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[epub] Re: Branding the person v. the product
Hi Kivi,

I've seen a lot of people go back and forth on this issue and I think the answer for each individual is ... well ... individual. A great deal will depend on the nature of your product and on your exit strategy.

It seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to brand yourself AS the product if you are the product -- a coach or a consultant, for example. It also makes sense for newsletter publishers, especially those that start out as one-person shops (a la The Kiplinger Washington Newsletter). The trick there would be to brand the publication with whatever qualities about you make your newsletter popular or otherwise valuable.

Then again, if you plan to sell your publication and retire down the road, you might want to think twice about creating a "star shop" -- will the newsletter be considered worthless without YOUR voice? Of course, the sale of the company assets, including the newsletter, subscriber list, etc., may be the first step in a transition that takes that into account an ultimate change in the tone of the newsletter. As with many things, the devil is in the details. Some newsletters survive that sort of transition, some don't.

I do think personal branding answers a number of needs that seem to be current in the marketplace. It puts a face and a distinctive voice (a likeable one, one hopes) to the publication at a time when more and more consumers are complaining about how hard it is to connect with a real human being in the context of a company. It establishes credibility for the individual (which is helpful for securing speaking gigs, workshops, seminars and other paid appearances), and the individual's credibility ultimately will establish credibility for the publication, so the two feed on each other and enhance each other's earnings potential.

Another thought: I will grant that first impressions are very important and, in business, that includes the business name. But it has been my experience that the best way to demonstrate professionalism is to behave professionally.


At 01:41 PM 4/7/05, you wrote:
>>Christopher Knight wrote:

>>When I switched my FROM: field from: "Ezine-Tips" to this: "Christopher Knight's Ezine-Tips" My OPEN RATE went up 12%.

This brings up a question I have been struggling with: Whether to use my personal name to help brand a product. I've noticed that Chris and many of the people he promotes in Ezine-Tips use their own names in addition to a product name, which I assume builds some credibility for the person as an expert. But I am wondering about the affect (good or bad) on sales? If I'm not especially interested in promoting myself as an expert, but rather my website as the best source on a topic, does it matter if I use my name and face on stuff? Does anyone have any thoughts or quantitative experience with this?

I know in the freelance writing community, it seems like most people come up with a company name (for me, it's EcoScribe Communications) to help demonstrate professionalism (as opposed to "hobby" writers), and that has worked better for me and many others I know than leading with a personal name alone.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts,


Dawn Rivers Baker

The MicroEnterprise Journal
Where the nation's business meets microbusiness.
P.O. Box 41
Sidney, NY 13838

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