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12 Best Marketing Books To Grow Your Personal Brand

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12 Best Marketing Books To Grow Your Personal Brand

Growing your personal brand continues to be a popular trend, especially among millennials. According to Business Insider, a staggering 1.8 billion photos are uploaded every day via social media. Inc.com points out that personal branding allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while still maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction, usually through social media.

If you study the marketing efforts of a major corporation like Apple Inc., it is evident how the tech company strategically creates a unique voice and a signature image that connects with their followers. Jayson Demars of Forbes states people are far more compelled to trust individuals as opposed to corporations.

“People are far more likely to follow you, talk to you, trust you, and engage with you if they believe they are interacting with a real person,” said Demars. “This is where the benefits of humanizing your brand really come into play.”

Growing your personal brand will not only build trust amongst your followers, it could end up being one of your best returns on investment. If you have a large social following and you post creative content, this won’t cost you a penny and it can raise awareness about your skill set and career ambitions. If you haven’t begun growing your personal brand or are unsure where to get started, don’t worry. We reached out to professionals in the field, including psychology and marketing expert Dr. Robyn LeBoeuf, to compile 12 of the best marketing books to help you enhance the most important brand in the world. YOURS.

1. Buzzmarketing, by Mark Hughes

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    Hughes forces you to think outside of the box when it comes to relaying your message to the masses. The former marketing executive provides real-life, memorable examples that will get people talking about your brand.

    He shares plenty of fun stories, such as how he once named renamed an entire city for a marketing campaign.

    While you won’t need to rename a city to get people talking about your personal brand, Buzzmarketing will force you to start thinking outside of the box.

    “Despite a long history in marketing I took away several things from this book and enjoyed it so much I bought a copy for all my marketing managers. its a fun, easy read yet reminds us marketers of things we already know but frequently need reminding.” – Rebecca

    2. Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy

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      Adweek magazine asked people in the industry, “Which individuals – alive or dead – made you consider pursuing a career in advertising?” and David Ogilvy topped the list.

      When it comes to growing your brand, if there’s one person whose advice you should follow, it’s the ‘Father of Advertising’, David Ogilvy. His book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” relays his marketing secrets, which helped some of the largest brands reach tremendous growth. One insight he shares is:

      “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

      If you are looking to grow your personal brand, take note of Ogilvy’s time-tested, successful pointers.

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      “This book is a “must read” for anyone considering going into advertising, as Ogilvy personally invented the industry as we know it today. However, if you want to know how to conduct yourself in the world of business, how to write, how to communicate with people, this is also the book for you.” – Tom

      3. The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier

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        How can you create a brand so charismatic, it draws people in and becomes an essential part of their lives? In this book, Neumeier outlines five disciplines to help you bridge the gap between brand strategy and brand execution:

        Differentiate, Collaborate, Innovate, Validate and Cultivate

        Using visual metaphors and real-life examples, Neumeier challenges you to apply his five disciplines to your own experiences and to focus on innovation when building your personal brand.

        “As owner of a small company trying to figure out branding, this book was an invaluable read in helping me got going in the right direction. Branding is still a very large boondoggle of a neverending project, but now I at least feel like I have a better understanding of what it is I’m after. I see good branding everywhere, this book explains, as much as is possible, how to get there.” – Mark

        4. Positioning, by Al Ries and Jack Trout

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          The now-popular marketing term ‘positioning’ was originally coined by Trout in 1969. If you want to learn what positioning means for your personal brand, this book is the place to start.

          Decades later, Ries and Trouts’ words still ring true. It seems that each year, media gets louder, and it’s even harder to reach your audience. So how can your personal brand overcome the commotion?

          From how we think about our friends to why we identify with a political party, ‘Positioning’ considers how you can frame your personal brand to your audience, and how you can stand out from the crowd.

