Branding | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 3

Category Archives for "Branding"

Personal Branding Tips – Guylights

I’ve been working in the affiliate space for years now. And somehow, I’ve become known in my circles as the dude who gets “guylights” put in for every trade show. Ok, I’m personally responsible for that idea… The point is, I’ve done it purposely. I get them put in on purpose. Why? It’s a good branding thing for me. People recognize me as the dude who gets his hair highlighted. It’s kind of a funny joke. And it works, well.

You wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me at shows I attend and comment on my blond “guylights” and how they like them. My “customers” are identifying with my brand that I have worked to build. What do YOU do to differentiate your personal brand from everyone else? How do you stand out?

Here’s a short little video about my impending guylights and a few quick personal branding tips to boot. See you in Vegas.

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My Sunday Afternoon In The Snow In Cleveland

This is brand evangelism at its best. The worst possible conditions… yet we still show up, all of us, 70k+. Do your customers love your brand?

What’s In A Name? Web 2.0 Domain Naming Disasters

The NYTimes nails it, talking about all these new made-up 2.0 names…

These are all actual Web sites that have hit the Web in the last year or so: Doostang. Wufoo. Bliin. Thoof. Bebo. Meebo. Meemo. Kudit. Raketu. Etelos. Iyogi. Oyogi. Qoop. Fark. Kijiji. Zixxo. Zoogmo.

These startups think that these names will stick in our minds because they’re so offbeat, but they’re wrong. Actually, all those twentysomething entrepreneurs are ensuring that we won’t remember them. Those names all blend together into a Dr. Seuss 2.0 jumble.

About the only neat domain name I like nowadays that fits into that category, sorta, is, which is Inbox spelled backwards. Makes sense because they do email stuff.

The piece continues…

These days, though, you get the impression that today’s startups aren’t even trying. They go directly for the Web 2.0 Name Generator. They think that if Google or Yahoo got away with cryptic names, they can do it, too.

But here’s a little wakeup call: People will learn to love your site’s wacky name only if they fall in love with the site itself. Google and Yahoo became household nutty names only because everyone loved their services. They did not succeed because they had silly names.

And when you name your site Yambo or Roombee, that’s a lot less likely to happen. You’re stacking the deck against your own success.

I couldn’t agree more. I thought the days of stupid made up company names died with the first bubble. I’m unsure why people are trying to bring that idea back; that you can make up a name and have it stick. Where’s the creativity?

Your Blog Design Is Your Brand

What does your blog design say about you and your brand? I say everything.

I recently updated this theme to a more “classic” type theme that fits what I am. I’m a consultant/speaker/marketing guy who needed to show that. So when you visit this blog, you immediately get a feel for who I am and what I represent.

My friend Zac Johnson just updated his blog design to a more “super, money making affiliate” type of theme because that’s what his blog is all about. That’s what Zac is… he’s a super affiliate. Makes sense.

Your blog design is your brand.

As I’ve stated many times before, your brand, to me, is really the experience your customers/readers/viewers (whatever) have with you (MPDailyFix Blog). So if you’re a blogger, the experience is usually the ways a reader can interact with you, and that starts with your blog design.

For Zac’s blog, he’s chosen to go beyond what most bloggers in his space are doing. Instead of just having comments on blog posts, Zac is asking for participation. I think this is a very smart way to build traffic and loyal readers.

What Zac is doing is allowing his readers to tip him using my ScratchBack widget (shameless plug). The tip is $25 for a full-week spot on his sidebar. But here’s what’s different. From his blog post.

Join Zac’s Top Spots:
A cool new program from my good friend Jim Kukral. Jim’s all about having fun with marketing, so he came up with ScratchBack… which is a new fun way to “tip” sites, while getting a link back in return. I really like the concept, but I wanted to bring it a step further. In addition to giving Jim’s program some much deserved exposure, I wanted to offer something extra for my blog readers as well. You can buy (or “tip”) your way into my Top Spots for a small price of $25 a week. In addition to receiving a Top Spots Link, I’ll also send you a new Black MoneyReign t-shirt. Send me a pic of you wearing the shirt and I’ll add your pic and a link back to your site/blog url on my blog TopSpots page.

