LSU professor and media trainer for LSU athletes shares his ‘Golden Rule’ of personal branding

Business Report

If business is good, chances are you are likable, says Tommy Karam, senior instructor in the department of marketing at LSU’s Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute.

“Likability is the foundation on which personal brands are built,” Karam said this afternoon at the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Monthly Lunch meeting. “It is the emotional impact you have on someone.”

Karam, who conducts workshops for companies and their executives on the topic of personal branding, encouraged business owners and employees in attendance to consider how their personal brand impacts business success.

Also a professor of sports marketing, personal branding and negotiation in the Flores MBA Program and a media trainer for LSU and NFL athletes and coaches, Karam reinforced the delicacy of maintaining a personal brand, using lighthearted personal anecdotes from his classroom and from media training session with athletes like Jordan Jefferson and Leonard Fournette.

From his experiences trying to retool the brands of numerous athletes and managing his personal brand, Karam stressed how important it is for business professionals, no matter their occupation or title, to consider how others perceive them during split-second encounters.

“The camera never blinks,” he said, referring to people’s ability to take mental pictures with their own eyes.

He said it only takes 1/24th of a second for someone to make a snap judgment about someone else, so default expressions matter. That knowledge led him to create his “Golden Rule” for personal branding: manage your expressions.

“It is part of what your brand and your appearance is, and you have to manage it like you manage your wardrobe,” he said.

He also addressed the importance of vocal delivery in providing good customer service. “Thirty-eight percent of the emotional impact you have on someone is judged according to your vocal delivery,” Karam said, explaining that tone is also a crucial component to overall likability.

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