It doesn't get much more real than bestselling author Eric Yaverbaum, whose career and knowledge could easily turn him into an insufferable egomaniac instead of the upfront savant he comes across as in the latest episode of Marketing Smarts.

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He's had countless successes, but he manages to keep a handle on what counts.

He also has a lot of wisdom that every marketer would be keen to keep in mind: If you want to be a leader, influence people in a positive direction. The worst day of your life is also the best day of your life because it changes everything. Write down your goals. Relationships do not exist without trust. Every successful leader has had a different path to that success.

You might wonder, what does all this have to do with marketing? Plenty. On the subject of avoiding marketing pitfalls, Eric says, "Don't watch out for it. Race into it. You see the eye of the storm? Run to it. This could be a parenting tip...and you can say this about brand marketing, you can say this about your digital persona. My children never did anything because I said to. They watched.... It's painful for me to watch my kids touch a fire as it is for any parent, but if I don't, then we'll never learn."

The art of authentic branding, then, is to explore being yourself and sharing your mistakes along the way.

Listen to the entire show now from the link above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode.


This episode brought to you by Terminus.

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"Marketing Smarts" theme music composed by Juanito Pascual of Signature Tones.

Full Transcript: How to Authentically Brand Yourself in a Digital World

George Thomas: Of course, I always say I'm really excited about the episode, but if you're trying to build an authentic brand—personal, professional, corporate, whatever it is—there are some nuggets of wisdom, some treats for you in this episode. We talk about trust, reciprocity, reputation, and there's about 50 other words that you might want to get your iPad or your tablet ready to write down these individual words that I believe in my heart create a matrix of things that you should pay attention to if you're trying to go down this journey of building an authentic brand, or authentically building an authentic brand. Trust me, we're going to talk about how that's not really a buzzword. Let's get into the show.

Eric, I want to dive right into the deep end of the pool around this conversation of how to authentically brand yourself in a digital world. Around this conversation, are we talking about company, are we talking about corporate, are we talking about personal, are we talking about leadership? This could be a lot of things. So the Marketing Smarts listeners know, where the heck are we headed with this conversation?

Eric Yaverbaum: I've pontificated about this for 40 years. I've pontificated about this to presidents, presidential wannabes; I've pontificated about this to kings, to brands, brands like Sony.

First of all, just be yourself. You be you; I'll be me. If we can start with that very basic premise... This is for a brand also. It doesn't matter whether you're Sony or you're Bob sitting in your living room. You be you. I'll be me. That's authentic. I'm being transparent about who I am. It's hard to fake who I am anyway. Why would I want to? The problem is everybody is trying to be something that they're not on a regular basis, I would say. That's the very first thing I do when I walk into a boardroom is say literally that.

The other thing is about big bad brands. I'll use Sony as an example, though I've represented 50 in the course of my 40-year career, if not more. There's always a person, just somebody like me. I don't know about you, but I'd like to have lunch today, I want to sleep in a bed tonight, I'm hoping that I can turn on the air conditioning or the heat. We all want the same things. We all get the same amount of seconds in a day, 86,400 seconds. It's the great equalizer. We're all going to the same place in the end.

Brands should have, and anybody that we've ever represented this is in my entire career of four decades, have a person that bespeaks the brand. By the way, it's usually a leader. Generally speaking, people follow the leader. If you're going to follow the leader, and the leader is the person who is talking to the press or the social and digital media, they ought to be somebody that is very reflective and representative of your unique brand. Then consumers and customers can decide are they interested in your unique brand.

Here's the great thing. I started my career, my first mentor—and I'm a big believer in mentors—was Henry Kissinger. Kissinger said to me that he used to go before the White House press corps while they were going after Nixon and say, "Does anybody have any questions for the answers I'm already giving?" I literally teach that. I have to ask every time somebody asks me a question, "Did I even answer your question?"

