Blog Posts by Personal Branding Blog

  • What’s Wrong with Romney’s Personal Brand?

    On NBC's "Meet the Press," The New York Times' David Brooks shared a historical perspective that puts Mitt Romney in a unique position. The candidate's unfavorable ratings are 50%, causing Brooks to pronounce Romney: "the least popular candidate in history."

    David Gregory, host of the show, attempted to define Romney's personal brand:

    "Personally, I think he is a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he's pretending to be something he's not, some sort of cartoonish government hater."

    That is perhaps the most generous, if incomprehensible, perspective one could have formed to explain Romney's personal brand. If Gregory is correct, Romney engineered an inauthentic persona. He chose:

    Stupidity. Pretense. Hate. To hide his kindness and decency.

    In fact, if you look at both his off the record and on the record appearances, Romney's authentic personal brand has nearly 50 shades of hate. His personal brand consistently communicates sentiments that

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  • Does Your Resume Scare Recruiters?

    A student asked me to review her resume. She had just failed my business development class because she turned in no work.

    I always worry about the effect on someone's career, student visa, chances of getting into another graduate program, and just their general state of mind when I have to turn in a failing grade to the university.

    While students clearly know they aren't turning in assignments during the semester, I try to remind them before the course ends, so there's no question when the grade arrives. In her case, the week before the class ended I confirmed with her that she was failing. When she arrived in our last class she announced to me that she was "good with failing."

    It gets weirder. Because the holiday took a day out of our course schedule, I offered a one-on-one half-hour to the students in class, for career coaching or my insight into a business development issue.

    So, Ms I-Fail-And-Feel-Good-About-It scheduled her half-hour. Then, she emailed her resume to

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  • How Does Your Personal Brand Sound?

    Like breaking glass accompanied by nails on a chalkboard, this lovely girl at Sephora talked to me while I bought $358 of hope in a jar (actually three jars of faux lifting and smoothing bamboo sap based gunk from Amore Pacific for my face). She was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and screeched like tires on dry asphalt when she opened her mouth.

    Her words so badly hurt my ears; I backed away like she had a gun. I ran to a register line, clutching my attempt to reduce redness and improve collagen production via what I hope is a renewable source from the rainforest so I'm not denying the flying monkeys and man-sized insects their rightful place on earth.

    But the aural nightmare continued in the name of excellent service by this well-trained Sephora employee. She walked to an open register, screeched some syllables that somehow indicated she would ring up my purchases. I slunk over to the register and got guillotined by the sharp blade of her shrill, piercing shriek, "Let

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  • What Do the 10% Do Differently?

    Frightening but true: only ten percent of people who've undergone radical surgery to save their lives actually change their habits to benefit from the operation. From Harvard Business Review, we learn that those clotted, fat-filled arteries are pretty much refilled with more grease and cheese, rather than kept open with a better diet and exercise program by people who've survived heart bypass surgery.

    If nearly losing your life doesn't change your behavior, what will?

    You probably can't answer that question, because 90% of us wouldn't change a thing. We'd just get back on the pork express.

    But say you were among the 10% who are able to look at deeply troubling issues - and make changes to better your chances, what would you do? Where would you start?

    Of course, we're not talking about your physical health. We're talking about reviving or restyling your personal brand, your career, your relationship skills, and other qualities like resilience, perseverance, and

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  • Does Karma Matter? Try it and See

    Not being from India or anyplace where the concept of karma is taught much less embraced, I am unexpectedly buoyed by the idea that something you do today will effect your next life or next meeting. Once again, not having been formally schooled in karma, I'm not quite sure of the details, including just how quickly a good turn begets another.

    I come from Manhattan, where NOT filching someone's parking spot or cab will get you dirty looks from everyone who would have, had they enjoyed the access you had. Maybe that's the stereotype, but it's also true more often than not in my experience. Of course, Manhattan also has a surfeit of legitimate theater, the intellectual cornucopia of 92 nd street Y and bagels at the Broadway Deli to die for.

