Category Archives: Personal Branding

The Problem With Experts

We can all agree that it’s important to distinguish between real experts and those posing to be experts. People look to experts for advice on any number of subjects.

I remember sitting in class at the University of Texas where I majored in Government, and looked over one of my professor’s accomplishments. He was a Harvard grad, wrote dozens of articles which had been published, and even co-authored a book on a subject he was expert on. The one thing missing from this list of accomplishments was any actual experience in politics, government, or international relations. He was a student ALL of his life. His ideas and points of views were all molded by other people’s experiences. He may have known more than most people about politics and how government technically works, but does he really have the authority to call himself an expert if he’s never spent any time in the field? Is he familiar with the nuances that goes into every day decision making, or is he going off a hunch?

In my field today where my company sits at the bleeding edge of the intersection between social and commerce, I am surrounded by so called experts. They are experts of web 2.0, social media, and any other term you can think of that’ll make a Twitter lover salivate. Yet you ask one of these experts how to effectively create a program that will drive sales through social applications, and you will get answers that are far more chimerical than actionable.

I’m sure everybody has had experience with these types, but we’ve also all been fooled by them. Next time you talk to somebody who mentions they’re an expert, dig beneath the surface; you never know what you might find. Remember that false expertise is usually hidden behind the cloak of broad generalizations and limited experiences.

Sean Hannity, so-called Economics expert, who never graduated college and has been in radio his entire career

Cut Through The Clutter

Have it your way. Talk all you want. Converse on Twitter. I do it too.

But at the end of the day, results speak for themselves. Networking by conversing on Twitter is plain and simple, a terrible way to network. Look at the top people on Twitter based on followers. The majority of them have created real-life tangible results that are changing the world. Are they using Twitter the same way you are?

Information overload2511539541_b8c0356486

Everywhere I turn these days, I am inundated with advertising. Everybody wants my attention. Brands try to reach me on television, online, when I’m on the bus, listening to the radio, and even when I’m working out in the gym.

Lately, I’ve been swarmed by personal branding. When I’m on Twitter, I feel like a I’ve walked in to a storm of terrible personal branding. Everybody has a platform, wants to be heard, and yells in my ear. It’s like coming to a party where there’s no host, everybody’s screaming, and the only thing that matters is what kind of car you drive, or in Twitter’s case, how many followers you’ve amassed.

I could talk for hours about my wrestle with Twitter. Is it worth my time if I’m trying to have an information-light diet? Is there a real ROI? What is the value if almost everyone on there is selfish and I don’t have any real experiences with 99% of my followers?

As Alana Taylor puts it, Twitter satisfies “the selfishness of being famous, the greed of wanting instant results, the need to speak and be heard, the freedom and equality in being able to take part in a conversation no matter your economic or social status”.

So, if everyone is on Twitter for their own benefit, then is there an extremely attractive ROI from it? I think there are other ways to build your brand in a more tangible and meaningful way. It’s one that may not garner you Twitter followers, but it’s one that will expand your network of people who have had more memorable experiences that cut through the clutter of noise on the web.

Network by doing


What a concept! It speaks for itself, but it’s simplicity is the core of it’s power. By getting involved and taking action, you will create incredible relationships that have amazing value. The relationships you can create by taking action will far exceed any Twitter relationship you can make. What are some ways to make this happen?

Read the original post on Personal Branding Blog

Your Personal Branding Business Model

One of the most important aspects of creating a personal brand, is first attempting to determine what your goals are. Are you trying to become the President of the United States, the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a serial entrepreneur, a social activist? This will certainly help you understand how to frame your brand, how to develop it, and how to continually move you towards your end goals.

In order to do this systematically, you should think of your personal brand just as a company does of it’s own brand; like a business.


It starts with the product

That’s right, it starts with the person. After all, it is a personal brand, and you ARE the product. Write down how you want to be defined. What are the attributes of your product. Are you innovative? Are you a trendsetter? What are your specialties? If you were sitting on a shelf at a store, why would someone choose you over the competition?

Make sure you can deliver

Great customer service defines companies. It also defines you. Great customer service means you are servicing people who have already given you a chance. That means creating deep, meaningful relationships. It involves listening as much as it involves talking and responding.

