Personal Branding Basics for 2011

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Batman Knew All About Personal Branding

Personal branding isn’t really my focus. It’s something that I do because it’s part of marketing and building out the new way that social business flows. It’s something we wrote about in Trust Agents in the “Make Your Own Game” part. But I’m asked about it often. Here are my thoughts for how to move the needle with your personal brand in 2011 (and yes, you should start planning now). Oh, and Batman is going to help me illustrate along the way.

Personal Branding Basics for 2011

Decide On Your Promise

A brand is a promise. Christopher S. Penn quotes Ze Frank often, saying that it’s an “emotional aftertaste.” Think about it. You buy Apple because you know it’s well-designed. You buy Coke because you prefer the taste. You take your kids to McDonalds because you know they’ll eat it without a fuss. Whatever the promise, good or bad, that’s why you align with the brands you choose.

Brands as part of identity is even bigger. If you’re into bicycling, you’re a cyclist. You think that way. You eat accordingly. You spend your extra time accordingly.

Batman is defined by the goal to seek never-ending vengeance on criminals. That’s his promise. You’re a bad guy? It’s going to hurt. Batman is vengeance. And if someone else started being Batman, they’d pretty much have to own up to that promise, as well, or the brand would dilute.

Decide what you’re going to promise and start there.

Decide How to Best Represent that Promise

First, for everyone who calls themselves something like “The Leadership Doctor” after their name, or in lieu of their name, I challenge you to find me a very big, very successful personal brand who did the same. Richard Branson is Richard Branson. Oprah is Oprah. Madonna. Lance Armstrong. Mother Theresa.

None of them were “the something someone.”

So, now that you’re a name, how do you represent the promise of that brand? I’m turning Human Business Works into a brand that promises to help grow sustainable, relationship-minded business through helpful education and community. That’s the brand promise of HBW. By extension, my promise is that I can deliver that and that becomes part of my brand.

Batman represents his promise by executing on it, all the time. Instead of talking, he does. He executes.

Brands DO Have Symbolism, However

Don’t doubt for a moment that brands use powerful symbolism. That yellow Livestrong band shows up at quite a distance, plus echoes the Maillot Jaune (the yellow jersey) that signifies the leader and winner of the Tour De France. All good brands have symbolism. I changed the logo here at [chrisbrogan.com] to a “B” not only to represent my last name but to represent business, which is at the heart of all my projects. That “B” will show up in a lot of places coming up.

Batman’s symbol, the bat, started as a way to add to people’s fear, and then grew from there.

Promises and Symbols Require Repetition

One way that brands build and grow is by being there, and being there repeatably. When people ask me about my success and how I got to where I am now, I always answer that I was everywhere and I was helpful. Not only did I pay every dollar I could afford to show up to places, but I paid more dollars that I couldn’t afford. What was the result? (Besides ruining my credit) I was everywhere, and people started to know that I’d be there, and they knew that I’d be helpful when I was there, and that my speeches would be useful, and I built relationships that mattered. I built connections to thousands of the who’s who in my field (look at some snaps of them all here), and by that, I really mean most of the up and comers who are stars-in-the-making.

Batman showed up every time the signal was lit. He seemed to be everywhere to stop crime and to build momentum on the fact that crime wasn’t a good idea in Gotham City.

How do you repeat your promises? Live them. Be there. Be useful. Put out good media. Be at every event that you need to be at to grow your industry. Help as many up-and-comers as you can. Group and gather and cluster to build a team of helpful people. (Batman had Robin, Batgirl, and a whole cast of people you wouldn’t know the names of, unless you were as geeky as me).

Grow And Adapt

Madonna stayed on top of the heap of female musical performers for quite some time by adjusting and adapting and growing with the times. She’d morph her style but keep her Madonna-ness as she moved into new phases in her career. In every case, she’d bridge. She wouldn’t swing wildly from one style to another, but instead, she’d let her capabilities overlap into new areas, and we’d be left with the sense that she’d acquired a new style to her collection, instead of seeing her as some kind of wishy washy switcher.

Batman has been in the media since the 1930s. Back in the old days, he would slap people and use guns and do all kinds of quasi-vampire things. Then we had Adam West in the crazy 60s. Then we had Michael Keaton showing that you didn’t have to be crazy. Most recently, we have Christian Bale in the movies and all kinds of crazy stories in the comics. In all cases, the storylines get a little more modern, and keep us in the right mindset to accept that this man dresses up in personal armor and beats people all night long.

How will you grow and adapt your brand? For instance, if your branding is all around “social media” right now, what are you going to do in 2011 when that phrase starts to fall from grace? How will you vector your branding accordingly to keep it fresh and current? To quote friend Aaron Strout, “I’m in fax marketing.” See how silly that sounds? Well, in the 1990s, someone was saying that.

The Tools Are the Afterthought

Your branding isn’t a logo, the same profile pic everywhere, a catch phrase, a theme song. Your branding isn’t a clever little ploy. It’s a whole package, a whole storyline, a promise and symbols. Who cares which tools you’re using? Use the tools that let you tell that story best. If you’re looking for which tools to use, answer these questions:

  • Which tools let you tell the story the best?
  • Where is your audience?
  • What do you want them to do with your promise?
  • Are the tools you’re choosing serving this or no?
  • How much effort is it to maintain your presence and your promise?

That’s a reasonable way to look at the tools, right?