          “This book is fantastic! They give you some clear examples of why companies rise and fall because of their failure to position themselves in a way that makes sense to the market. They talk about how companies go from successes to duds because of their inability to understand their place in the market.” – Matthew

          5. Influence, by Robert Cialdini 

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            Psychologist and marketer Bob Cialdini explores why people are persuaded to change their minds, and teaches you how to become a savvy persuader yourself. He introduces you to his six principles of ethical persuasion:

            Reciprocity, Scarcity, Liking, Authority, Social Proof, and Commitment/Consistency

            Cialdini supports each of his principles with sound data in psychology and provides examples so you can get the most out of his book and learn to deliver an excellent elevator pitch when you come across your big opportunity.

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            “I highly recommend this book to all professionals. It does not matter if you are a manager, sales person, pastor, or non-profit volunteer. The ideas in this book, once applied, will make it easier for you to accomplish your goals.” – Kevin

            6. Branding Pays, by Karen Kang

            2Q==-1

              One of the first lessons Kang introduces is that everyone knows the importance of a well-curated social media presence, but few people will actually take the initiative to manage their personal brand.

              “[Do] a Google search on your name. Are the links and images of you that show up on the first page of search results how you want your brand represented? If not, then you have some work to do.”

              Kang shares relatable, real-life examples of how you can improve your personal brand in all your social spheres, and offers concrete tips that you can begin executing immediately.

              Bill Mulholland, the founder of American Relocation Connections, makes sure his brand is well represented online. “We know that potential customers conduct research online when they are interested in our services,” stated Mulholland. “This is the exact reason why we are constantly trying to improve our online presence by obtaining reviews, posting relevant content and interacting with our followers. Businesses need to make sure that their top notch customer service is conveyed online for everyone to see.”

              “As a career services professional, I stress to students the importance of maintaining their personal brand. We started using this book in our career management courses because of its practical application. It’s easy to understand (“cake” and “icing”) with concrete examples. The book teaches you not only how to develop your brand, but more importantly, how to manage and maintain your brand.” – J.P.

              7. Career Warfare, by David D’Alessandro

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                In his no-nonsense, to-the-point guidebook to the business world’s battlefield, D’Alessandro shows you how to pick up the tools you already have at your disposal and best manage your personal brand for your professional development.

                This book is more focused on a corporate environment, though the lessons can easily be applied to a small business or for an individual. If you are wondering how to deal with your corporate landscape, try some of D’Alessandro’s take-no-prisoners style tips.

                “Whether you’re looking to thrive in a large company or launch a successful start up, David D’Allesandro’s book will help you get there sooner. Combining C-level experience with street-smarts, D’Allesandro delivers actionable insights and powerful recommendations on everything from using the power of information to stand out to keeping clients happy.” – Luke

                8. Brand You 50, by Tom Peters 

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                  As the business world continues to grow, at least one thing remains constant – your personal brand will define you, your future career and your relationships you build.

                  “The white collar job as now configured is doomed… So what’s the trick? There’s only one: distinction. Or as we call it, turning yourself into a brand… Brand You.”

                  Peters enthusiastically attests that surviving means not blending in, but standing out. True to the book’s subtitle, he will present you with 50 tangible strategies that will push your personal brand to the next level.

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                  “As usual, Tom Peters delivers the goods! His concept of Brand YOU! is great, and his ideas for practical implementation even better. If you want to stand out and reach for real excellence, read this book.” – Carl

                  9. The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield

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                    Canfield, a co-creator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, definitely knows a thing or two about inspiring readers to make a positive change in their lives.

                    Canfield outlines 64 principles to reach success, and he builds on real-life stories of people who struggled but ultimately reached success, from Olympians to blue-collar workers.

                    Touted as one of the greatest self-improvement books on shelves, ‘The Success Principles’ almost reads like a self-help book, but its greater goal is to motivate you to take charge of your personal brand and start fresh in your professional development.

                    “This book is a fantastic resource for anyone who desires to get to the next level. This is a smorgasbord of personal development, psychology, and business and financial books wrapped in one burrito. Are you hungry? This book will satisfy your appetite for success.” – Thomas

                    10. Guerilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson

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                      Throughout his extensive career as an ad agency exec, Levinson was responsible for some of the world’s most recognizable brand icons, including the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Tony the Tiger.

