Branding | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral - Part 5

Category Archives for "Branding"

Personality Marketing & Branding Starts With The Right Image

When it comes to branding yourself successfully, you need to start with the right image. I would argue that the most successful personality “brands” on the Internet today have a strong graphic identity. Today I wanted to talk about cartoons or “icons” as successful branding graphics.

Let’s examine a few of them.

Dave Taylor at

Chris Pirillo at

Shawn Collins at

Sam Harrelson at

Of course, I’ve have my own icons. This first one is my old one, which I hate.
Jim Kukral

This is my newest one, which I really like.
Jim Kukral

Here’s a tip. If you’re going to have your own “icon” made of yourself, choose your most flattering photo. As with any type of cartoon of this type, your features are pulled out, and the point is you want to look interesting, not stupid. Oh yeah, and use a smiling photo, unless you’re trying to scare people or intimidate them.

I had both of my icons done at The first, which I hate, by the artist named Shalimar (to her credit, her other drawings look awesome, I just hate mine). The second, which I love, was done by Jose.

Cleveland Internet & Marketing Gurus Know How To Deliver The Goods

You know, I always thought I was the only Internet marketing geek here in Cleveland. Not true, over the past year or so I’ve begun to find out that many talented Cleveland people are also pushing the envelope of web technology and creative marketing ideas. Here’s mashup of a few finds just from this week alone.

turtle-small2.jpgCleveland’s own recruiting/HR blogging expert, Joel Cheeseman has just been featured in the Wall Street Journal.

“I can work in my pajamas and set my own hours,” says Joel Cheesman, author of, a blog about the recruiting industry. Notes Mr. Layne, who has worked at Wonkette for two years and generally acts as his own editor: “I get to be a national political columnist and comedy writer.”

Sage Lewis of has been sneakily doing a new video blog called, where he films himself talking about web marketing every day and broadcasts it for the world to see. This is amazing stuff Sage, and a great initiative. Here’s a sample video of Sage talking about the Overture keyword search tool. Very informative.

Greg H. has started a new blog called Awesome concept.

I’ve decided to focus my efforts on a specific part of our industry: Social Media Optimization. Though most all of us deal in some way or another with various forms of marketing on the internet, I’ve decided to go where I’m unnaturally called… the land of MySpace, YouTube, Digg and beyond to see where it is the rest of us can fall into place.

Clevelander’s, or shall we say, North East Ohioans to be more general, are on top of the game. I’m going to have to step it up to keep up the pace.

Hello, My Name Is Mr. Freebeestore!

Programming Note: Mr. Freebeestore will be on my radio show on Tuesday, Feb 13, at 1pm est. We’ll be discussing how he came up with the idea and other creative marketing things he’s working on as well. Please call in!

I wrote about this guy a while back. He sold his name to the highest bidder and the auction ended a few days ago on Groundhog Day. So, who was once Scott MacDonald is now…


Mr. Freebeestore!

It’s official, I am now Mr. Freebeestore! has won the auction with a final bid of $37,000.01, so until next Groundhog Day I won’t answer to anything else.

So, would you change your name for $37k?

Jeremy Zawodny Commits Headline Terrorism On Andy Beal

What else are we gonna call it? Honestly, what Jeremy did is the worst thing you can do to someone in the online business, and that is to insinuate negative things, purposely, through a link-bait headline. Case in point.

He wrote, and I quote, ‘Andy Beal Spamming MyBlogLog?’. Link.

andy-beal-small.jpgFor those of you who don’t know Andy Beal, he’s a well-known and respected search engine marketing expert. So to drop a headline with his name, and the word “spamming” together, well, that’s just being a dick. Or as we say in Ohio… Dickish. Sometimes otherwise referred to as well as “being a douchebag”. Nice work Jeremy.

Shoemoney says

I feel bad for Andy because being a whitehat seo is his business and he has a good name for doing “whitehat” seo work. This is hardly spamming its more like creative marketing (well that is my opinion). Anyway why try to call him out like that? Why not just shoot him a email and save yourself the embaresment after MyBlogLog had already given the ok?

JZ I have so much respect for you as a mysql contributor but I think you were way off on this one man.