Finally: Focus On Experimentation, Execution, and Storytelling

You want to crush it in branding? Focus on experimenting to improve your abilities, executing to bring your promise into the real world, and telling stories by making useful media to build relationships with your buyers and supporters. That’s the real formula. That’s where you’ll see your rewards. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It’s the best advice I can offer you. For now.

Related posts:

  1. My Best Advice About Personal Branding
  2. Five Personal Branding Tips
  3. What You Might Not Know About Personal Branding
  4. The Real Power of Personal Branding
  5. Personal Branding

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  • http://www.sydneysmallbusinesscentre.com Amanda

    I like to start with the idea that a brand is a promise and an experience and a memory (kinda like emotional aftertaste and promise but with a bit extra). I find that if I work with brands this way it gives me easy signposts to working out what a brand stands for, working out how that promise will be delivered so that it IS an experience and one to remember – but then HOW will it be remembered…Of course you’ve got much more detail here – mostly I agree – and in particular with the last point. I like to say to clients that they should think of their marketing as happening in a lab. And labs usually focus on experimentation and testing and measuring results and tweaking…so do that with your marketing. Plan, but don’t get hung up on setting it in total concrete…(although have a balance and DO come up with a unique promise you can stand by and deliver, deliver, deliver – consistently.)

  • Paulmartin42

    The British Museum is a strong brand and partners with such as the BBC (good job, for a change) to tell the story of some of its finest objects. However, the place is not just the objects – its more the swirl of people in the spaces created to represent different times in history, its the agenda set on the steps outside, and more virtually its the way it deals with non-partners asking for stuff to be returned. Contrary-wise the people business that is the UK Labour party is re-inventing itself online by giving the floor to the people at its annual party conference; strangely though it does not feel a people business, its too distant, to a lesser extent than the recent Liberal conference it has the air of a religion going downhill.

    I am not sure that I agree with an earlier boss’s view that the organisation is either on down or the up, on average some brands survive, evolve whereas others disappear without trace particularly in IT. It has long been a given on this side of the pond that adding a national label usually led to imminent decline I hope that The Museum survives, indeed all museums with a good story; us relics need somewhere to go.

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    And that is when Margie started calling Chris the Scissor Doctor, because he sharpens everything to a point.

    A most excellent post.

    If I could learn how to do posts like this someday, that take the complex and make it reachable, I’d be a heckuva happy girl.

  • http://quityourdayjob.com.au/ Lee

    I particularly appreciate your comment regarding the names/labels people give themselves. I work in social media and whenever someone uses the title guru it drives me crazy. I’ve never seen the point put so well before (I’m going to steal it, please don’t send Batman after me).

  • http://quityourdayjob.com.au/ Lee

    I particularly appreciate your comment regarding the names/labels people give themselves. I work in social media and whenever someone uses the title guru it drives me crazy. I’ve never seen the point put so well before (I’m going to steal it, please don’t send Batman after me).

  • Mark W Schaefer

    “Personal branding isn’t really my focus.” Actually Chris, I would argue it is about 90% of what you do in your worklife. It is your focus perhaps more than anybody I know! : )

  • Mark W Schaefer

    “Personal branding isn’t really my focus.” Actually Chris, I would argue it is about 90% of what you do in your worklife. It is your focus perhaps more than anybody I know! : )

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    What I love about your blog posts is that whether you agree with them or not, they get you thinking.

    Yes, it’s true that some mega-celebrities like Richard Branson or Oprah aren’t better known as The Virgin Marketer or the Talk Show Diva, but is that what most of us are destined for? Chances are, many of us would be happy to appear on Oprah’s show as “The Dog Whisperer” or “The Tech Guru”. These handles are shortcuts to helping people remember our brands when we don’t have our own TV show or airline.

    Heck, even our shared hero, the Dark Knight, has a number of nicknames he’s known by, and he became “The Bat Man” as shorthand to remind cowardly criminals that he was there to wreak vengeance and scare the bejeezus out of them.

    I’d love to just be known as Rich Brooks and have everybody know who I am and what my brand stands for, but most people, when hearing my name, just think of the retired UK football coach. And I’ve got a friend named Keith Luke who has even bigger problems being mixed up with a “celebrity.”

    I agree that “handles” aren’t the same as a brand, but they can be the start, or the goal, of a personal branding promise.

    Rich Brooks, The Pager Guru

  • Trainwithshane

    I agree with “you are the brand”, but who you are and what your promise is can be very effectively represented with a short byline or title. I agree with Rich that I’d love to be on Oprah as “your empowerment advocate”. I asked people recently what I do or what I did for them being in my trainings, events or reading the blog? The consensus: I inspired or motivated them to believe they could succeed.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    It’s great that they feel inspired. My point is in the naming. If you go with some kind of name tag add-on, that sticks you in one silo, and/or you potentially lose the crossover branding.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    It’s great that they feel inspired. My point is in the naming. If you go with some kind of name tag add-on, that sticks you in one silo, and/or you potentially lose the crossover branding.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Pager Guru. I’m totally sticking you with that. : )

    To me, it’s a problem with being stuck in a silo. I’m thinking that when you become the “Job Search King,” and then find a job for life, then who cares? Right? THings like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Pager Guru. I’m totally sticking you with that. : )

    To me, it’s a problem with being stuck in a silo. I’m thinking that when you become the “Job Search King,” and then find a job for life, then who cares? Right? THings like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Pager Guru. I’m totally sticking you with that. : )

    To me, it’s a problem with being stuck in a silo. I’m thinking that when you become the “Job Search King,” and then find a job for life, then who cares? Right? THings like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Pager Guru. I’m totally sticking you with that. : )

    To me, it’s a problem with being stuck in a silo. I’m thinking that when you become the “Job Search King,” and then find a job for life, then who cares? Right? THings like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Pager Guru. I’m totally sticking you with that. : )

    To me, it’s a problem with being stuck in a silo. I’m thinking that when you become the “Job Search King,” and then find a job for life, then who cares? Right? THings like that.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    That would suggest that I think about branding myself all day long. All day long, I think about getting my clients a success, and/or spreading ideas that I think will grow people’s business.

