidents, I watch corporate disasters the same way. Several memorable disasters including Bridgestone’s tire recall, JetBlue’s trapping passengers onboard as categorized by Business Insider. Anything from the Paula Deen meltdown to Target’s PR nightmare qualifies.
This past week, I witnessed a different type of branding wreckage. Sure, it may not be as noteworthy as the mistakes above. It doesn’t involve a consumer brand name, and it doesn’t endanger anyone’s health nor involve racist or offensive remarks.
Still, it provides lessons that are worth exploring.
Last week, the National Speakers Association (NSA) announced it was jettisoning its venerable brand in favor of a new name. That name is Platform. Though I was not in attendance, I almost immediately was made aware of the announcement via emails, texts and tweets. (See also Rory Vaden‘s excellent post on this subject).
It was almost as if I could hear the tires screeching, the glass shattering, the metal twisting. This was a branding collision, and the onlookers would be gathering to watch. Why?
First two disclosures:
One of my close friends is Michael Hyatt. He is the NYT Bestselling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He runs a conference called the Platform Conference and has an online community that will make your head spin at Platform University. He was the driving force encouraging me to blog. On the book jacket, you will see my endorsement:
“Michael Hyatt, one of the pioneers of social networking and blogging, shares his successful blueprint for raising your visibility. Learn from his experience and save yourself time, money and frustration by following his step-by-step advice.”