Couldn’t agree more SM. With friends like JZ… geez.

More coverage at

Long Live Personality Marketing Ala Mark Cuban

If it appears that I am stalking Mark Cuban, I am not. Here’s the problem I have with him. He’s smart and make a lot of sense and I keep learning things from his blog. Therefore, I keep wanting to talk about what he says. So Mark, keep it up, and I’ll keep learning.


On Christmas Mark let out a blog entry entitled ‘The Lesson Of Happy Gilmore and Pro Sports Marketing‘. The piece basically talks about why the movie Happy Gilmore mimics everything that is wrong about sports marketing today. Good read. It got me thinking, not about sports marketing, but about personality marketing in general.

Mark says…

I think the trend towards taking personalities out of the game could be a fatal business mistake. Leagues are so intent on polishing and packaging athletes that they forget the Happy Gilmore lesson. Fans love, or love to hate athletes with personality. Most importantly, they watch those players and buy their merchandise.

My big takeaway from this mantra is… Mark’s right. If you’re in the business (any business with personalities) to make money, this is what you need to do, because it works. As an online businessman, and more specifically, publisher of an online “magazine” at ReveNews that feeds off of many personalities, I’ve learned that the business of “selling newspapers” is how you need to think in order to have monetary success (assuming monetary success is your goal).

To do that, you need to give people what they want, and that’s confrontation, and the opportunity to disagree, to yell. To “trash talk”. That… is what sells newspapers, and yes, even sells in the blogging world. Look at the successful blogs out there today. They don’t play it safe. They are run by strong personalities that have strong opinions, and that’s why they work. Heck, look at Mark’s blog, he’s a prime example of this. Look at blogs like, or to see more of this in action.

In the end, Mark is right again, it’s all about providing entertainment, or helpful information. Doesn’t matter if you’re a fan, or a reader, or whatever. Heck, I’m considering changing the entire format of ReveNews to a giant blogger vs. blogger cage match where bloggers simply fight each other.

Now that would sell a lot of newspapers :)

This Is Why I Didn’t By A New HDTV

EngadgetHD lays it out clearly in ‘Millions miffed at poor quality from holiday HDTV purchase‘.


While it’s no surprise that the mystery surround HDTV is further complicated by glossy marketing and a lack of technical support all around, a recent report claims that “about 19.5 million consumers” who purchased an HDTV over the holiday break are now complaining about the quality. Apparently, the “plug and play” approach that has become quite common on today’s electronics didn’t work out so well with HDTVs, leaving customers baffled that their TV wouldn’t magically display the clean, crisp imagery they viewed on the in-store displays when making their purchase. Customers are still having a difficult time understanding that special programming packages, set-top boxes, and / or OTA antennas are required to receive HD content, taking the wind out of their presumably puffed sails.

I went shopping at BestBuy for an HDTV flat-screen two-months ago and asked all my questions. One, in particular was…

So how does all the non-HD channels look once I”m all setup? Answer: “Oh, well, yeah, they don’t look anything like what you’re seeing here. (chuckle)”

Translation: Once you get this entire system home, with this special cable, and this new cable box, and if you tune to these stations at the right time, etc… It’ll look great, maybe.

While I don’t blame the sales person (who was very forthcoming actually), I do blame the manufacturers who really have tried to slip a fast one over on us consumers, when instead, they should have made it much, much simpler, or made a very serious effort to educate us about how it all really looks/works.

There is NOTHING WORSE for your brand to promise one thing, then deliver something else. That’s the only sure-fire way to a consumer’s wrath.

That being said, I want a new TV badly still. Mine is over 10-years old and the picture is fuzzy like my dog.

Cuban Chumps Trump! Here’s Why Trump Doesn’t Need A Blog

Mark Cuban couldn’t resist jumping into the fray by calling out his ole’ buddy ‘The Donald’ on his blog today.


Now T the C on the other hand, well Donald, your blog sucks. Its actually pretty embarrasing. First of all, rule number one of blogging Donald is that you are the one that is supposed to write the posts on the blog. Less than half the posts on the front page of the blog have your name as the author let alone are written by you . Blogs are supposed to be personal, not corporate Donald.

