Personal Branding

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Brand Camp '09 - Personal Branding 2.0 Conference (eflyer)Are you ready to go camping?  Detroit has great camp grounds.  Join me and some of the brightest minds in the business, marketing, and social media world on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at Lawrence Tech University.

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Sports have a way of unifying, challenging, stretching, and pushing us to achieve the impossible.  As people it is human nature to take the path of least resistance.  I truly believe people won’t change until their challenged, I hope April story challenges you the way it challenged me.

There are times in life when someone or something inspires you to greatness, in this case it is April Holmes Paralympics Gold Medalist.  I found April when I was doing a search for Dwyane Wade and his new footwear deal with Brand Jordan.

Note: This is a great brand story.  April is the first woman of Brand Jordan and a great personal branding story who is truly living her passion and a purpose driven life. For more incite to her story check out her Brand Jordan video and follow her on Twitter (@AprilHolmes).

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GENIUS (SIMON), 1980, originally uploaded by galessa’s plastics.

There is a genius inside of everyone. Operating in your genius has nothing to do with scoring 140 on your IQ test. It is tapping into your God given talents and abilities and developing them to their fullest.

Data shows us that we only use about 10% of our brain capacity and I am a strong believer that this is due largely because we have no interest in the work that we do. So why on earth would you ever challenge myself to tap into your hidden potential and unlock your inner genius? The golden handcuffs of the American dream have handicapped most people’s thinking and locked them into a passionless existence.

When you love what you do you think creativity to solve problems. The premise of personal branding is: Unlocking your inner genius and connecting it to your passion and addressing a specific problem that can lead to profitability - emotionally, mentally, psychological, spiritually, and economically.


Personal Brands                       Inner Genius    Accomplishments
Michael Jackson                       Musician           King of Pop
Tiger Woods                              Golfer                 Defines Golf
Seth Godin                                 Marketer           Marketing Guru
J.K.Rowing                                Author               First Billionaire Author

Are these individuals smarter than you or me? What if Michael never became a musician? What if Thriller was never made? What if Tiger never played Golf? What if Seth never wrote his best selling books? What if J.K. Rowing decided to act on her suicidal thoughts never wrote Harry Potter? Their success is connected to them finding out what their good at and out working their competition.

Personal Branding Note: Personal Branding Should help you identify, package, and build awareness of your inner Genius.

What if your job has nothing to do with your inner Genius? Could you transition? Are you stuck between a genius and a job?

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Bernie Madoff NewYorker Magazine, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

America Made Madoff.  Bernie Madoff gets sentenced 150 years in jail for stealing $50B (up to $160B) of people’s life savings. The U.S. financial system is build on a house of cards which allowed him to do what he was doing for years. If he wasn’t so over the top when would this have ended? We are taught to live the American dream (purchase cars from bankrupt U.S. Automakers (Ford is the exception right @ScottMonty), purchase homes that are overvalued, and work a job until death do you part for a company that will downsize you before you get that gold watch). One of the problems that I see is that we make people icons that are bigger than life that at some point they will never be able to live up to those expectations.

What price are you willing to pay for financial success? Are you willing to live your dreams at any cost? As a personal brand if you show me a person with no character I will show you a failure waiting to happen.

The most important attributes in personal development are the things that people don’t want to work on, like Character. To often we chase things that sacrifice who we are for the pursuit of fame and fortune.

I will leave you with this point. The Most Important Personal Branding Tip is Character Development. PEROID. I understand you would rather work on a Facebook profile or add followers in Twitter, but strongly consider the words of this post.

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The 2nd Blogging While Brown Conference gets underway on Friday, June 19th at Chicago’s University Center with a Beginning Bloggers Boot Camp.  I’m excited about the group of panelists and presenters that we were able to pull together. Here’ the schedule:

June 20, 2009 - Blogging While Brown Conference


8:00AM. - 8:30AM



Introductory remarks


Workshop: “The Competent Blogger”


This workshop will cover tapping into talent communities using web 2.0 tools and techniques to find lucrative and rewarding career opportunities. This is a must attend workshop for anyone interested in building an online presence or pursuing a long-term career in IT.