So what Zac has done really is…

  • Let all of his readers advertise on his site for a low-cost, not just the higher-priced advertisers
  • Enabled them to participate beyond just leaving comments
  • Giving them a Zac Johnson t-shirt in return, plus the opportunity for them to take a picture of themselves in the t-shirt to send back to him, which he’ll then post up in his photo section, driving more traffic to them

Zac’s current tip price is only $25 for a full week of space in his top spots. Considering he has over 1,000 rss readers alone and over 25,000 page views per month from over 13,000 unique visitors… that’s a pretty darn good deal in my book.

Your Personal Brand Is The Experience People Have With You Face-To-Face

I must have written about 30 blog entries about personal branding over the past 5-years or so. Pretty much every single one said the same thing…

Your brand is the experience your customers/reader/viewers (whatever) have with your (product/service/whatever).

I believe this to my core.

You get the idea, right? It’s logical. Brand=experience. You cannot have a brand until the experience happens. In this case (story below), we’re talking face-to-face.

Here’s one of my best pieces over at Here’s another one about Google.

As I’ve mentioned many times before here on, I’m a believer that your brand is the experience your customers have with your product/service/employees/blog/whatever. One of those “things” that is important in an experience with your brand is quality.

On to the point. Lately Mike Arrington of Techcrunch fame has been taking some major lumps to his brand. First, there was the miscommunication of his no-show at Blogworld, then today I’m reading a post by someone who felt she was not treated nicely by Mike at a party (his own party). And she muses… Bold is mine.

But this weekend, I discovered that Michael Arrington doesn’t understand one thing: there’s a time and place to be combative and complacent, and there’s a time and place to be collaborative and constructive…

I smiled and was just about to thank him when he snickered this out of the side of his mouth, “Whatever. It was certainly a pleasure meeting you too.” Then he turned his back to me and laughed with his friends.

This exchange left me completely… well, shocked to tell you the truth. Sure, Michael Arrington has a tremendously successful blog worth millions. People know him, respect his company, and may even respect his personality.

But is it all worth it? Because now, Michael Arrington also has one former reader sitting here wondering if anyone, other than his mother, really likes him.

2007 has also taught us that foul assholes are inevitably sniffed out. Genuinely rancid personalities are never good for business… they eventually just stink up the whole place.

Pretty harsh stuff. I have no idea if she’s right or wrong. Never met Mike. Perhaps she misread him? Maybe he really is a jerk? I don’t know.

What I do know is that your brand is the experience people have with you. Plain and simple. With blogs, it’s VERY easy now to have a meme spread that can destroy your personal brand.

Believe me, I’ve been blogging since 2001, and I’m completely over exposed. Heck, I’ve been Google-bombed by a malicious mob of political bloggers who didn’t like one of my blog entries. It’s easy to have your brand tarnished, sometimes even if it may not be deserved.

Check out some of the comments on the blog post bashing Mike. Pile on!

Wow… this is a blistering write up. I will say that Arrington is not the nicest guy in the world. I have met him on several occasions and he tends to make everyone, other than his immediate friends, feel like they are bothering him. It’s too bad, b/c he has a lot of influence and could really carve out a piece of web history for himself if he would just be pleasant.

Ew. This guy sounds like a total waste of time, insecure in his own success, as fickle a fraudulent politician.

Hum . . . too bad about this guy. I don’t know anything about the blogging world, except from reading yours and a coupla other blogs. I’m not surprised that there are jerks who act as foolishly as this guy did.

Protect your personal brand by, well… not being a jerk, and/or making sure people don’t misunderstand you. As for Mike, I hope to meet him someday to form my own brand experience. Until then, I’ll simply choose to take all the hearsay in stride.

PayPerPost Changes Its Name To IZEA

Ted Murphy, CEO of PayPerPost dropped me a note earlier today letting me know that the controversial company is changing its name to “IZEA”. The site is live now, check it out. From the press release I found live on the site

Effective immediately, the company will operate under the parent name of IZEAâ„¢ Inc., incorporating consumer generated advertising network and other Web sites currently operating under the PayPerPost, Inc. umbrella.

So the question is… Why change names now? Some will argue that IZEA is simply trying to remove the often scolded brand of PayPerPost from the equation. Other companies have done this in the past, and it has worked. Accenture anyone?

But in reality, it appears to simply be a restructure, with a launch of a new product that Ted has been teasing to show me for months now yet failed to deliver. Murphy may be a marketing genius, but he’s a darn tease too.

