Checkpoint 1: Who Are You?

The first step in building a brand is to look inside and see where the raw energy will come from. White space has little value without the experience, credibility, and passion needed to fuel success day after day, year after year, under the pressure of competition. Joseph Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss” applies as much to companies as it does to individuals.

To prove this principle, let’s look at what happens when passion is removed from the equation. Remember the dot-com disasters of the nineties? There was plenty of passion for stock options, but little passion for building a real company to serve the long-term good of a community. As a result, we saw the proliferation of “junk brands”—brands with beguiling ...

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