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Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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Author Note from Marc Ecko
I am a brand, but I am not a label. My brand is Marc Eckō. You too are a brand. Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not. A brand is not skin-deep. Labels are skin-deep, but a brand—a true, authentic brand—is made of blood and bones, muscle and organs. A brand has a heartbeat.
Unlabel explores the anatomy of a brand. And it uses the Authenticity Formula (1) to explain the cross sections of that anatomy. My brand started in my parents’ garage in Lakewood, New Jersey, where I spray-painted T shirts and sold them for $10 a pop. By understanding how to harness my fear (2) and separating perception from reality (3), I grew that brand to the tune of a billion-dollar retail business. I’ve built skate brands, hip-hop brands, magazine and video game brands. I’ve built brands that people literally tattoo on their bodies, which is “branding” in the truest sense. But the most important brand that I built was me, the personal brand that’s from my guts to the skin (4).
My philosophy is simple: unlabel.
Not “un” as in the nihilist or negative sense of the prefix, but in the “refuse” sense of the meaning. Refuse to be labeled.
Fight their labels.
Ignore their labels.
Peel off their labels.
Unlabel—and create your brand.
This takes work. In the same way that you do push-ups to exercise your body, you need to challenge yourself to shake free of the herd, find your own unique voice, and create your personal authentic brand.
Find your swoosh, your Apple, your Rhino.
"Marc is living proof that you can be a marketing and business whiz and still be a true artist." (CNBC)
Grand harmonic pop-culture convergence. Ecko is at a crossroads … the man is trying to step out from behind his rhino." (Rob Walker, The New York Times)
“No one has made STAR WARS cooler than ECKO. Marc's unique vision became a global force. This is the text book I wish I could have bought in college.” (George Lucas)
"[This] media mogul made millions by leveraging his ability to find the next big thing." (Business Insider)
"Ecko brings a sense of edgy wonder to his work." (Entrepreneur Magazine)
"The merging of different worlds is a recurring theme in Marc Ecko's life and in his work." (ABC Nightline)
"Marc Ecko imposes no limits on himself, or his sources of inspiration." (AskMen.com)
“Very, very creative. More edge than most." (Russell Simmons)
“In his role as entrepreneurial guru, Ecko is a sort of anti-Trump, using human frailty instead of unattainable omnificence to educate the next generation of dreamers….A compelling how-to guide…” (Kirkus Reviews)
"It is very rare to read an entire business book from cover to cover like you would a novel, and find within it a story that is so interesting and captivating that it immediately puts perspective on how you channel your own creativity and tell your own story. Unlabel is that book. At a time when every business person and company is forced to hustle and fight to be heard in a competitive world, Unlabel is the story of a man who clawed his way out of a garage and created a multi-million dollar company in the process. It is a success story, to be sure, but it’s one that shares the bruises, scars, and painful mistakes that every entrepreneur and business owner will experience (or some variation of) on the way to becoming his or her own authentic ‘brand.’" (800-CEO-READ)
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On October 3, 2013, I was laid off from my dream job. I had created a magazine like no other in my chosen industry and it was beginning to show the signs of being successful. But a dysfunctional office culture created a situation where an insecure boss stole my brainchild as his own.
I felt exploited, as if I was used only for my innovative and creative brain. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am. At 50 years old, I felt my career was over, and there was no way for me to achieve my life-long dreams. But Marc's book has helped me realize that is not the case, and that there is more to ME and my life than just one creation.
I'm still a "creator" and by using Marc's Authenticity Formula, I've shed the labels that were weighing me down and have discovered my brand, my authentic self.
Thanks, Marc! I just wish this book had been around when I was 20. I've already bought a copy for a friend in her own startup and I'm buying the book for each of my four 20-something children as their holiday gifts this year.
I actually never knew who Marc Ecko really was until I read this book.
This book was an entertaining look into what it took to get to where he is today.
I appreciated how he also gave a fair share of the text to the failures he experienced throughout his career.
After reading this book I gotta give the man some respect for building the brand.
If you are thinking of starting your own clothing brand or are about to start working in the fashion industry is recommend you read this play book as a prerequisite to know what it takes to make it to the top.