Branded

It’s sublime that the little word “brand,” which we toss about so lightly these days, has definitions that are horrific when juxtaposed: A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name, and an identifying mark burned on livestock or criminals or slaves with a branding iron.

The internet has made it so that no matter who you are or what you do — from 9-to-5 middle managers to astronauts to housecleaners — you cannot escape the tyranny of the personal brand. For some, it looks like updating your LinkedIn connections whenever you get promoted; for others, it’s asking customers to give you five stars on Google Reviews; for still more, it’s crafting an engaging-but-authentic persona on Instagram. And for people who hope to publish a bestseller or release a hit record, it’s “building a platform” so that execs can use your existing audience to justify the costs of signing a new artist.

~ Rebecca Jennings from, https://www.vox.com/culture/2024/2/1/24056883/tiktok-self-promotion-artist-career-how-to-build-following

No one has to go in for being personally branded (in the marketing sense. And it should go without saying, but I will anyway, that no living thing should ever be branded in the physical assault and torture sense.) Everywhere, I do my best to show up just as me.

I don’t try to ram everything down everyone’s throat. I don’t need a personal brand, because I’m not selling myself—I’m not marketing me. Anyone, across everything I do, can easily figure out how to engage with whatever it is that I create, and if that involves paying me, that’s easy enough to figure out. I’m just working with the garage door up. Hi, I’m Craig. This is what I did yesterday, do in general, or am doing today.

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Honka! Honka!

Godin’s writing frequently—it might be fair to say always—attempts to inspire. But from some quarters he is criticized for being too trite; that he speaks in platitudes.

No need to be part of the circus. If you can find a problem and solve it, you can skip the clown car.

~ Seth Godin from, https://seths.blog/2023/11/turtleneck-confusion/

Two points: First, the problem with platitudes lies with the listener; if I’ve heard it so often, that it feels like a platitude, then why have I still not yet embodied the lesson? Second, Godin doesn’t get enough credit for his efforts to teach professionalism; and professionalism has nothing to do with getting paid (c.f. Steven Pressfield.)

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Vulnerability and transparency

Let’s shatter this illusioned stigma. Authentic vulnerability and transparency are strengths masquerading as weaknesses. And companies too scared to embrace both traits in their content forfeit bona fide user-brand connections for often shallow, misleading engagement tactics that create fleeting relationships.

~ Travis McKnight from, https://alistapart.com/article/the-untapped-power-of-vulnerability-transparency-in-content-strategy/

Simply some evergreen content reminding me that people have been fighting the good fight for a long time against the usual litany of online issue. Well, at least for three years since the article was written. Three years is long, right? I mean it feels like forever since it was 2019.

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Telling the story better

The Movers Mindset project is challenging for me. I have a large number of pieces in place. I’ve discovered many different interesting questions to explore, and I’m well on my way to digging in to find some answers. I’ve created something which I wish I could have found many years ago, early on in my journey.

And yet, I haven’t found many people who see value in the project. Everyone likes the podcast, but that’s as far as I can seem to get the idea to go.

Here’s what I have so far…

Movers Mindset explores themes like independence, self-direction, and human excellence through podcasts, website content, and a community of like-minded people. In the podcast, I interview movement enthusiasts to find out who they are, what they do, and why they do it; The podcast focuses on the journey of self-improvement and its underlying motivations, as well as movement’s fundamental place in society. On the website we publish free content, (much of it in three languages,) including podcast transcripts, show notes, articles submitted by people, and original content. In the Movers Mindset community I’m looking to discuss everything related to independence, self-direction and human excellence; I’ve started discussions on how to make the Internet work for you, thoughts about social networks, questions and answers about training from athletes, podcast-guest followups, and more.

Feedback on the project has been overwhelming positive. Over the past four years I’ve slowly expanded the project. I’ve changed things along the way, giving the project a new name back in 2018 and recently breaking the podcast episodes into seasons.

How do I do a better job of telling the Movers Mindset story?

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Courage and leadership

Somewhere along the way, marketers stopped acting like real people. We substituted a new set of ethics, one built around “buyer beware” and the letter of the law. Marketers, in order to succeed in a competitive marketplace, decided to see what they could get away with instead of what they could deliver.

~ Seth Godin from, https://seths.blog/2004/09/trust_and_respe/

This dovetails perfectly with my personal directive of respect for others’ time. I’m sure there’s nothing else useful I can add here, other than to write: ‘Read this.’

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Marketing problem

Marketing is not about trickery or even insincerity. It’s about spreading ideas that you believe in, sharing ideas you’re passionate about… and doing it with authenticity. Marketing is about treating prospects and customers with respect, and realizing that it’s easier to grow the amount of business you do with happy people than it is to find new strangers to accost.

~ Seth Godin from, https://seths.blog/2005/06/marketing_has_a/

I am not a marketer. I mean, sure, at some bedrock level one could argue that everyone is a marketer. But just generally, I don’t think of myself as a marketer. A large part of that is because I’ve always perceived marketing as a basically sleazy operation.

But now I see that marketing… actual marketing as opposed to the sewage I am most often exposed to… is really a good thing.

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