Hiking in Buckhorn, Colorado: The Mountains Are Calling and I Must Go


LAKE BUCKHORN, CO ~ “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks. The mountains are calling, and I must go”
-John Muir

Hey guys :) It’s good to be writing/blogging and practicing piano again.

Byron understood brand. Other cultural icons include DMB, George Eliot, Bach, Elton John, Gene Kelly, Mozart, Audrey Hepburn, Chopin, GaGa, James Byron Dean, Jackie-O, Paul Newman, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, Sinatra, Baryshnikov, MLK, Ghandi and Oprah. And more recently, Darren Criss and Grant Gustin

Without exception, the “Big 5” tech startups also understand brand ownership in real estate, both face-to-face and online:

1. APPLE – Retail
2. GOOGLE: Search
3. FACEBOOK: Social
4. AMAZON: Retail
5. LINKED IN: Professional

As founder and owner of your personal brand (think Ralph Lauren or Clapton) and/or business (In ‘N Out, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s), are you actively defining, optimizing and owning your space in person and online?
What content do you create or own?

“Vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs”
-Antoine de Saint Exupery

Where will you go? What will you see?














Tyler Orchard: When Brand Preservation Does More Damage than Good



Okay, I’m a bit stoked about this guys. From Australia to Toronto, the guest blog wayfaring with newly christened byronfernandez.com continues with my dude Tyler Orchard. You may have heard of him from Gini Dietrich, who recently advised him not to feed the animals in the insatiable playground that is Chicago-based Arment Dietrich and SpinSucks guest blogging community. But besides Gini’s ability to make us laugh and bedazzler jackets (cough, Konopinski, Bell) — Tyler’s meteoric rise through the PR, political and digital space has been nothing short of remarkable. He’s polite, reverent and a good listener. A self-proclaimed chef stuck in a businessmen’s body; Tyler has impeccable taste in red wine, good food — and people, too. And he knows a thing or two about business. “People know him,” to quote Ron Burgundy (though I can’t attest to how extensive the Orchard library of leather-bound books and smells of rich mahogany may be). But enough of the shenanigans, on to the good stuff: It’s a privilege to introduce you to Tyler

tyler orchard

Courtesy of Tyler Orchard, Parliament of Canada. All rights reserved.


We have a human nature to defend our character in an attempt to manage external perceptions. We all have characteristics that shape our personal identity.

Some of these elements may warrant suppression or concealment during certain interactions. Whether we like it or not, we have a tendency to seek approval, fit in to the environment we operate, and invoke a positive reaction when mentioned by others.

Not surprisingly, these predispositions subsequently play a major role in business development, branding, and PR initiatives.  

In the corporate world, a brand identity is a remarkably powerful and influential element of success (New York Times, The Importance of Branding Your Business).

Companies spend a considerable amount of time, financial resources, and effort in creating a brand that resonates with a mass consumer base or audience. Consequently, brand management and preservation has become a major preoccupation for organizations in the public, private and non-profit sections.

Perception, identity, and brand awareness is increasingly important within the business environment. This is because branding success is a key element in meeting certain business objectives, internally and externally.

These attitudes and experiences around a brand, often driven and dictated by the consumer, affect all channels of the corporate structure. With this importance comes the desire to preserve your brand identity at all costs.

This is a dynamic many entrepreneurs and business people can empathize with. When faced with a negative situation or potentially damaging encounter, it is an instinctive reaction for most individuals or brands to do anything and everything that will protect what has been built via investment, infrastructure and influence. This brings to mind the classic “fight or flight” dichotomy, and how we are biologically wired to react to real or perceived threat/s.

To quote the wonderful mind of Warren Buffett:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation — and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Many would perceive this loyal and strategic reaction as a sign of a promising corporate leader. I would tend to agree.

But here’s the kick: Does there come a time when our intrinsic nature to preserve something we care about deeply actually exacerbates the damage we are trying to mitigate?

This post is by no means a blanket description of the corporate landscape. Many companies understand the limits that they operate in. However, there are still those who maintain the “defend at all costs” mentality that has significant (and often ignored) repercussions.

There is something to be said about the perils of blind pride. It often leads us to make rash decisions that, while at the time may seem appropriate, only cause more headaches down the road and across relationships.

When an individual is emotionally invested in their company, brand or organization; that poignant connection can cause judgement to be clouded. This becomes paramount when people confront a direct challenge or crisis situation, be it communications or task-related.

But knee-jerk reactions to a dilemma are grounded in emotion, not strategic business acumen. It seems in these situations we revert back to our younger selves; when we would stop at nothing to quash an unflattering rumour on the playground.

