celebrity brand

A Personal Brand to MARVEL

There are probably very few of us who can say we have not been touched by the work of Stan Lee in some way or another. Be it watching one of the awesome Marvel movies over the last few years, tuning into the TV series of Spiderman or Bruce Banner & The Hulk from the 80’s and 90’s or picking up and devouring a Marvel comic as a kid. In… Read More »A Personal Brand to MARVEL

What Will be Your Personal Brand Legacy?

“In my own work, I’ve tried to anticipate what’s coming over the horizon, to hasten its arrival, and to apply it to people’s lives in a meaningful way.”     Yesterday saw the passing of the probably much lesser known Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Quite possibly one of the most influential people of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries and not only because he helped popularize the most prevalent… Read More »What Will be Your Personal Brand Legacy?

Whats Wrong With This Picture?

The recent surprise Democratic House candidate election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who at 28, could potentially be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, by 15% over incumbent Joe Crowley who led by 36%, was a lesson for us all in being attuned to the preferences of our target audiences or market. It was also a great lesson in political personal branding. There were likely a number of factors that attributed… Read More »Whats Wrong With This Picture?

The One Question I Always Get on Personal Branding


Image Fast Company Magazine August 1997

Next year will see the 20-year anniversary of the Fast Company magazine article “The Brand Called You” by Tom Peters. This was two years before his book series, which included “Brand You 50” were published. Most recognize the article as the ‘birth’ of personal branding or at the least the first time that the concept of having a personal brand appeared on the business radar. When you Google “Brand Called You” the article still appears at the top of the rankings. Read the article here

Many people still minimize the power of personal branding and some label it as egotistical and ridiculous. The criticism is legitimate towards those who have likened branding yourself to branding a bar of chocolate. In fact, the intention is to show the contrast between a person and a corporation when it comes to branding.

It probably took ten years after that article, for the notion of owning your personal brand to be embraced as an accepted way of managing your career, business, and even life. Celebrity branding has exploded with constant exposure and an unquenchable thirst for more. This leaves many people feeling inadequate unless they too garner the same visibility. Sadly credibility can sometimes take a back seat.

Social media has been both a blessing and curse and can be blamed for some of the hype, expectation, and disdain that personal branding attracts. But fault can also lie at the feet of the ‘gurus’ and experts who tell you to “Fake it until you make it” or encourage you to turn your social media streams into a one-way flow of personally branding me, me, me that should never be turned off.

When it comes to personal branding the one question I always get is

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Brand Trump


Since the advent of social media, I doubt there have been many events that have garnished as many comments, engagement, and mainstream media column inches as the US Presidential election, and in particular about Donald J. Trump.

I have often cited Trump, the businessman, as an example of a strong personal brand. He often followed the three C’s of branding – Clarity of message, Consistent delivery of that message and Constantly working at getting that message heard and noticed in his business dealings.

Without getting into an intense political debate, it could be argued that he delivered on the latter in his political run, but missed the mark on the clarity and consistency.

There is going to be a lot more said and written about this election, his presidency, as well as the hours spent analyzing why and how he became the 45th President of the United States.

So what were the plus and minus aspects of his campaign from a branding perspective?

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Will Today be Trump or Clinton’s Best Day at Work?


By the end of the day, one of the candidates may well be looking back to today as one of their best days at work, at least so far. Of course, the work for the successful President of the United States is only just beginning, some future days maybe best days and some may be the worst, it’s not an easy job for sure. The best and worst seems to be how many of you look at your own jobs and careers.

Presenteeism, time spent at the workplace while not productively engaged in work, is the new absenteeism

The conclusion of a 2015 Canadian study, The True Picture of Workplace Absenteeism, with 1,300 people including just over 1,000 employees, found that 80 percent of respondents self-reported experience with presenteeism. 81 percent indicated that they had gone into work while they could not perform as well as they would have liked.

The reasons for doing so included physical sickness (47 percent), stress or anxiety (40 percent) and workplace issues and/or problems with co-workers or managers (22 percent). Depression was specified as the cause by 15 percent of respondents.

