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One of “Those” Things

stamp guaranteed authenticYou might not think that t-shirts and visors could change an industry, but they are a definite sign that things have changed. You see, I have been a part of an industry that has forever been looked upon as “one of those things”.  When I was growing up there was a boom of people starting their own “marketing business”. You would hear from people inviting you to join their new marketing company. It would always start with a phone call from a friend, family member, or acquaintance calling to share about this great “marketing” company they had started. Excitement was present, but there was also this mystique. Somehow, though it seemed intentional, at the end of the phone call you didn’t know any more about the company or product than you did when you first said hello. During the call you had been invited over to have some dessert. Sounded like a great time with some great food.

A Tangled Web?

When you arrived at your friend’s or family member’s home with an appetite for some sweet treats, you were also treated with an opportunity to join…Amway. I’m sure Amway was and may still be a great company, but in some ways, you felt deceived. Why couldn’t they have been up front with you and explained the great company that they were so excited about. Why the need for deception? If somehow, you decided to join with them, the model and system that was used to bring you on board was to be duplicated. That model was one of deception. And that was where the industry was stuck for years.

Honesty is the Best Policy

Today, I have been a part of The Juice PLUS Company for over 25 years. At the very first conference I attended, my passion and excitement for the company was on public display, evident by the t-shirt with the company logo that I wore home on the plane. I had no desire to lure people to something that wasn’t revealed…it was an in your face brand that I shared with pride. I was on a mission to build a team with a brand that deserved a bold and revealed presence. Have you ever seen someone wear an Amway t-shirt? I haven’t….but it is a good company.

Seth Godin wrote a great blog post on the authenticity behind a logo or brand. Here’s a quote:

The essence of a brand with social juice, of one that matters as a label, isn’t how big the logo is. No, what matters is that the buyer thinks the brand is important, and that the logo is a signifier that they’re paying for.

Even the church we attend gives me pride. The church that we chose for our family is a beacon in our community with an authentic leader. They did not hide behind some offering of happiness and a peace that you could attain. No, they proclaimed that they taught the Bible and worshipped the one true God. Their mission statement of “reaching the next generation for Christ” was the battle plan they put in place. Their logo appeared on cars, computers, guitar cases and t-shirts. When you attended church, they offered a Bible to those that didn’t have one. Our church wanted to serve our community by being known in order to make God known to many.

A Brand I Can Be Proud Of

The company I am proud to be a part of is very much the same. They boldly proclaim their mission to “inspire healthy living around the world”. In order to do that the president of the company shared his reason for starting the company and how doing so would accomplish their goals. It was very simple. The reason?

To build a stable and lasting company that would help as many people as possible realize their dreams.

Many companies do the same with their products. Right now there are so many nutrition products that are designed to give you an immediate “feel good” in order to “get you to buy”. There are energy drinks with enough stimulants for a horse that have a long term negative impact on your health. Losing weight can be achieved by quick cleanses and a shift in the number on the scales (mostly water weight). Anything is fair game to create the experience you desire. This is not illegal, but in my mind it’s equally as deceptive as the ploy to join my “marketing company”. The only way to get real, lasting results is to make real, lasting changes. People really are smarter than you think. They didn’t go from wearing tight fitting clothes that accentuate their body to wearing baggy clothes that hide their body overnight. They created their own mess over time.

As a company, we don’t promise to deliver a new you tomorrow. We realize that it is about partnering with you to make change in your diet, exercise, water consumption and lifestyle. We can bridge the gap between what you eat compared to what you should. The necessary nutrition from enough fruits and veggies will never be your problem again, but that is just the beginning. In order to be authentic, you must UNDER PROMISE and OVER DELIVER.

In addition to the mission of our church, there is a realness and transparency in who they are, too. My pastor is a brilliant Bible teacher, but the thing I admire the most is his authenticity. What you see is what you get. He is one of my best friends today.

Today, The Juice PLUS Company is the global leader in whole food nutrition. Our brand is the most researched whole food nutrition product in history. Whether online or offline our leaders are proud to display the logo and share about our great company and its people. Instead of sponsoring a great athlete or spokesperson to display their logo, they choose to give back and have their brand displayed with the causes they support. Some of these are St. Jude, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Volunteers of America.

No more hiding to entice. Be proud of who and what you represent, or find something else to put your passion behind. You’ll find that the people you are trying to deceive aren’t as gullible as you think. At some point your “relational capital” will be on the decline if you continue to deceive to cause engagement. Today, I have more friends and relational capital than ever in my life. That has happened because who and what we represent draw people in instead of deceiving and offending. Whether my ministry or my business, people know who I am and that I am proud of the brands I represent.

Are you a part of something that uses deception to get people to enter? Or do you welcome all that you know to enter through the front door?

P.S. If you run into me today, there’s a good chance I’ll have on a Juice PLUS or Grace Fellowship t-shirt. It is worn with the same pride of sporting the white & gold of GA Tech.

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