When I worked as an independent contractor for Bubba Gump for 15 yrs as their Forrest Gump impersonator/lookalike, I operated under a spirit of exclusivity.
I say spirit as it was more implied and understood than specifically spelled out in my contract.
What did exclusivity mean?
- I represented Bubba Gump in the world of restaurants
- I represented Bubba Gump in the world of food – and specifically shrimp
- I would not work for any other restaurants
- I would not represent another food group and most specifically I would not represent shrimp in another manner
I was the messenger and face and spokesman for their brand. To represent another brand would have cheapened what I did and been lacking integrity.
Why am I mentioning this 5 years after the fact? Why does this matter today?
My current business model has evolved into three main areas:
- Change Ambassador
Connecting all three in the middle is the Gump character and spirit of Gumption.
Speaking and hosting do not necessitate exclusivity.
Sharing my message of Gumption and personal responsibility to competing restaurants, real estate, or technology companies would not represent a conflict of interest. Helping an organization perform at a higher level is what I do.
Likewise, to host a multi-day event for Apple one week and Google the next week would not be an inherent conflict. Helping individuals engage, providing continuity throughout the event, and creating a better overall experience for attendees is my mission.
But the third circle – Change Ambassador – is a different situation where exclusivity needs to be strongly considered.
- As a Change Ambassador, I’m intimately familiar with the internal workings of an organization
- I’m a special representative for the CEO and management’s objectives
- The relationship can be ongoing and is certainly longer-term in nature
It’s similar to the role I played for Bubba Gump for all those years. I’m an advocate. A promoter. An internal brand ambassador.
One difference between the role as Change Ambassador and the role I played for Bubba Gump is today I’m primarily dealing internally with an organization to prompt their change. With Bubba Gump, my role was predominately external or public.
While external and internal promotions are different in actual role/message, the ability to perform either role requires a commitment and level of integrity that necessitates exclusivity.
And since speaking and hosting often lead to opportunities to serve as the Change Ambassador for an organization, an awareness of future exclusivity must be present from the start of any business relationship entered into.
Other speakers and trainers have told me it’s no conflict to work for both Company A and Company B when they are direct competitors. I understand their rationale as their business model is primarily focused on teaching specific industry-related skills.
And in many cases they specialize within an industry where all their clients compete.
My situation is different. I’m not teaching or promoting a specific skill to a unique market segment. I am promoting and advocating for the organization throughout their segment and ultimately to the world.
I believe exclusivity within a market segment is required to be an effective Ambassador of Change.
This post was originally published on SpeakingGump.com on October 4, 2016.
It has been updated and edited to appear here on ChangeByGumption.com
Communicator, Forrest Gump lookalike, Strategist
– Brand Ambassador, Change Agent, Speaker, Writer
– Gump-like Messaging, Simplicity, Values
– Big Picture, Bottom Line, Visual Mapping
Learn more about Steve here.
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