    I’d say that how I execute what I do taps nicely into personal branding, and that it’s by design, but show me somewhere that I’m thumping my own chest and spending time telling you about what I do (besides my about page). : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    That would suggest that I think about branding myself all day long. All day long, I think about getting my clients a success, and/or spreading ideas that I think will grow people’s business.

    I’d say that how I execute what I do taps nicely into personal branding, and that it’s by design, but show me somewhere that I’m thumping my own chest and spending time telling you about what I do (besides my about page). : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    He’s already there. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    He’s already there. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I knew a guy nicknamed the Tree Doctor, because he smashed his head into not one, but two trees during a single cross country race in school.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I knew a guy nicknamed the Tree Doctor, because he smashed his head into not one, but two trees during a single cross country race in school.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Agreed on the silo thing. Also, the other problem is when you become the Twitter Troubadour and suddenly the market is overwhelmed with other Twitter gurus who have no clue and even less followers, suddenly your handle means nothing.

    Luckily for some people, there will always be dogs, horses and ghosts that need whispering.

    Rich Brooks
    The Friendster Marketer

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks therichbrooks

    Agreed on the silo thing. Also, the other problem is when you become the Twitter Troubadour and suddenly the market is overwhelmed with other Twitter gurus who have no clue and even less followers, suddenly your handle means nothing.

    Luckily for some people, there will always be dogs, horses and ghosts that need whispering.

    Rich Brooks
    The Friendster Marketer

  • http://www.carlnatale.com/about-carl-natale/ Carl Natale

    “Branding is a promise.” Can’t beat that advice. The other parts – symbolism, repetition, experimentation, tools – are important. But keeping the promise has at the center of what we do.

    Thank you Chris.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Hope it helps. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Hope it helps. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Hope it helps. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Hope it helps. : )

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    Ouch.

    That sounds like about where I am :)

    At least I’m an MD. Or is that more a PhD thing?

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    Ouch.

    That sounds like about where I am :)

    At least I’m an MD. Or is that more a PhD thing?

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    Ouch.

    That sounds like about where I am :)

    At least I’m an MD. Or is that more a PhD thing?

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com Marjorie Clayman

    Ouch.

    That sounds like about where I am :)

    At least I’m an MD. Or is that more a PhD thing?

  • Anonymous

    Your branding isn’t a logo, the same profile pic everywhere, a catch phrase, a theme song. Your branding isn’t a clever little ploy. It’s a whole package, a whole storyline, a promise and symbols.

    This resonated so much as branding word association is the logo, elevator pitch, cattle.

    I agree that the physical presence is vital. Virtual contact is great, but not as sustainable.

    Thank you Chris

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com Pablo Edwards

    Chris,

    Great stuff… I think a lot of companies go wrong right off the bat. There is no focus at all. I have seen it in my own work, when I try to blanket an area, thinking I just want to get the word out to everyone, no one hears. It is when I focus in on a specific, that people are actually reached. Companies who are already off course with a bad (or no) premise are in some real trouble… Thanks for pointing that out right away!

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com Pablo Edwards

    Chris,

    Great stuff… I think a lot of companies go wrong right off the bat. There is no focus at all. I have seen it in my own work, when I try to blanket an area, thinking I just want to get the word out to everyone, no one hears. It is when I focus in on a specific, that people are actually reached. Companies who are already off course with a bad (or no) premise are in some real trouble… Thanks for pointing that out right away!

  • http://www.jeffblair.squarespace.com JeffBlair

    I often associate personal branding with what we are passionate about. Lance with his bike, Trump with his real estate, Brogan with relationship-minded business. Branding something around your passion might be a good place to start for me.

    Thanks Chris for starting the wheels turning.

  • http://www.jeffblair.squarespace.com JeffBlair

    I often associate personal branding with what we are passionate about. Lance with his bike, Trump with his real estate, Brogan with relationship-minded business. Branding something around your passion might be a good place to start for me.

    Thanks Chris for starting the wheels turning.

  • http://www.jeffblair.squarespace.com JeffBlair

    I often associate personal branding with what we are passionate about. Lance with his bike, Trump with his real estate, Brogan with relationship-minded business. Branding something around your passion might be a good place to start for me.

