Fan Contest! Detroit 187 Live Tweeting – Episode #6 (10/26) at WXYZ

Are you a fan of Detroit 187?  Do you live in the Metro Detroit area and are on Twitter?  If so I have a great opportunity for you.  I am working with Stephen Clark (@sclarkwxyz) and #backchannel to bring a group of fans into the studio to live tweet episode #6 on 10/26 with Michigan actor Sean H. Robertson (@seanhrobertson) who is casted into this episode.

This is an opportunity for us as Michigan’ers to support a TV show that is filmed on Detroit soil.

How to Get Selected to Live Tweet

If you are interested in being apart of the #backchannel live tweet of Detroit 187, then @reply me (@HajjFlemings) and include the hashtag #backchannel #dtown187 and why you should be selected.

Deadline:  The group will be selected by the morning of 10/26.

How you can support from Home

If you are at home and want to be apart of creating buzz for Detroit 187 on Tuesday, October 26th you can tweet and include the hashtags #backchannel #dtown187.  Detroit let’s support projects in our community so that we can get future movie and TV projects filmed in Michigan.

LeBron James: Personal Branding Case Study (Part I)

We are all witnesses.  This message has never rang more true then on July 8th at 9PM EST.  This moment will forever be etched in the history of basketball lore.  The decision, the debate, the letter (Dan Gilbert), and the statement (. . .taking my talents to South Beach).

LeBron has been a prodigy before he stepped on the world stage as a sophomore at St.Vincent – St. Mary’s High School in Arkon, Ohio.  As fans we could not get enough of ‘King James’ we purchased his jerseys, watched his games, wore his shoes and drank his water (Vitamin Water.)  We watched in amazement as he has grown from an 18-year old young man into a businessman with aspirations of being the first billion-dollar athlete.

Sports is a Business, Period.

Sports is a business, period.  It is a dog eat dog world.  I don’t see any NBA owners running to the aid of Antoine Walker who is in debt after earning over $110M and supporting 75-people.  Why because it is business?

Was LeBron wrong for ‘The Decision’?  The decision to leave, no he was a free agent.  The decision to blast his hometown on global TV, yes.  There was nothing good that could possibly come out of the event even if he raised $2.5M for charity.  Brand building is a very violate undertaking.  Every decision, every relationship, every move, every word can grow, jeopardize, and/or destroy everything you have ever worked your entire personal and professional life.

Historic Basketball Note: Michael Jordan was essentially forced out of Chicago after being loyal to the Bulls and delivering 6-NBA championships.  Michael Jordan was given the door by the Wizards once he stopped playing basketball.  How loyal should an athlete or an employee be to an employer?

Financial Impact of LeBron

For anyone who thinks the decision was not about finance is living under a rock. For LeBron it wasn’t about maximizing his earning potential with his NBA contract but let’s take a look at the numbers.

  • The City of Cleveland generated $3.7M per Cleveland Cavalier home game .
  • Cavaliers were 2nd in home attendance with near 100% capacity (2010-11).
  • Cavaliers team valuation in Forbes dropped from $476M to $390M.
  • Heat road attendance was 93% it will exceed 100% in 2010-11
  • He will save an estimated $25M in state taxes signing with Miami.
  • LeBron leaves $15M on the table (Sign & Trade)
  • Stock prices of the publicly traded Madison Square Garden dropped.
  • Each playoff game in NYC or New Jersey would deliver a $3.6M financial impact to the region.
  • ‘The Decision’ raises $2.5M for the Boys & Girls Club.
  • ‘The Decision’ was the third-most-watched program on cable television 2010 (9.95M watched).
  • Rating as a viable endorser only fell from 69.9% to 67.6% (This may change)
  • Jersey sells for LeBron is #2 behind Kobe.

LeBron’s Personal Brand – A Typical Millennial

LeBron is a typical Millennial and his behavior aligns with the characteristics of that demographic.

Characteristics of a Millennial (A few of the traits LeBron exhibited)

  • They are becoming empowered personal brands in the workplace and are impacting their employers and the way they communicate.
  • Blended work life that allows them to work when, how and where they want to.
  • They want to work with their friends.
  • They share their lives online (in this case TV)

What drove his decision?

What decision would have been best for LeBron depends on what was most important to him?

  • Basketball Legacy: The best move for basketball legacy would have been:  Cleveland or Chicago
  • Financial: New York.  Hugh media market and increased endorsement opportunities.
  • Championships: Miami or Chicago.  Miami provides that option while playing with his friends.
  • Personal Brand: Cleveland.  Great story hometown hero impacts the local economy economically.  If he would have won a championship his legacy would have locked.
  • Personal Satisfaction: Miami.  I believe he wanted to be happy and felt that playing in Miami with D.Wade was going to provide that.

What is the true impact?  It depends on the metrics you are measuring. Legacy, financial, strength of personal brand, value to marketers, and/or online sentiment. Financially I believe there will be little impact.  Unless there is a major character issue or another PR stunts like ‘The Decision’.  His contract with the Heat is guaranteed.  His major sponsors like Nike aren’t going anywhere.  (He probably won’t sell too many shoes in Cleveland.)

My Personal Opinion:  The strategy LeBron and his team used to communicate ‘The Decision’ was ill conceived and  over the top knowing he was leaving Cleveland. You don’t diss your hometown on TV.  LRMR and LeBron have a PR, social media and trust nightmare on their hands and whatever other word you want to use.  I also believed he should have personally called Dan Gilbert prior to the special.  Since LeBron didn’t return a call or text to Dan Gilbert since the season ended there is probably more to this story beneath the surface that we may never know.  At the end of the day it is business.

However, I commend LeBron for making a business decision not driven by emotions.  As a personal brand you need to do what is going to help you live the most fulfilled life, also understanding that you have to be able to live with the results of your decision.  At the end of the day the final chapter of his personal brand is not written I believe it is going to boil down to what he does on the court.  As we all know winning has a way of changing things.

Let me know your thoughts.


How to Be Co-signed by Your Cohorts

LeBron, LeBron, LeBron.

LeBron James, NBA superstar, chose to go to the Miami Heat after a summer of deliberation.  After Thursday’s announcement you either love him or hate him.  The story will be buried and exhumed many times over, so I will not go into it.  However, I will go into what I feel is a remarkable side story.

James, will be joining Dwayne Wade, an existing Miami Heat player, and Chris Bosh who recently signed with Miami from the Toronto Raptors.  Unless you are fan of basketball, you may ask, “who is Chris Bosh?” And this is the remarkable side of the story.

Wade and James are known superstars, have been on the big screen, and have had the media hype to follow.  This is Bosh’s first time in the limelight.  Anyone who follows basketball knows that Chris Bosh is a solid player.  But not until now has he really been considered a superstar. Which has been argued by some sports critics. Why is he at superstar status? Its because he has been co-signed.  He has teamed up with two of the biggest brands in basketball. You can’t ask for better exposure.

This is the classic example of brand building by association.  The examples of a brands being co-signed speak clearly:

Pontiac G6 – Oprah Giveaway
After this car was given away on the The Oprah Winfrey Show, within two weeks, Pontiac G6 awareness reached 87% among adults, while also achieving a 17% click-through rate (on the web), a Google record for the time. With a new product, your can’t ask for better exposure, after that the product has to sell itself. It was co-signed by Oprah.

Nike – Michael Jordan
Nike cut Michael Jordan a check for $500,000 for his endorsement in 1985. In 1984 Nike’s total revenue was about $900 million. By 1997, when Jordan was closing in on the fifth of his six NBA titles, it hit $9.19 billion. Case closed.

Regardless to whether brand association is orchestrated or organic, its hugely beneficial and is represented in the perceived value part of the brand value equation.  Perceived value can be increased because of the association of another brand.

While Bosh is a solid player by himself, he has raised his brand equity tremendously by teaming up with cohorts of the maganitude of James and Wade.  Whether they have created a dynasty by teaming together is yet to be seen.  What is known is that Bosh has taken an opportunity to remove himself of the caves of Toronto and put himself in position to shine in South Beach.


5-Personal Branding Lessons: Marvin Gaye’s Nation Anthem – 1983 NBA All-Star Game

It has been over 20-years since Marvin Gaye’s sang the national anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star game in Los Angles, and it is chronicled as one of the greatest renditions ever. What lessons can be learned from watching the national anthem?

The 5-Personal Branding lessons

  • Integrate your Personal DNA – Personal Branding is about exposing people to what makes you special. Your image, your style, and your presence are centric to what draws your fans, your community, or your tribe to you as Seth Godin would say.  Be who you are!  You can set-up Fan pages, tweet all day, and have a million dollar website but if you don’t bring your personal DNA to the table you are wasting time and money.
  • Take Everything to the Next Level: No matter what it is that you do it can always be taken to the next level even it if is the national anthem which is a poem originally written by a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key in 1814.
  • Mastery – Success is about mastery.  Malcolm Gladwell calls it ‘10,000 hours’ and Jim Collins says, ‘Good is the Enemy of Great’ but personal branding is about consist delivery of excellence in a focused area.
  • Social Media isn’t about technology –  Social Media as we call it today is not about the technology.  The technology will change as it has from radio, to TV, to the Internet. Social media is another medium to communicate your compelling story.
  • Be Original – If you compare the greatest national anthems of all-time each artist brought something unique and original to the table.  Be original and always bring your worldview to your art.

As a personal brand what impact will you make?  Will people continue to talk about the legacy, the impact, and the mark you made 20-years after you are gone?

I was inspired to write this after reading a Facebook post from Marjora Carter.

Thanks Majora!!!

From ‘The Brand Man’

Leave your Mark!!!!


NBA Free Agents vs Personal Brand Free Agents

LeBron + NikeWe are on verge of one of the greatest free agent periods in the history of sports. With NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the host of other NBA players who will make decisions on where they will play.

The free agent period starts July 1st with an official signing date of July 8th. Careers, sports franchises and the lives of GMs, team presidents, coaches and their families hang in the balance. A wrong decision could handicap a team for many years to come.

Let’s first start with a quick history lesson on free agency. Do the names Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally ring a bell? Probably not. Well they ushered in modern day free agency in 1975 when they challenged Major League Baseball in arbitration and won.

As personal brands we are all professional business athletes but instead of playing on a field we work in a field. Let’s contrast NBA free agents vs personal branding free agents.

Free Agent Definitions

NBA: There are two types of NBA free agents restricted and unrestricted. For the purpose of this article we will focus on an unrestricted free agent, which is a player who can sign with any team he wants.

Personal Brands: According to Daniel Pink (Author of Free Agent Nation): A free agent is someone who works untethered from a large organization—a free-lancer, a sole proprietor, the operator of a very small business.
Should Daniel Pink’s definition of free agents extend beyond soloprenurs to include intrapreneurs as well who have positioned themselves for new opportunities?

Market Value

As I watch the story of Powered a full-service social media agency unfold it is a great business story on personal branding free agents.

How do you develop a team? In sports, teams can build through the draft getting young players and building around them. In the business world this would be the evaluate of hiring millennial and developing them. The other option is signing free agents or trading (acquiring). Recently Powered has acquired talent through the free agent route acquiring: Crayon (Joseph Jaffe), Step Change, Drill Team, and Conversation Agent (Valarie Maltoni). For more details on this story read Jeremiah Owyang, article, FirstTake: Powered, A Social Marketing Suite, Acquires Crayon and Social Media Agencies

Q: Performance impact in NBA vs. Personal Brands

• NBA: Stats and how you perform under pressure
• Personal Brands: Popularity of your blog (Adage 150, page views) and engagement online (Klout Metrics), book sales, and speaking gigs to name a few.

Q: Reputation impact in NBA vs. Personal Brands

• NBA: Background checks, family history, off the court history and run ins with the law
• Personal Brands: Online Brand Reputation, valid your activity in social networks, and listen to your data stream in your social networks

Total Compensation

As a personal brand it is a great time to diversify yourself to create greater marketing opportunities. Establishing a personal brand is really about more than just creating a blog and tweeting but being portable and leveraging your personal DNA being who you were designed to be.

Q: Endorsements for NBA vs. Personal Brands

• NBA: Shoe deals, product commercials, etc.
• Personal Brands: More and more opportunities for influencers with a strong personal brand presence to experience endorsements with large brands: For example Usage of Ford’s Fiesta Movement Challenge and GM’s Chevy SXSW

Q: Rock Stars NBA vs. Personal Brands

NBA: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki
Personal Brands: Chris Brogan, Brian Solis, Charlene Li, Wayne Sutton

Would you rather be an NBA star or a strong personal brand? Goes back to the Michael Jordan v Bill Gates argument. Would you rather be an NBA Free Agent or a Personal Brand Free Agent?

The Untold Stories of 7-Rock Star Recruiters and Career Pros

This blog post is about the story of seven rock star recruiters and career pros who tell their story about finding their passion and working in the recruiting and career services industry.

What prepares you to work as a recruiter or in career services? Is there a certain educational path? Are there strategically aligned companies to work for that will put you on the fast track?

The Story of Seven Rock Star Recruiters and Career Pros

  • Jennifer McClure – Started in Human Resources
  • Kelly Lux – Started as an Executive Assistant
  • Tammy Turner – Started as a Public Accountant
  • David Benjamin – Started as a Social Worker
  • Kim Benjamin – Works with the Michigan Prisoner Re-Entry Program
  • Molly Sly – Started in the Tourism Industry
  • Kristi Daeda – Start as a Computer Programmer

Our list of recruiters have started College & Career Chats (#cchat), work with prisoners to get them prepared for the job market, and been ranked as the tops in their field to name a few of their accomplishments.

Jennifer McClure
President of Unbridled Talent
Twitter: @CincyRecruiter

Jennifer McClure is President of Unbridled Talent, LLC a Cincinnati based consulting firm providing services to clients in the areas of attracting, recruiting, developing & retaining key talent in their organizations.

She is passionate about helping businesses to improve their people strategies through consulting and training opportunities and she’s also a popular speaker who is regularly engaged to present at conferences, associations and to HR, Recruiting and leadership teams at a variety of organizations, including Fortune 100 clients.

Prior to beginning her Consulting career, Jennifer led the life of a full-time Human Resources Pro with leadership and executive-level experience in privately held and Fortune 500 companies and also worked as an Executive Recruiter and Executive Coach partnering with C-level leaders to find, recruit and develop key leadership talent. An active participant and user of a variety of social networks and social media, Jennifer has been named a Top 10 Employment Blogger to Follow by, one of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters and has been ranked as one of the Top 25 HR Pro’s to Follow on Twitter. She writes frequently about a variety of talent management topics on her personal blog and the industry leading blog

Kelly Lux
Career Development and Relationship Management Professional at Syracuse University
Twitter: @KellyLux

One of the things that led me to the career field as a profession is the fact that I have always been conflicted about exactly what it was I wanted to do. I believe it is the rare individual who knows what they want to do and never wavers from that course. That has not been my experience.

I will admit that in my younger years I was not very career-oriented and was just looking for a way to pay the bills. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I worked as an executive assistant for several years and in various places before ending up at Anheuser-Busch in 1997. In my role as Assistant to the Plant Manager I was given much more freedom to be creative, to lead teams and to develop all kinds of skills that would serve me well in the next phase of my career. However, there wasn’t much room for advancement in this position, so I ended up leaving to pursue a Masters in Education. To make a long story short, I never ended up securing a full-time teaching position and had to go for plan B, which led me to a job at Syracuse University. Initially, I had to swallow my pride and go back to an administrative assistant role, Masters degree notwithstanding. However, within a year of being hired at Syracuse, the position I currently hold opened up. While I had no experience in Career Services or working with alumni populations, I was able to sell my transferable skills, education and passion for the job. While employed at Syracuse University I have continued my education and taken classes in higher education administration, career counseling and, most recently, social media. Two years later, I have greatly expanded my knowledge in the area of career, become a certified career coach, delved into social media with great enthusiasm, and learned that I have a gift for managing relationships and finding creative ways of communicating with people from all walks of life. This is what I was meant to do.

Tammy Turner
President of Kapstone Recruiting and Training Services
Twitter: @TammyTurn

Tammy Turner is an entrepreneur, author, professional speaker, consultant and career coach. Tammy started her career at Plante Moran, LLP in the tax department, later moving on to Deloitte & Touche, in Enterprise Risk Services, and then to Arthur Andersen in International Payroll and Global Human Resources. After more than 6 years in Public Accounting, Tammy realized that her true passion was in Human Resources, and more specifically in Recruiting. In 2003, she became a recruiter for Robert Half Finance & Accounting, specializing in the permanent placement of Finance and Accounting professionals. In 2004 Tammy had an opportunity to travel overseas and work as a Recruiting Consultant for UNICEF and HR, Inc. Cambodia. Tammy spent nearly 3 years in Cambodia working as a consultant and ultimately started her own recruiting business International Employment Solutions (IES), in 2006.

In February 2007 Tammy returned to the United States and launched a second recruiting business Kapstone Recruiting & Training Services, LLC and in 2009 she purchased a franchise exclusive to Food Service & Hospitality (Food Team). Tammy has aspirations to grow her business globally and open a Kapstone Recruiting office in Singapore in 2012.

David Benjamin
Principle of Dave E. Benjamin Consulting, LLC.
Twitter: @DaveBenjamin

Graduated college, became a social worker for 3 months. Got tired of restraining adolescent girls all day, became a financial advisor for almost a decade. Successful career, got into management enjoyed it but got burnt out. Transitioned into recruiting industry, first staffing nurses at hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional facilities. Moved to Direct Hire – placed accounting/finance professionals and other miscellanous positions. Left corporate workforce in 2005, joined The Sales Matrix (Sales Consulting Firm) as a consultant and Recruiting Mng, placing sales professionals with clients. Still with TSM, started own consulting firm in Jan 2010 (David E Benjamin Consulting LLC), primarily helping clients with everything digital/social media. Enjoy speaking for Universities, Corporations, Associations, Etc. on a variety of topics: Social Media related & job seekers. Getting ready to launch SalesBasix (Sales and Marketing E-Learning Co) with 6 other guys.

Kim Benjamin
Founder of A Purposed Transition

Kimberly’s has over 19 years of human resource experience working for Fortune 500 Companies such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, ITT Industries, Cornerstone Schools and the Michigan Primary Care Association. She also teaches job readiness, human resource management and entrepreneurship classes at local universities, community colleges, churches and correctional facilities. Kimberly enjoys teaching entrepreneurship classes at the State of Michigan Mound Correctional Facility in Detroit, Michigan. She has taught three classes at the correctional facility over the past 2 years and plans to continue to teach more classes in the future. Her students eagerly call her “Professor Benjamin” and enjoys receiving first-hand knowledge on how to identify their preferred skill sets, understand how to start a business, write a business plan and pitch their business idea to potential investors.

Molly Sly
President of Hire Logic LLC.
Twitter: @MollySly

I never thought I could sit behind a desk. This would explain why I graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Park, Recreation and Tourism Management. I emphasis the Management because otherwise it’s a fairly embarrassing degree, especially because I have been sitting behind a desk for years! I will say that my first job upon graduation was tied to my major. I was in marketing for the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. While I was starting out there, I had a friend in California that kept telling me I should work for his company because I have the right personality to recruit. I didn’t know what recruiting was so I declined. However, about a year later his company was opening up a Chicago office and Chicago seemed like a great idea. This move to Chicago and this move into recruiting was definitely the best thing I could have done for myself. My first job was for a large consulting company hiring CAD engineers. Since then I moved into IT recruiting, then corporate recruiting, then field recruiting, then an independent gig followed by another corporate recruiting position at a large advertising agency. The advertising job really did change my life and opened up doors I didn’t know existed. It was so refreshing to recruit for really interesting and exciting jobs (creative positions, digital strategy, experience planning, social media, etc.). The timing of it all perfectly coincided with the changes in the web. I become immersed in LinkedIn, Boolean searches on Google, tweeting and friending like it was my job. That’s because it was, and is, my job. I’m now working at Hire Logic, LLC which is an independent contingency based recruiting firm that is comprised of me, just me. I specialize in all things digital. I love making connections with people through the web and then meeting them in person and in a perfect world, finding them an awesome new opportunity or an awesome new employee. Some of the biggest risks I’ve taken in my career have absolutely been the most rewarding and I’m always excited to see what is coming next.

Kristi Daeda
President of Successitechs
Twitter: @Kristid

I was a computer programmer, a marketing copywriter, and an HR leader and recruiter before a layoff helped me discover where my greatest value lies–creating foolproof success plans for others. Now, I help career-minded professionals define and confidently market their value so they can find their ideal job sooner. Plus, my tech background keeps me in touch with the specific needs of my core client base — IT professionals. It’s great that what seemed at the time to be twists and turns in my career have equipped me to make sure that my clients don’t have to go through that uncertainty.

The end of the story confirms that there are no silver bullets in any industry even as a recruiter or career pro but, that passionate, committed, competent people will always find their way.

Photo Credit: wanted, originally uploaded by babblingdweeb.


Tony Hsieh – @Zappos CEO, “Delivering Happiness Book Release”

Tony Hsieh (Zappos CEO) Delivering Happiness Book to Hajj Flemings

The poster child of corporate culture and the usage of technology to connect with customers is Zappos.  Zappos is ran by one of the smartest, most relevant CEOs on the planet Tony Hsieh.  What does Tony do?  Does he build brands, create corporate culture, deliver happiness or all three? I had the opportunity to hangout with Tony Hsieh and the Zappos Team in March 2010 in Austin, TX on the Happiness Bus at SXSW.  I experienced the Zappos corporate culture for a few hours and I will validate he is doing all three.

I am an avid reader and I am excited to share with you the latest book that I am reading, “Delivering Happiness:  A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh.  Tony is a proven leader who is living what he is teaching. He has developed two companies LinkExchange which was sold to Microsoft for $265M in 1995 and which was sold to for $1.2B in 2009. 

Be a part of the movement his book ships June 7th purchase part of his brain for under $25, what a deal.

Zappos’ Core Values

The Framework of the Culture

1. Deliver WOW Through Service
2. Embrace and Drive Change
3. Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
4. Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
5. Pursue Growth and Learning
6. Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
7. Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
8. Do More With Less
9. Be Passionate and Determined
10. Be Humble

Follow Tony/Zappos
Follow: @DHBook (Delivering Happiness Book Twitter Account)
Follow: @Zappos (Tony Hsieh – CEO of Zapppos)

Seth Godin and Hajj Flemings: Become A Personal Branding Linchpin – Interview (Part I)

Seth Godin and Hajj Flemings – Linchpin Interview (Part I) from Hajj Flemings on Vimeo.

I recently conducted a personal branding interview with Seth Godin Marketing Guru and best selling author of dozen books including Purple Cow, Tribes, and The Dip to name a few. The focus of our conversation centered on Seth recently released book called Linchpin, which in my opinion is his most profound book.

In my interview with Seth Godin we discussed two significant topics from his book: Genius and the Factory. Being a native of Detroit both of these topics resonated especially the Factory concept. ‘The Factory’ has been the motor of Detroit for almost a century with the automotive industry building the middle class in our nation with mass production.

Seth also provides his perspective on personal branding.

The Extinction of Normal – The New Personal Branding Anthem


The topic of ‘What is Normal?’ has been on my mind for a while and I thought it would make an interesting blog post. The idea was birthed out of the Tiger Woods saga as I start asking myself this question what is normal for celebrities, icons, politicians, and successful people.

If you were a worldwide icon like Tiger Woods life as you know it would change.  Your privacy would be sacrificed for fame, fortune and a loyal following.  How would you manage?  This question is easily answered when no one is following you or cares that you even exist.  The definition or understanding of normal I believe is changing.

Webster’s define ‘normal’ as according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, or principle; and conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern. Success is the enemy of normal.  Success breds responsibility and accountability that is larger than most people can imagine and the price is higher than most people want to pay.

What is Normal?

This is a particularly interesting question since the line is blurring between Celebrities and Super Personal Brand Brands (i.e. Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, and Gary Vaynerchuk).

Three Impacts of Success:

  • Lost Privacy – Celebrities can’t go anywhere without paparazzi, TMZ following them and making living a regular life non-existent.  With the rise of social networks,  status updates, social search, Twitter, Facebook and other social tools personal privacy is starting to diminish for personal brands as well.
  • Demanding Fans – Celebrities lives have been defined by their fans and the same is happening to personal brands.  The increasing influx of DMs, blog post comments, emails, and online engagement with followers requires a committed person to grow their following.
  • Feeding the Monkey – Continuing to create engaging content that will cause your community/following to grow is mandatory for celebrities and personal brands.

The point of this post is that normal is redefined as you reach certain levels of success in business and life.  What was once normal is no longer normal.  It creates challenges and opportunities that can benefit or damage your personal brand.  As you grow your personal brand how will normal be redefined in your life?


Tiger Woods: Seven Lessons on Tarnishing a Platinum Personal Brand


Does platinum tarnish?  The answer is no, due to it’s high purity which is the way most people felt about Tiger Woods personal brand, that it could never be tarnished.  He has been the embodiment of focus, drive, and winning.  The world’s first billion dollar athlete who until November 25th had a seemingly impeccable reputation that most people and brands admired and envied.

Sponsorship Impact

  • 80-90% of his annual earnings are from endorsements.
  • His approval rating has dropped 18%.
  • Gatorade, Accenture, and Gillette sponsorships dropped.
  • Pac-10 has pulled their ad with Tiger Woods.

Seven Lessons all Personal Brands can learn from the Tiger Woods Situation

  • Be Authentic: A personal brand should not be a make believe image that you cannot live up to.  Whether you are a billion dollar athlete or not packaging your personal brand in away that is consistent with your lifestyle is important.
  • There is always somebody watching: We live in a digital world that is online 24/7 that archives every step of your digital footprint.  Understand everything you do will come to light so live your life as though everybody is watching. When the public makes you how you are, you sacrifice your privacy for brand equity, fame, and fortune.  Remember your personal brand cannot be compartmentalized.
  • Reputation is NEVER more important than Character: What is more important reputation or character?  Tiger is the poster child for impeccable reputation.  Reputation by definition can be distorted which was clearly the case for Tiger.  Strong character can be developed.
  • Who in your inner circle?: Do you have a person or people who are not bought, not “YES” people, but individuals who are capable of giving you sound advice.  “YES” people make you feel good that will literally destroy your life and your brand.  You need people around you who will help you to stay accountable especially as your influence and personal brand grows.
  • Understand the 30-Second Rule: How long does it take to build a strong brand?  It takes a lifetime to develop a strong reputation and 30-seconds to destroy it.  Think before you act.
  • Where is your Focus?: Whatever you focus on is what will grow.  What you focus on creates actions, those actions create habits, those habits are the foundation of your personal brand.
  • What is your Personal brand Connected to? As your personal brand grows and your influence expands your every decision impacts future opportunities, future earnings, and the strategic partners you are connected to.


Will Tiger continue to make money?  The answer to that question is yes.  Has Tiger Woods personal brand been tarnished?  Absolutely.  Can it be restored?  Absolutely.  The strength of our personal brands are determined by our character, which is a product of our habits.  If you don’t want to Tiger your personal brand think about the seven lessons that I have listed and the value of your character.


Can your Personal Brand Write its own Terms of Service?


 What are the Terms and Service of your personal brand?  According to Wikipedia, Terms of Service (TOS) is defined as rules by which one must agree to abide by in order to use a service. Usually, such terms are legally binding.  The average person is typically not in a position to write there own TOS.

As I have been listening online recently there is a very interesting theme occurring with high profile people leaving companies, organizations and changing industries.  This has me thinking about the power and ability to leave on your own terms. 

High Profile People who are Changing

  • Oprah Winfrey announces, The Oprah Winfrey Show ends September 2011 and she will focus on her cable network, OWN  = Oprah Winfrey Network.
  • Allen Iverson announces he is leaving the Memphis Grizzlies for personal reasons (basically because he isn’t starting) and later signs with the Philadelphia 76ers.
  • Fritz Henderson former CEO of GM is forced to resigned after 8-months
  • Alec Baldwin announces that he is not interested in acting anymore after 30-years in the profession.
  • Bobby Bowen built the Florida State University Football program over 34-years and at the end of his tenure is basically asked to step down, but we still want you to help raise funds for the University.

Why are these events significant?  This is significant because the world of work is changing and dependence on companies is fleeting.  One of the greatest benefits of developing a strong personal brand is to be in a position to write your own Terms of Service.  Whether you like Allen Iverson or not he is a first ballot Hall of Famer basketball player and he has decided he is either going to start or not play.  That means he has limited his opportunities but has decided to live on his own terms.  Oprah Winfrey has decided to develop her own network and be on TV on her own schedule.   

The Elite Personal Brands Rewrite the Rules

Elite personal brands rewrite all the rules that we are instructed to follow in college.  The ability to do this comes from paying the piper and spending the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book Outliers.  As a personal brand I am working to get to the Steve Jobs, Russell Simmons, Oprah level where I can rewrite the rules and live by my own Terms of Service:  corporate dress consisting of blue jeans, sneakers, and maybe a baseball cap and start my own television network.

Are you operating on your own Terms of Service (TOS)?


Personal Branding: The New Celebrity Built Online


What we all love about celebrities is that we believe they live a lifestyle that mere morals only dreamed of?  People desire the allure of fame and notoriety neither of which means satisfaction or fulfillment in what you do, but carries with it a lot responsibility.  In the age of the social web quote unquote celebrities are popping up everyday.  As a personal brand strategist, I am a strong believer in substance and value and that personal brands should be built authentically that package and expose your true DNA.

The New Celebrities

Case Studies, Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee) and Robert Scoble (@Scobleizer) are a growing example of the new celebrity.  They are larger than life personalities that have cut their teeth online and through shear sweat equity, passion, free social media tools, and a loyal online following have created incredible opportunities for themselves.  Thought leaders, Techies, and creatives are the new black and provide regular people with a ray of hope of creating a message for the world that leaves them wanting more.

Basics of The New Celebrities

  • Exposing your Genius – Your genius is what you makes you special.  It is the intersection between your passion, the problem you solve, and the process (business model) you use. With all the noise and information flowing online it will be important to expose your Genius.
  • Tell your Personal Brand Story – You need to know who you are and be prepared to tell your face-to-face and online.   A personal brand story is not a resume or a list of bullets but a short story that is digestible without chocking people with useless ego chatter.
  • Create Hubs and Use Amplifiers – Social media is an amplifier it doesn’t solve world peace or cure world hunger, it amplifies who and what you are. A hub is a centralized, online digital destination that aggregates your content (i.e. Facebook Fan Page or a Blog.)  These public domains are brand building mechanism that empowers your community (fan base) to share and consume your content.
  • Be your own Paparazzi: Establish a social presence with some of the popular social network, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Twitter to name a few.
  • Create Scarcity – The goal of Celebritism is to create scarcity. Social Networks are great platforms or funnels to offer free shareable content that will allow you to take people up your funnel.  The great thing about celebrities is that people are willing to pay more for a different level of exposure or experience.  For example I love Malcolm Gladwell books and his other written work, I would be willing to pay more to hear him speak because there are limited opportunities.
  • Follow the Leaders - Look at what the real life celebrities are doing and take a page out of their book:  Vin Diesel has 6.7 millions friends on his Facebook fan page, MCHammer has 1.6 million followers on Twitter, and Shaq has 2.4 million followers on Twitter.

The power has shifted to any person with a laptop, iPhone, and an internet connection to connect their passion to the world.  The true celebrities have found away to authentically connect people to who they are their passion.  I believe the goal is to create scarcity.

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