George: I love that. You did, by the way. Although, it quickly makes me want to go off the beaten path. I love the fact that you dove into humans buy humans, be human. My friend Mark Schaefer says the most human companies will always win. There is definitely this thing of where we're at right now, but I want to go a micro-step deeper and actually ask the question that people might have in the back of their mind.

Why is being me actually more powerful than trying to be somebody else? Meaning, why is just being human, just being Bob, just being Eric, just being George enough?

Eric: Here's the thing. The ability to look at life through the lens of the person you're speaking to. Right now, I'm talking to you. I'm interested in you being interested in what I have to say. Now, we're doing a broadcast that a lot of people will see. What I have to say, the words resonate with them, they will be the exact type of people that will be interested in what I'm thinking.

Look, I've been on national television most of my career. Depending on the network, I'm loved or hated. It doesn't matter to me, as long as I'm speaking from my heart. In life, you can say whatever you want. I've been around the block. The first 50 years were the hardest. I learned a lot. I'm 61 now, and I'd say the goal is inner peace. Happiness is an inside job. Happy people like to be around other happy people. I don't know if I was born optimistic, but I definitely am.

I can tell you one thing, and I learned this from many a crisis over the course of my career, which I would say in a previous life is what people came to me for. Before they wanted to sell their widgets, it was always some problem. If there is a fire going on, walk in it with me, we will be walking out of it 100% of the time, you will not get burned, and we will come out the other end.

The thing about that type of thinking, it's not rhetoric, it's not a hashtag, it's not a rah-rah we can do this sort of thing, I actually have done it. I'm a repeat offender at doing that. I look at mountains, I look at the word impossible, and I just love that. That's what I gravitate towards. Nothing is actually impossible. There is actually no mountain high enough. If there is, then I make a higher one. It makes life ever so interesting.

George: I think you might be my older brother from another mother, to be honest with you, because I am very much built the same way. If you go to my personal website, it's a catalyst for change, it's be a happy, helpful, humble human. The fact that your happiness is a journey within really gets me going. Hopefully, listeners, you are getting value out of this.

Again, I know how people are sometimes. They saw the title, they saw that we used the word authentically in the title, I want to take a minute to actually unpack that a little bit. They're going to be like that's such a buzzword. I want you to take time to explain why being authentic or authentically doing this thing around your brand isn't a buzzword but is vitally important to the success of your future. Wax poetic on that for the audience.

Eric: It's a buzzword, for sure, just like hashtags. I feel like my whole career is a hashtag. Life isn't a hashtag. Life is to be lived for real. You want to be authentic or not. I can make you something that you're not if I want, including myself. The question is, am I real?

Here's the thing about real, which is what authentic is. Whether people fall for something momentarily or briefly in time, that's all it is. To me, life, professionally and personally, is about the long game. It's not a short game. It's not about will I get phone calls from this interview. That doesn't matter to me. If I help and/or inspire anybody to have a better day, that's all I want to do. Yes, I make a really good living. I've been around doing this for a long time. I've got a high profile, my clients are high profile, I know rich and famous. None of that matters in the least.

I'm grateful for the ways that I have intersected with history throughout the course of my career. Grateful I've been in history books because I was participatory in changing the direction of the way that people thought in a profoundly positive way. I get two things out of that. I get that for myself, which feels great. It's way better than money. Money does not buy the things that are important in life. And I get to influence other people.

Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers—I don't know what the demographics of your viewers are, if they'll know Mr. Rogers, but Mr. Rogers (who is no longer with us, sadly) testified before Congress in 1969, before there was a PBS; it didn't exist. PBS was kind of a shot in your basement sort of show. One of the things that he said in Congressional testimony, because nobody in the Senate or Congress had any idea who he was, and he was there to try to get funding for PBS, which worked that day, and I'm going to butcher his exact words, but I'm positive that his testimony still exists on YouTube. He said in times of trouble and in times of despair, look for the helpers. If you see helpers, you'll know there's hope. That's all we need, just hope. Hope is a damn good thing.

