Wednesday, February 09, 2005

How Strong is Your Personal Brand? Take Our Quiz

How Strong is Your Personal Brand? Take Our Quiz
By Thomas Murrell MBA International Business Speaker

Successful brands are memorable, distinctive and have a high degree of recognition. They are also based on intangible values that build trust and credibility in the minds of others.

How can you apply the concepts of branding to your own personal career and life?

To find out how strong your personal brand is, answer these 10 questions:


Strong personal brands need a platform on which to be built. Your vision is
an external view of what is possible for you to achieve in the world. Your
purpose is the internal drive and reason you were put on this planet.
Clarity with these two questions will help your personal brand achieve lift


What are you truly good at? What comes naturally and what is hard work? What is your gift? Find the answers to these, and lead a life of success rather than a tough existence on struggle street.

I will never forget the parting words of my Human Resources Manager when I
left the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after joining as a fresh-faced University graduate 12-years earlier. He said, "Tom, you know what you do well? Present!". Simple, direct and clear. Since that moment, the light bulb inside my head has never shone brighter, and I have built a successful career as a professional public speaker.


You have to communicate your personal brand to those that matter. Many of
you may have heard me tell the story of my experiences as an elite hammer
thrower. My message is that you may throw the hammer the furthest, but unless the hammer lands in the marked sector it is not a legal throw. And so, the furthest throw does not necessarily win the competition.

Marketing and personal branding is a lot like that. You can waste a lot of effort, energy and resources (and of course 'grunting' if you're a hammer thrower!) for little result.

Your target market is like that hammer throw sector marked out on the field - aim to land your best throws in that target and you are more likely to beat your competition.


Speaking of competitors, who are they? Who are you really competing against?

In hammer throwing, I found I could beat bigger, stronger athletes by having a better technique, more focus and an ability to perform under pressure situations when it matters most. Life is like that and your personal brand needs to stand up when the heat is on.


What is the best strategy to put your brand in front of potential customers, clients or employers? Is it through giving presentations, writing articles or networking? I know from experience and because more than 7,000 marketing, media and management professionals in 15 different countries read 'Media Motivators', that my regular eZine works for me.

Unsolicited comments like: "I only recently joined your e-newsletter and have found it to be quite good. I have started an e-newsletter for our company and as I have no official media or marketing background, your tips have been great. Thanks. Anita D'Souza Operations Administrator , Melbourne Australia", help keep me on track.


Truly great brands deliver on their promise. Do your brand attributes match
your promise and does this align with your personal values and what you actually deliver on? Your values, brand and service delivery all have to be aligned.


Many of you who have seen me speak live or on video may have never noticed
that for every speech I've done over the past 4 years for a business audience, I have always worn a red tie. Is this because my wife always buys me red ties? No!

My corporate colour is red (in graphic design terms this is known as a PMS and each unique colour has a PMS code) and I want to present a strong, consistent and clear image and presence when in front of an audience. My tie matches my banners, which match my business cards, which match my website, which match my books, which match my ..... you get the drift.

I know a fellow speaker whose colour is purple. By the way, why did I choose red? Power! Lust! Passion! No, my target market is Asia and in Asian culture red is a colour which means prosperity and wealth. My goal is to bring prosperity and wealth to the clients I work with. You may also be aware, the number 8 is also lucky in Asian culture for the same reasons. Hence my telephone number contains as many 8's as possible, and my business is called '8M'!


Strong personal brands are built on stories. Often these are first hand experiences of overcoming hardship, personal challenges or obstacles.

The personal brand of former US President Bill Clinton is a classic example.
The fact his father died when he was young, his mother was a nursing assistant and he was born in Hope, a town of 10,000 people helps put his success and achievement in context. Building on the sense of destiny theme, the black and white image of Clinton as a 19-year old meeting President Kennedy when on a youth leadership camp, captured by a Reuters photographer has been used to great effect to reinforce his personal brand.

What is your 'signature story' that is unique, memorable and helps you stand
out from the crowd?


Branding helps create an image in the mind of consumers and can help make
intangible ideas, services or values more tangible. Anything that helps your personal brand become more tangible is important. You can feel and touch
these things such as business cards, accessories or even the clothes you wear. For example, is your pen you use when meeting a potential client a Mont Blanc or disposable Bic? If the latter, what does this convey about your brand?


Strong personal brands evolve over time. They are modified (I remember my early work - I never wore a red tie!), extended and made stronger while always remaining true and authentic to the person behind them. The best way to do this is to constantly learn and evaluate what works and what doesn't. Like life itself, a unique and memorable personal brand is a journey rather than a destination.

For more on personal branding visit our website.