Yeah, his blog does suck, but you know what? I would argue that some people don’t need blogs, and Donald is one of them. Trump has a plan and it works, and he don’t need no stinkin’ blog to keep it working. Here’s how Trump operates:

1. He overloads you with his brands, literally so much that you just can’t see through it all and your mind just gives in.

2. Then, when he’s attacked, he hits back… harder.

3. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It’s like being in a cult where they brainwash you. You know what? It works, very well. Gotta give him credit for it.

It’s because of that methodology that he doesn’t need a blog, and I argue that him even having a blog would hurt that system he has in place. A blog is to show transparency, and that my friends is in direct odds with Trump’s branding mantra.

I’m An Online Marketing Snob, Because I Care, Do You?

Barry Parr of Jupiter Research says it loud and clear. “Our research shows that consumers see social news sites as less trustworthy than news media or portal sites — by a fairly wide margin.” Source.

Let’s backtrack. I am an online marketing snob. Anything that helps “game the system” is in direct conflict with my prime directive of working to keep online marketing as a legitimate business in the minds of the “outside world”. Why? Because I care. I work in this business and I’m sick and tired of seeing the scammers drag our brand into the mud.


Today I’m refocusing on Digg, or any other social networking site. Amy Gahran, over at The Right Conversation gets into it with a piece about social network spam. In her article she points to Naill Kennedy who “diggs” even deeper to outline the entire mystery.

Here’s a summary: People have figured out a way to get exposure on social media sites like Digg in order to push bogus content/sites that make them money either by CPA (cost per action/sale) or CPC (cost per click).

Naill’s conclusion (dead on):

I believe social media accounts are currently available for rent or for sale, rewarding active users with paid placements or account resells in much the same way as a World of Warcraft character might be resold on eBay. Social media sites and search engines need to stay on top of this new form of content creation, continually analyzing data and scrubbing out the dirt. Sites overrun with web spam quickly lose their utility and might be banned from search engines.

Social media sites continue to change the way we interact with data but expect more activity and content shaping in the future from marketers targeting the social media space for a quick link injection.

So, what are we gonna do about it? Education is the key, so keep blogging the positive fight.

My Apology To John Chow, Dot Com Mogul + Branding Advice!

I admit I’ve been a bit too snarky in the last week or so in the comments over at, and for that, I do apologize John. As Kramer said, “I need to learn to control my rage”. Alright, I didn’t go to quite that level of disgusting rage. :o

Here’s the deal John. It’s not that you don’t have a good blog, you do for the most part. It’s not that I don’t think you offer some decent information that helps people, you do.


My Problem With – To Be Taken Constructively

I’m a snob when it comes to online marketing. I admit it, I tend to look down on things like multi-level marketing, and get rich quick schemes. Some may work, but most don’t, and to me they make our industry look scummy. Those things are the underside of real online marketing as it exists as a legitimate business model. Again, I’m a snob.

So when I visit a site like yours John, I tend to get very antagonistic, and here’s why.

You are a thought-leader, like it or not. You brand yourself as one at least. You have a semi-large subscriber base, and you have positioned yourself as an authority. That means that people listen to you, especially the vast majority of newbies who are trying to learn their way around our industry, or simply trying to find an honest way to make a buck online.

As a thought-leader, I believe it is our responsibility to educate these readers without gaming them. Sure, it’s good to make money because of our readers in many ways… but not at their expense.

Case in point, your push on Agloco. You have the right to blog about whatever you want, and push anything you want, of course, that’s not my issue. What bothers me is that by pushing this multi-level system to your audience, you’re essentially gaming them for your own personal gain.

“I have ads on my blog too Jim, and Adsense, what about them, isn’t that gaming my readers?”

Answer: No, here’s the difference. You get ad money because you’re a thought-leader, and you offer helpful advice. There’s a line (in my opinion), and you cross it with your readers (in my opinion) when you continue to push somethink like Agloco that benefits you directly through a downline.

So again, I apologize. Now at least you understand where I’m coming from.

I only ask you this…

Do you want to be known as a thought-leader, well respected in your community… or that internet marketing guy who pushes stuff just to make a buck?

There is no right answer, either is fine. Just pick one.

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