This presentation will address all aspects of careers In IT and the core competencies necessary to build and sustain a vibrant, fulfilling and prosperous career powered by the web 2.0 social networking phenomenon. The workshop includes , research results from the 2009 IT Job Outlook Readers Poll, skill sets that are hot in the current job market, and how to use social networking to “get discovered” for the hot job opportunities How to build a successful online business in the IT Industry

Presenter: Milt Hayes


Workshop: Mobility

Sponsored by AT&T


The Mobility Workshop is constructed to challenge third party groups to think about integrating wireless into their grassroots and advocacy activities as well as demonstrate AT&T’s leading positions in the areas of child safety (Smart Limits) and wireless technology (i.e. video share, 3G, etc.). The workshop includes an explanation of non-voice communications channels on wireless handsets, including SMS, WAP/Wireless Internet, Photo/Video Share, Video/3G, and Smart Limits and a hands-on demo of the service. Participants will walk through Web and SMS sign-up, SMS messaging and SMS mobilization. The training includes case studies from 08 election cycle.


Panel — Netroots in Action

Panelists will discuss how social media tools can be used to affect changes in policy, improve communities, and influence elections.

Moderator: Carmen Dixon Rosenzweig,

Panelists: Megan Tady,

Pam Spaulding,

Cheryl Contee,




Brand Camp University:Building a Strong Personal Brand Online


The goal of this workshop is to teach attendees to develop a digitally relevant personal brand in a web 2.0 world using social media. Identify tools and strategies to create, define, and manage who you are distinctly to help you define your space. Build and manage the character of you online brand and community organically, authentically, and cost effectively with the top personal branding tips. Outline: Participants will learn: Basics of Personal Branding, Defining your Value Proposition, o Social Networking strategies for personal branding, Networking tips online and offline for career success, Organically building your community, Online reputation management, Create brand plan, Use Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter for business and career development.


Presenter: Hajj E. Flemings,,



Panel: The State of the Information Monarchy- What’s Next for Traditional Media?

Panelists will discuss whether bloggers and citizen journalists can fill the void left by changes in traditional media.

Moderator: Monroe Anderson, www.

Panelists: Eric Easter,

Bruce Montgomery


Panel: Bloggerpreneurs

Panelists will discuss making a name for yourself in the world of social media and networking your way to better opportunities and personal success.

Moderator: Jonnice Slaughter,

Panelists: Angel Laws,

Fredric Mitchell  

Wordpress Panel

Jill Tubman and Naoko McCracken of Automattic (producer of WordPress) on how to use the latest tech techniques to power blog with a focus on mobile blogging, plugins, iPhone apps, ways to connect WordPress with other social networking apps, and all that jazz.

If you’re in the Chicago area, come on down. It’s probably not too late to register for Saturday’s sessions. Here’s a list of all the blogs represented:

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After the Long Day, originally uploaded by fotoshootme.

It is clear that the world is changing before our eyes and it is not asking our permission. There is a cultural shift taking place in the workforce and the way we work. As a personal brand strategist I see a lot of focus on career, job search, and developing an online personal brand. Developing a presence in Facebook, Linked, and Twitter are good but alone it is not the answer. The main issue is getting people into what they love (purpose).

The State of the Economy

o Almost 6M jobs have been lost since the recession (which I opted out of) began in late 2007.
o Blue Collar American jobs account for approximately 70% of the losses.
o Baby Boomers are not retiring because they can’t afford to.
o Outsourcing jobs overseas.
o Industrial Revolution/Factory Model is dead.
o Unemployment (Nationwide) – 8.9%
o Job Lose (April 2009): 539K

What were Taught
o To go to college to get a job.
o To work that job until death do you part.
o To go into high paying fields.
o To get a good factory job.

The Problem
o Displaced Workers – People working in the wrong field or not operating in their purpose/passion.
o Reduced Productivity – Quality of work is reduced, making companies less profitable.

Grustle Glossary

GRUSTLE is the combination of a daily Grind (job) and a Hustle (your passion). Most people are caught between the two and are looking for a way out, but there is only a way IN: put IN work and INvest in your dreams. In my book ‘The Brand YU Life’ the first degree (or principle) is ‘Identify Your Passion’ which is the cornerstone of Grustlin’. Grustle is a personal branding strategy to get you in your purpose.


