Having a powerful brand is more vital than ever. Business has never been more competitive, and only strong brands thrive in today’s crowded digital environment. Steve Jones―branding expert, music business insider, and author of Brand Like a Rock Star―speaks directly to the challenges facing today’s businesses and helps audiences create a brand that’s built to last. We put Steve in the spotlight, and here’s what he has to say:
What inspired you to want to be a speaker?
I love connecting with people. It is a powerful feeling when you are on stage and you can visibly see people engaged in your message. Having spent many years as a radio host, walking on stage as a speaker gives me the same charge of excitement that I used to get turning on a microphone.
Any advice for aspiring speakers?
Make your message personal. Anyone can communicate information, but only you can communicate your personal stories. Your audience should leave the room feeling like they know you…and that they’ve learned something valuable.
What do you like to leave audiences with?
One of the highest compliments I can receive is when someone tells me that they can’t wait to get back to work to put what I’ve spoken about into action. That’s a tremendous compliment. I also love to leave people with a different perspective on a the topic of marketing and branding.
How do you prepare before a talk? Any special rituals? A good luck talisman?
I’m not too superstitious, but I love a thorough sound check. Knowing everything will be technically flawless gives me the confidence to take risks in other ways, like going off-script or ad-libbing… and usually those risks pay off. Otherwise I just try to relax, meet cool people, and soak up as much learning as I can from the other speakers and attendees.
Do you have an especially memorable event you can tell us about?
My first speaking engagement after my book Brand Like a Rock Star came out was at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. There was also a major concert that night. So on the marquee outside it read “Tonight: Steve Jones – Brand Like a Rock Star, Don Henley In Concert.” That was cool. That day was also the first time I saw my book for sale in a bookstore, so the whole trip was a real rush.
Any funny or embarrassing situations you found yourself in as a speaker?
Just a few months after he passed away, I was introduced as “Steve Jobs” instead of Steve Jones. It was probably more embarrassing for the person doing the introduction than it was for me! I took it as a compliment.
Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why?
Our family has been sponsoring a child in Haiti for a long time, and it has been powerful to watch him grow up. If we each just took someone under our wing – financially, emotionally, or as a professional mentor – the world would be a better place pretty quickly.
If you had to choose a new career, what would it be?
Pilot. I fly little Cessna planes for fun, but it would be cool to make it a career.
Desert island album?
Exodus by Bob Marley
Best subject in school?
Last book you read?
Social Media is Bullshit by JP Mendelson
Last film you saw?
I took my sons to see World War Z with Brad Pitt. A good zombie movie for the boys!
I’ve always had a little thing for Drew Barrymore, but not sure I’d call it a crush. When my wife becomes famous that question will be far more comfortable to answer!
What is it like traveling so much? How do you relax? How do you stay healthy?
I love new places and new people, so travel is a plus. Being a private pilot, I’m also an aviation geek so I don’t mind airplanes at all. The frequent flight delays and time zone changes are a pain for sure, but you can’t change those things. I get through it by always having a great book on my iPad, lots of music on my iPhone, and a project or two on my laptop to work on while I fly. I try to avoid turning on the TV in the hotel room, and instead opt to get some work done, work out, or take a nap. When I’m not traveling, I play hockey, coach my son’s hockey team, golf, scuba dive, and get to the gym when time permits.