D.P. Knudten Personal Brands, Corporate Brands, Stallions, & Stables

In this 15-Minute Strategy Podcast episode, we talk with D.P. Knudten from Non-fiction Brand about the importance of personal brands inside the corporate and digital world.

Are you wondering if you should build a personal brand or just rest on the brand that is the corporate brand of the company you work at?

In this episode D.P. Knudten talks about stallions, stables, and why in a digital world you need to be your own powerful brand.

Listen in as D.P. Knudten from Non-fiction Brand share what this means and how to accomplish it today. 

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At Sprocket Talk, our mission is to help you navigate the HubSpot tool. We will help you get 100% ROI across the Marketing Hub, the Sales Hub, the Service Hub and yes, even the HubSpot CMS. Our videos will educate AND entertain.


About the Expert

D.P. Knudten

As a copywriter, Creative Director, and NONFICTION BRANDvangelist, and Marketing Strategist, D.P. Knudten loves helping people and companies discover, craft and communicate their unique, and completely true, NonFiction Brand™ stories, and showing them how to share them via the most effective and efficient channels possible.


So they can be more successful, future-proof their careers, and create real brand value for themselves while adding that value to their company’s brand as well.


Full Transcript

Dan Moyle 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build with your strategy goals. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy podcast.

George Thomas 0:37
All right sprockets ears, I am back and of course I'm super excited because well this episode is brought to you by sprocket talk calm. I'm also excited because I've got somebody who has well one of the largest brains on the planet, at least in the information that they have on today's topic and many other topics. But before we get too deep into that, dp, why don't you explain to the sprocket tears, the viewer So listeners, who you are, what you do and where you do it?

D.P. Knudten 1:03
Well, I'm deeply connected. And I am a longtime creative director and copywriter working in the world of advertising for over 26 years. But guess what I woke up one day and realized that I was in serious trouble, because I was the engine, the power behind the creative department for an agency, but I was hidden behind a wall. And you know, for the most part, the clients who knew me and dealt with me every day loved me, but I was that engine that is ultimately replaceable at any time, all you have to do is unbolt the four bolts and get a newer, better, faster one, or at least that's what you think. And that's certainly what happened to me and why I am such a big proponent of personal branding, which I know we're going to talk about today. But yeah, I've been working in advertising for I don't know, as I say 26 years.

George Thomas 1:56
Yeah, that's a long time my man. So here we go. Bye. I do want to dive into personal branding. And with that there's a couple different places that I think I want to go. But again, I love just kind of teeing it up for the foundational strategy, Port strategy portion of this, and allowing you to kind of give the viewers the listeners when you talk about personal branding. Like what do you mean when you say that?

D.P. Knudten 2:25
Well, the fact is that everyone has a brand, whether they know it or not, it's that completely true completely you thing that you are the things that you love your family, your work your your passions, the way you do things, the way you are contrarian thinking about some things and expert thinking about others. All these things are unique to you. The problem is most people don't package those things in an easily understandable way for people who just meet them, you know, at a networking event in person or maybe I occasionally see their name on LinkedIn or other social media channels. And they have not learned what good brands learned a long time ago, which is simplify, simplify, simplify, break it down to the base pair levels of what you're about. And then make sure you never get tired of presenting yourself as that over and over and over again. You know, every time I see you, George, I see you wearing a sprocket talk t shirt. You got an orange wall behind you, you know, you're always presenting the George Thomas brand, the impulse creative brand and the sprocket talk brand all the time. 24 seven, but here's the thing. It never feels false to me. It never feels like you're a sales guy who's got a slick veneer. It no you're George B. Thomas. Man, you happen to be wearing that T shirt and having that colored wall behind you. But it's all true to you. And I've gotten to know you a little bit because you've been on my podcast. nonfiction brand a couple of different times. And every time I talk to you, I learn more about you that is completely aligned with the George Thomas. I know. You know, it's not like all of a sudden I find out that Oh, wait, I thought you were a but you're actually z. know if anything, you're a a plus.

