Human Resources Today

Brand: YOU. What do you stand for? What makes you, you? Starting this week, I'll be posing that question to great professional brands, like HBO's Andy Goldman.  It only took minutes for Andy to capture the attention of a recent MediaBistro crowd, his brand clear, his intentions pure.  Let's talk personal brands (and TV) with Andy. Brands aren't about having the basics.  Every cable channel has a good mix of programming from movies to reality to comedy. But it's not the basic ingredients that make a brand. It's what stands out beyond the basics. It's what surprisingly draws people in (The Wire), what people can't get anywhere else (boxing) and what you're known for (The Sopranos). Finding that right combination is key.

Andy Goldman, vice president, Program Planning and Scheduling for HBO has done just that.  Sure, he knows his technical stuff, and has the experience to back it up (see his bio at the end), but so do a number of people in the industry. His brand is all personality:  it's warm, welcoming, high-energy, honest, and funny. It's all Andy.

The best way to build your own person brand is to examine the elements of someone else's brand to see what makes it unique. What do you hang your hat on? Andy was kind enough to answer a few brand-breakdown-ish questions and give you a glimpse inside what makes his brand.

(Susan) So Andy,When you first meet someone, how do you introduce yourself? (Andy) I look the person in the eye, extend my hand (for a handshake) and say “Andy Goldman—nice to meet you”.

Ok then, well let's say I'm reading an article about you. If you had a headline, what would it be? Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Nope, definitely not, unless it's a show (even a reality one).  Let's get technical here. What consumer or product brand would you most compare yourself to and why? I know this sounds like shameless self-promotion, but HBO.  In a ever-changing world, the HBO brand continues to be something that resonates with people of all demographic backgrounds.  It connotes a image of out-of-the box thinking and strives to be the best in everything it does.

After hearing you speak that makes sense. I've always admired HBO for that.  Have you always been that way? When you were in college, how would your friends describe you? A very loyal person who could also be a wise-ass.  I was (and am) a person who knew what he wanted and either knew how to get it or figure out how to achieve my goal of getting it.  I love puzzles.

I'm more of a Words With Friends gal, myself. But puzzle solving's a great metaphor. To get what you want there's always some solution-finding in order which can evolve a brand. Are those descriptors the same today? Now, how would your team now describe you? Here’s a few directly from them (I am humbled):  “Knows the TV and movie business better that anyone”, “Funny”, “Calm under pressure”, “Don’t get on his bad side”, “Great teacher”, “Smartest person in the room”, “Forward thinking”, “Loyal’, “Will do anything for his staff if he believes in you”, “Great husband and father”, “Knows everybody in the biz”, “Loves to help people”.

No need to be humbled. Knowledge of your brand is power. As you mentioned before, HBO's got a great brand. What HBO program is most like you? “Entourage."

Hmm. I don't really see you as an Ari, a Drama or even Lloyd. But I can see how you've got Ari's drive, Drama's passion and Lloyd's likeable nature. But that personality, that brand, didn't just evolve, right? You've done a number of things to develop and strengthen it.  What's the most important thing you have done to strengthen your own personal brand? Do not be afraid of change—embrace it.  Know what you are supposed to know, and know more.  Learn as much as the groups you are dealing with on a daily basis.  Also, network with people in your industry and other industries.  All people, all fields.  Take any/all speaking engagements.  And be sure to always find time to open your door to someone who reaches out to you.

And that's surely worked for you. What advice would you give to young professionals who are just starting to build a personal brand? Be fearless, not reckless.  Network-network-network.  Reach out to people in a proper manner and ask for informational interviews.  Envision a successful career strategically.  And once you get a job, continue to network.  One of my mentors said, you do your job from 9-5, but your build your career from 5-9.  It’s absolutely true.

What a great line. And ending on a great line is great for show business and the business of brands. Andy, thanks for guest-starring today. You're welcome.

Stay tuned for our next Brand profile.  Want to suggest someone fab?  Let me know.


Andrew Goldman's Bio:

Andrew Goldman is vice president, Program Planning and Scheduling, HBO/Cinemax, for Home Box Office, responsible for the strategic planning, acquisition and scheduling of programs for Cinemax’s eight multiplex channels. In addition, he oversees the development and management of new ventures, such as SVOD and Hi-Def, and supervises HBO/Cinemax’s film library analysis and inventory management.  He was named to this position in April 2003.

Goldman joined HBO in 1986, first as a kit coordinator and then senior guide coordinator, responsible for planning and supervising the design and production of the HBO cable guide.  In 1989 he was named media listings manager, Guide Publications, where he oversaw the implementation of the monthly guide information packet. Goldman moved to Scheduling and Program Planning, Cinemax, in 1992 as an assistant manager and was promoted to manager in 1994.

He briefly left HBO in 1998 to work at Showtime Networks, Inc. as director, Program Scheduling, where he managed and executed long-term programming strategies for their multiplex channels.  He rejoined HBO that same year as director, Program Planning and Scheduling, Cinemax.  Goldman began his career in 1985 as a screenplay analyst at Warner Bros., where he worked with various studio-based producers. He holds an MA in Cinema Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts and a BA in Political Science from Syracuse University.

He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS), the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA ), East Coast, and has been appointed to the Board of Governors at the Friars Club and the Alumni Council at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  In addition, he has been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Film & Television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts since 2006.