Monthly Archives: October 2010

Personal Brand Management - Essential For Every CEO

Personal brand management - building and defending the reputation of individuals - is becoming increasingly important in the corporate sector.

Movie stars have been keen managers of their personal brands for decades and, in recent years, Buckingham Palace has become increasingly adept at refining the reputation of the Royals.

Now captains of industry are starting to take the management of their personal brands seriously.

Leading the way are entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, underwear queen Michelle Mone and transport king Brian Souter.

They come from different walks of life but like the Royals, Brian and Michelle have their own personal websites to tell their story the way they want it to be told - without it being slanted by the media.

My prediction - within five years the CEO of every major business will have their own personal website.

To find out more about personal brand management, please visit

Partnerships – A Great Way To Do Business

If you want to move your business into the fast track - take a look at strategic partnerships.

Once-upon-a-time I believed it was important to own a business lock, stock and barrel.

Not any more. Over the past year I have realised that partnering is the way to get ahead in business.

Only 12 months ago, we entered into our first partnering venture with educational marketing and student recruitment expert Peter Cunningham.

Together we set up 11tenGroup ( and we burst through the £1 million fee barrier after only 10 months.

So why has partnering been so successful? The reason is simple - Peter and his colleagues brought skills and sector expertise that were new to us.

As a result, we are now penetrating markets around the world which, without the partnership, would have been closed to us.

We are now looking at further partnering opportunities.

If you are considering setting up a business partnership, here are my golden rules:

  • Make sure you like the person or team you are partnering with
  • Make sure you trust your partners and pull out immediately if you find your trust is misplaced
  • Make sure the partnership if fair to all parties

Biggest Return For Your Marketing Dollar

I am often asked by clients, what single marketing initiative will give the best return on investment.

Because of my PR background, public relations would be the obvious answer.

Effective PR can, without doubt, give you an unbelievable return when it comes to driving customer interest and building the fame of a brand.

Indeed, Bill Gates, the world's richest man, said he would spend his last marketing dollar on PR.

I, however, beg to disagree.

If I was down to my last marketing dollar, I would spend it on optimisation or optimization as it's spelled in the US.

I would pawn my mother-in-law to get the funds to optimise my website so it could sit at the top of Google for all the important keyword searches.

We have many clients who have multiplied sales by hundreds, indeed thousands of percent simply by getting their sites to the No1 spot on Google.

My advice to any business - if you want to lead your sector, hire a great optimisation team and dominate the search engines.

Name Associations – Fun & Enlightening

When you think of a company - any company - what word best sums up the brand?

For instance, what single word would you associate with Marks & Spencer?

Would Quality summarise the M&S brand?

Let's try Disney, how about Entertaining?

What about Authoritative for the Financial Times?

Capturing the essence of a brand in one word can be entertaining, engrossing and enlightening.

There is no right or wrong answer because we all look at brands from our own standpoint. At the same time, we are influenced by the thinking of our peer group.

Take Royal Bank of Scotland, for instance. What word would you choose to describe our noble high street bank? Safe and Crooked are two words you could apply to a bank. Which would you choose for RBS?

What about Ryanair? Uncaring, Disrespectful or Cheap are three words which spring to mind. I'm sure you can think of others.

British Airways? Strike could be an apt single word descriptor.

Try the one word test on any brand. It's fun.

Here's the serious part - if you opt for a positive word, the brand probably has a generally positive reputation. A negative descriptor probably means the brand needs to take urgent action to improve its image.