George Thomas 4:19
Yeah, authenticity is for sure. a superpower if you will. It's funny because as I listen to you kind of unpack that there's three places my brain wants to go. So let's start with place number one. And that is the question because you mentioned the word, they don't know how to package it up. And you started to go and simplify, simplify, simplify, but, but if they're sitting here listening to this, the individual not talking about the company right now the individual person. How the heck do you go about packaging up in a simple way, who you are, especially dp one, a lot of people listening to this or some people or a few people who knows Aren't self aware or haven't ever stopped to think about the power of the story or conversation that can be them, versus the replaceable engine that you started off this podcast with? Like, how do they package that up? So now they have something to talk about, or to sell, or that people can authentically see and engage with?

D.P. Knudten 5:23
Well, I'll go all the way back to when I started my career in advertising working on Coca Cola and McCann Erickson in Atlanta, Georgia, you know, cokes one of the biggest brands around the world. I mean, you show a coke bottle to a Bushman on the Kalahari, and they're going to recognize that brand. Well guess what? That brand is not just a green glass bottle and it's not just a sweet, bubbly liquid. It's also all the associated images and feelings you have about it. In fact, with me, my first real experience with the Coca Cola brand, was going to my grandma's house in Salina, Kansas in all August and I don't know if you've ever been in Kansas in August but it's a little bit warm and good old grandma didn't have air conditioning because why would I need air conditioning for the one month of the year where it's actually hot? Well, I'll tell you why because you're literally dying. So as a kid, I'm outside I'm playing. I come running in screen door slams open up, fridge, right, you know, reach around inside find that green glass bottle, and I grab it and I didn't open it up to drink it, I put it on my neck. And that's when I understood what I was really trying to sell for when I was a copywriter. And that is Coca Cola is about the experience of having a coke of sharing a coke of imbibing a coke so everything that that brand represents comes down to some simple in in the case of coke at the time I worked on it three specific words and I call these words the key three. What are your key three For Coca Cola at the time, and this was 20 plus years ago, it was authenticity, refreshment and sociability. So I would have these great add ideas that I would go over to the main headquarters in Atlanta to present and they had seven layers of approval. The first layer was only about one thing, and that was, can we kill this ad right away because it does not represent the core ideas of authenticity, refreshment and sociability. That's when I learned the value of a key three. So my challenge for you and your listeners is have you sat down and thought about what are the three parts of me the three pillars of who I am, what I do and how I do it, that are immutable, meaning they will not change and so you know, I know that you right now George B are heavily HubSpot. There may come a time where you have to be something other than heavily HubSpot. I'm not saying HubSpot. Go Going away tomorrow. But things have a way of going away. For example, we've seen Facebook change radically over the past year. So a lot of people who are facebook, facebook, facebook are gonna have to go home man, what do I do if Facebook shuts down this thing I depend on to me, I say, you aren't going to change. The key commands of the technology are going to change, but you're not. So let's say you're a Facebook ad person. Great. You're all about Facebook ads. That means you know about reach and frequency and, you know, trying to come up with the best cost involved, you're more technical certainly than I am. Well, you that's one of the words you need to write down and say, I am a technical wizard, or I focus deeply on the technology, that techniques and the techniques that can leverage the technology, something like that. My key three are very simple, collaborator or collaborative, creative and provocative, what does that mean? If you work with me, you're going to work with me, I'm going to work with you, we're going to work back and forth. I don't do anything by myself, even if I'm sitting in my office writing by myself, because I'm working with you to figure out what we're going to be talking about. Creative. Hey, I'm just gonna be honest with you, you're not going to get a click through rate spreadsheet from me ever. I'm never going to go near that stuff. Why? Because I'm on the creative side of the fence, not the technical side of the fence. And then provocative. What does that mean? Well, it means that if you get nothing from me that makes you go Hmm, or mad or get mad. I'm not doing my job. Because I need to provoke the people I work with not in an unkind way, not in a jerk way, but in a value added way. So if someone says I want it to be blue out, I might say something like, well, that's interesting blue. Absolutely can work here. But do you recognize the fact that your three biggest competitors all have shades of blue or purple, you might want to go a different way. And so that's a gently provocative way of testing someone's idea. Because here's the thing, if you hire me to work with you creatively, if I say yes to everything you do, and don't add to it or provoke you to think deeper about it, why didn't you just do it yourself? You know, my value is providing collaborative, creative and provocative services. And that's how I present myself and everything I do. Every post I do. every conversation I have, ideally is presenting those three ideas over and over and over again. Why? Because that's really who I am. I always have been, always will be.

