Read: Cover to Cover (skipping some of the “how to get you giant ass corp bosses to go along”)
Twitter Review: Let your freak flag fly and let your true colors shine.
Look, we’re in a funny (not haha, but strange) place when it comes to marketing our small or independent businesses. The old way of doing things, print media, electronic media, direct mail, seems to be pretty much over (hallelujah – none of us could afford it anyway). But now the kool-aid for today’s savvy marketers is to create a “story” about you and/or your small business and/or insert your personality, and grow the WOM (word of mouth). This is the basis for creating the “personal brand,” creating a compelling and memorable back-story so that your customer/client/followers/evangelists can repeat it. As my Aussie friends, say, “all good” and I say, “pour me a cup.” Authors who write business books, this author included, typically use the “big” names to illustrate their points (and possibly their gravitas), StarBucks, Dell, Oreck, ING Direct, but in this case, I have to give Rohit Bhargava a break, he says he personally interviewed every business he writes about. The only downside/upside to his writing, is that like so many good authorities, he comes from a corporate background (SVP of Digital Strategy and a founding member of the 360 Digital Influence group at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, one of the the world’s largest marketing and communications agencies). But let’s not hold that against him. You just have to read the book from your point of view – the concepts are universal to all business, including yours.
So what is so compelling, that I am encouraging the reading of this book? Because when you are a small business person, an independent, freelancer or entrepreneur, this concept is the quintessential model. You are the ones who can pivot easily into this terrific, compelling, cost effective way to build a brand. Yes, I used the “B” word. You are the gals (and guys) that actually HAVE a back-story. Most big business is already entrenched. They have a PR department to tell then what is “authentic.” They have a LOT to lose by communicating directly with their consumers (as seen in the hubbub, scramble for attention on Facebook with the “like me please like me” button). There is a trend now, for people to be charmed by your passion, to follow the little guy, to stand up and spread the word about you and your services, products and ideas. This is a book that can take you from start to finish in understanding how to put personality into your business, but here’s where his book is very different. In the second half of the book Rohit gives you everything you need to apply these ideas to your small business. Easy charts, guides and tools that give you the action plan you need to get started. If you take his advice and use the tools to implement a “personality” into your small (but beautiful little) business, fasten your seat-belts because you may be in for for a very enjoyable ride in 2012.