    Thanks Chris for starting the wheels turning.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I was doing an interview with someone recently where they were asking me whether I thought small businesses cared about branding at all. I think that lots of small businesses think about product/service/company branding as fluff. I see it as a kernel component.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I was doing an interview with someone recently where they were asking me whether I thought small businesses cared about branding at all. I think that lots of small businesses think about product/service/company branding as fluff. I see it as a kernel component.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I was doing an interview with someone recently where they were asking me whether I thought small businesses cared about branding at all. I think that lots of small businesses think about product/service/company branding as fluff. I see it as a kernel component.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Glad it worked for you. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Glad it worked for you. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Glad it worked for you. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I do love that book. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I do love that book. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I do love that book. : )

  • Tonyfarley

    Bill Nye The Science Guy!

  • Tonyfarley

    Bill Nye The Science Guy!

  • http://promodsharma.com Promod Sharma

    Chris points out that those with mega-successful personal brands didn’t call themselves “the something someone”. Most of us aren’t known well enough to get by on own names alone — yet! Last week, I gave a copy of Trust Agents to a counselor who helps laid off people find work. She never heard of Brogan or Smith before.

    Even the best known personal brands benefit from brief descriptions. For instance, Branson might be called a billionaire adventurer, Oprah a talk show host, Madonna a controversial performer and Batman a masked crime fighter. We can plant the descriptions ourselves. Something like “the leadership doctor” is generic and could apply to many competitors. I’ve been called “an actuary with a personality” or “an advisor’s advisor”.

    PS The “B” for Brogan and Business is a great idea. My projects are being rebranded with “PS” to connect my initials with a postscript — a sign of an extra personal touch.

  • http://promodsharma.com Promod Sharma

    Chris points out that those with mega-successful personal brands didn’t call themselves “the something someone”. Most of us aren’t known well enough to get by on own names alone — yet! Last week, I gave a copy of Trust Agents to a counselor who helps laid off people find work. She never heard of Brogan or Smith before.

    Even the best known personal brands benefit from brief descriptions. For instance, Branson might be called a billionaire adventurer, Oprah a talk show host, Madonna a controversial performer and Batman a masked crime fighter. We can plant the descriptions ourselves. Something like “the leadership doctor” is generic and could apply to many competitors. I’ve been called “an actuary with a personality” or “an advisor’s advisor”.

    PS The “B” for Brogan and Business is a great idea. My projects are being rebranded with “PS” to connect my initials with a postscript — a sign of an extra personal touch.

  • http://rickcaffeinated.com Rick Stilwell

    You mention at the end “storytelling”, and I’ve already seen a few folks over the past few weeks/days mention that telling good stories will begin to be the variable that sets folks apart. Thanks for posting from the bleeding edge – taking this one to heart and moving on with it.

  • http://rickcaffeinated.com Rick Stilwell

    You mention at the end “storytelling”, and I’ve already seen a few folks over the past few weeks/days mention that telling good stories will begin to be the variable that sets folks apart. Thanks for posting from the bleeding edge – taking this one to heart and moving on with it.

  • http://rickcaffeinated.com Rick Stilwell

    You mention at the end “storytelling”, and I’ve already seen a few folks over the past few weeks/days mention that telling good stories will begin to be the variable that sets folks apart. Thanks for posting from the bleeding edge – taking this one to heart and moving on with it.

  • http://www.thewritedesignco.com/ BillionDollarBlogger

    I have often heard people say your logo is a brand. Am I to understand that your are your brand and the logo is only a part of that brand?

  • http://www.thewritedesignco.com/ BillionDollarBlogger

    I have often heard people say your logo is a brand. Am I to understand that your are your brand and the logo is only a part of that brand?

  • Anonymous

    You hit the nail on the head. A slogan or descriptor gives an intro if only slightly. For instance I’ve been known for getting right to the point with business dealings ( I own a real estate company). I’m not big on small talk and fluff. Recently a prospective buyer called an wanted to get to the point of how much he could sell his home for and he stated “I called you because you are known for telling it like it is.” That became the birth of my new tagline,slogan or whatever you want to call it. “Tellis, telling it like it is”. It works.
    Thanks for letting me post

  • Anonymous

    You hit the nail on the head. A slogan or descriptor gives an intro if only slightly. For instance I’ve been known for getting right to the point with business dealings ( I own a real estate company). I’m not big on small talk and fluff. Recently a prospective buyer called an wanted to get to the point of how much he could sell his home for and he stated “I called you because you are known for telling it like it is.” That became the birth of my new tagline,slogan or whatever you want to call it. “Tellis, telling it like it is”. It works.
    Thanks for letting me post

  • http://www.thewritedesignco.com/ BillionDollarBlogger

    This is great information as I am still molding my writing and blogging business, The Write Design Company. I have deemed myself the Billion Dollar Blogger for two reasons – 1) that’s my ultimate financial goal and 2) I want people to feel that much better about themselves after they leave one of my sessions. So, is the billion dollar feeling I want for clients part of that brand? Please advise.

    On a more interesting note, I have a blog, Shorty: Your Chicago South Side Resource which grew from a newsletter I created nearly 10 years ago. When most readers see me, they call me Shorty (and yes I’m short), which is great. This will also help with things I want to do in the community. Is it safe to say that Shorty is my brand for sharing information and helping the community?