                      Levinson shares his experiences in guerrilla marketing (a term he coined), and details how, with enough creativity and strategic thinking, you can spin any situation to your advantage. He also discusses best management practices, particularly as technology is evolving so rapidly.

                      Although Levinson’s book was first published in 1983, his teachings are timeless and they can easily be applied to the contemporary personal brand.

                      “Great book that gives you a quick introduction to the world of marketing, especially helpful for small business owner. If you’re an entrepreneur, this book is a must-read.” – James

                      11. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath

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                        Chip and Dan Heath delve into the psychology behind viral social trends, like the gruesome urban myth where a traveller wakes up in a tub of ice, courtesy of a local organ-harvesting ring. They credit the proliferation of “sticky messages” to six traits:

                        Simplicity

                        Unexpectedness

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                        Concreteness

                        Credibility

                        Emotions

                        Stories

                        As you read about SUCCESs, the brothers Heath will show you how to apply these traits to your own personal brand’s messaging, and how to make your ideas stick.

                        “It’s brilliant! It packs the information of a textbook, while maintaining your attention like a comic book. The book on how to make ideas stick is very sticky itself. Strongly recommended.” – Vincent

                        12. You, Inc., by Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford

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                          Husband-and-wife Harry and Christine are both CEOs of their own companies, and in this book, they team up to share the lessons they learned along the way.

                          They present over 150 ideas for how to use effective communication to build your personal brand, and though the lessons are easily understood, Beckwith cautions that there is a considerable difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ something.

                          Although this book is just over 300 pages, this is one book you’ll want to take your time reading and fully absorbing.

                          Everyone wants to excel in their professional and personal lives. The 12 best marketing books to grow your personal brand will expose you to the most effective tips on personal brand development, which in turn will help you to generate more buzz about yourself in your social networks.

                          “For knowing nothing about sales, this was a great launching pad for me to get more interested and read other sales books. Pretty motivational with great bits of information to redefine how you see the world. This book has definitely shifted my approach to “getting out there” making myself more visible.” – Scott

                          This list of books includes work from the 1960s up through 2015, and amazingly, all of the concepts and principles will still hold true across generations. No matter how much business evolves or expands, human nature will always care about compelling stories – the personal brand that you give in your elevator pitch. These time-tested philosophies hold strong, proving that a successful personal brand is everything.

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                          With the help of the life-changing wisdom inside these 12 marketing books, it won’t be long before you master your personal brand with ease!

                          Featured photo credit: BigStock via bigstockphoto.com

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                          Trending in Productivity

                          1 Are You Addicted to Productivity? 2 Is Avoiding Difficult Tasks And Doing Easy Tasks First Less Productive? 3 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 4 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021 5 13 Steps to Build a Positive Habit Stacking Routine

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                          Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                          Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                          Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                          “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                          Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                          “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                          Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                          Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                          “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                          This is my mantra:

                          I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                          But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                          Addiction to Productivity is Real

                          Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                          “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                          Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                          “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                          Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                          “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                          “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                          “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                          There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                          Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                          By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                          Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                          Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                          Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                          Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                          The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                          Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                          • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                          • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                          • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                          • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                          • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                          • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                          • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                          The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                          Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                          Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                          1. Set Limits

                          Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                          For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                          2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                          Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                          3. Be Vulnerable

                          By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                          4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                          Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                          Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                          There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                          5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                          Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                          That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                          6. Say Yes to Less

                          Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                          That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                          Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                          7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                          “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                          “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                          • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                          • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                          • Establish realistic goals.
                          • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                          • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                          • Hold yourself accountable.
                          • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                          • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                          8. Simplify

                          Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                          The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                          9. Learn How to Relax

                          “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                          “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                          “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                          But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                          • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                          • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                          • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                          • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                          • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                          • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                          • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                          • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                          • Visit a massage therapist.
                          • Just breathe.

                          “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                          It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                          Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                          Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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