If You’re Struggling to Build an Online Brand, STOP and Check Out Four People Doing it Right.

by Craig McBreen · 13 comments · Branding

Why-your-brand-needs-purposeHow do you build a successful brand  online?

Um … nevermind, let me start over …

How do you craft a sticky online presence that builds a stark raving mad fan base, creates the perception of authority and helps you, dear friend, put food on the table?

How? Well as you’ll see from the examples below it’s not just about visuals. In fact, I think picking a specialty, having a non-passive voice, and practicing consistency are key elements to a killer brand.

In order to have the energy to see this all through you also need to love what you do. It’s obvious the fine people below rather enjoy their forte.

Before I go any further let me tell you that most people are going about this the wrong way. They are spinning their wheels because they are listening to too may “experts” and getting hung up on mechanics and best practices … trivial details.

I’m just a guy who’s been telling companies how to build a visual brand from scratch for over 18 years. What I normally tell them is, sing your own tune.

I sure as hell know what works (and what doesn’t).

Here’s what does work: Opinion.

Have one, that is.

Example: Check out Berni Xiong’s latest post:
Stop Calling Yourself a Life Coach, Start Doing More Good Shit.

Yes, she peppers her post with salty language, but I don’t think she’s selling to nuns. Plus, there’s actionable advice contained within.

Here is someone with V-O-I-C-E!

Want another? …

Marcus Sheridan is one of my favorite bloggers. I love the guy and think he does this blogging thing better than 98 percent of the people out there, but he says “dang” in place of Berni’s slightly more adult vernacular.

BUT he voices his opinion all-the-time. Marcus always gives actionable advice … advice I pass onto my clients (thank you, Marcus).

He lives and breathes his authentic brand, and his power-filled message comes through loud and clear.

When it comes to salty language. Well, let’s just say I like George Carlin AND Bill Cosby ;)

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. No, you don’t have to cuss. Just bring your expertise to the fore and wrap it in your own special language.

And please, don’t be afraid to have an opinion.

Here’s another thing that works: Consistency.

Example: Mark and Angel Hack Life.

I’ve been reading this blog since it started.

I think it was roughly seven or eight years ago. I don’t know exactly, but I read every new post at the time. Why? Because they wrote amazing list posts that were infused with energy … a.m. rocket fuel for the soul that helped me kick-start my day.

They’ve been doing the same thing for years. I love their posts, what they are about, and the message they deliver. In my mind it’s better than anyone in the personal development space.

They are extreeeeeeemly consistent and they deliver. If you want to be inspired, there is no better place.

Lesson: Be consistent.

Plus if another person tries to tell me list posts are dead, I’m gonna puke ;)

Another thing that works? Pick a space and own it.

Example: The speed at which young Ryan Hanley moves is something to behold. He’s created his own in-house studio, pumps out video after video, and is super-active on the space he chose to own; Google Plus.

Looks to me like he kinda took it and ran with it, G+ that is. He’s starting to build a world around Google’s social platform, but he’s operating at light speed. Trying to keep up could be a challenge.

Lesson: Pick a space and own it.

Me? Well I do this branding thing and what I love to do more than anything else it to help people take what they love and turn it into a space that makes things happen.

My eBook is about finding customers, not fans. The people above, yes they have admirers (heck, I’m one) but they are also each building an enduring enterprise that brings home the bacon. I’m assuming that’s what you want too?

If you’re interested in what a few more fine bloggers have to say about finding great customers, sign-up for my eBook below  …

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Hanley March 21, 2014 at 9:49 am


We can only be so many places… I don’t believe in “Be Everywhere,” not even close. We can’t be everywhere as a personal brand.

That changes for corporate brands with marketing teams or personal brands that can hire teams, and even then those brands aren’t great everywhere… they just are everywhere.

I’d rather be great at one or two things… Appreciate the shout out dude. You’re killing it and are being humble… You pump out some serious content as well.

Ryan Hanley recently posted..How to Add Value with Every Action on Google Plus | #70 Content Warfare TVMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 21, 2014 at 10:19 am


I agree and like the way you chose your space.

Be everywhere works for some, but I work with small- to medium-sized companies for the most part. They don’t have teams, but need a strategy to make it all work. Part of that is visual, part content … all wrapped in a certain tone. Picking the channel should be the last part, unless you’re openly discussing how to use a channel, like you.


Berni Xiong (shUNG) (@BerniXiong) March 21, 2014 at 10:31 am

I’m deeply humbled and so ecstatic you would give me a shout out next to such amazing people whose work I also consume and love. Thank you for the mention and for the great learning lessons! Love your writing, Craig!


Craig McBreen March 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Hi Berni,

You deserve it, and certainly belong in such company.

You’re welcome and thanks for the kind words too.


Marc March 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Excellent advice for all of us! Thank you for the reminders.

And of course, thank you for the continued support, Craig. :)
Marc recently posted..10 Things to Remember When You Feel Lost and AloneMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Hi Marc,

Of course! Just trying to highlight those doing amazing work.


Mark March 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm


Thank you for your excellent advice and really keen incites! particularly like what you ‘re advocating about both being consistent and picking a particular space and owning it!

The way you point out Ryan Hanley is currently doing! Thanks! I’ll be sure and check out his blog as well!
Mark recently posted..Entrepreneur The Road To Success Is Not Paved With These Five Incredibly Lame Excuses!Part TwoMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Hi Mark,

You’re welcome and thanks for dropping in!

Ryan is certainly someone to check out, because he’s doing all of the above.

Have a good one!


Davina K. Brewer March 26, 2014 at 7:50 am

You know I know from Marcus, always he owns his brand. Seen Ryan around the Interwebs a bit, these others too — will certainly try to pay more attention. Which of course is the catch, isn’t it Craig? Always so much good stuff out there, you couldn’t hope of catching it all .. but certainly fun to try. :-) FWIW.
Davina K. Brewer recently posted..Changing the Logo Won’t Fix the Brand.My Profile


Craig McBreen March 27, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Hey Davina,

Yes, indeed he does. All good peeps to follow.

There is so much good stuff out there, but to be honest I’m consuming less and producing more … trying to at least ;)

Appreciate you dropping by, it’s been awhile.


Patricia Haag March 27, 2014 at 8:10 am

Craig – Great article and those two opening paragraphs are the kind I wish I could write.

I’m already a follower of Ryan Hanley, but I will be sure to check out the other people you mention.
Patricia Haag recently posted..The Fabulous Joan Crawford and Getting What You WantMy Profile


Craig McBreen March 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Hi Patricia,

Glad you liked them, and appreciate the kind words. So you already know Ryan is a great guy to follow. You can’t go wrong with the others … love them all!

Thanks for coming by.


Cortez June 29, 2014 at 1:17 pm

45 to $4 45 Project school bus here at GSA. In addition, owners of
the space is limited to web sites have. Depending on your business/strategic plan for
2011/12 in which directors pay themselves huge salaries and promotion potential.
Cortez recently posted..CortezMy Profile


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