I would have to say about my own brand, that's all I am, I am a helper on purpose. I'm a helper because I know when people see me, whether it's giving a speech, whether it's doing a press interview, it doesn't matter what it is, I know that people see a helper. When people see helpers, they know there's hope, and the world is a better place with hope. It doesn't matter whether you're trying to sell something or just help people. Honestly, those 86,400 seconds that we get uniquely on this day, take them. Why wouldn't you? We literally all get the same.

George: Life is a journey. Life is precious. Marketing Smarts Podcast listeners and viewers, I hope that you are understanding that we're talking maybe on a little bit deeper level. Life in general around this topic that is authentically branding yourself in a digital world, we're going to actually try to answer that question with our question after this next one.

Again, thus far I've tried to set us up for what you might think words mean as we go through this. The last word that I want to do that for before we get into the crux of the rest of this interview, I fully understand that the Marketing Smarts community could have given a definition to the word brand a hundred different ways. When you talk about authentically branding yourself, what do you mean by brand, so that we understand for the rest of the conversation?

Eric: What I mean by brand is everything about who I am. And who I am cannot be faked, my entire career. When I was younger, I was the dumbest guy in the room, I was a kid. It didn't matter what I said, it was, "The kid says... What does the kid know?" Now I'm older, now it's, "The old guy..."

Every single brilliant idea that I've ever had in the course of my career—by the way, just Google me. Literally, you'll drop your jaw. Nobody will take me up on this offer anyway, except my mother if she's watching. But if you do, you can see everything I ever did in my career was covered in the news. The way that I've been able to be so influential and so successful, and some brilliant, I'm always brilliant in retrospect, I'm always an idiot when I present the idea.

The stuff that I do on an ongoing basis has never ever been done in history. I come into a room, I present a concept, everybody says, "I don't know. Let's do it the same way, or a variation of the same way as somebody who has done it successfully before." That doesn't work. That's a knock-off idea. Do it different. Be bold. Lean into tomorrow. All of this—and all of it Googleable, thankfully, so I can back it up with history. "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it," as Winston Churchill once famously remarked. The whole notion of who we are, of what we're trying to do, and how we do it, there is no other way to do it besides being authentic.

Here's the thing about a room on any given day. This may be a little bit dated advice because we're not in so many rooms as we used to be. I used to walk into a conference room, hundreds of people in the conference room, and we'd have a meeting, everybody says what they think. That's not what's important. What's important is what do they think. What is the room thinking collectively?

That's where all of the energy is. It's not in what we say, because we'll say what we have to in order to keep our jobs, we'll say to have to that's safe, we'll say what we have to because God forbid there should be some intellectual friction, which to me is the greatest thing in the world, it gets us better ideas. I do, by the way, truly believe that. I would say this about my own organization. I'm positive every kid and adult who works for me would agree that I'm the dumbest one in the room. That's the room I want to be in. That is the room that I learn in. That is the room where magic is made. It's just so hard to fake that.

It's great that I've done so many great things in my career. I've literally done startups out of a garage that turned into Google sort of things, I did Sony, and I've done everything in between. All of the concepts that I'm "credited for," and some were my brainchild, when you walk into that room and to lead that room, it's not about what we're all saying. It's what are we thinking, because what we're thinking is actually what we purchase.

I got criticized for this, I'd say about 15 years ago, for one very successful endeavor I had. The press wrote, "Don't you realize the guy is making so much money off of it." I was, I made a lot of money, and I did something good at the same time. To me, that is the formula. We all have to pay the rent. We have to be aware of the price of a gallon of gas or how much a quart of milk costs. All of us. We have kids to send to college sort of things. Making money is not a bad thing. It's certainly more comfortable to have it than not.

Everybody has the ability to do good things and make money at the same time. To me, I've spent an entire career getting to that point. In the beginning of my career, my first agency, which I started in my 20s, I was definitely in it for the buck. No disrespect, Sony, I love you, you got me off the ground. But I sold widgets for Sony, or furniture for Ikea, or clothing for H&M. If you could afford me, I represented you. I did sell my first agency, and suddenly I had a lot of money, I was wealthy. That doesn't buy what's important. It's not what matters.

