The decisions we make today for the brands we manage, the businesses we start, or the professional industry bodies we are responsible for are important. Whether you’re a brand, business or industry association,[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#BusinessLegacy”] professional legacy is important.[/inlinetweet] How would you like to be remembered? Or rather, do you want to be remembered? Those of us who nurture brands, businesses and industry associations know the value and the necessity of keeping an eye on the big picture in promoting legacy.

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#BusinessLegacy”]Professional legacy is what people will remember about your brand, business or profession.[/inlinetweet] To obtain it is not as easy as you might think. I’ve said this before in some of my brand posts: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#Branding”]Consumers determine if your product or business is a brand[/inlinetweet]. It is for them to see it as a brand. Professional legacy goes a step further. The outcomes of all your communications: advertising, PR, even one-on-one interactions (especially so!), ultimately affect people’s perception of your brand.[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”#BusinessLegacy”]Professional legacy is about keeping your eye on the big picture.[/inlinetweet]

Professional legacy is about walking the talk and it’s about contributing to the brand, business or association. The question for most of us is: is it really worth worrying about? It depends:

If you are an entrepreneur
 Many entrepreneurs are in the ‘not really worrying about it’ camp. But legacy is important, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. If there is no legacy, your exit strategy is pretty straight-forward. When you’re done, you shut things down. End of story. How sad is that … or maybe for you it’s not?

If you are a brand …
 Can you say Coke? Apple? Now compare your reactions to the mention of those brands to that of Blackberry. See the difference? Apple and Coke have always had an emotive connection to their audience. They’re consistent. They’re looked at with love. In fact, they’re legacy brands! Blackberry, at one time at least in Canada, was the country’s sweetheart. Unfortunately, Blackberry made decisions that affected its professional legacy … and its survival. To have been such a star and then not, well, decisions were poorly taken, and the focus wasn’t consistent.

If you are an association 
 In Canada there are many associations that take their legacy seriously. Canadian Blood Services, Chartered Professional Accountants Canada (CPA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) that have really raised the bar in maintaining and continuing their legacy, not letting go of their position, ensuring it evolved. Defining and evolving in a continually fragmented and over populated marketplace is key to the ongoing survival and success of these associations.

How much thought have you given to your professional legacy? Does it play a role in your decision making process? I’d like to hear your take on this.