Technology, tribes and transparency – How to make your brand irresistible

by Craig McBreen · 47 comments · Branding

I have one question today.

How do you communicate your value to your readers?

I’m talking to you: Writer. Contractor. Artist. Whatever skills you posses, you’re offering up something.

You ARE marketing your content. Even if you say you’re here for shits and giggles you want people to read your stuff, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing this.

You’re marketing your skills and you’re branding your content in some form. And that’s why I asked you about communicating value. That’s effective branding, but today, branding done right usually involves bringing those distinguishing characteristics to the fore.

You know: Being different. Letting originality shine. Being a bit of a rare bird. So, how in the shiznits do you accomplish this?

You could don a clown suit, get five nose rings, tattoo your face like Mike Tyson, or all of the above, but I get the feeling that’s not the real you, right?

Step back and think about the creative souls who are really making a go of this online thing. You know. The mere mortals who are Absofreakinlutely killing it and the web is all abuzz with their latest and greatest.

They must bring some kind of value, right? Either that or they’re fooling the world. But what is the distinctive component that makes their brand stick like Elmers? Keeps the good peeps of planet social coming back? Generates comments and sells widgets?

I’ll give you a second.

Think about how YOU will build a brand that people love. An all around great package that truly attracts John or Jane Q to your blog? Your podcast? Your business?

Exceptional, helpful, actionable content is common sense defined, but weaving in your genuine personality? Ah, there you go.

Yep. That’s how your brand becomes almost irresistible and it is your most sustainable model.

Blogger, small business owner, podcaster, etc. Genuine works.

When it comes to the social web, I’m a glass half full kind of guy and think we are just getting started. The practice we call blogging is just one small step in a long, grand process that rewards ingenuity and individuality, so it will only get better.


1. We’re immersed in a new “tribal” economy. A digital utopia or global village that fosters small online communities and connecting is back in fashion. The gatekeepers are slowly disappearing and a focus on connecting and communities means individuality will simply rock.

2. Transparency. Like it or not, you’re now exposed like never before. You’ve heard of credibility right? Well, it’s a monster in the online space and it’s exactly why the genuine article is such an important component, now more than ever.

You know I shout about personality + value being your golden ticket, right? Well now is your time to really dig in and start building that brand equity, because the models listed above favor uniqueness like never before.

I believe the #1 goal for any budding blogger, entrepreneur, or creative soul trying to stake their claim is, you guessed it, bringing that uniqueness to the front. You can’t fake it forever and you want sustainable, right?

Know your stuff. Have a plan. Be insanely competent.

But most of all be yourself and learn to make that most natural of models work, ’cause it is the best way forward. Learn more by watching this.

Peter Sterlacci was kind enough to have me participate in his 30x30x30 Personal Branding Vlogathon. My video can be found here. I encourage you to check out to learn more about his work and the BeYB process.

If you like the video let me know. If you don’t like it or think I should don a clown suit or need a few nose rings, let me know that too. If you have any concerns, questions or would like to discuss anything branding, head on over here and shoot me an email.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Dorman September 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Video? I thought you said blogathon; should I go ahead and get me a cup of coffee and snack if I have to sit through this thing?

I wear a clown suit on most days so it’s not even unique any more; maybe it’s time to switch back to the Speedo, huh?

When I got into the crazy little thing called blogging there seemed to be a sense of urgency to not only have this master plan, but to get it done quickly too. That was the hamster wheel to me.

Very similar to my day job, I slowed it down and gave people the opportunity to get to know me. People I can do and I know me better than anyone; that is my niche. Get the people and you can move mountains.

Me I can do, and I think I’m pretty awesome if that counts for anything. And my mother thinks so too; so see, I at least have an audience of two.

BTW, how ’bout them O’s. They probably haven’t been in first place in September since you lived there. I’m all happy for them, but I gotsta pull for my Rays.
Bill Dorman recently posted..Who is your bell cow?My Profile


Ralph September 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I thin you are doing way too many people, yourself included. Social is good but the stuff you do in public is not cool, Dorman….;-)
Ralph recently posted..NICHE: Not just for breakfast anymore! What’s YOUR favourite?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:19 am

I think there’s more than one Dorman doin’ all this socializin’


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:17 am

Hey Bill,

A big “no” on the speedo. Maybe you should try the face tattoo.