What I'm doing now, and what I've done for the last 15 years is represent things that I have strong feelings about. Where I see a problem and I say, "This is a problem. I can use my toolbox, the things that I'm good at, and I can make that problem better, and it will impact and touch millions of people in real life." How great is that? Can you pay me to feel the way that I feel about the lives that I have impacted over the course of my career? There's no amount of money that's nearly as gratifying to me as the people that I've helped in my career.

George: I love that we're having this conversation, this dance if you will, around success, but more importantly significance and putting a dent in the universe that you live in. The way that you can do that is by being you, because you are enough, and being authentic, transparent, all the buzzwords that equal you as a human being. I will say there are probably people who are listening to this and they're like, "I am chasing this world of significance. I do want to be successful. I want to have this power that is a personal brand inside of a corporate brand, or help the corporate brand have that power as well and be a more human business."

With that, I'm going to ask how can the Marketing Smarts community get started on this authentic brand journey? Are there a couple getting started tips, is there a framework? Unpack your brain on how the heck, what do you put in place, how do you move forward when you're actually focused and strategizing on building this authentic brand journey for yourself?

Eric: What happened to me, and I've repeated ad nauseum in the press, the best place to bury a dead body is the second place in your Google search results, so you're probably going to see a lot more of what I'm saying right now on the first page. Go back 30 or 40 pages, my mom has, you'll be glad that you did. I discovered all sorts of things.

COVID, which I had bad, I was in bed for 89 days, I was on oxygen, I actually literally didn't know on some nights is this the last breath moment. I'm healthy again, and gratefully so. I'm so grateful when I wake up in the morning, I get another one of these. That's where I start. I said it during those times, I learned a lot during those times about what I took for granted. If you think that there is no way to do what I've done in your life, now would be a really good time to figure it out. There is no one formula. There isn't one.

I have a lifelong fascination with leadership. I was a longtime chairman of The Young Presidents organization in New York, I sat on the international board. My biggest book was Leadership Secrets of the World's Most Successful CEOs. I was so curious about leadership and what was the formula that made for success or the people that were successful what was their formula. In that particular book, I interviewed 100 pretty well-known powerful, rich and famous leaders and asked them the same four questions. There's 100 chapters in that particular book. It was my biggest selling book, it sold a million copies. Just so I could get the formula. I just wanted to know what it was.

I knew by asking the four questions, I would figure it out. You know what I found out? Everybody has a different way. We interviewed 140, we included 100 in the book, but there wasn't one single solitary leader that answered the questions the same exact way. I can tell you this; optimism is contagious, hope is contagious. I walk into a lot of tough rooms, I walk into a lot of grumpy rooms, I walk into a lot of pessimistic rooms. I don't adjust to the energy that is in that room. Decisions will never get made that way. I make the room adjust to me, and I am able to do that.

The thing about my hope, about my optimism, is it's genuine. You cannot fake this stuff if you want consensus, if you want buy-in. I have an enormous staff. Who is going to disagree with me when I'm signing the paychecks? In my particular case, everybody, all day long. That's what I do. If you just agree with me, that doesn't help.

I would say that the greatest leaders of the greatest brands will the room in a different direction. They did it with a lot of positive attributes. I would say that a lot of those positive attributes are contagious.

When COVID started, I was an early adopter, like everything else. I got COVID almost out of the gate. I was one of those guys in the tent when nobody knew what was going on in the world. I was pretty sick. My message from my bed holding up a piece of cardboard went viral all over the world. I was on the front page of papers I couldn't even read. It was just a message of hope, because I knew I would prevail, in my own head I knew. One, it was sobering. It was realistic. I actually had COVID, I actually was on oxygen, I actually couldn't breathe, I had all the other things that some people may have experienced, for 89 straight days. I knew I would prevail.

The virality of that message, which was a single time in my entire career where I did something not intentional, to have hope almost as a client, not that hope hired me, to see how contagious it was for people. It's literally the same exact thing for brands. Nobody wants to follow the pessimist. A lot of people want to follow the optimist.