Grind: A grind is a job; employment; typically your primary source of income.

Hustle: A hustle is your passion, what you would love to do full-time and what gives you the most satisfaction. It is what you typically do after you work your daily grind.

The Purpose of Grustle: It is a Strategy
o Identify your passion – Through your job you validate your purpose.
o Re-Grind - Identify the correct field you should be in or job.
o Platform - Use your current job as a platform to transition.
o Build your network
o Paid Internship – Use your grind as a paid internship to produce high quality work for your current employer as you develop your personal brand.
o Multiple streams of income – Produced through your hustle.
o Exit Strategy (Grind) - Identify if you are displaced on your current job.
o Business Model - Develop/Identify business model for Hustle.
o Minimize risk – Transition to a new grind or hustle.

The responsibility and well being of your career and livelihood is not the responsibility of President Barack Obama or your employer. There is no stimulus package great enough to propel you into economic success more than being in your purpose. It is up to you! In the new economy the future of work is GRUSTLE.

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Facebook Username - Blaise Dipersia, originally uploaded by Hajj Flemings.

Facebook is growing up. It is no longer just a social network it has officially moved into the branding business. The driving force behind the move is the search for identity and you can debate whether that is your identity or Facebooks (Facebook desires to be like Twitter). Nevertheless it will impact your searchability in Google. The days of just connecting with friends and having fun is over. It is time for the Facebook Username gold rush for 200 Million users. Can you say Technical Nightmare?

Be Ready

Note: Calling all personal brands, job seekers, entrepreneurs, students, business owners, organizations, mommypreneurs, and the like.

As of 12:01 a.m. EST on June 13, Facebook will begin allowing users to create custom URLs that include their name and/or company.

What does this mean? You will no longer be a randomly generated number but a personalized URL. (i.e. Users will be able to choose these usernames on a “first-come, first-serve” basis for any profiles or pages that they serve as administrator. As a personal brand strategist I promote ownership/personal branding of social network URLs.

Personal Branding Advice

o Be Careful: Once you select your new name you won’t be able to change or transfer it.
o Social Network Privacy: Gone

Trademark/Branding Protection
o Facebook is allowing trademark holders to pre-register.
o Anyone how registered after May 31st can not participate in username registration. At least not initially.

Whatever it takes get some Starbucks and be ready!!!

For more information go to the Facebook blog.

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Passport, originally uploaded by gravitywave.

Personal branding has become increasingly popular for professionals in today’s job market. Job seekers have especially found personal branding to be an effective strategy in their pursuit of job opportunities. However, in the last few months, several job seekers and professionals have said to me: “I understand why personal branding is important in my career search, but what is the value of personal branding once I get a job?”

I definitely see where they’re coming from. Here’s a great way to look at it.

Personal branding is the process of:
o Identifying the unique and differentiating value that you can bring to an organization, team and/or project

o Communicating it in a professionally memorable and consistent manner in all of your actions and outputs, both online and offline, to all current and prospective stakeholders in your career.

Everyone has a unique personal brand (a.k.a. the unique and differentiating value), and you communicate your own whether you know it or not in everything you do, both when you are looking for a job and when you have one. Personal branding is so much more than what you put on your social networks or what you write on your blog. It’s who you are inside and out, online and offline. Your personal brand is essentially your overall lifestyle.

Obviously, when you have a job, you won’t have to talk about your personal brand like you would when “selling” yourself in an interview or at a career fair or event; however, you are still communicating your unique and differentiating value to those with whom you interact each and every day.

I would compare your personal brand to your passport for four reasons:

1. Identity: Passports certify your identity, telling others who you are, where you’re from and where you’ve been when you are traveling. Throughout your career, your personal brand captures the essence of your identity, reinforcing to others who you are, the experiences you’ve had and the value you bring to the table.

2. Access: Your passport is the premier, internationally-accepted travel document. You don’t have to have a passport, but you will be limited as to where you can go without it. This is the same for your personal brand. You are not required to develop your personal brand; however, you will be limited as to where you can go in your career without it.