Nothing wrong with slowing it down a bit. I’ve done that lately too, but trying to plan and do more, so I’m not constantly spinning that wheel.

You know people, that’s fo sho!

My wife and I have been pulling for the O’s, ’cause, well take a look at The Mariners. I want someone to root for and it’s not A-Rod ;)


Peter Sterlacci September 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Thank you Craig for being part of my 30-day Vlogathon with this awesome content.


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:18 am

Hi Peter,

Thank you for the invite! Appreciate the opportunity.


Ralph September 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Dammit McBreen! You keep upping the game, you bastard. Nice work.

I can’t watch the video right now as I am at the office and my damn “device” is kaput but I will. I can’t help looking at the bean of yours. I am sure you have something good to say in 3 1/2 minutes.

I have been trying to drive engagement to my site by getting YOU to go there and leave comments but alas you are far too busy for the likes of me. Again, bastard!

I agree that blogging has a long way to go and evolve. It does. It seems that every month there are interesting, albeit very small, advancements in the community and I find it is primarily because of connections. People are the backbone of the system and people are what make the blogosphere go around. Technology aside, caring about your community or just the folks that you engage with is the most important thing I can think of. It’s what is within my frame of reference and it’s kinda fun, don’t you agree?

If you can indulge me please visit these two sites and read the posts. Brilliant people stories with real messaging. Very human and very humane.

That is what I am TALKING about!
Ralph recently posted..NICHE: Not just for breakfast anymore! What’s YOUR favourite?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:33 am

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for calling me a bastard in the nicest way ever … ;)

Don’t worry about the video, and the production quality is not up to your standards. Just my fat mug talking to my screen ;)

I’ll get over to your place for sure, but yes, beeen very busy with this place, clients and everything else. All good, but I do want to comment more for sure … and yes, I totally agree with what you’re saying about people being the backbone. The more connections I make, the more I grow as a person and, um, the busier I get ;)

I’ll check them out. Mr. Jason K. is a stand-up dude. Haven’t been to inkling media is a while, so thanks for the links!


Danny Brown September 6, 2012 at 1:40 am

You should have heard what Ralph called you at our Jugnoo Social Mix in July. Holy bleeping!! ;-)


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:42 am

Before or after the tequila shots?


Ralph September 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
Kaarina Dillabough September 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Definitely during;)
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..What are you waiting for?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Now I want to go drinking with Ralph, to see what he says about everyone else … ;)-

Danny Brown September 6, 2012 at 12:44 am

Great question, my man, and something we all should think about.

Is it “our voice”? Maybe. Is it our “personality”? Maybe. Is it our “conviction”? Maybe. Is it our “pitch”? Maybe.

Or, just maybe, it’s all the things put together that make us us that truly separate us and show our value. After all, someone may have your digital DNA but only you have the true blood running through it.

Good stuff, man. :)


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:24 am

Hi Danny,

You have a way with words, Sir!

I honestly do think the models listed above translate to opportunity (read: golden) for the individual to really shine here. Plus I’m not crazy about nose rings or clown suits.

About the amazing opportunities: Been just about a year since I started on this journey and it’s finally sunk in … ;)

Thanks for stopping in, Mr. Brown.


Danny Brown September 6, 2012 at 1:27 am

And look how you’ve grown in that year, mate – the future’s bright, dude!


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:34 am

Gotta say people like you inspired me along the way! … So, Mr. Ralph Dopping has it right. :)


Ryan Hanley September 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm


Love your perspective on this dude… It’s everything it’s the mashed up, messed up, mixture that makes you… YOU!

Once you can tap into that… Amazing things happen

Great post Craig!

Ryan Hanley recently posted..Seth Godin, Steven Pressfield and the Power of UnpluggedMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Danny has a knack for very thoughtful, but concise comments.

