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To thine own self be true

by James Davey

To Thine Own Self be True….


Shakespeare is not normally cited as a business guru, but you cannot argue that he has built a sustainable brand which has lasted nearly half a millennium and has offered great value to the people of Stratford-upon-Avon to name but a few.


Where would ‘Brand UK’ be without Shakespeare?


Maintaining a consistent and honest brand identity has long been an obsession of mine. Having spent a number of years in the franchised motor industry, the importance of brand became a way of life. Successful brands like BMW are built on an obsession with attention to detail and making sure that everything you do matches up to your ‘brand values’.


Former BMW Chairman Helmut Panke said,

“In the end, authentic brand management boils down to understanding that a brand is a promise that has to be fulfilled everywhere, at any time. So, when something doesn’t fit, you must make sure that it isn’t done”.


So, what did Shakespeare have to say on the subject? Well, we don’t really know his view, but we learn from the words of his characters, in this case Polonius in Hamlet. Polonius said to his son as he was about to depart for Paris to further his education,


“to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”


In other words, he was saying pretty much the same as Panke only 400 years earlier!


So why is this so important? 

The way you position yourself in the marketplace is a ‘blend’ of your brand values. How you position yourself will determine the type of customer you appeal to. The problem comes when something you do clashes with your brand values. It just doesn’t feel right. Suddenly you do not seem authentic anymore and customers start to question if you can really deliver on your promise. In other words, you are not being true to yourself.


So my advice to you is to sit down and really think about your brand and what it means.

How does it come over to others?

Does it match your target audience?


Your brand doesn’t have to scream ‘top quality’ and ‘the best that money can buy’. In terms of their food offering, that works for Marks and Spencer, but Aldi are doing a pretty good job with an alternative message of ‘like brands, only cheaper’. You must define what your positioning is and then ensure that everything you do supports it. 


James Davey

James Davey is a Sales Masters Guild Personal Business Mentor


Having started his business career as an accountant working in industry, James decided that there was more to the game of business than just keeping the score. He’s now a mentor as well as running a successful health and fitness business with over 2,800 members...


Find out more about James on his Sales Masters Guild profile page.


Read more blogs from James


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