    One last thing, thank you for the encouragement about being everywhere. This is soooo important. I am working on getting to the Blog World Expo next month. I don’t know how I’m going to get there, but I’ll be sure to seek you out Chris

  • http://www.jaynenavarre.com Jayne Navarre

    It could be said that everyone has a personal brand, but not everyone knows what it is or does anything with it. For example; being lazy is a brand just like being helpful is a brand. I think in a simple form, it’s what people think of first when they think of you. And, sometimes that is a “feature” such as “social media guru.” A feature of you, is not the ideal position to own in someone’s mind because as you say, things change. A strong brand will be about a benefit. I work with law firms, who are notorious for weak branding, primarily because they are focused on features, rather than benefits. As you say, a brand is a promise and the promise of the best brands usually involve a benefit to the end user. So you could ask: What problem do I solve that others need? There’s your brand, right? Maybe?

  • Lynn Jericho

    Wow! What a useful post! I just got over the name as brand resistance and I am in the throes of articulating the promise. The time has come to do the big, new website and it is pushing me to all these essential declarations so thanks for the confirming push. And for so consistently fulfilling your promise. Thumbs up, Chris.

  • Lynn Jericho

    Wow! What a useful post! I just got over the name as brand resistance and I am in the throes of articulating the promise. The time has come to do the big, new website and it is pushing me to all these essential declarations so thanks for the confirming push. And for so consistently fulfilling your promise. Thumbs up, Chris.

  • http://www.daddoes.com Dan Dad Does

    Excellent post. Yes, too many people are trying to tell the world why they are the best at X. Anyone can say they are the best at something, but the people who make a promise to their clients and keep it – every time – they really are the best and never have to say it!

  • http://www.daddoes.com Dan Dad Does

    Excellent post. Yes, too many people are trying to tell the world why they are the best at X. Anyone can say they are the best at something, but the people who make a promise to their clients and keep it – every time – they really are the best and never have to say it!

  • http://www.addingitup.com Rod Watkins

    Personally I got two really important messages from your post. First, decide what you’re brand stands for. What’s the promise behind it. And two, adjust the brand to the times but keep the promise intact. Those were my take-away messages.

  • http://www.addingitup.com Rod Watkins

    Personally I got two really important messages from your post. First, decide what you’re brand stands for. What’s the promise behind it. And two, adjust the brand to the times but keep the promise intact. Those were my take-away messages.

  • http://www.missgraham.com Stephanie Graham

    I was just discussing this topic with a art director buddy of mine when I was re-thinking the visual design of my brand. Its more about who you are and what you want folks to think about you and what they are saying about you FIRST, that has to be solidifed before you can approach your brand visually.
    So this was a good post to read to piggy back on that.
    Thanks!!

  • http://www.missgraham.com Stephanie Graham

    I was just discussing this topic with a art director buddy of mine when I was re-thinking the visual design of my brand. Its more about who you are and what you want folks to think about you and what they are saying about you FIRST, that has to be solidifed before you can approach your brand visually.
    So this was a good post to read to piggy back on that.
    Thanks!!

  • Anonymous

    Chris – great post (and I love your new Blog design — if you updated it a while ago, I apologize — i mainly see you in my RSS reader).

    And by the way, I love the “Fax Marketing” reference for one reason and one reason alone. It shows that in spite of the 8 billion people that ping you/try and grab your attention, you noticed that @KyleFlaherty and I regularly joke about fax marketing (and I think we had a good DM thread going a year or two back on this very topic).

    Either way, it’s always a nice little surprise to get the Google alert that you’ve appeared in a Chris Brogan blog post. ;)

    Best,
    Aaron | @aaronstrout

  • http://tomhackelman.net/?p=476 Chris Brogan and Personal Branding Basics for 2011 | My Brand Consultant

    [...] strongly recommend you check out Chris Brogan’s blog post!  Personal Branding Basics for 2011. AKPC_IDS += "476,";Popularity: unranked [...]

  • http://mydarabell.com/ Dara Bell

    This is epic Chris. I say this just to provoke debate. I wondered if you promised nothing and delivered epic how that would work in branding too. I say that to build on what Rob Watkins says that you have to adapt -Grow and Adapt.

    I fully agree with you on signs and symbols. They need to re-inforce whatever claim you make, whatever direction you go in. Personally I like your focus on Customer Focus the branding in and words like Human Business supports this. There is no incongruence, the pictures you use fun and intriging also add to some implied fun and focus on community. Look how blog readers tell the story too, interpret meaning and add colour, flavour and texture to the branding. You cannot buy that from a personal brander consultant. I feel that has to earnt from your hard work for which you do much.

    I like your concentration on the other characters in the relationships and having a team realising lately if I am to grow I will need to assemble some more people, not followers on Twitter, not Facebook Friends but allys in toe those that share my ideals.

    Lastly in all the branding talk out there what about experience what about when you are on the phone to your graphic design, are the people coming into the office actually experiencing what you are offering. IS THE BRAND BEING LIVED. Are you eating your dogfood. I do not mean Chris Brogan. I hope I am building on things Carl is talking about.

    Lastly I have been trying to decode what makes Richard Branson successful, after you started talking about him and I think it is just that experience, you know what you are going to get, you know as he that his values will deliver up something different, I am not sure he is making a promise. I think Virgin Trains did not achieve anything. I think Virgin Brides did not achieve this. I think he said look I have values, the values drove the experience and the experince was the same over and over again even if the train service was poor, despite a dated and misused track. They could see he had aspirations and intention to improve conditions for the Customer. To me I feel like Rick that repeated storytelling backed up by experiences will trump a unique promise of value.

  • http://www.home-business-planet.com/ Maryjohn457

    Wow! most people think the brand is in the logo-You did a good job explaining-Excellent!