Ignoring claims or evidence, denial, shifting blame, pointing fingers, and tunnel vision are all common elements of what I call “emotional management reversal”. Seasoned decision-makers, when faced with a troubling situation, seem to revert back to self-indulgent reactions that cause more harm than good. This is common when an initial decision or strategy goes south unexpectedly.

The decision to stand firm, ignore the inevitable, and resort to blame aversion tactics seems reasonable in a mind destabilized by the fear of failure.

But once a company ventures down this path, it is an all-or-nothing effort that can often result in significant brand repercussions.

Here are Five Ramifications that often ensue when a leader, manager or brand resorts to a bull-headed stance on trouble, crisis or possible failure:

1. Delaying an actionable response to a situation will only make brand and identity damage widen and deepen

2. There is a chance of alienating your customer base, audience or community

3. Tunnel vision and blind support damages perception, as perception involves trust, reliability and loyalty

4. Employees may lose respect in the corporate institution


5. Subsequent decisions are negatively affected in regards to marketing, communications and customer service/outreach —

 Especially when these initiatives are accomplished in the same channels (i.e. social networks or the public forum).
Strategic corporate loyalty and brand preservation are two characteristics that any business person should use in their personal description. Further, these elements in part define a company’s success. They are also founded on the same traits of entrepreneurship.
What needs to be respected is the clear difference between bold business risk and foolishness. When faced with adversity or potential failure, more business leaders need to respond pragmatically — and vehemently resist a reaction that is emotionally driven.
As business people and entrepreneurs, we need to understand that placing a bet on a particular development strategy involves risk. Brand development isn’t clear cut, nor does it happen overnight. Failure is a part of any company seeking to venture into a market and make a name for itself.
What differentiates successful business people from others is not failure in and of itself, it’s how they react when faced with crisis or defeat. Defending a decision that is not meeting expectations or objectives is not indicative of a person with pride, it’s evidence of blind irrationality.
Remember, failure is a part of the business world we inhabitcrisis is a part of the process, and defeat is part of the branding experience.
When all is said and done, sensibility and realism are characteristics that are far more important than pride and loyalty.
Tyler Orchard is a Toronto-based Director of Communications and PR in the political world, as well as a social media consultant. He holds a masters degree from the University of Guelph in public relations and public policy. His views are strictly his own. Follow him on Twitter @tylerorchard or find him on LinkedIn. He blogs at Talking Points.

Ask Lincoln, Guster or Chevy: Happiness is a Choice, Not a Circumstance

Somewhere, somehow I got complacent in the last few weeks. Maybe because it’s July in four days and I’m still wondering where May went.

Maybe because the buzz over Klout scores and SM peeps trippin over influence on salamanders to stamp collecting is so last week.

Or perhaps once again because I haven’t read as much as I should , seen a new movie, made time for friends or a significant, invoked balance from work and traveling. Again, no one’s fault but mine.

Experience and education is incongruous, too — what you Don’t do often speaks louder than what you do.

So instead of regurgitating/copy-pasting industry information for those of you who still don’t understand what exactly it is that I do and love for a living (which is why we reserve such banter for telephone or family reunions) —

I’m just gonna do what I know best: write, perform, rock-out to The Princess and the Frog like no one’s business or play some Scriabin.

As Abe Lincoln so deftly put it: To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.

Time to break the ice about the president’s plan to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s recent death, developments which until now I’ve observed but remained impartial.

Frankly, I have and always will be disgusted by violence and cowardice. Courage, conviction and passion in everything you are, feel, think and do is not contingent upon the approval, acceptance or admiration of others, least of all the masses.

That being said, I was not among those throughout the country celebrating the death of another human being, whether he “deserved” it or not.

As with any extreme mindset or agenda, it’s profoundly easy to resort to vindictive, spiteful behavior that extols power and deceit over the value of human life. That value set and behavior’s the true “terror.”

In the absence of love or compassion, fear covers all manners of wrong. A mentor and friend from high-school would often remind me of a base but powerful saying: What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular. 

The reality? A jerk is a Jerk, an asshole an Asshole — no matter what religion, sexual orientation, shape, size or color the person comes in (Read Olivier Blanchard’s A Better Business Doctrine Part I: Assholes are bad for business).

Everyone defines happiness differently. Integrity comes when you’re no longer gabbing on and on about it: when a blog post, eight children, a ’72 Nova Turbo LS1 or book pales in comparison to a life led by love — no matter how you envision it.

muscle car Chevrolet

For me it’s passion, creativity, ingenuity, insatiable curiosity. The will/vision, hunger and heart to go where others are not. Not just personally or professionally – in every facet and aspect of life. No fear.

Who are you? What do you see? And lastly…where will you go?

Related Links:

Dan Gilbert >> Stumbling on Happiness website

Chris Brogan >> The Happiness Project