Blog Posts by Personal Branding Blog

  • How to Buy the Perfect Business Gift

    What is a gift supposed to convey? Is it an expression of how you feel about the recipient? Would that be affection? Gratitude? Respect?

    Or is a gift meant to convey something about you? Intelligence? Adventure? Humor?

    If you are serious about your reputation - what we now call your personal brand, the ideal gift will say something about both you and your recipient. It will have the flavor or essence of your personal brand and a hearty helping of an interest of theirs. Thus you are underscoring the intersection between the two of you.

    For example, I am Hello Kitty's biggest fan. Nearly a disciple, actually. Hence, for a client who collects contemporary art, I've purchased the perfect gift. It's Hello Kitty, Hello Art! by Roger Gastman. The pages feature the art of Gary Baseman and Yosuke Ueno among others - all with their particular take on Hello Kitty.

    That is the secret to buying the perfect item. I call it the: "me-and-you gift."

    Give something that is special

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  • How to Get a Mentor

    The first mistake most people make when seeking out a mentor is asking a role model to take on that responsibility. Mentoring is an enormous chore. Don't underrate the undertaking of it. You are asking someone to take a personal interest in your development.

    It reminds me of a first kiss. At least, that's when a first kiss was a first kiss (and the US dollar was backed by the gold standard).

    Ideally, you didn't ask for your first kiss. It just came naturally, arising from the circumstances you found yourself in. In other words, better at a beach party bonfire filled with excitement when your team won the big game, than during a middle school spin-the-bottle moment in the basement (AKA you have to kiss me because the bottle is pointed at you and I spun it).

    When you ask for mentoring, you are asking to be important, worthy and interesting.

    You are asking to siphon off some of your mentor candidate's natural resources. You are inquiring if this other person would like

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  • How Thought Crimes Kill Personal Brands

    After leading a weekend boot camp in Personal Branding on the UCLA campus, I am worn out and so are our "campers." Sixteen hours of anything is hard, and personal branding is no exception. It's not like we were lifting boulders or building walls, except that we were: mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

    The first stage of personal branding is the work of human development. That is: finding out about your authentic self, revealing your true aspirations and then pinning together a pattern of achievements that may have started from your early childhood.

    The real, valid work of personal branding involves digging into your past. We do this because the first leg of your personal brand triad is something we call your "Forever" word - the word that describes a quality that you've always had, something that has been the foundation of who you are, from your earliest memories.

    I wish it were a matter of looking back and fondly recalling all the wonderful things you've done. I

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  • Are You Your Last Name?

    There is a man selling his last name. He's ready and willing to take whatever last name YOU assign to him, for the right price. The bidding starts at

    This isn't so strange if you know the man, James Sadler (or whatever you or any other winning bidder chooses for him to use through 2013). He's already had three last names, as his mother apparently married, remarried, and remarried again until this year's divorce. There might be some other circumstances, but at least a couple of marriages and divorces seem evident.

    It's not as though Jason Sadler's name is worth nothing. He has a byline in the media outlets that carry his work, including the Wall St. Journal, and more. So, you get a whack at your company name - or any other name you choose to associate with him - being on everything he publishes, along with his verified Twitter account, Facebook and the litany that is his social media presence.

    I love this guy.

    Not because he's

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  • Where Success is Really Hidden

    Not all successful people are happy. Some successful people are stressed out, miserable, angry, frustrated, depressed and lonely. They are barely able to get up in the morning. They trudge through the day. They might as well be breaking rocks on a chain gang in a 110-degree heat, with no water breaks. Their health is bad, their weight is out of control, their back hurts, their eyes hurt, their teeth hurt - basically their life hurts.

    A miserable successful person has a terrible personal brand.

    Whether you see them online or in life, their presence reflects their misery. They have to beat the bushes to get clients or the next big job. They have to do a lot of work at fire sale prices or less than the best wages. Their big ideas never get fulfilled. They are just working stiffs. Some own their businesses, but they still suffer everyday and they don't know why because they cannot blame their "boss." They are the boss! And, they're afraid or embarrassed to say: "I hate my

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  • The Only Reason to Create a Personal Brand

    The purpose of personal branding is to ATTRACT what you want from others, without the stress of selling, sending out dozens of ignored resumes or begging investors to fund your venture.