3. Investment:
Passports are not free, for they do cost you time, patience and money to acquire. Personal brands are not “free” in that same right, for you must be patient and commit your time (and sometimes a little money) to effectively establish your personal brand consistently online and offline.

4. Renewal: Passports are periodically upgraded with new identification technologies; however, regardless, you have to renew your passport every few years or you cannot continue to venture abroad. Similarly, every so often in your career, you must review and “upgrade” or “renew” your personal brand using any new more effective technologies and media available so you will be able and ready to take advantage of new opportunities (i.e. new projects, promotions, jobs) knocking on your door.

So, no matter where you are in your career travels, don’t forget your personal brand! It’s your passport to career success!

Chris Perry (@CareerRocketeer) is a Gen Y Brand and Marketing Generator, a Career Search and Personal Branding Expert and the Founder of Career Rocketeer, the Career Search and Personal Branding Blog.

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Hajj Flemings - Visual Resume (Resume 2.0)

View more presentations from Hajj Flemings.

 Growing up I was told that storytellers were liars, so I never wanted to be a person who told stories.  When I got older I realized that most people were living a lie.  The average person was living someone else’s existence spending 70% of their waking life doing something that they hated. So I didn’t realize I had a story.

As a personal brand I now realize that being a good story teller is more a product of a person who is passionate about what they do versus just assembling a bunch of words.

Story telling allows you to influence beyond words. It enables you to present in color versus black and white and package in all forms of media. 

How to tell your Story

New School

  1. Visual Resume – Hajj E. Flemings  - Visual Resume (Resume 2.0)
  2. Blog Post- My Brand Story
  3. Video –What is your Message to the World?
  4. Creative Slide Presentation –Personal Branding 2.0 Slide Presentation
  5. Business Cards –Web 2.0 Cards (
  6. Tweet – A one to many conversation.

Old School

  1. Standard Resume – 8.5 x 11 white paper (still required by non-engaging)
  2. Bio- Basic information about you.
  3. Video – Video content that is all about you.
  4. Power point – Boring slides with too many words.
  5. Business Cards – Web 1.0 business piece that doesn’t engage people.

How Other tell your Story:

RT: Re-Tweet

Fav: Favorites


Commenting on your blog

As a personal brand you are always telling your story or creating content that people can spread.

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I ♥ TWITTER - 3D typography, originally uploaded by flexgraph.

Love and loyalty is fleeing. As people we are finicky and our loyalty changes daily. One day we love Myspace, the next day it’s Facebook, and now it is Twitter.

Twitter is a simplistic communication tool powered by people. It allows you to irresistibly engage the Twitterverse with your personal brand in 140 characters or less.

Definition of Twitterverse: A geographically disperse community of connected passionate people sharing content in its most organic form a Tweet.

Eleven Reasons to Tweet for Personal Brands
1. Passion Principle:
The ability to re-tweet, share, and connect to what you are passionate about.
2. Real-time input: Time stamped input. Allows you to input time sensitive responses. (Maximizing the Moment)
3. Transparency: People get to follow your thoughts
4. Brevity: Helps you hone your sales pitch ability. Create great re-tweetable sound bytes.
5. Brandability: Twitter Background, Bio, blog URL, thoughts, expand your network, add to your email signatures, and include on your business cards.
6. Listening: Connect with people without interrupting with search and feeds.
7. Virtual Mentorship: Learn from thought leaders and be mentored for free.
8. Mobility: Connect with a mobile device without being attached to your computer.
9. Free: The cost is sweat equity. It doesn’t get any better than that.
10. 24/7: Twitter is always open and someone is always online.
11. GRUSTLE-Ability: You can Tweet with your Grind and your Hustle.

Bonus Twitter Personal Branding Tips
o Create a 140-Character Twitter Resume/Bio.
o Use your Twitter address as a URL
o Let your personality shine through.
o Attend Tweet-Ups.

Twitter is one of the best online personal branding tools ever. It is a free service with the ability to outperform paid marketing initiatives. It allows you to search emotionally charged content in real-time with people who are passion about your area of expertise. The simplicity of 140 Characters or less in building a personal brand is awesome. In the comment session leave your Twitter handle so that people can connect with you. Happy Tweeting!

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