  • http://twitter.com/ginarafkind ginarafkind

    Hi Chris-
    Branding has been a little confusing to me in the past, but not anymore. Thank you so much for sharing your insights about this topic. It cleared things up quite a bit for me and I will be referring back to it to help me stay on track. I’m going through a bit of a transformation in my business in the next few months so this post was perfect timing.
    Thanks!
    Gina

  • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

    hey chris, this has been bugging me for a while:

    how do you search on flickr to find images that are embeddable? thanks!

  • http://mydarabell.com/ Dara Bell

    The Afterthought
    Think I like this Hedgehog idea, not sure about the hedgehog but what Jim Collins speaks of having values, the yin and consistency of service to the customer and yang of innovation to adapt and improve conditions can provide answers. Surely experience and having disipline to provide consistent excellence is better than a handful of promises.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan
  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan
  • http://twitter.com/darleenw darleenw

    Focus On Experimentation, Execution, and Storytelling – I like this and fact that branding is = reputation or promise. Also always wondered about the B for your logo. Great information and food for thought. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/YalandaICI yalanda russell

    I never thought about the need for my profile pictures to be the same. I deffinitely need to integrate my Twitter and my LinkedIn photos.

    Good article here.

  • http://raventools.com Arienne

    Mother Theresa was a brand? I thought she was a nun.

  • Kelbert

    Chris, I’ve just recently begun to read your blogs everyday and I must thank you for your simple, honest approach to helping. I remember in an episode of The West Wing, one of the characters was asked a question if she was being helped in a certain area and she simply answered, “The help’s helped.” That’s what I would say about you and this most recent post. The help’s helped. You’ll hear more from me soon. Just keep doing what you’re doing.

  • Anonymous

    The first two lines are quotes from Chris. Sorry I forgot to include quotation marks…

  • http://www.danieldecker.net Daniel Decker

    Personally I think people get too caught up in the word “Branding.” Sometimes I see clients way too focused on the package than the product. f they simply focused their attention on delivering the goods and doing it to the very best of their abilities, possibly even doing it way better than anyone else, the branding would speak for itself.

  • http://twitter.com/BillHibbler Bill Hibbler

    I’m with you on having that support team in place, Dara. Form a mastermind group in your area and meet once a week. It will do amazing things for your business if you get the right members. Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/BillHibbler Bill Hibbler

    I’m with you on having that support team in place, Dara. Form a mastermind group in your area and meet once a week. It will do amazing things for your business if you get the right members. Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Daniel – I think branding is part of refining a craft rather than creating it. I know for me I was eager to hide behind my company “brand” for many years until I realized people were really buying from me and what I had to offer was way more valuable than what my company did. I am looking more at personal branding now as I am tweaking things to work up to the next level and as I emerge in some new markets. Thought provoking comment, I wonder if Chris has anything to add.

  • Anonymous

    Chris, thanks for validating my choice to be Shel Horowitz, and not to be the Blank Blank. It sometimes feels lonely in the marketing world, but it’s given me a great deal of flexibility to adapt my brand to my own changing reality. the passions that drove me 15 years ago when I first got online for real certainly overlap with my current passions, but there’s been quite a bit of movement. Those brands no longer represent me–but the transition was so gradual, that it didn’t jar people.

  • Anonymous

    “Chris Brogan delivers.” That has a ring to it, what do you think Chris?

  • Anonymous

    “Chris Brogan delivers.” That has a ring to it, what do you think Chris?

  • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

    thanks, that kind of helps but i guess there is not a search setting for finding ones that are embeddable.

  • http://www.ianbrodie.com ianbrodie

    Mucho helpful – thanks Chris.

    I’ve always found people who brand themselves as “the something someone” a litle creepy. Especially if someone is “King” or “Queen”. But I’d never looked to the simple point of “does anyone who’s really succesful label themselves like this?”

    Thanks

    Ian

  • http://www.latarahamying.com LaTara Ham-Ying

    This is good stuff! REALLY GOOD! I have been branding ME for sometime now and it works well. I loved where you talked about folks and their pseudo names. I felt like I was out of the loop for a while because I did not like putting a name after my name. I am LaTara Ham-Ying and goodness if that is not unique enough, I don’t know what it.

    LOVE THIS!!

  • http://www.pamelahazelton.com Pamela Hazelton

    Chris:

    You may have posted the “basics” but anyone can take these pointers and turn them into something much, much more than that. Kudos once again!

  • http://citysylvester.com Karl “City” Sylvester

    When you’re just starting to build your brand online you figure you’d create a blog, write about industry related topics that you care about, and eventually the traffic would come pouring in.

    I don’t really have to explain why that model doesn’t work in most cases. You made a great point, which was find your audience.

    Know where your prospects hang out, converse, and then join the conversation. Announce your brand to people it’s relevant to otherwise you’re wasting quite a bit of time.

    Great post.

  • http://ajleon.me ajleon

    People that have been following you for a while know you truly embody this, bro. I still remember the first time I met you in person at the first 140conf, I was completely new on the scene, and you walked right up to me and started talking to me, then introduced me to a few of people. It’s great advice, and what makes it even better is that you’re the case study. :)

  • http://ajleon.me ajleon

    People that have been following you for a while know you truly embody this, bro. I still remember the first time I met you in person at the first 140conf, I was completely new on the scene, and you walked right up to me and started talking to me, then introduced me to a few of people. It’s great advice, and what makes it even better is that you’re the case study. :)

  • http://serparaser.com/personal-branding-los-conceptos-basicos-para-el-2011.html Personal Branding. Los conceptos básicos para el 2011 | Ser para Ser

    [...] Si usted desea leer el artículo completo en inglés, lo puede hacer en este enlace. [...]

