My Mantra

Helping brands and leaders be more influential
by embracing their humanity and personality.

Personality Not Included – The Book Archive

Why Being REAL Matters More Than Being Perfect

Logically speaking, it shouldn’t really matter whether Dr. Seuss is still alive or he isn’t. But it does. Yesterday my five year old asked me about him. It’s the sort of thing kids always ask. Is this real, or isn’t it? Wondering whether or not something is real is a common occurrence  In fact, it’s a filter that we sometimes use for trust and believability as well. Last week on the reality show the Shark Tank, one of the sharks (Barbara) decided not to invest in a company because their presentation seemed a little “too slick.” In other words, it was too perfect.

Wait a minute – too perfect? Businesses spend countless hours trying to get everything right. Retailers obsess about store layout. Entrepreneurs hone their pitches.  Quick service restaurants optimize everything down to the ideal ice to soda ratio. Brand guidelines detail everything from the optimal colors to the best distance from logo to tagline. In many organizations, marketing itself is defined by an unwavering obsession with brand consistency.  Yet there are plenty of signs that things are changing.

Perfection is no longer the ticket to success it once seemed.

For years, reality television has offered a less scripted (though still exaggerated) form of entertainment. Even the ultimate form of perfect story – the fairy tale – has changed. Shrek made the hero an Ogre. Despicable Me and Megamind makes him a GOOD bad guy. Even at the Academy Awards this weekend, three of the most popular (and predicted to be the most awarded) films are “real” stories – Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo. So, what does it all mean?

Being real has become the ultimate competitive advantage.

We value something that is real above everything else. For further proof, my favorite example of a brand that lives this every day is Trader Joe’s. Their store aisles are crowded by traditional grocery store standards and the items are often moved around the store. The brand name routinely changes from Trader Joe’s to Trader Giotto’s (for Italian food items) or Trader Ming (for Chinese items). They even sell wine for $2 per bottle (ok, $2.49 after a “dramatic” 50 cent price hike last month).  Yet it all works – giving the brand growing sales and some of the highest customer loyalty in their industry.

What Trader Joe’s has figured out about offering a great experience is something every brand should consider … sometimes being perfect isn’t as important as just having a real personality and being yourself.


Best and Worst of Super Bowl Marketing Strategy: 2013 Edition

Best and Worst of Super Bowl Marketing Strategy: 2013 Edition

Every year there seems to be another Admeter/Adbowl/Adrank type of contest that lets anyone register and vote for their favourite ads. Sure it’s nice when everyone has an opinion, but as any designer will tell you – opinions are like butts … everyone has one, but usually they stink. If you’re reading this, though, you probably care more about marketing…Read More >>

How To Spot A Trend: 7 Social Media Trends That Matter In 2013


There has been a single pink folder on my desk since January 15th of this year. That day matters to me for two reasons – first because its my birthday, and second because it’s the day when I start an empty folder with the intention of collecting ideas for my year end trend report. Then throughout the year, I steadily…Read More >>

What I Learned From An Eccentric Norwegian Millionaire

What I Learned From An Eccentric Norwegian Millionaire

By anyone's measure Christian Ringnes would have to be described as an odd man. He is a millionaire in Norway thanks to his real estate investments and well known thanks to his funding of philanthropic projects such as a $300 million sculpture park in Oslo. His wealth and noteriety has also afforded him the luxury to also create a monument…Read More >>

The Personality Project: Women of Personality

There are generally three kinds of ideas. The most popular two are the ones that you act on right away and those that you never do anything about. Those are the majority. Most of us love the third kind. Those are the ideas that are too big or complex or important to do quickly, but that you simply cannot let…Read More >>

The Making Of Personality Not Included

I recently release two things that I have never before put online and wanted to share them with all of you who read my blog on this Friday post.  The first is a presentation on Slideshare that takes you inside the story of how I sold and wrote my book in a visual presentation inspired by some of the work…Read More >>

9 Book Metrics To Replace What The Publishing Industry Doesn't Give You

One of the frustrating things about writing a book is that the "metrics" you get back from the publishing industry are less than complete. As an internet marketer, I’m used to getting a certain level of detail with reporting and when you write and publish a book you need to quickly get used to the fact that you will never…Read More >>

Introducing the Nametag 2.0 …

Introducing the Nametag 2.0 …

Earlier today I wrote about standing out at an event and creating smart event marketing strategy. Tonight I’ll be at the Mashmeet San Francisco event as a sponsor for my book and trying to create some buzz at the event. As I saw it, here were my key challenges: How do I get people to walk up to a table…Read More >>

The Frogpond Campaign & Another Bonus PNI Excerpt

Early last week, I launched an interesting new campaign to promote Personality Not Included on the BzzAgent network through an area called the Frogpond.  The Frogpond is a service offered by BzzAent where brands can submit some sort of online experience for BzzAgents to visit and evaluate.  Unlike full BzzAgent campaigns, these campaigns are typically involving a virtual experience (such…Read More >>

PNI Goes On A BeachWalk With Rox

I first met Roxanne Darling at a great show for video bloggers called Vloggercon more than two years ago, and since then I’ve been following the rise in popularity of her video blog, BeachWalks with Rox. The show, shot daily from the beach at her home in Hawaii is the perfect reminder to stressed out east coast workers that they…Read More >>