Episode 22

Notorious RBG

What does it mean to be a brand?

One of the most critical barriers to success is understanding what a brand is and what a brand is NOT. I get this question all the time. Let me tell you what a brand is NOT: A brand is NOT a name, logo, tag-line, package design or the product itself. I call these elements: Window-dressing your brand. A brand is simply an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY that differentiates products, services and people.

As a former marketing executive at global multi-billion dollar consumer products companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva, I successfully crafted emotional identities for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Over the course of 25 years, a frequent challenge I faced was communicating the role a brand played in consumer’s lives…in other words its Core Value. To solve this problem, I developed a process to label that brand’s Core Value using just ‘One Word’. This helps consumers understand what they are actually buying.

During this series, I will select a brand I worked on or studied and share it’s ‘One Word’ Core Value, as well as share valuable topics in the branding arena that will help you Stand-Out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence…in other words, SCORE.

So let’s turn to today’s brand clip… Notorious RBG

Show Notes (click to expand)

I’m sure the majority of people listening to this episode know who I’m talking about…no matter your age.

A New Yorker to her very core, she was steady, committed, passionate and rose to become a cultural and feminist icon. 


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 on Friday, September 18th, 2020. Now she may have physically been a “tiny lady”, but she had the “grit of a superhero.” Ruth Bader Ginsburg was larger than life, both on and off the bench.

Justice Ginsburg served on the Court since her appointment by President Bill Clinton on August, 10th 1993, and she was recently one of the body’s four liberals. As a justice, Ginsburg was known for her passionate dissents and her relentless advocacy for gender equality and human rights. She played a central role in advancing critical ideals including pay equity, reproductive freedom, and LGBTQ+ rights. She was deliberate in her craft, and we are all better off because of her unwavering commitment to creating a more just world.

I always say that Personal Branding is about giving away what I call your ‘Core Value’ to improve the lives of others…and this ‘Core Value’ can be summed up in ‘One Word’. I believe that if you do personal branding right, then people will come to associate you and your Core Value as one-and-the-same. There’s no person I can think of that better exemplifies this than Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Listen to the following tributes that poured in after her death and I think you’ll discover what her ‘One Word’ Core Value is:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who referred to Ginsburg as “Ruthie,” said she will miss her friend terribly:
“As a young mom heading off to Rutgers law school, I saw so few examples of female lawyers or law professors. But Ruthie blazed the trail. I’m forever grateful for her example — to me, and to millions of young women who saw her as a role model.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh noted:
“Ginsburg was many things to the American people, calling her a brilliant jurist. A fearless trailblazer. A tireless champion of justice and equality who exemplified grace and strength. She made this country a better place for all.” 

Democratic Congressman Richard Neal called Ginsburg 
“A true trailblazer. Our country will forever be indebted to her and the inroads she made for every woman, young girl, and person in our great nation.”


Congressman James McGovern, Chairman of the House Rules Committee, said: 
“Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer through and through. Her tenacity and intellect were unmatched. A true champion for women’s rights and equal justice. This is a colossal loss for our country. May her memory guide us through the difficult days ahead.”

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey summed everything up, saying in a statement of her own: 

“What is there to say that hasn’t been already said about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg? This loss is devastating not just because a brilliant trailblazing woman is gone, but because of everything she represents. For so many Americans, she was their freedom personified.”


Former students of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pondered the question of how to assess her legacy. They shared the following:  

“She was a fervent advocate for women’s equality. From her early days arguing landmark gender discrimination cases for the American Civil Liberties Union to her nearly three decades on the high court, Ginsburg was a trailblazer for gender equality.”

If you want to remember the Notorious RBG, then all it does take is ‘One Word’: TRAILBLAZER

Being a TRAILBLAZER was how Ruth Bader Ginsburg was able to Stand-out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence…in other words SCORE…


We’re a Cornell family – my wife Sharon graduated in 1989 and my son Zach will graduate in 2021. So all we can say to the Notorious RBG, a 1954 graduate is “GO BIG RED” and we can’t wait to see this TRAILBLAZER memorialized on the Residence Hall being named in her honor.
I’m Rich Keller, the CATALYST, and see you next time on The CATALYST Effect.

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