  • http://hstrial-LASJEnterprises.intuitwebsites.com/ Lascrugs

    What a good source of wisdom on this topic of branding. Thanks! I’ll be referencing your blog on one of my business products that permits a customer’s info and “brand” to become part of an App that he/she gives as a gift.

  • Bcotier

    I liked this post. In so many ways right on target. Yet I am struggling with how you presented the promise part. A “promise” has never motivated me in the first place to buy something or a use something. Using your Batman allegory, trust me, if Superman showed up when I need a super hero would I care what Batman’s promise was? Hell no. My need was met.

    I buy and use things based first of all on an emotional basis then I rationalize it. If there is no emotional basis to try you then no promise, or stats, or blah blah blah you make is ever going to change that.

    So back to the promise—it’s retention…. Ok Batman makes a promise to always respond and he does. So when Batman and Superman both show up I would put my faith in Batman to save me, because he’s delivered before. He started a relationship with me. Therefore when given a choice I’m going with the one I already have a relationship with… Until Batman does not deliver. then well there is always Superman.

    There is where you were right on target. You sustain your brand preeminence in the mind of your audience by delivering on your promise or expectations is another way of putting it. But remember the audience really does not care about your “promise”. Anyone who has been in a relationship knows the first kiss was not based on a promise— it was based on pure emotion. So the question needs to be, “What is it that you emotionally satisfy in your customer?” and I can guarantee you is it not a list of services.

  • http://myndfuel.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/when-it-comes-to-goals-everyones-a-marketer/ When it comes to goals, everyone’s a marketer « myndfuel

    [...] out Chris Brogan’s post on personal branding…some great advice that you can leverage to set goals and market yourself in [...]

  • http://twitter.com/myndfuel Mark Wojtasiak

    Great post Chris…thanks for the advice. Currently, I am going through some goal setting exercises for both work and personal for 2011, and this will be a huge help. The mindset for setting my work goals took me down a path of opportunity, message, competition, alliances, and customer. The more I think about it, the more I define what I am setting out to accomplish professionally, the more it looks like a personal brand campaign. It just happens to be in the workplace. I just need to be sure my personal brand at work, and my personal brand outside of work are one in the same. Otherwise, I’m just fooling myself. Thanks for the mind fuel.

  • http://twitter.com/myndfuel Mark Wojtasiak

    Great post Chris…thanks for the advice. Currently, I am going through some goal setting exercises for both work and personal for 2011, and this will be a huge help. The mindset for setting my work goals took me down a path of opportunity, message, competition, alliances, and customer. The more I think about it, the more I define what I am setting out to accomplish professionally, the more it looks like a personal brand campaign. It just happens to be in the workplace. I just need to be sure my personal brand at work, and my personal brand outside of work are one in the same. Otherwise, I’m just fooling myself. Thanks for the mind fuel.

  • http://natejoostberns.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/social-media/ Impacts of Social Media « Nate Joostberns's Blog

    [...] to be an invaluable resource that needs to be used by businesses and individuals for that matter. Personal branding is also a very important part of marketing and social media is a great tool to help achieve what [...]

  • http://twitter.com/AjevaCom Ajeva

    I like your analogies here. I think a statement got stuck in my head ” A brand is a promise. ” – It’s probably the part I’ll remember all throughout my brand-building days. You’re very much right about many things. What makes ladies love Hermes? The brand is more than just your name and logo in the end. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/AjevaCom Ajeva

    I like your analogies here. I think a statement got stuck in my head ” A brand is a promise. ” – It’s probably the part I’ll remember all throughout my brand-building days. You’re very much right about many things. What makes ladies love Hermes? The brand is more than just your name and logo in the end. Thanks!

  • http://reallifemadman.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/30thursday-five-means-were-staying-alive/ #30Thursday, Five Means we’re staying alive! :) « Musings on Marketing and other Morsels

    [...] like you could figure it out in five hours. If you’re interested in more information on how to plan and implement personal branding, this is the post for [...]

  • Juliakarr

    Great post. Thank you!

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Well good. I’m happy that worked for you. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Well good. I’m happy that worked for you. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    The workplace is a perfect spot for a personal brand. Otherwise, you’re just a cubicle farmer.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    The workplace is a perfect spot for a personal brand. Otherwise, you’re just a cubicle farmer.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    I think you’re looking at it from the other side of the spectrum. The promise is knowing what you get when you get Batman. You would also know you get when you get Superman. As buyers, we decide which promise you want to go with. I bought a 2010 Chevy Camaro SS because I fricken love the car. It’s my own personal batmobile. I could’ve bought an Audi R8 (well, if I wanted to pay 3x more), and that would’ve been a different promise: the Iron Man promise, I guess. : )

    When I say it’s a promise, the brand is a promise to the buyer that you’ll get what you think.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    That’s the only way I know how to be, AJ. I’m glad I introduced you around. It’d have been really mean to horde you to myself.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Lots of small businesses think of branding and packaging as after-effects of the bigger story. It’s not that way. It’s built in, like glazing the top of a croissant to give it that appropriate shine.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    You’re worth a lot more to me as Shel then you’ll ever be as the blank blank. : )

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Name any other nun alive or dead (besides saints).