Thanks, Mr. Hanley. Appreciate you stopping by!


Josh September 6, 2012 at 1:04 am

I try not to get caught up in trying to figure it all out. That is not to say it is not important but I think for me it turns into a time suck because I can get lost in it.

So my focus is trying to present myself in a ways that demonstrates who I am, what I am about and what I have to offer. Some people will love it, some will hate it and some will just be ambivalent about it.
Josh recently posted..Who Is Joshua Wilner- Or What Should Our “About Me” Pages SayMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 1:27 am

Hi Josh,

Yes, it’s so easy to get lost in vortex, but I think you have a handle on things ;)

“So my focus is trying to present myself in a ways that demonstrates who I am, what I am about and what I have to offer.”
–Exactly, and that’s what I’m talking about. Maybe not everyone will like you, but to me that means you’re doing something right.

Thanks for popping in!


Danny Brown September 6, 2012 at 1:28 am

I love this quote right here, Josh:

“Some people will love it, some will hate it and some will just be ambivalent about it.”

Ain’t that the truth, sir – so why worry? :)


Ralph September 8, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Totally. Forget Alfred E Newman. What does he know?
Ralph recently posted..How well do you keep your Babel Fish tuned?My Profile


Jayme Soulati September 6, 2012 at 2:19 am

All my faves right here in comments; the men of the blogosphere…can I start a calendar?

I need to come by every now and again to reward you with a round of applause. Your message, style and delivery are natural. You ARE going places; Danny is right.

Keep on!
Jayme Soulati recently posted..5 Tips To Select PR For Start UpsMy Profile


Kaarina Dillabough September 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I will buy that calendar Jayme;)
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..What are you waiting for?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Jayme,

As long as we can keep out shirts on ;)

You’re very kind and I really do appreciate the feedback. I will say this place has opened up a world of possibilities. It’s been a fun ride so far :)

Thanks so much for stopping in!


Tim Bonner September 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hey Craig

I thought the video was great. A clown suit would have just been a distraction ;-).

I’m with Josh really. I don’t think about it too much. I write about things I want to write about and hope that they come across in a helpful and not unappealing way!

I try and write pretty much how I speak. It didn’t start out like that on my blog but that’s how my personality and uniqueness are going to come to the fore.

The way I see it, you often end up reading the same thing on different blogs but it’s how that person tells the story which determines a great post or if it’s just plain boring!
Tim Bonner recently posted..Keep Your Nose Clean With This Piece Of Blogging AdviceMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Hi Mr. Tim,

Thanks, thought I might have blathered on a bit too long. Not a fan of clown suits.

I think not worrying is half the battle. It’s hard not to NOT, but simply being honest with your writing not only helps you, it make you more appealing to your audience, me thinks!

Thanks for dropping in!


Kaarina Dillabough September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I just want to know if a clown suite is the same as a clown suit:) Just pulling your leg, my friend. You’re rockin’ the world…and in a good way. I’m at another fork in the road, so I’m wondering if doing all of the above…clown suit, nose rings, tattoos and Bill’s speedo might help. Just a little levity for a Thursday morning. I’m heading back to the drawing board now. Cheers! Kaarina
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..What are you waiting for?My Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 11:02 pm


I put the extra letter in there to see if a wise Canadian would catch it ;) … Thanks!

Doing all of the above would certainly get attention, but let’s please stop with the speedo … I mean visualizing Señor Dorman in that thing is almost too much to take.

Hope you were productive at the drawing board today! Cheers :)


Kaarina Dillabough September 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

I’m glad I passed the Canadian test:)
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..What are you waiting for?My Profile


Julie | A Clear Sign September 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

That video made me smile. If there’s ONE thing I do, it’s be 100% me all of the time. Like it or lump it. Whether or not anything else works is up for debate! My favorite people are those who can tell a story. 100% of the time they are allowing their uniqueness to shine through, and for the most part they are willing to put themseleves out there and hold little to nothing back (there are some boundaries, I suppose, although I rarely employ them!)
Julie | A Clear Sign recently posted..Setting Boundaries and Standing In Your IntegrityMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi Julie,

Nice to see you here!

