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Being Late Is A Personal Brand Killer
By: Emory Brown
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As a marketing professional that manages teams for agencies and for my own clients, I have witnessed an interesting trend among some young creatives that may be a sign of the times. Or maybe I have just been groomed to expect certain behavior from the industry.
 
We hear marketers say that generations X and Y are the kids who are independent and strongly opinionated. Yet when did not being on time become a generational trait? Jeans and sports jackets may be a huge step away from the golden age of advertising, but it isn’t an excuse to be late.

As an educator in my other life, I work with lots of young creatives who want to reach the sky but forget that before you soar, one must learn to fly. Torn between curriculum and good-old-fashioned home training, I’m puzzled by how some schools aren’t instilling the best professional standards alongside having a great portfolio.
 
I have met kids who have no regard for punctuality or timelines. One of my colleagues told me the funniest story of how a recent grad showed up to his office 20 minutes late and said, “I had to stop and get some coffee. I’m no good without my coffee.” We laughed and laughed because when we were trying to get in the business, one our mentors always exclaimed, “To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. And to be late is inexcusable!”

However, what was most disturbing about this incident is that the young creative didn’t know he was wrong for not calling and showing up 20 minutes late for “Starbucks Lust.” My friend really felt like the young man didn’t have any regard for his time until I shared a few war stories of my own.
 
Are we as an industry not watching over our little ones like we should be? Maybe we should talk about professionalism more during our internship programs and during our industry-night visits to our favorite schools. We know our clients live on deadlines and entire pieces of business have been lost by not adhering to professional standards. And, as we know, that’s the ultimate brand killer. 


We have to educate and protect our little creative heroes who are ready to show their creative prowess to world. We have to remember to drop those jewels of wisdom on them. Our parents and creative directors used to say, “the early bird gets the worm.”
 
The truth is, there are lot of creatives graduating from school who’ll have a hard time building a good personal brand because mishaps in their professionalism are killing their brand. We have to tell them that their portfolio is their ticket into the creative race, but how they play the game as a professional is what is going to make them a brand champ.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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