A quick Google search of #BestWorkDay uncovers plenty of top 10 lists on ways to ensure you have your best days at work. The common advice to these problems seems to fall into two camps.

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3 Critical Personal Brand Lessons From the Closing of Vine

All Hallows Eve is the time of the year dedicated to remembering the dead. It seems fitting that on Halloween we reflect on the personal brand lessons from the news last week that Twitter will be closing down their 6-second video app Vine. It may have come as a surprise to many of you, however, the ‘Vine Personal Brand Stars’ that it helped to create have already been moving on… Read More »3 Critical Personal Brand Lessons From the Closing of Vine

The Good & Bad About Gwyneth Paltrow’s LinkedIn Profile

Time magazine gushingly reported this week that “Gwyneth Paltrow Has a Seriously Extensive LinkedIn Profile”. But on closer examination her profile may not even reach ‘All Star’ status, which is the ideal minimum that you want your profile to be. You can view her profile by clicking here. There are several good things to notice; Well taken headshot, interestingly using black and white which is different. Good use of a custom header… Read More »The Good & Bad About Gwyneth Paltrow’s LinkedIn Profile

Achieve Personal Brand Victory with These Olympics Lessons

Gold medal

With the Olympics, the great thing about living in one country and coming from another is I get to cheer for both, because I have double the chance of celebration. Go Canada, Go Great Britain!

Having worked with a number of former athletes, the Olympics give me the opportunity to witness great triumphs and disappointments that are accompanied by wonderful stories. I appreciate and admire an athlete’s struggles and sacrifices. I am also struck by examples of this year’s younger winners being inspired, even mentored by some of the more established and successful athletes.

Joseph Schooling first met Michael Phelps when he was 13, during the Beijing Olympics when Phelps visited his local swimming club. Eight years later, he beat Phelps in the 100 metre butterfly to win the first ever gold medal for Singapore.

Over the years, the Olympics has become much more of a commercial venture, at least in some aspects. Although host nations seem to be almost guaranteed to lose money, brands like Nike and Under Armour and top athletes usually win. Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt have become huge personal brands, with significant endorsement deals and rewards for winning. Even Joseph Schooling earned $750,000 for his medal.

However, I am sure that most Olympic athletes do not ‘do it’ for the money. The investment in supporting them to get to world-class levels can cost a country’s association way more than the bonus for medaling.

For me, one of the best examples of the win being everything was the sheer surprise and joy on the face of 16 year old Canadian Penny Oleksiak when winning a gold medal. Money was not in that picture.

The Olympic brand and logo does have huge monetary and recognition value and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is almost manic about its control. This is in part to help protect the sponsors and the huge investments they make in wanting to be recognised and associated with the event.

So what are the Olympics showing us that you can apply to your personal brand?

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Lessons From Discover Your Personal Brand Conference – The All Star Panel

HR Leaders 4

This past weekend I had the opportunity to speak again at the Discover Your Personal Brand Conference.  DYPB 2016 was different from 2014 in a number of ways.

The focus was more toward small business and the caliber of speaker, panels and attendees was awesome. There were many inspiring young Canadians in attendance that really gave me a lift about the future of our country. All held within the back drop of Telus’ state of the art office in downtown Toronto, an environmental LEED building, bursting with technology and balanced with space and light.

The opportunity to attend conferences is always a big investment, even if its local so it was great to get such a rich experience. 

After introductions from the motivating conference organizer and founder Bobby Umar and keynotes from the always excellent Mark Bowden and inspiring Real Food for Real Kids founder Lulu Cohen-Farnell the highlight of the first evening for me was the Personal Brand Leadership All Star Panel. They were;

Cameron Gordon, Head of Communications, Twitter – Moderator
Erin Bury, Managing Director at 88 Creative
Jennifer Ettinger, Founder & President at Fit Your Style
Jagmeet Singh, MPP, ONDP Deputy Leader
Bobby Umar, Founder, Raeallan & DYPB

Full bios and more details on the schedule http://www.dypb.ca/schedule/ and other speakers can be found here http://www.dypb.ca/speakers/ 

Here is a Summary of the questions and panel answers;

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