A note to media - this article can be copied, reproduced or edited as long as the original source is referenced as

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


By Thomas Murrell, MBA CSP, International Business Speaker

If you are in Australia at the moment, it is hard to miss the engagement news of superstar couple, tennis ace Lleyton Hewitt and TV soap Rebecca Cartwright.

They are everywhere ... in leading glossy gossip magazines, on TV and Cartwright has even posed semi-naked for a men's magazine.

They are being hailed as Australia's answer to pop star "Posh Spice" Adams and English soccer hero David Beckham who have taken the world by storm as truly global personal brands.

Experts believe Hewitt's value has quadrupled as the media's interest in their private lives becomes a national obsession.

But why did they wait until 3.12 am in the morning to announce their engagement, hours after more than 4 million Australians had watched Hewitt lose the Australian Open Tennis Final?

Well, managing your message in the media is all about impact, reach and timing.

So what does this mean for the timing of your own media release?

Well, here are seven lessons from the Hewitt/Cartwright release that was emailed to the media at 3.12am only hours after the Australian Open finished.

1. Maximise Momentum
Brand building, strategic communications and the management of messages is all about consistently being in front of your target audience. To make a significant impact you need to keep the momentum going and maximise the moment and the public's interest in an issue. With such a build up to Hewitt's appearance in the Australian Open finals, the media attention was intense as he pursued his dream of becoming the first Australian to win the men's title since 1976.

"I always said I'd do anything to play in the first night final in Australian Open men's history and I've got my chance," Hewitt said after making the final in typical gritty style. Cartwright was courtside with him for the whole tournament and the focus of considerable media attention herself.

How can you write and pitch a media release that uses the momentum of a current issue?

2. Leverage Off An Event
Event marketing is a huge growth area for effective public relations. There is no bigger event in Australia during January than the Australian Open. Effective media relations is about strategically managing the release of information to coincide with events like this.

Events, including seasonal ones such as Valentines Day, come up every year and the media is always hungry for stories with a fresh angle. Who can forget the media-hype surrounding the break-up of Ken and Barbie?

"The 43-year relationship ended last February, just two days before Valentine's Day. Do you think those folks from Mattel picked that date by accident? The story made international news and it didn't hurt that it was timed for the love affair the media will always have with Valentine's Day," reports Jeff Crilley a US-based TV presenter and author of Free Publicity.

What media release can you pitch to time with a major event?

3. The Impact of Immediacy
This is a major driver of news values. What is news one day will be dead the next. The more immediate and timely the story, the greater the impact and the higher the news value.

Those that micromanaged the Hewitt/Cartwright release worked hard to meet a deadline. Here's how it worked according to a report in The Australian newspaper by Amanda Meade on Thursday February 3rd:

i) Around 12 midnight the night after the Australian Open Men's Tennis Final Hewitt proposes to Cartwright with a $200,000 diamond ring from Tiffany's.

ii) The media statement was drafted by Cartwright's publicist in Sydney after 1am and faxed to Melbourne's Park Hyatt Hotel, where it was approved by Cartwright, Hewitt, and their managers Stephen Harmon and Justin Cohen.

iii) The release was issued by email around 3am to all media confirming the engagement.

The important point was a process was followed to meet a deadline.

So what is the best time to issue a media release? Well, it all depends on the timeliness and news value of the story.

AAP conducted a survey of all News Rooms in Australia last year and found the best time to send a media release is between 6 and 9 am and 3 and 6 pm.

When sending your media release be aware of time differences.

4. Be Proactive

I can't emphasise enough the importance of being pro-active, even if it means working at 1am in the morning. Providing timely, accurate and relevant information through a well-written news release keeps everyone informed and stops rumours. This rule applies to everything from engagements to corporate takeovers and new product announcements.

5. Be Fair
With a big story be fair and even-handed with all the media so everyone gets the information at the same time. Treat the media as you would like to be treated, with courtesy and respect.

6. Be Consistent
Allow consistent access by the media if it is a big story. Obviously, with such a huge interest with Lleyton and Bec they decided to manage access and maximise their celebrity status by restricting access and tying up exclusives with Channel 7 and a leading Women's magazine. Use an agent to handle this if you are ever in this situation.

7. Target Your Media
In some cases it is best to target your media. AAP in its survey asked if it is best to send the release to a journalist or to the newsdesk - 86 per cent said to the newsdesk. This depends though on your relationship with the media. I do recommend sending releases directly to a reporter, especially if it is pre-arranged and contact has already been made through a relationship.

Want to find out more about effective media relations? Our first seminar for 2005 will show you the secrets of timing and pitching your news release to the media. Places are limited book here.