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I’ve got four very important words for you and that is: Don’t be an emoji.

So many people are acting like emojis in life and business: Flat one-dimensional characters that have no interest.

Who wants to be friends with an emoji? Do you want to be friends with someone who’s always happy or always sad or always wink wink goofy. You don’t, right?

So I encourage you to be the protagonist of your life. Be the protagonist of your business. Because what’s really interesting when it comes to branding is contrast and tension and polarity. That’s what makes you fall in love with a character.

Now think about a great book that you love or a great movie. What draws you in to really relate to particular character? A lot of times it’s their flaws, it’s their challenges, it’s a time where they just really fuck things up. It’s a time where they stick their foot in their mouth and you fall in love with them, because you admire their awkwardness. You relate to them.

Nobody likes characters who have it all figured out or characters who are always at the bottom of an abyss. It’s in the contrast, it’s in the tension, it’s in the polarity that you become the protagonist of your life — when you’re not afraid to show these extremes. To straddle the extremes of who you are as a person because that’s the human condition.

As a human, you can feel the most bottomless depths and the highest heights. You can have joy. You can have frustration. You can have rage. You can feel all of these emotions.

But when you’re trying to be an emoji, you’re trying to be liked, you’re trying to present this one face to the world — that’s always happy or whatever it happens to be, you don’t give people the opportunity to really know you. And when they don’t know you, they don’t trust you.

So my favorite writer of all time is Haruki Murakami. And Haruki Murakami used to run a jazz bar and at the jazz bar he’s see maybe a hundred people come in over the course of the night. And if just 10 of those people came back, he would have an incredible thriving business.

So he created that bar so 10 out of every hundred would come back. So it’s just interesting or weird enough for that 10%. But so many people try to create their business so 100% of people will come back. In trying to be liked by everyone and trying to be that emoji to appeal to the widest possible number of people, they end up being nothing to no one, so no one comes back or maybe a handful of people come back, but they don’t remember that bar.

So take a cue from Murakami: Become the protagonist of your life, become the protagonist of your business. How can you straddle the extremes of who you are and be willing to peel off layer after layer after layer and show more of yourself to the world?

Because when you do — when you show your heart when you bare your soul — you give people the opportunity to know you, to like you, to trust you and ultimately to fall in love with you, and when they can do that — that’s when they’re going to come back. That’s when you’re going to have a business worth paying attention to. That’s when you’ll be worth following. That’s when you can be said to have a brand, a personal brand — someone who means something to someone. Someone who makes people feel something. Because you are willing to be more.

You’re not just goofy. You’re not just. Hilarious. You’re not just winky and flirty. You’re not just in love. You’re not just sad. All of those things and all of the emojis that you can’t even see here, right? There’s like how many of them? Hundreds of emojis. Because you really have all of those inside of you. So I want to see every single one of them.

So don’t be an emoji. Be the protagonist of your life.

Now go out there and Live Your Message.

If you want to learn how to create your authentic non-emoji marketing message, join us at Message to Money Live!

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. K Suresh Rao

    Marisa, I love this video. You are superb. You entertain while educating !

    Reply ·
    1. Marisa Murgatroyd

      Thanks K Suresh! I appreciate it…

      Reply ·
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About the Author Marisa Murgatroyd

Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into Online Superheroes, and the creator of Start With You where she helps people just like you to discover the business they're meant to build, not just the business they can build. At 4’11 and a quarter, she’s called the shortest woman in marketing — and that doesn’t stop her from having huge ideas. She’s the “go to” brand builder for industry luminaries and heavyweights such as Justin Livingston, Callan Rush, Danny Iny, Alexis Neely and Susan Peirce Thompson. Marisa helps entrepreneurs create a business that is authentic and aligned with who they are, to empower them to turn up the dial on their “inner superhero”, so they can be the superhero to their tribe, as well as in their own lives.

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