George Thomas 10:51
Yes, bracket tears, you really need to rewind that and listen to that and it is about the key three and here's what's funny because dp you talked about if HubSpot ran away, it'd be fine because what I heard you say in that segment, is when you're coming up with your key three, it's not about what you do, or where maybe you do it at it literally is Who are you where you're at and with what you're doing. So anybody who has known me for any length of time, realizes it's happy, helpful, human, right, exactly i for its happy, helpful, humble human. So I have four, but you can have three, you might even have four. The idea is that you, you simplify into this thing that you understand. This is how I'm going to navigate the world and everybody who's watching you or engaging with you at a company level or, or a personal level. Again, authenticity life level knows that that's what they're gonna get, right. So I love that this is why it's easy to be a transition specialist and go talk about video, or go talk about podcasting, or go talk about HubSpot, because it's not what I'm doing or what I'm teaching. It's who I am as the personal brand. And I'd love to that you started this out with a story about Coke, which led us into Coca Cola By the way, I don't know what you're thinking, which led us down into which led us into this thing of how to package up the personal brand because the second thing the direction I wanted to go as we started to talk about personal brands is TV. What do you say to the individual who is sitting here listening to this go? Well, I don't need to have to worry about having a personal brand I'm an individual I should always be pimping out the company brand.

D.P. Knudten 12:34
Oh, well, let me tell you, I like you know the old saying, a rising tide floats all boats. Well, a rising brand floats all boats including so if your personal brand is elevating yourself within a company, you can't help but be more valuable to the company that has hired you and that you work for. So it you know I'm obviously we're doing audio so you can't see what my hands are doing. But I'm literally showing my left hand is at one level, my right hands a little bit higher the right hand that represents the company you work for. If I'm better, did both hands go up? And back in the day, you know, it used to be, if I worked for IBM, IBM made me better. And you know, IBM still does, you know, if you work for IBM, but the thing is, I can be better for IBM. And so if you're working for a company, and again, a lot of people are concerned about the longevity of their jobs, having a career with the company. How can you guarantee yourself a great career with that company by continually adding perceived value to them? By having a recognizable brand, for example, I'm going to point to you George B, man, because I know you before you started working with Remington Begg down at impulse, right. I knew you doing something else. You built your personal brand. To the level so that when you were looking for a new opportunity, you made the call to them and ask them, Hey, I would love to work with you. They knew who you were, they knew your value proposition. And they also, I guarantee you, I don't know Remington but I know in his head, he's going, Yeah, we had George B's brand, our brand, that's going to be like our brand squared or cubed or quadrupled, you know, and that's how it works. You're more valuable. An example I like to give is NASCAR. You know, you've got the car, you've got the brand on the car, and you've got the driver and the engine. Okay? So, if you're the engine of that car, but no one knows who you are. If they perceive there's someone younger, faster, cheaper. They unbolt you and say goodbye. But if you're the driver of that NASCAR and you go from Team A to Team z, where do your fans go? They follow you to that next place. And that makes You more valuable. And the more valuable you are, the more value you are to the company you currently have. And God forbid you ever had to face a transition in your life or needed to move. Think about this. Now I have been fortunate enough to have a fantastic wife who's had a number of opportunities, and I have followed her career around. If I build my brand, to the point where people in the town that I have to go for my wife's job, know who I am, it's so much easier to get a job because they're like, Oh, great, you're coming in. I've seen your work. I know who you are. And I get a real feeling, especially when I meet you. And keep in mind that that's what a brand is. It's that which is in the room before you walk in. If they don't know if you don't have a brand, and all they have is a resume, that's all you are. But if they see your resume and they go, Oh wait a minute, I've seen this guy speak at an event or I've read his posts. on LinkedIn or his blog, or I've seen videos or whatever, they're already primed to like you much less already thinking about how can we get him here? How can we get her as part of our team? That's the value of brand. So if you don't think you need a brand, you need to think again.