    So when I came out to Los Angeles, which looks a lot like a laid back place because almost no restaurant is open after 10 PM, it looked a lot more calm and forgiving than it actually is. LA is not a friendly town. In part, the distance

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  • Be Careful What You Call Yourself

    There's a local tavern in West Los Angeles named Mom's Bar. Given that we have an extraordinary gastropub in town named Father's Office, Mom's fits in as part of the cool, local scene. You can raise a few after work, or pop in later when the trendier crowd arrives and creates a hip club scene.

    Mom's Bar. Sounds like a nice place. It was.

    Last weekend, a co-worker went there with his wife. They are typical locals having a drink at 7:30 PM. Low key and relaxed, they happen to be on the quiet side, very courteous and polite.

    At work, he's the guy who pops into my office only when he's got something interesting to say. From time to time, he snaps a photo of my dog doing something silly, and sends it like a little gift into my email inbox. I always seek him out when I need good advice on a whole host of issues, technology, vendor management, and purchasing particularly. He also steps up when my business partner is off, taking on the questions and requests from staff, vendors

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  • New Rules for Parties Personal Brands

    I just threw our annual summer BBQ, and it would have been called the party of the season, if we still referred to entertaining that way. Most of us have stopped using the word entertaining as a verb. In fact, "entertaining" is now passive - and it's an adjective.

    For example, you might refer to one of the less disgusting, more amusing antics of the Kardashians, as entertaining. As in, "The Kardashians were less hateful and foul with each other this week. The show was almost entertaining."

    But, I digress (as I often do).

    My point is people don't give a lot of dinner parties or events at home. They don't invite people over with the intention of showing them a good time. They don't spruce up their homes and put out nice towels, new soap and clean off the counters. They don't construct a menu and make a special shopping trip, and take time to make the food, or at least assemble it attractively.

    Instead, they might have someone over "to chill." Have someone "hang out."

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  • Career Advice from HBR: Zig, Zag, Zoom!

    In this month's Harvard Business Review, global search executive Claudio Fernandez Araoz listed nine winning qualities when it comes to evaluating a candidate's leadership potential.

    - Flexibility

    - Empathy

    - Organizational awareness

    - Relationship management

    - Curiosity

    - Insight

    - Inspiration

    - Determination

    - Motivation

    What's even more interesting is that top-level recruiters are also looking for people who have switched it up a good bit. That is, ideal candidates have moved around, taken risks and yes, even failed. Moving around includes changing jobs, changing careers, going from corporate to consulting, small business to big companies (and the reverse), moving from one country to another and taking up new hobbies, causes and interests.

    Why would such a peripatetic course be so compelling? The answer might come from successful start-ups. About 70% of superior small companies wind up succeeding in businesses that were not in their

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  • Are You Out of Your Right Mind?

    If you are talented, hardworking and ambitious - why aren't you in the career position or business that truly actualizes you? What has gone wrong with the way you manage your work life? Why are so many people ignoring you, turning you down or letting you go?

    If it's happened once or twice in your life - that you were overlooked for a promotion or downsized out of a company that stayed in business - it's an anomaly. If you've had more experiences of being undervalued and underpaid, then it's something you are doing. The regrettable behavior is probably unconscious.

    There is something wrong with your brain.

    Well, not exactly your brain, more like your mind.

    In Dr. Daniel Siegel's new book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, there's an exquisite discussion about what's wrong with your neural wiring and synapse firing. The good news is, you can fix this, if you are truly motivated. Your brain remains elastic and trainable at any age.

    If you're not

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  • Why Compassion Pays Big

    If you watch enough reality TV, political debates or just follow the lead stories in the news - you come to believe that hate sells. You would be right. Hate like violence is fascinating to watch, from a distance.

    Take crime shows. You wouldn't want to be in the middle of a CSI crime scene, but it sure is fascinating to watch murder and violence on TV.

    Scathing, scorched earth rhetoric accompanied by down and dirty destruction is absolutely compelling, as long as you're not the one being ripped or ripped off.

    Case in point: house inspector Mike Holmes' HGTV show. He goes in to a damaged home and rips apart the reputation of the first house inspector. The first guy must have been a total idiot or worse, because Mike finds mold, water damage and assorted critters living among the debris behind the walls of homes sold to the duped or dim buyers. You're awash with shock and misery about dangerous wiring and icy cold basements and heartened when Mike demolishes someone else's

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