I was hoping it wouldn’t make anyone cringe ;) Seriously, so glad you liked it. Other practices work, but being You is the best way forward, especially in our online village.

There are some boundaries of course, but letting that guard down is what I would recommend to anyone really trying to make a go of it.



Mark September 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Hi Craig,

I have no plan. I have no strategy. I do have many very cool people I call my friends.

There are many ways to monetize strong human relationships ;-)

What you see and read is what you get… I’m just me.

Love this Craig; you too have a way with words, very elegant I might add : )

Cheers sir!
Mark recently posted..10 Reasons Why I Tell My Clients to Use WordPressMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 6, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Hi Mark,

Building great relationships is what this space is all about. The more people I get to know, the more productive I am at the drawing board. I get a charge out of all this and the energy is certainly good for the old creative spirit.

“What you see and read is what you get… I’m just me.”
–Sounds like a great plan to me :)

Thanks, I really do appreciate the kind words, Sir! Cheers to you and hope all is well after the big shaker down there.


Peter Sterlacci September 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Craig, it is so cool to see the amount of response you are getting for your video. So glad you are part of my 30-day personal branding Vlogathon and I have connected with a handful of folks thanks to you.

So, I invite everyone who has commented here to visit my site each day this month for other video post from other awesome peeps sharing their insights on personal branding.

Thanks again Craig!
Peter Sterlacci recently posted..Vlogathon Day 7: Creating Your Reality Through Personal BrandingMy Profile


Mark September 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm

All good sir, thanks a bunch for checking on me down here, its much appreciated, Cheers!


Craig McBreen September 7, 2012 at 1:18 am

Hi Peter,

Thanks again for having me! I loved creating the video and glad I had the opportunity to post on your site. So glad you made those connections too :)

I’ll be checking out the videos each day this month.


Jens P. Berget September 9, 2012 at 7:23 am

Great question Craig. I’m actually not sure what the most important part is, but I do know that it’s important to be yourself on many different levels. It’s about us, and the people behind the products. And building relationships are more important than ever, and probably easier than ever.

What I’ve been asking myself lately is if it matters that people know about my love for pizza and that I’m a vegetarian, or if I should leave stuff like that out and “only” talk about marketing to grow my business?
Jens P. Berget recently posted..Marketing as it should beMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Hi Jens,

Thanks, Sir! Well, the fact that there is this guy in Norway who not only writes about online marketing, but also talks about his love for pizza and many other things, are the reasons people keep coming back to his site ;) That’s the way I would put it. You offer great content and actionable advice in many of your posts, but the stuff is infused with your personality. To me that’s extremely important, because those differentiating characteristics are part of what makes you stand out.

Thanks for the visit, Mr. Berget.


Jens P. Berget September 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm

That was the answer I was hoping for :)
Jens P. Berget recently posted..10 Reasons Why I Tell My Clients to Use WordPressMy Profile


Craig McBreen September 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

All very true too ;)


Billy Delaney September 11, 2012 at 12:35 am

Craig, I stopped by as a thank you for tweeting my post today. Thanks.
Your question “How do you communicate value to your readers?”
Well for me, this is my third attempt to do just that.
So what I did was decide to blog 4 or 5 times a week on a particular subject and then write an article that tied the posts for that week together.
Ambitous? Maybe. Is is working? For me yes.
I have a mantra of sorts that I would hope explains my value.
“I answer why? and explain how! in simple, likeable and obvious ways”
That is the purpose for me. If I can show that. I can attract the eventual purchasers of the products I will offer.


Craig McBreen September 11, 2012 at 3:55 am

Hi Billy,

I really appreciate you stopping by, Sir!

I’ve seen your latest iteration and you also reminded me of something I need to do on my own site. (read: mobile) Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see what happens as a result of your new posting schedule. Sounds like a great idea to me, although not sure I could keep up with that schedule ;)

Ambitious, indeed! I’ll make sure to check out the “purpose of you” in the coming weeks :)



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