George Thomas 16:18
Yeah, I love, love, love OMG love. It's the ability to be in the room before you even walk through the door. That is amazing. So here's the thing, I think that the viewers the listeners understand, okay, I want to build a personal brand, it's going to help me elevate the company, it's gonna, the company's gonna want to treat me right because I'm helping to elevate the company. I'm elevating myself. It also gives me security if something dramatic and unforeseen happens and I need to go somewhere else. Like that just makes sense now and I know I'm gonna package this a little three words of who I am and then be that around what I do and where I do it. Okay, check. Now, they go to the Boss and they say, boss, I'm going to build a personal brand to help the company. dp what I want you to talk to you now is that owner or that manager that says, Oh, no, no, no, we don't build personal brands here. Why should companies transition their mindset to set these stallions free to be who they should be in this new digital space?

D.P. Knudten 17:26
Well, that's the key, the new digital space, there was a time when you had to pay for everything that got you attention, right? radio ads, cost money, outdoor boards, cost money, TV broadcasts, bots cost money. Now, how many people they have working for you, let's say you have 50 people, 50 employees. All of them have a social network of some level, even the lamest person who's not doing anything, at least has their mom linked to them on Facebook or something, right. So now you have 50 potential employees who could become very specific niche subject, a subject experts within their field. So I always use kind of like anodizing aluminum. Now I know there's someone in the country that everybody who deals with anodized aluminum looks up to and says, oh, that person is the expert on anodizing aluminum. My question for you is how did they get that expertise that's recognized by everybody. They maybe started writing for a trade publication or now they have a blog, that's all about it. They do behind the scenes trips to different foundries that look at the way they're doing stuff, etc, etc. So they aren't necessarily coming up with wholly original stuff all the time. But they're really becoming deep in their field, and they're sharing it. If you go to your boss and say, Listen, I want to become the number one well known person in exactly what We do that little niche that is most valued by our clients and our customers. And you can say like, let's play this out and say, What if I, our big trade show every year? What if I'm on stage wearing our shirt? Talking about this specific thing? Is that a value to you in our company? And the answer is, of course it is. I mean, everybody, and here's the, okay, dirty little secret. If you're on stage, speaking to other people who are experts, and maybe they're even more expert than you, because you're on stage, you're more of an perceived expert than they are. If you're writing the blog posts, that even if it's a I'm interviewing you type blog post, that halo effect of talking to the one person who knows this better than anybody shines back on you. It reflects back on you. So now, company owner, why wouldn't you want Your 50 employees to leverage what you pay them for, to become known to become valued by people outside the company, and then be recognized like you go to the trade show and everyone's saying, hey, Jim, how are you? Jody? Fantastic. Love you guys. I love your podcast. I love your video series. I love your blog posts. You as a company owner, I just have to ask you, do you want your people working for you 70% of their capability and performance? Or would you like to get more closer? Would you like to get closer to 100% of their potential performance? By being a personal brand that is working for you? Again, that's a personal brand tide rising boats that floats yours even higher. So why wouldn't you do it? You're leaving opportunity on the table for your competitors who have embraced personal branding as part of their day. Operating, you know modus operandi.

George Thomas 21:03
Hashtag truth. And if you don't know what that means, maybe as a daily business strategy, they're leveraging this personal brands. here's, here's the thing. Like, this has been an amazing conversation around the personal branding around building brands inside of businesses. dp. If you want people or people have questions, and they want to connect with you, where do you want to send them?

D.P. Knudten 21:27
Well, you can go a couple of different places. One, I really invite everybody is listening to check out the nonfiction brand podcast, because you've been on it at least two times. And believe me, we're going to schedule a new one real soon. And every week you're going to get a little bit of different points of view on what personal branding is small business branding, how it works together. And you can get that at any of the usual podcast outlets wherever find podcasts are free. I like to say there's also nonfiction brand versity, a free Facebook group that I'd like everyone to join. If you're interested. In just search nonfiction brand versity on Facebook asked to join, answer three questions to prove you're not a bot. And you're in. And if you have any questions hit me up at dp at nonfiction brand.com. That's D as in David P as in Paul, at nonfiction brands calm.

George Thomas 22:20
So spraga tears if you're an individual, a person, a human being, you need to be building that brand. If you're a manager or a CEO, somebody over a team, set your stallions free, you'll get more work out of them. And it's just going to be a life changing event to the culture of your company. And hey, until next time, be happy, helpful, humble human and we'll see you on the next episode.

Dan Moyle 22:48
Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast we'd love to know. leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership And in that membership area, you can find bundled episodes where we combined like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.