    I rest my case.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Name any other nun alive or dead (besides saints).

    I rest my case.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Name any other nun alive or dead (besides saints).

    I rest my case.

  • http://johnmclachlan.ca/2010/09/30/honesty-value-1-of-a-winning-personal-brand/ HONESTY – Value 1 Of A Winning Personal Brand « John McLachlan

    [...] A good post on this topic can be found from Chris Brogan: Branding Basic 2011 [...]

  • http://www.expion.com EricaMcClenny

    Good branding prompts a thought, great branding prompts an emotion which leads to an action. In today’s world action is driving marketing.

    It’s not called “social” media because we’re only talking to ourselves…just sayin’

  • http://www.expion.com EricaMcClenny

    Good branding prompts a thought, great branding prompts an emotion which leads to an action. In today’s world action is driving marketing.

    It’s not called “social” media because we’re only talking to ourselves…just sayin’

  • http://businessbeware.biz/ Ashley

    Such an awesome post Chris!

  • Valeriy

    Great post. This is very practical advice and easy to understand without any business jargon, it was simple and to the point. As a university student who is minoring in Communications/PR I enjoy blogs like these because they are written by real world people who have real world experience in the field. The batman analogy – which was humorous – served the point. You are correct in that repetition is needed for a brand to become known and trusted. There is too much “new” junk out there that screams for attention but doesn’t deliver the goods. Also great point on the promise, I never thought of branding in promise terms rather I understood branding to describe the product. It really is all about the “aftertaste”

  • http://www.valeriyguy.com/blog/2010/09/blog-comments/ Blog Comments | valeriy guy

    [...] Personal Branding Basics for 2011 by Chris Brogan [...]

  • http://www.alexdumitru.com Alex Dumitru

    Excellent post, Chris !

  • http://personalbranding101.com/sunday-scoop-how-to-build-a-personal-brand-in-2011-and-more Sunday Scoop: How to Build a Personal Brand in 2011 and More — Personal Branding 101

    [...] Personal Branding Basics for 2011 by Chris Brogan. [...]

  • http://blog.sageerpsolutions.com/5-ways-to-establish-yourself-as-an-authority-online/ 5 Ways to Establish Yourself as an Authority Online | The Business Management Blog

    [...] value often – Chris Brogan talks about personal branding in his book Trust Agents and in a recent blog post. As a man who has built a strong personal brand, Chris knows a thing or two about branding yourself [...]

  • Anonymous

    That’s so sweet! Thanks for brightening my day.

  • Anonymous

    That’s so sweet! Thanks for brightening my day.

  • http://marketingwithmoxie.com/2010/09/logocop-making-a-citizens-arrest-on-your-brand-image/ Marketing with Moxie

    LogoCop: Making a Citizen’s Arrest on Your Brand Image…

    I met with a group of business colleagues recently for coffee and we got around to talking about my business. Immediately, a friend who has been hitting the networking groups lately pulled out a stack of business cards to show me some “gems……

  • Arienne

    So if lots of people know who you are, you’re a brand? I thought that was called popularity. Or celebrity. Or infamy. Do any of those things make you an automatic brand?

    Or is making money off/with your “self” what defines you as a brand?

  • http://twitter.com/Annephilia anne rajkumari

    The comparison with Batman made it more comprehensible. Great post, thank you.

  • http://www.blackfridayplanet.com/ William Hushburn

    My audience is at random so I haven’t got a clue about it.

  • http://www.margieclayman.com/my-100-favorite-posts-of-2010 My 100 favorite posts of 2010 | Margie's Library of Marketing Musings and Morsels

    [...] Personal Branding Basics for 2011, by Chris Brogan. Only Chris could use the word “basics” and have it change a way of [...]

  • http://www.socialmediamercenary.com/self-promotion-another-view Self-Promotion: Another View | Social Media Mercenary

    [...] Chris Brogan: Personal Branding Basics for 2011 [...]

  • http://ramseymohsen.com/2011/02/2209/ www.ramseymohsen.com

    [...] Brogan: Personal Branding Basics View Comments        blog comments powered by Disqus [...]

  • http://www.businessearth.com/recruit-geny-run-walls/ Want to recruit Gen Y – and have them run through walls for you? | BusinessEarth

    [...] “work for” you. We have strong senses of self and want our careers to stay in line with our personal brands.  We are idealistic and need to know that our actions are creating real value for the world around [...]

  • http://alwainburgess.com Alwain

    Awesome post…just in time

  • http://tommy.ismy.name Tommy is my name

    What I love about you using Batman as an example is this-

    Batman let the scum of Gotham define him. His enemies knew to be afraid because he was every bit as fucking scary as the most sinister. And the scarier the bad guy, the more terrifying Batman would become.

    And that’s what people knew him for first. Not necessarily that he was the “world’s greatest detective” or a trained ninja, but that he was just plain downright terrifying.

    If you were just some low level street thug and you somehow heard about Batman tearing the latest supervillain a new one, Batman just became that much more horrifying to you.Because now he’s board, and it’s you and your street level thug buddies that Batman views as nothing more than a morning jog.

    I think that is really the foundation of New Marketing and new branding, letting your target market define you, not you defining your target market.

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