When I tell you, "Find me a fire. Let's walk in it and we're walking out the other side." I mean, let's not do it on purpose, but if we have to, let's. Find me a really high mountain that nobody has ever climbed, and we will climb it. The thing about that is—and there's a lot of inspirational speakers, I guess maybe I would be called one, I'm not sure—I'm not doing it to be inspirational. I'm doing it because it's how I feel.

Lo and behold, the things that we're able to do. I've never done anything on my own. It's never been just me. As a matter of fact, it's usually been me doing this, I'm the one talking in a collective group of people, and that's where you get into the notion of teamwork. If you want to build your authentic brand, it starts with the leader. The buck doesn't stop on the leader's desk, it starts on the leader's desk.

George: This probably is the rewind spot of the interview, to be honest with you, where people need to go back and listen. There was so much that you were talking about in there of when you do have an authentic brand and you are paying attention to that matrix of successful people, optimism and hope, you're going to strategically accidentally bump into success moments in life, which is absolutely amazing to even think about. You can be as strategic as you want to, but a chef in the kitchen, sometimes they're just throwing stuff together and saying, "This is a masterpiece." That can be you. That can be your life.

One of the things I always like to do on this podcast is look for the potholes, look for the hurdles. As people pay attention to leadership, start to build this journey for themselves around authentically branding themselves in this digital world, what are some historical hurdles that you have seen others fall prey to that you would say to the audience watch out for this, or maybe watch out for those?

Eric: I would say don't watch out for it. Race into it. You see the eye of the storm? Run to it. You must. This could be a parenting tip, and I'm a father of two, and you can say this about brand marketing, you can say this about your digital persona. My children never did anything because I said to. They watched. This is the art of demonstration, not the art of statement.

The thing about it is if you don't touch fire, and look, it's painful for me to watch my kids touch a fire as it is for any parent, but if I don't then we'll never learn. I could tell them, "You make a right turn here. It's definitely the better path." I would say that most of my career I have traveled on the road less taken, and the road less taken has been filled with potholes, fires, all sorts of things that did cause pain and perhaps momentary setbacks.

As a kid, I was a boxer. A lousy boxer, by the way. I don't know if I could even call myself a boxer. I was really good at getting knocked down, but I was also really good at not staying down. That is the thing about all of us professionally. We need to touch the fires, we need to get knocked down, and we need to get back up. Our habits really matter. That's a habit for me. I'm incredibly consistent. That's a habit for me. It won't matter what the day is, I'm the same guy. It doesn't make a difference, even when I'm down, I'm the same guy.

I've never, as I've grown into adulthood, and again I'm going to put emphasis on the first 50 years were the hardest, learned a lot then. Anybody, tell me what your worst day was, tell me whatever it was. Here's the thing about your worst day. That is one way to look at it. The other way to look at it, no matter what it was, and there's so much tragedy in the world on any given day, we all have it, life will bring you to your knees if you let it, your option, you decide, you tell me what your worst day was and I will tell you why it was your best day.

That's the day that changed you. That's the day that you learned something else. You might be in the middle of mayhem right now and say that is just such a crock, I never wanted to have that happen, that shouldn't have happened. That changed you. You are different because of it. What do you decide to do about that? This is personally and professionally. This is the whole big power in life is reaction. How do you react? What do you learn? The power is in the reaction.

I have to tell you that intentionality is my superpower. I decided I was going to be successful when I was 23 years old. I was going to be successful. I was going to end the Major League Baseball strike as a 23-year-old. Guess what? I ended the Major League Baseball strike when I was 23. I went into the baseball negotiations, I sat with the owners, I sat with the players, I'm a 23-year-old kid, and I ended the damn strike. Intentionality is a superpower.

