Shameless-Yet Smart-Self Promotion

I enjoyed hearing Karen Post speak at PRSA last month. She outlined her career – starting an ad agency at 22, growing it to more than 30 employees.  No one told her she couldn’t run a successful agency at that age without a degree, so she did—for 20 years.  She converted the agency into a technology company hoping to ride the pre-2000 technology bubble. The company, btw, was funded by Enron.
The bubble burst and she had to lay off her employees and crawl away with $200,000 in debt.  The Houston Business Journal ran a front-page story on her company’s demise.  If that wasn’t bad enough she was driving down the Interstate one day and looked up to see that Business Journal story was featured on a billboard promoting the paper, so her failure was available for 30,000 drivers to see.
She moved to Tampa and re-invented herself as a branding expert, speaking and writing on the topic.  And she paid off that $200k.  Now she consults with Fortune 100s,  gets interviewed by Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NBC, NPR, Forbes and Fast Company for stories related to brands.  Karen looks pretty happy.
An obvious risk taker and positive thinker, she made several good points:
–“Branding” is just another way of saying “marketing.”  It’s all about knowing your prospect/customer profile, articulating their problems and creating content that shows your expertise in addressing those problems.
–Make sure that content appears where and when needed.
–Hit all communication touch points with your brand.  Business Card.  Web Site.  Speaking engagements.  Eblasts.  Ads.  Blog.  Social Media.  Karen even has a signature look, wearing red and black outfits to her speaking engagements.
–Speaking of social media, don’t try to do it all.  Focus on what makes the most sense for you and your business.  She does Twitter and Face Book in addition to her blog.
–It’s never too late to re-invent yourself
–You need a plan
–Develop information your buyers want to consume
–Distinction is the competitive edge – how are you really different and how does that difference affect your prospects?
–You are the company you keep.  You probably make an average of what your five closest friends make.  (I’m not sure about this one, but it’s an interesting thought.)
For more tips on shameless self-promotion, go to