The name change comes just days before the scheduled unveiling of IZEA’s highly anticipated new service, codenamed Argus. An alpha version of the offering will be revealed on Nov. 10 at PostieCon, the company’s annual user conference. It will provide both bloggers and advertisers more visibility into social media and allow them to interact with each other and the public in more immediate, transparent and accountable ways. Access to the alpha version will be by invitation only through the end of 2007.

Full disclosure: I’m speaking at Postiecon in a few weeks, the day after the Blogworldexpo show. See you all in Vegas.

Who Cares About Traffic? Techmeme Is A Branding Game

Silly Scoble, traffic is for kids. The real value of being on Techmeme, having your stories listed on Techmeme is NOT traffic, it’s association. It’s branding.

Look at this list below (graphic), for this story we’re talking about right now. Look at the names in that list. I took this screen grab before I wrote this story, but in a half hour from now, my blog and name will be listed right next to all of those big name bloggers and brands.

As I said over at Mathew’s blog

Yes, you don’t get “traffic” from TM. What you get is influence. When your blog starts showing up next to your peers, it’s branding. Has to measure direct, but it is valuable.

Traffic is great for selling ads, that’s about it. If you want influence and association… branding. Techmeme delivers the goods.

What Can We Learn From The Top 25 Marketing Blogs?

top25.gifMarketing blogs are very near and dear to my heart. Obviously… because I’m a marketer, and blogger, myself, go figure eh?

The Viral Garden, written by Mack Collier puts out a list of the top 25 marketing blogs every week which I like to review. It’s a good insight into what other marketers like myself are doing. What they’re blogging about… why they are successful, etc…

Recently I thought it would be fun to analyze the top 25 list to see if any similarities could be found? After all, these blogs and personalities are successful for a reason correct? Why not see what they have in common and try to learn from it?

Introducing… The Top 25 Marketing Blog Analysis.


What Did You Measure?

I tried to get a feel for several things, from if they use a photo of themselves on their blog, to things like “Is Seth Godin in their blogroll”. :) Here’s the official list things I researched on each blog.

Do They Have RSS To Email Subscription?
Do They Blog At Their
Are Their Ads On blog?
Does The Blogger Promote Twitter?
Does The Blogger Promote Linked In?
Is Their Phone Number Listed?
Are They A Book Author?
Do They Have Seth Godin In Their Blogroll?
What’s Their Feedburner Count?
Is There A Photo Of Themselves On Blog Home Page?
What Is Their Blog Worth?

Some interesting insights have come out of my analysis. For example…

$7,819,446: How much all the Top 25 blogs are worth collectively.

The majority of top 25 marketing bloggers don’t brand their names. For example, you’ve got guys like Mack Collier who blogs under the brand Viral Garden rather than at

Seth Godin is NOT in everyone’s blogroll as I assumed he would be. What’s up? Some of you have a problem with Seth? :)

The majority do not put ads on their blogs, and even those that do have smaller text link ads, etc… I’d like to hear more about this from the top 25. Why don’t you have ads on your blog?

WordPress and Typepad rule the roost in terms of blogging platforms used. I expected to see more Typepad users.

Top 25 marketing bloggers don’t like to give out their phone numbers too much. This is a personal thing. I give out my toll-free number, but that’s just me.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more analysis down the road. Any patterns you notice?

Are Roles Reversing? Is Google Turning Into Microsoft?

Robert Scoble cranks off a good rip about the ‘Fear of Google‘.

Yesterday, during his speech at the Forbes shindig I attended, Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer’s funniest remark was when he told us that the “Fear of Google” was so prevelent that it even had a three-letter acronymn: FOG.

Anyway, I’ve been hearing more and more about FOG all weekend as I talk with advertising and marketing executives from some of the world’s biggest companies.

It’s interesting to watch how this will play out from a branding perspective. In the recent years, Google has been the cool, fun, useful golden-child that the world thinks can do no wrong.

You know, like Microsoft used to be and isn’t anymore?


But wait, are roles reversing? Is Google becoming the big, bad evil empire? And is Microsoft quietly and slowly becoming the underdog?

It could happen. If I was Google, I’d be worried about that momentum/brand perception switch. It could take only one bad public relations situation to trigger this into action.

People love rooting for the underdog, even if it is Bill Gates.