Rock Star Personal Branding on MSNBC


Today on MSNBC I was fortunate to be invited to join Tamron Hall on NewsNation to talk about the power of personal branding, and how it can advance your career and business.

Here’s that interview!


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Stop Striving To Be Perfect. Strive To Be Human


I think we focus too much on trying to be perfect, when we should focus on trying to be more real.

Jackson Browne is famously quoted as saying “rehearsal is for cowards”.

He’s right.

Overly rehearsed performances are stilted, awkward, and inhuman.

Rock stars rehearse until they are damn good, but when they hit the stage they just let it flow.

The great ones change the set list on a moment’s notice to take advantage of the crowd’s vibe.

The great ones screw up along the way, laugh out loud, and keep on rockin’.

They savor the moment, smile until it hurts, give their fans everything they’ve got, and leave the stage a sweaty, tired mess.

Aren’t great brands just the same?

More than perfect, great brands are human.

One of the iconic moments in Steve Jobs’ leadership of Apple was during the messy iPhone 4 antenna controversy, when it was discovered that the phone’s antenna was ineffective if you held the phone a certain way. It dropped calls. It was far from perfect.

Steve Jobs flew home from vacation in Hawaii to address it head on.

“We aren’t perfect,” he told the world. “And phones aren’t perfect.”

Jobs didn’t stop there. “We love our users,” he said. “We love to to surprise and delight them, and we work our asses off to make that happen. When we fall short, which we do sometimes, we try harder, we pick ourselves up, we figure out what’s wrong, and we try harder, and when we succeed they reward us by staying with us.”

Despite the issues, iPhone 4 sales increased in the days after his press conference. Returns actually dropped to levels well below the industry average.

Be real. Be human.

Yes, rehearse. To a point. Then stop and just do it.

You cannot afford to be mediocre.

But you also cannot afford to be to be robotic, awkward, and inhuman.

The song in the video is “Running On Empty” being performed brilliantly by Bob Schneider on a recent tribute album to Jackson Browne. I think “Running On Empty” is one of the greatest songs in rock history, and I’m pretty sure I’m right about that.

You should order a copy of the new book Start You Up: Rock Star Secrets To Unleash Your Personal Brand & Set Your Career on Fire. It’s in digital and paperback now with one click here.

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Lesson #1 in Business: Nobody Cares


We love songs because we are inspired by them. We’re emotionally engaged by them. We care about them.

We care because they’ve touched us in a powerful way.

But until the moment when the music hits your heart, you don’t care.

Here’s the cold hard truth about your business: nobody really cares.

The sooner you accept that reality, the sooner you can get around to inspiring us to care.

That’s what marketing is for… to inspire us to care.

We will not be inspired by mere information. Advertising that makes us aware of your business doesn’t make us care.

Never mistake awareness for interest.

A million people can be aware of your business, and choose to shop elsewhere because you haven’t given them a reason to care.

We care about things that matter to us, and everything else is noise.

You make your business matter by touching our emotions in your marketing.

How will I feel when I become a customer?

Apple makes me feel like I can use technology to change my world.

Nike makes me feel like I can become a better version of myself through physical activity.

Jeep makes me feel like I can go anywhere, take my own path, and not let anything stand in my way.

Grey Goose makes me feel like I have sophisticated and discriminating tastes.

Harley-Davidson makes me feel like a bad-ass who doesn’t follow your rules.

How will your business make me feel?

It’s time to put aside the typical marketing BS and use your advertising to emotionally engage us.

Here is how a Canadian restaurant chain uses emotions (belonging, patriotism, family, love) to engage their customers. They don’t talk about how much the coffee costs or how great it tastes. They don’t talk about themselves. This is powerful marketing.

The branding book Start You Up is now available to help you create a powerful personal brand that can build your business and your career. You can order it with one click right here.


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