George: That needs to be a tweet right there, "Intentionality is a superpower." It's funny because I've been skirting away in my own brain this entire interview, and now it's the third time where the thought comes to my brain and I'm like I guess I'm supposed to share this on this episode of the podcast. It's this mindset that you're bumping into that I've always talked about in this way. By the way, people look at me like I'm crazy when I say this, until they get it. I say I always get excited when life gets rough. They're like, "What?" Because I'm curious who I'm going to be on the other side. Then they get it.

You talk about tell me your worst day. What I want to add to that is because your worst day is probably your best story. When you grow enough to be vulnerable to tell that story, that's when you have those magic moments in life. It's just ridiculous how if you learn to tie those together it can catapult your brand because they're the authentic, painful, vulnerable stories that you're telling about the journey that you went through.

I want to dig a little bit deeper into this because when we're talking about all of these types of things there are some words that come into play. I love that we're mentioning intentionality. By the way, podcast listeners, you might want to rewind and look at individual words and start to write them down in your notepad that you're hearing in this episode. I think that actually might be the framework or matrix that you're looking for out of this as we tie these individual words together and what they mean for you.

Let's add to those words. I want to talk about how important is trust and reciprocity and reputation and being well branded in today's digital world, in an interview where you have said at least three, four, five times, "Google me. My mother has. You should." Talk to me about the importance of trust.

Eric: Trust is a two-way street. Without trust, we have nothing. Trust is a hard thing to dial back. If you can trust me and Google 40 pages of results about what I've done… I'm kidding. But if you can't trust me, there is no relationship. It's a fake relationship. This is personally and professionally. There are so many metaphors and parallels between our personal lives and our professional lives. If your personal life and your values are not reflected in your professional life, there is already a disconnect out of the gate.

The thing is that #LoveWhatYouDo. I love what I do. It's not a hashtag. It kills me that it's a hashtag. Why would you not love what you do? Who wants to work for a living? This coming from a guy who consistently shows up to every single solitary meeting at the exact minute that I'm supposed to be.

I've been late twice in my life, which is two more times than my father has ever been late. It might be genetics, I don't know. To me, it's efficiency and respect to the person that I'm meeting with. I don't care who you are. I'm a busy guy, I assume you're a busy person. I'll be there on time respectfully. Everybody who works with me knows that and everybody in my family knows that. Whatever the time is that I'm supposed to be there, you can count on it.

You can also trust what I'm saying. I don't know how to be anything but myself. I don't know how to do it. I don't even know why I would want to try. I also believe that I have a lot to learn. I wake up curious, genuinely. The first thing I feel is, "Wow, another one of these. You have to be kidding me, I got another day today? Wow. I am grateful as hell." The next thing I am is curious. I'm curious what the day will bring. I'm curious what the interactions I'll have in the course of the day are. I'm curious what the conversations will be. I'm curious about what I'll learn. I'm curious how the day will go.

George: Curiosity is key. I'm telling you, it's funny, Eric, I either need to get to New York or you need to get to North Carolina, we have to sit down and have a beverage of some sort. I love the part in that last section where you talked about I don't want to go to work every day. I talk about this with my friends, "Listen, I don't go to work every day." By the way, this comes from a book called The Fish Philosophy. I chose years ago to decide every day to go play, because when you come to play you come with a different mindset.

You might be a marketer listening to this podcast, and you might be completely frustrated with what you're doing, but just by positioning it to, "I'm not going to work, I'm going to play," it may dramatically change your life.

Eric: When I was younger, I ran a traditional agency, a New York City PR agency. Wouldn't you know, I did sell 20 years later, 15 some odd years ago. I did work. The big question was the elusive Holy Grail of balance in life. I also had little kids and I had a wife who was ill at the time. How do you have balance? It's not a question when you love what you do. You won't have to ask the question. There's no clock.

My life all seamlessly does fit together. Like this interview. I love doing this. I love if there is one single solitary person who watches this who I have impacted positively and changes something about the direction of their life, Amen, what a day.

George: Creating that catalyst moment, enabling people to become 1% better each and every day without a doubt is core and passion. I love this because we've been talking about a journey. There's a lot of words that the listeners should be paying attention to. I'm curious. Finally, I'm interviewing somebody that's older than me so I can come to the feet of the wise. At 50, I struggle with what I'm about to ask you, and you may have struggled with it as well.

