The Value of Ownership [Build your Brand!!]

The Value of Ownership [Build your Brand!!]


Every now and then, I watch interviews on the Breakfast Club.

This is a hip-hop show that interviews a bunch of different talents from the culture.


One time, I saw 2 people come on the show named Desus and Mero.

The interview quickly went left.


Desus & Mero made a joke about DJ Envy’s wife.

DJ Envy was one of the hosts for the Breakfast Club.


What happened next became an iconic internet moment.


DJ Envy began pressing Desus & Mero for bringing his family into their routine.

The 2 apologized.

Rather than accept the apology, DJ Envy walked out of the interview early.



This was fascinating.

Who the hell are Desus and Mero??


The Funny Duo


I looked into the catalog of Desus & Mero.

They were a duo who would talk about popular moments from the culture.

Like Aba & Preach.


They had great chemistry.

Both were finishing each other’s sentences.


As I was checking out their catalog, I noticed something.

The 2 separated.



I thought they were going to be together forever!

But that wasn’t the case.


By the time I discovered their body of work, they decided to go their separate ways.

Did they at least have ownership of their content?



Showtime did.


All that work with little to show for it.



A Leadership Principle You Should Know


There is a management crisis nowadays.

A lot of people refuse to get promoted to manager because of all the headaches that it brings.


People dread managing a group of unruly folks.

The management books are of little help.


Here’s a leadership principle I will give you:

  • Give your employees ownership of something.


Starbucks has the Beanstalk program.

This is where the Starbucks employees own a piece of the company.

Due to having ownership, the workers have more pride to put in the extra effort.


If you don’t have stock to give, then give your employee a stake in the project.

‘Raj, you’ve been working in the company for a while. From here on out, you’re in charge of the ECC system.’


Obviously, give ownership to Raj if he has a proven track record of properly handling the system.

You’ll immediately notice something in Raj.

He will say:

‘Me? Do you really mean that? I will not disappoint you.’


Other times, we can give ownership based on projects.

The guy who designs my book covers once asked if he could put my book covers in his portfolio.

I said, of course.

He felt so good.

Wouldn’t stop thanking me.


I had no clue what the big deal was.

Then I realized….

Now he wasn’t just working on book covers for my brand, he was working on his brand too.


Work on Your Brand


Very few people think like bosses.

Most of them have an employee mindset.

Working for someone else and having little to show for it.


That’s what happened to Desus and Mero.

They were so happy to be getting paychecks that they didn’t think about owning their portfolio.

Or at least a percentage of it.


I’m not bashing employees by the way.

I believe working for a company to learn essential skills is a smart thing to do.

If you want to start a company later, go for it.

But no need to, being an employee is fine.


What I’m bashing is the idea that you are going to work for a company rather than work for your brand.

It’s definitely possible to work for a company while building your brand.

Stephen A Smith is an example of that.


He works for ESPN.

This platform gives him extra eyeballs, guests to interview, and a dope production set.

He spent years working for ESPN and building his skills.


Nowadays, he started a podcast that he owns.

He is taking his knowledge from working for ESPN and applying it to his brand.

Stephen A Smith showed that you could be an employee and the face of your brand at the same time.


How to Build Your Brand


A brand is a story that other people have of you in their minds.


A brand is never built overnight.

It is built over time.


I love the fact that it is built over time because it gets us to focus on the ‘body of work’ mindset rather than the ‘one hit wonder’ mindset.


A brand can be built via many paths.

From visuals to behaviors.


I know this one hypnotist who ALWAYS wears a bowtie.

I know him more for his bowties than I know him for his service.

His bowties began to create impressions in my mind.


I met a few hypnotists throughout my life…

But whenever someone asks me if I know a hypnotist, I always talk about the guy who wears a bowtie.

He built a visual brand.


A behavior-based brand is someone who is super prolific.

  • It could be a consistent creator.
  • A person who routinely throws glamorous events.
  • A person who is heavily involved in the community.

Their work ethic is their brand.


When someone asks:

‘Do you know a person who can help me with X?’


Even if you don’t know if the strong work ethic person can do X, you recommend him anyway.

It’s because this hard worker created an impression in your mind.

They can do anything they set their mind to.


Boss Up


Let me reiterate, you can be a boss while being a worker.

Don’t get too complacent letting someone else butter your bread.

There is no such thing as job security.

You can be fired at any time.


Quit thinking like an employee.

Think like a brand builder.


A person who is creating a story in other peoples’ minds.


Are you someone who just clocks in and clocks out or is there something unique about you?

Business cards are dead.

The only business card we have nowadays is ourselves.


For more insights into brand building, be sure to check out the Art & Science of Storytelling Book





– ArmaniTalks 🎙️🔥

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