Brandi Herrman

*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column series that runs in the Columbia Daily Tribune that features insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.

I’m lucky to have two people in my life whose sage advice has been helpful when I’m feeling the need to center myself. One is my father. While now retired, he’s my “business sounding board.” He’s the person who gets jazzed about my latest endeavor or my next idea. Now, that’s doesn’t mean I take his advice all the time (or even let him know I’m listening), but his perspective feeds my inner monologue.

Recently, he gave me the advice to “Be patient. It always worked for me.”

Immediately, in my head, I started in on the ’yeah, but…’ statements to contradict the advice. Patience is hard for me. I love to chew on an idea for a while and iron out the wrinkles in my head. But once I’m ready, I want to move!

So, I let the advice go, still fretting about the next big idea.

Then, I got an opportunity to meet with a mentor of mine who has, for years, taken an interest in my perspective, my contributions to my field and my thoughts. I very much yearn for his perspective. As I lamented a current situation, his reply echoed my father’s: “be patient.”

Okay, so maybe my dad had a point.

There are times when change must happen quickly – think of this past spring when COVID-19 hit the U.S. hard. Everyone had to make rapid changes to their way of life including business owners who had to shift their entire way of doing business. I marveled at small businesses that seemed to turn on a dime, enhancing their online presence, and switching to a socially distant business model. I was especially impressed by those in Columbia, as they persevered despite incredible challenges.

But not every situation requires an immediate change.

A leader keeps that in mind – the fact that it takes a mix of patience and impatience. A modicum of good fortune. And continual, plodding forward movement.

A strategic business plan might be the perfect example. The mission and values, they are your guiding light. But the strategic planning process is all about the long game. You research. You think. You seek input. You write and revise. Then, you put a plan in place. You determine measures that will determine success. And you move forward, sometimes slowly, but without forgetting the mission, the vision and the end goal.

Building a brand is much the same.

It’s a thoughtful, plodding endeavor. It uses all media. The brand is built through every interaction, whether in person or mediated. For social media, marketing and brand managers out there, it can feel like a slog. Every like, every share, and certainly every post shapes the brand. Every story on the news, every review, and every customer service call is important. The cumulative effect of these interactions determines long-term success, but no single element, on its own, is magical.

Sometimes you must wait patiently for magic.

Brandi Herrman is an instructor of marketing, public relations and advertising at Columbia College. After working full-time in the industry for 13 years, she took the leap to full-time teaching and hasn’t looked back. She’s curious by nature, but is most interested in digital and social media communication and marketing.