When you're on this journey of building an authentic brand, one of the things we historically as humans suck at is we're not good at measuring how far we've come or where the brand is. My question for you is: Is there a thought process, a tool, how do you measure where Eric started to where Eric is now? And how can the listeners unpack that to actually understand I've come a long way since X time?

Eric: I don't know. I would say I started my journey as an anxious 10-year-old. Where I am in my journey right now, the goal was inner peace. I got inner peace. That's my measurement. Everything in between, I've had money, I've lost money, I've made brilliant investments, I've made really dumb investments, and everything in between. Inner peace, I got that. I don't know what could possibly be better. That is how I measure.

If you're 50, I'm going to officially tell you right now, the first 50 years are the hardest. Now you can take everything that you've learned in the course of your life and your career and make some real magic in this decade.

George: I feel like it's just beginning, to be honest with you. Life at 50 is like the beginning. You can actually come at it with some wisdom and some strategy. I like what you said there, and I want to unpack for the listeners. The first word you said was here was my goal. If you are going to measure something, you need to have that goal in place. Where are you trying to get? What stages are you trying to do? What podcasts are you trying to get on? What impact in the world do you want? Write those goals down.

I'll add another word. What are the habits? Eric has talked about waking up in the morning, being curious, habit, doing this thing, habit. What are the habits that will get you to the goal that you're trying to reach? Then you can measure. I was way far away from the goal, there's the goal, I'm closer. There's measurement.

You have given over 30 minutes of value for people who are trying to do this authentic brand building throughout their life. I would say you've also given life lessons along the way, which is amazing. I'm going to give you one more opportunity before I ask where you want to send people when they want to connect.

I love this question, this is probably my favorite question of the podcast. What are some words of wisdom that you would want the Marketing Smarts community to walk away with and be like these are your marching orders from Eric?

Eric: Here's the thing. Everybody is looking for a quick fix in life. It's a process. Success is not a light switch. It just isn't. I work with a lot of young whiz kids who are billionaires. When I was young, I got a little bit lucky. There was a little bit of luck involved in my younger part of my career, a little bit. What I would say about luck is it's where hard work meets opportunity that you tend to get lucky. Put the odds mostly in your favor. You can do that, and that's all about choices.

But happiness is an inside job. I don't know what more you could possibly want. You might say money, but I can tell you in my life money never ever, not a single solitary time, bought me anything. I have a nice car. That's cool, but I don't care about my car. I thought I did when I was younger. What I care about is everything I cannot buy. You can't buy happiness. You cannot buy love. You can't buy the things that are important. Be happy. It's an inside job, that's on you.

George: I love the ending of that. I just get in my car and I'm like, "Sweet, it started." Eric, if people want to reach out to you, if they want to learn more about you, about authentically building a brand, where do you want to send them?

Eric: You can go to my corporate website, which is ErichoPR.com. You can go to my personal website, which is EricYaverbaum.com. If you can't remember any of that, you might remember I mentioned one of my books, Leadership Secrets of the World's Most Successful CEOs. Everybody remembers PR for Dummies, which I wrote twice. You'll easily be able to track me by following go find the guy who wrote PR for Dummies, and then find the guy. I'm really easy to find.

George: Did you have that iPad, tablet, notepad and pencil ready? Did you write down all of the words that just poked you in the brain and you want to dive in and dig a little bit deeper? I have to be honest with you. For me, I wrote down a ton of words, and there are a lot of action items and research that I want to do as I go down this journey of building an authentic brand.

I hope that you have had some value, some tips, some tricks. Make sure you leave us a raving review for the podcast. It would help. More importantly, make sure you reach out, @GeorgeBThomas on Twitter or #Mprofs, and let us know what you think of the podcast, let us know what you want to hear, who you want us to interview. This is your podcast. Until we meet in the next episode of Marketing Smarts, remember to be a happy, helpful, humble human.

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