What Jon Stewart Taught Us About Branding (Everything)

If I were to tell Jon Stewart he’s mastered the art and science of personal branding, I make up he would either mock himself and/or mock me for saying so. Whether you’re a fan or not, he’s compelling and commanding, a master of the conversation he’s been in for the past 16 years.

Why? On The Daily Show, Stewart lived his brand’s promise to “tell it like it is” and he had the guts to take whatever heat came with it.

When Stewart spoke, it was usually some variation of:  “We can hear what you’re saying. Do you realize you’re lying and exposing who you really are, right out loud? No? Well, let me play that back for you.”

If I were going to imagine Stewart’s brand positioning statement, it might be something like this:

“For people who are sick of being treated like idiots by those who pretend to lead them, Jon Stewart is the voice of reason and sanity. Jon Stewart publicly shames those in power who tell lies, because only he has the tenacity to collect the evidence, connect the dots, and the courage to do it out loud.”

How many of us are willing to take that kind of stand for some thing we believe in? Even more important, are you taking a stand for yourself?

Declare Your Game

I’ve been going to a lot of networking events lately.  One thing I’ve noticed is how few people really own what they’re up to and have the courage to say it straight up, out loud, declare the game they’re playing, boom, drop the mike.

This is not a criticism, not even a little bit. My heart breaks when someone stands up to deliver their 30-second elevator pitch and they beat around the bush. They mumble. They seem afraid to step up and own their superpower.

You say: “Well, Jon Stewart is a rock star. He’s on TELEVISION.” It’s not about where you do it, your experience as a performer, or your words.

It’s about showing up as the creator of the game you made up to play, whether as HVAC repairman or CEO of a nonprofit. It’s about owning what you’re up to.

Why Stewart’s message is so compelling is he knows who he is, he is completely clear about the conversations he’s in, and he stands up and owns it.

When you tell it like it is, whatever ‘it’ is for you, your personal brand is clear.

When you describe what you’re doing clearly and confidently, your tribe shows up to play with you.

When you’re in the game representing your authentic personal brand, you’ll know you’re alive and everyone around you will remember they are, too.

Thank you, Jon, for showing us what that looks like.