Book Review: Making Your Marque

100 tips to build your personal brand and succeed in business

book coverWhat does this have to do with the Booze Business?

Glad you asked.

James Espey, a good friend and business associate, wrote the book. James has been at the forefront of innovation in the spirits industry with such creations as Malibu, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Johnnie Walker Blue, among others. He was President of United Distillers North America and Chivas and Martell at Seagram.

If that’s not enough, he is the founder of The Last Drop Distillers LTD (producing rare scotch and cognac from literally the last available stocks) and was recently awarded the O.B.E. (Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth.

Here’s how the book is described:

Harnessing decades of experience in managing and developing top international brands, James Espey has refined his wisdom into 100 bite-sized tips in his new book MAKING YOUR MARQUE. His clear, down-to-earth advice has been carefully structured to benefit readers at all stages of their career…  At its heart is the importance of creating and nurturing your own brand – making your marque – in order to achieve business success and career fulfillment.

So, I asked James some questions about the book.

BB: What prompted you to write it?

James: I worry about the lack of mentoring and guidance in today’s world.  Everything is frenetic and instant. I have given a couple of talks at different graduate schools and this convinced me more than ever that people wanted a book addressing fundamentals but in a succinct and easy to read format.

BB: So the book is aimed at young people?

James: Not at all. There are three audiences – the young graduate starting out in life and thus the beginning of the book is crucial; the upwardly mobile 30-55 year old, the main target audience; then for people looking towards the end of their career, what to do next.

BB: Why is personal branding so important these days?

James: Everything is a brand and it’s as important to build your own personal brand, as it is to build consumer brands. Besides, it’s a very competitive business world these days and branding is vital.

BB: Tell us about your favorite sections of the book.

James: Here are some of the chapter headings.

“Your Own Vision:  Who do you want to be?”

“Who should you seek to work for?”

“Plan Your Exit from the company when they are trying to employ you because that is when you are strongest in negotiation.”

“Friends in the office – true or false”

“Be nice to people on the way up, with luck they may remember you on the way down”.

BB: Thank you James.

Making Your Marque is an entertaining and fun book but also a life guide. I plan to give as a graduation gift as well as to those changing jobs and retiring. It’s an engaging and informative guide to building a career.

The only complaint I have about the book (like most people who have read it) is that I could have used it when I was starting out. Or, when Seagram closed. Or, when I started this blog. Oh well, it’s never too late.

By the way, Making Your Marque is available on Amazon.com in hard copy as well as e-book.

James Espey
James Espey

 

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Smirnoff Ad: The Deconstructed Martini – What do you think?

Bartender or Mixologist

Well, it was bound to happen. For some industry pundits and aficionados, the term ‘mixologist’ is another term for a bartender or, as some put it, a bar chef. But, for many in the industry, the term mixologist is off-putting and the preference is for bartender.

Ray Foley, founder and publisher of Bartender Magazine  has this to say about the different terminology:  “A mixologist is a person who really doesn’t know how to tend bar but has the money to get a PR agent.” Whew, that Ray, such a kidder, always holds back his opinions.

The Smirnoff Ad

A friend in the industry alerted me to the Smirnoff ad that seems to agree with Mr. Foley. According to Adweek, “With the tagline ‘Exclusively for everybody,’ Smirnoff spends most of the ad mocking all things VIP, while also taking quite a few digs at the mixology movement, represented by a Stockholm-educated neckbeard who curates his herbs and deconstructs martinis.” (Neckbeard?)

Here is a link to the Smirnoff Vodka Deconstructed Martini ad, in case you can’t view it below.

So, I have two questions:

For Diageo (owner of Smirnoff) – the ad is clever and very well done. But, you’re poking fun at pretentiousness (which is very cool) so aren’t you biting the hand that feeds you? Aren’t you the people who’ve been pushing the term mixology? If the answer is yes, good for you.

And now dear reader – what do you think of the ad?

(My thanks to Robert Lehrman and John Messinger of Bevlaw.com for bringing this to my attention.)

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