by Amber Vernon
D’Artagnan Bebel, vice president and general manager of FOX 26, bestowed TSU students with seven keys to be successful in life Tuesday at the 37th Intercultural Communications Conference.
Bebel told students the seven keys to success were exposure, branding, initiative, options, asking questions, perseverance and confidence. He encouraged the audience to start thinking of themselves as a brand.
“Understand that you are a product,” said Bebel. “You are trying to market yourself. You are a brand. The message here is what does your brand stand for? When you are out of the room what do other people think about you? Product differentiation is a part of branding. If you evoke a positive brand message to me, I’m more likely to remember you.”
Bebel is the first African-American in Houston to be vice president and general manager of a news station. After getting an MBA in marketing from Columbia University, Bebel started his career at CBS radio as an account executive and climbed the corporate ladder.
“I’ve always been goal oriented,” said Bebel. “I’m a business guy, not a journalist. I have journalists working for me. When we have openings, I look for people that are passionate about something. I look for talent.”
Bebel said a part of selling a brand starts with self confidence.
“Even if you don’t have confidence, fake it,” said Bebel. “Preparation and discipline are the two ingredients of building confidence. Confidence is built by being flexible, prepared and disciplined. I’ve lived in seven houses and five different states while I was pursuing my goals. That’s called flexibility.”
When establishing a brand, Bebel said producing content is essential.
“Content is king,” he said. “If you have the ability to drive compelling content, you will always have an opportunity.”
In addition to branding, Bebel said students must take initiative and gain exposure. He said this is the experience part of preparing for success.
“Spend your time trying to get exposure in whatever it is you want to do,” said Bebel. “I had many internships. For some of you who think you’re too young to have an internship. That’s horse manure. I had my first internship in high school. Before brilliance can be recognized, you’ve got to get the job. You’ve got to give yourself a chance to get into the game. When someone says no, that’s when a selling really begins.”
Another one of Bebel’s keys to success was having options.
“Intensify your networking,” said Bebel. “I tell my own four kids you need to do whatever it is you need to do to make sure you have options. If you don’t have options, someone might put a broom in your hand and tell you to sweep the floor.”
In parting, Bebel left students with these words.
“Don’t let someone else define success for you,” he said. “You define your success. Go out and forge your own destiny.”
Bebel is one of several speakers scheduled for the week long Intercultural
Communications Conference known as TSU Comm week. Through out this week, students have the opportunity to network and gain insight from media professionals in their chosen fields.