    In other words, the only reason to create a personal brand is to help people who HAVE the things you want, enjoy the privilege and pleasure of giving those things to you.

    Of course, the transaction must be good for them, and you must be qualified to deliver what they need.

    What you have for your audience

    That "thing" you want could be a job in a new industry, a promotion in the company you're currently in, a consulting gig, new clients who pay their bills on time, orders for your products, or investors who are enthusiastic but not overbearing. Your personal brand might be geared to your getting media coverage, a reality show, a steady flow of referrals, or recommendations from people in high places: whatever it is you want to attract and leverage.

    But most important, the goal of

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  • Fundamentals of Personal Branding

    Before you can make money, you must make meaning.

    What you mean must fulfill a specific unmet need in a well-defined target audience, AND be perceived as special and valuable.

    Your target audience is the people who can hire you, buy from you, invest with you or refer you to people who are able to make your goals a reality. For example, consider this personal brand. Linda is a trustworthy realtor who specializes in properties under $450,000 in Laguna Beach, frequently serving families who are relocating from out of state. She has a caring attitude and a gentle, advice-giving manner. She offers her friendship as much as her services. This uniquely informs her personal brand. Anyone can buy and sell houses. Linda's personal qualities are what attracts her target audience. Her social media profiles and posts, her photos and shares, even the companies and causes she likes, reflect the person she really is, the PERSON you want representing your interests.

    If you saw her

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  • Brand Ryan Says 30% Are Takers?

    Wow, what a brand platform! First, Republican candidate Romney pronounces 48% of us as not taking responsibility for ourselves, and then his running mate Ryan says 30% of us are "takers" not "makers."

    Who is the angry candidate? Who seems foreign to America?

    The current Republican brand - or at least the brand that's pounding ads in swing states, is targeted to a very narrow slice of their own party. The ads are very anti-social, anti-equality, anti-healthcare, anti-birth control and slashed government services except if a woman gets pregnant and therefore is subject to a vaginal ultrasound. Did you ever think that all that would garner about half of the electorate?

    Given all that, and the economics of what appears to be the Republican plan, it seems about 120,000 US families who earn more than $8 million annually should be steadfastly Republican. This fraction of 300 million Americans, fits into a bit more than two NFL stadiums.

    It seems that everyone else stands in

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  • The Bain of Obama’s Brand

    If everything good about you was eclipsed by someone's loud voice, if everything you believed was in the shadow of someone else who communicated better - you would be angry. But if anger were the cryponite of your brand - the one thing that if you were, you would never get where you wanted to go?

    You would be President Obama. Who got "bained" on the first debate.

    The ability to shape shift is a particular gift of Republican candidate Willard Mitt Romney. He has even given up his first name. Not in favor of something better or more endearing or more familiar - or even more reflective of whom his is or wants to be. Mitt is just somewhat better than Willard.

    And, what could be better than the caught on tape pronouncement that 48% of Americans are slackers - than saying that 100% of the American people are great? That Medicare is perfect the way it is, but how about vouchers, too? That social programs are great and should be fully funded, but how about doing it at the state

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  • Oh Canada, Why Did I Say That?

    You might think of Canada as a suburb of the USA, after all that is for the most part, the way we treat it. It seems to be moving through space just a bit north of us. Canada has cowboys, entrepreneurs, waiters, teachers and the assortment of "ologists" and others we have.

    But on my last visit, it became clear that Canada is not like the US in any way that really matters when it comes to the nature of the people who live in these two countries. Despite where I traveled and to whom I spoke, there was pervasive evidence that collectivism is a natural state of being when people live together. And that sense of community did not diminish or dim the evidence that Canadians equally embrace personal responsibility as a natural state of being when people live together.

    This authentic amalgam of collectivism and rugged individualism seems to inform the personal brands of most Canadians, despite their prized diversity among race, religious practices, political views, and more.

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