Personal service involves great follow-ups with great communication.

You have to remember that your customers have immense power, and if you service your following correctly, they should be creating word of mouth for you. If they’re not, then you need to either re-vamp your product or your customer service.


Finish Strong

I received great advice the other day from my friend and boss, Brant Barton. “Finishing strong is more important than how you start”.

It took me a while to really understand how true his advice was.  Common wisdom says you need to make a good first impression. First impressions leave a lasting memory, right? Even a simple Google search for advice on first impressions, and you’ll be flooded by advice on all sorts of “rules”, “tips”, and even videos.  Try the same search for finishing strong and you’ll probably be underwhelmed.

However, I did find one result which was particularly fascinating.  It’s by a man named Nick Vujicic.  Nick Vujicic was born with no arms or legs, but is using his disability to inspire people.  He gives  a very moving speech called “Are You Going To Finish Strong?”.   I suggest giving this a watch; It’s only two minutes and forty seconds long and it may get you to think differently about life and how you approach problems. 

The most interesting thing to me is, that we HAVE been taught to finish strong, but finishing strong takes more effort.  That makes it harder advice to listen to. Finishing strong involves hard work, concentration, and a clear focus on an end goal.

Think about it from the athlete’s point of view.  What’s more important to the athlete, how they start the race or how they finish?  For the corporate executive, is it more important to start a presentation correctly or to finish strong?  What do you think would create a more lasting memory?   While the start IS important, the finish is everything.  It determines whether you win the race or lose.  It determines whether you get the sale or don’t.

A good start will help you get to the finish line faster, but without a strong push at the end,  you’ll come up short.


Seth Godin’s Tribes and Why The World Needs Personal Branding

This post was initially posted on Personal Branding Blog.

My introduction to Tribes

I was at my desk a few months back, when the CEO of my company sent an email saying that he was purchasing a copy of Seth Godin’s Tribes for anyone in the company who wanted to read it. Given that it was Godin’s new book, I was extremely eager to get my hands on it.

In the book, Godin goes on to explain that the social media tools we have access to today, give people the ability to make a difference in their communities, workplaces, and the world. The book discusses how our world needs leaders now more than ever before, and explains how it’s easier now too.

The world does need leaders, and while Tribes does a great job at explaining why, I think it could have done a better job at explaining how to execute. Read the rest of this post on Personal Branding Blog.


Also, please make sure to follow me on Twitter.

Joining Personal Branding Blog

I am very proud to announce that I have joined Personal Branding Blog as a weekly columnist.  This is an exciting opportunity for me and the five other bloggers who will be contributing on a weekly basis.

Today, and CNN chose their top job blogs which Personal Branding Blog was ranked #1.  Additionally, the blog will be syndicated to some great outlets like Hoovers, Fox Business,, and Reuters.

I will be contributing a weekly article set to publish every Saturday.  If you’re not a subscriber to Personal Branding Blog, you should subscribe here.  Additionally, if you’re not subscribing to my blog and are interested in checking out future articles, I’d suggest subscribing.

I will be joining five other very talented bloggers you should check out including:

  • Beverly Macy (Tuesday): Teaches social media marketing at UCLA and is the Co-Founder andpbbteam1 Managing Partner of Y&M Partners.
  • Paul Dunay (Wednesday): The Global Director of Integrated Marketing at BearingPoint, Inc.
  • Jonathan Burg (Thursday): A Senior Emerging Channels Specialist at Digitas, a world leading digital marketing and media agency.
  • Jacob Share (Friday): The founder and SVP of Share Select Media.
  • Katie Konrath (Sunday): She is a creativity specialist who helps companies come up with fresh new product and service ideas.

Coming to a Blog Near You

When I started to look at the people around me who have built successful personal brands, one thing is apparent.  They are great at building personal relationships.

Online personal branding is a bit more tricky.  It’s harder to build a personal relationship online.   Relationships online take more repetition, more pinging, and cultivating.  Joining Twitter was a good start for me as it gives those on the web a way to get to know me as a person rather than some distant blogger.

I’m looking for ideas that help build those connections.  Videos might be a good start as they give you a visual and audio representation of who I am.  Done right, and they can help build a brand and connection.  Anyone else have ideas?