You're reading the blog of

Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Shameless Self-Marketing

If you follow me online, you’d know that I’ve never been afraid of promoting and building my own personal brand. Considering that I’ve managed to dub myself as first the WordPress Rockstar and now just as Adii Rockstar, I think I’ve been rather successful with this approach.

More recently (as in yesterday) I even hired a photographer to do a photo shoot with me, because I needed some professional and trendy photos of myself to further build this rockstar image online. Photo shoots are generally associated with celebrities (which I’m most definitely not), but who am I then do decide that the world needs to see photos of me!?

So is this all an act of being arrogant and boosting my own ego? Or might there just be some rationale (business) motives behind all of this rockstar awesomeness? Let me explain…

I’m a firm believer in branding, since through proper, strategic branding you can connect with an interested audience more easily (since you appeal to their interests & preferences). Brands are generally more accessible, more interactive and it also allows people to associate with the values of that brand (which results in engagement).

Beyond that, I doubt that the likes of Apple, Nike & every other major worldwide brand will spend millions on advertising and building their brand image, if it did not serve a strategic purpose.

Branding Adii Rockstar

Now you may ask why I spend so much time / energy on creating a brand based on myself, when I already have two other company brands (WooThemes & Radiiate), which I need to invest in to grow them either further (I consider both to be established brands at the moment - especially WooThemes). I consider this to be a fair question, because this basically requires me to split my branding focus between three entities. But here’s why I do it…

  1. The Adii Rockstar brand lives on a different plane to that of WooThemes and Radiiate, which means that even though the brands (and their success) is connected, they’re also totally independent of each other. If one of the brands thus reaches the end of its lifespan, my personal brand will still enable me to move onto other business opportunities. This is obviously an extremely important consideration for me, as I consider myself an entrepreneur before I’d ever be a designer, developer, blogger etc - so I will definitely be involved in other businesses in my career.
  2. Having an alternative brand, means that I get to push personal projects (such as my upcoming book - Rockstar Business), without having to develop an all-new brand identity for that project. Projects like these are obviously very closely connected to my own identity, which means that they wouldn’t really live on beyond my career, but these projects aren’t my core focus (currently that spot is reserved to WooThemes) and they’re always be considered side-projects.

The Shameless (?) Self-Marketing Strategy

I don’t think I’m the kind of person that pushes their personality onto people, but I also don’t believe in shying away from who I am. But you need to see every interaction as an opportunity to engage with another person (or a group of people) and therein lies an opportunity to promote your personal brand.

I’m definitely not suggesting that you should forego real-life (normal) interaction, but if you can be yourself within those interactions (i.e. your agenda shouldn’t be marketing yourself), I’m sure you can build your brand (if only slightly).

9 Thoughts on building your personal brand

So here’s a few tips / thoughts on how you can go about building your own rockstar brand:

  1. Stay true yourself - always! You were created to be unique and people definitely do not want to follow a robot around. Never compromise on your own personal morals / values / ethics for the sake of business / marketing benefit, as that is short-lived.
  2. Remember that life is not about business, it’s not about a career and it’s definitely not about being financially rich. If this is your agenda, then your personal brand is bound to fail. People do not like arrogant snobs and are instead inspired by everyday stories of how the Average Joe achieved success.
  3. Don’t ignore other people. This becomes increasingly difficult as you grow your own brand and you gather a bigger following, because it obviously becomes impossible to make time for everyone (even if it is just for a 140 character tweet). But you need to seem as accessible to others as possible to create the sense that if someone were to approach you, they would not be shown away.
  4. If you tell people something over and over, they’re bound to believe it. This worked with my whole Rockstar branding excercise, as enough people see me as a rockstar now. Obviously this would not have worked if I didn’t have the success / experience to back it up (so lying doesn’t work), but branding & success goes hand-in-hand anyway.
  5. When others start recommending you, you’re gonna reach tipping point. It’s fun when you’re the only one promoting your brand, but when others start recommending you and saying nice things, they’re influencing their networks as well (thus helping your brand go viral).
  6. Make sure you’re adding value. If you’re branding attempts are more noise than signal, people will probably ignore it. If you can however inspire people through your experiences / ideas / sharing, then they’re likely to subscribe to your way of thinking and ultimately the ideas on your brand.
  7. Keep at it. Building a brand takes a lot of time, energy and most importantly - constant innovation. I’ve probably “reinvented” myself more than once in the past 2 years, but only because I had to tweak what I was doing and how others were seeing perceiving me. Also consider that you definitely do not have a multi-million dollar budget to spend on your own personal branding.
  8. In opportunity you get, humanize your brand. People relate to other people, which means that the same people should relate more to a personal brand compared to a company brand. But then, you need to ensure that you don’t become a brand and that you are still human in the end!
  9. Connect with other rockstars. There’s nothing like meeting new people and tapping into their own genius. Beyond that, it is even better if another rockstar can vouch (recommend) for your brand, as that just adds credibility.

I’d love to your feedback on this, as I’m obviously only seeing this from one perspective (my own). I have to however continue to back myself (based on my past successes in this regard) and that’s why I think I’m a suitable candidate to write an article on this. But that said, I would not have been able to build a personal brand had it not been for every friend & supporter (you) that I’ve met during this journey. So your opinion / vote still counts for a helluva lot…

[box type="note"]I recovered this post from Way Back Machine (as I was too quick to pull the trigger on a previous redesign / restructure of my blog. So comments here are closed, but you can read the original comments here.[/box]

Join 3,000+ rockstars who get my best content directly in their inbox: