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My Recent Speech On “Personal Branding” For AMA @ ING Cafe

I gave a speech on Personal Branding to the American Marketing Association (San Francisco) (thanks, Brian Kerr!) on Nov. 20th at the ING Direct Cafe.

Some of you asked for the slides of the show.

Here’s the Powerpoint slide show via Slideshare and then below that are some notes from the speech:

Rob kelly powerpoint slides personal branding speech ama ing cafe from Rob Kelly

And then this link should allow you to download the presentation in Powerpoint (I hope): Rob Kelly Presentation Slide Show From American Marketing Association Speech

Here are my own outline notes from the speech (apologies that they may be rough — I didn’t type them out verbatim):

3 Concepts To Master Your Personal Brand

Excited to be here

3 powerful concepts to improve your personal brand…or any brand.

  1. Owning the brain
  2. Specificity
  3. Beacons

First, a story…A “Steve Story” (Slide = Steve on phone). I’m going to channel Steve Jobs a little today because I learned a bunch from him and he had a great personal brand that also became a corporate brand.

  • 1993, Steve struggling calls me on phone
  • Next workstation
  • He said something to me which stuck: “beautiful computers”
  • Easy to use
  • Fun to look at it/sleek, color

1) Owning The Brain

What Steve was doing, was trying to own words in my brain (see this “Long List of Words In Our Brain That Brands Own”)

  • How brain works — 12,000 English words
  • A good brand owns one or more of those words
  • Company brand examples first
  • “News” is owned by CNN
  • “Search” is owned by Google
  • “Beer” is owned by Budweiser
  • “Tissues” is owned by Kleenex
  • “Social network” or even “Friends” is owned by Facebook
  • “Positioning” concept — by Al Ries & Jack Trout (Positioning is #13 on my Best Business Books of All Time list!)
  • Ladders & Rungs (Slide? = a ladder called “news” & “CNN, NPR, Chronicle, NPR, Huffington Post” etc.
  • If you understand just this concept of owning words in the brain & ladders, you’ll be more powerful than 9 out of 10 of your colleagues

2) Specificity

Why?: Simple math = 7 bil people competing for 12,000 words = 583,000 people per word

One approach is to build a new ladder

[Slide=Ladder with “Beautiful Computers” on it]

Instead of being just one rung on the “Computers” ladder, he chose to create a new ladder of “Beautiful Computers” and be the first and only rung for awhile

An important concept is “Alienate the non-prospect” — One thing Jobs was doing: He was alienating the vast majority of people who didn’t care about a computer being “beautiful”

Google is a great example: “Think like Google”

3) Send Out Beacons

[Slide = Lord of the Rings]

You now have to get the word out!

A series of beacons connected Gondor to Rhohan so the cities can let them know they needed each other.

Beacons aren’t just for distress/help — they can be to “pull” in value for you and increase “Serendipity!”

Why? — “The More You Tell, The More You Sell” — David Oglivy (who’s personal brand was “ad guru”) — Oglivy on Advertising is #15 on my Best Business Books of All Time list.

[Slide = pic of David Oglivy]

What were Steve Jobs’ beacons?

  • Pranks
  • Slide? = SWAB Job banner prank that “sealed his friendship” with Wozniak (with a hand flipping the middle finger)
  • Slide? = Captain Crunch whistle for long-distance calls
  • Finding yourself/Learning
  • Slide? = SF Zen Center & Tassajara Zen Center with Kobun Chino Otogawa and Shunryu Suzuki
  • Calligraphy
  • Expressing yourself
  • Slide? = Beautifully Designed products:
  • BMW bike in his lobby
  • Braun Coffee Maker
  • Henckels knives
  • Boesendorfer Piano
  • Bang & Olufsen audio equipment
  • Maxfield Parrish painting
  • Ansel Adams prints
  • Paying $100K to Paul Rand for Next logo
  • Calling me and all other press (these are beacons)
  • Everyone on his Apple team signed the inside of the computer
  • Apple ad with a beautiful woman
  • Calling Microsoft’s products ugly
  • He would berate employees if products weren’t important enough

You are putting out a beacon tonight just by being here!

And if you tweet about it, you’ll be sending out a beacon to others in the Universe!

Rob’s Beacons:

  • Blog articles — 500,000 people have found me through it
  • Book as a 200-page business card. That book costs $3 to produce (thx to ING for buying by the way!)
  • This speech
  • Beacons created a Virtual Door (Open 24/7)
  • Marcin, Brian Kerr, Israeli guy, Ramit, and others walk into my life

If it weren’t for my blog, I wouldn’t be here tonight — Brian Kerr found me through my blog back on March 12, 2011!

Some Quick Tips (almost all are in my book or my blog)

Tips for Owning Words in the Brain

Circle of Competence — Draw a circle around all the things you enjoy doing or are super-good at or passionate about. I kept this up on my wall for awhile

How to pick a ladder– Pick a noun and an adjective/qualifier.

Tips for Specificity

Don’t be afraid to “Alienate the non-prospect”

Start a blog (see what people are searching on to find you)

Tips for Beacons

  • Blog
  • Write a book — 200 page biz card
  • The more you tell, the more you sell.


If Steve Jobs hadn’t dropped acid, studied caligraphy, studied zen buddhism and tinkered with electronic pranks, he wouldn’t have become know for “Beautiful Computers”

Pick a part of the brain you want to own

Be specific/beyourself: Steve Jobs did crazy pranks, tinkered w/ electronics, studied calligraphy/fonts, zen Buddhism, dropped acid, traveled to India

Send out beacons — tell the world what your’e doing.

You WILL formulate your personal brand

Huge opportunities still exist to own words/phrases in our brains. E.g. “Green Computers” — noone yet owns the concept of environmentally-good computers.

What ladder can you join or better yet, which ladder can you invent?

Thank you.

Q&A (no notes)