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12 Best Marketing Books To Grow Your Personal Brand

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

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              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.

                          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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                          Last Updated on October 29, 2020

                          How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

                          How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

                          Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

                          I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

                          Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

                          How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

                          Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

                          At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success, while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

                          The good news is that no matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

                          1. Develop a Positive Mindset

                          If you’re going to increase your mental toughness and manage stress, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset in everyday life.

                          According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

                          That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

                          Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

                          Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

                          Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

                          It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

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                          “I’m not smart enough to…”

                          “I don’t have enough experience to…”

                          “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

                          When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively.

                          When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true, and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

                          • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
                          • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
                          • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

                          Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

                          Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

                          All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was great or awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

                          But this isn’t true!

                          If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

                          If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often.

                          When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

                          Ditch the Dwelling

                          Self-limiting beliefs and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative, which is bad news for mental health. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

                          When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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                          That doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

                          The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

                          If you struggle with this, you can try the following:

                          1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
                          2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
                          3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
                          4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

                          The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

                          2. Connect With Your Purpose

                          One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.

                          If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

                          Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution, and things weren’t going well. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower or discipline.

                          It’s more likely that you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

                          Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

                          “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

                          One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a why for. Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

                          You can learn more on identifying your purpose in this video:

                          Find Intrinsic Motivation

                          Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something, and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers[3].

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                          Develop mental toughness with intrinsic motivation

                            Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

                            However, if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that “why” is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

                            If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things.

                            3. Find Strength in Unity

                            The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone.

                            Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

                            Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

                            If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

                            Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

                            The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success, discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

                            If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

                            Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

                            Recruit Some Cheerleaders

                            If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders to help you successfully complete your goals. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

                            Even if you have a strong why and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

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                            As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. When they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs.

                            Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

                            Form an Accountability Group

                            Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong why for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

                            Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

                            Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

                            4. Learn to Pick Yourself up After Setbacks

                            Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

                            As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

                            When you find yourself in a low spot, instead of giving up right away, ask yourself these questions:

                            • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
                            • “Are negative thoughts distorting my view?”
                            • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
                            • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
                            • “Is this goal still important to me?”
                            • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or hold me accountable?”

                            Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged.

                            This article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

                            Tying It All Together

                            A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize negative tendencies and taking action to correct them early on with healthy habits. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

                            No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

                            More on Developing Mental Strength

                            Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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