Legendary Results. Are They Enough?

Legendary Results. Are They Enough?

Legendary results and reputation.  Are they enough?

“One of the best  minds in marketing” said they are.

Who am I, then, to argue?

Said of Christopher Lochhead, Top 25 host of the Lochhead on Marketing Podcast, by The Marketing Journal.

#1 Amazon best selling co-author of books: Niche Down and of Play Bigger.

Advisor to over fifty venture backed start-ups; a former three-time Silicon Valley public company Chief Marketing Officer and an entrepreneur. I’d come across Christopher Lochhead on the advice of one of my all-time favorite writers, Cole Schafer.

“Follow Your Different” is Christopher’s trademarked tagline.


I’m in.

Different, not necessarily better.   In my eyes.

Subscribing to the podcast, episode #18 stood out.

“Personal Branding is Bullshit.” 

This is I had to hear.

There’s been something similar, I’ve written about, when my good friend, Christopher Watkin, confused Reputation with Personal Brand. 

Was this another case of criticizing something that wasn’t truly understood?

From a seasoned and accomplished marketer?

Turns out the answer was Yes.

“First thing I want to say is you’re not a brand. You and I are not brands – we’re people. You have one relationship with a brand and a very different relationship with a person.”

Here’s where the logic fails in that statement.

It’s a false dilemma to offer that either/or choice.

“You and I are not brands – we’re people”.

It’s not mutually exclusive. Either, or. We can be both, if we so choose.

Of course you have one relationship with a brand and a very different relationship with a person. But that doesn’t mean that one is better, or has more relevance, than the other.

Christopher cites two examples.

The Ford Mustang car. And, Sue Barsamian, with a 36 year stellar career in Silicon Valley.

“Guess how much time she has spent in her legendary career on personal brand?  Zero.”

Which may be the reason I have never heard of her legend.   She’s not in my sphere, our paths will never cross and I care little of her ability to be successful, done without shining a light on her personal brand.

“What did she do? She produced legendary results.  She created massive value.  She became known for a niche that she owns. She has a reputation in her industry.”

“We are known by our results and we are known by the company we keep.  Re-think Personal Brand – I think personal brand is Bullshit.  What I think people want is a reputation and that’s a way different thing. Reputations come from producing legendary results.  Personal branding, by definition, is a contrived and inauthentic thing  often supported by a bunch of donkey-ass’d, stupid social media things.”

I have never heard so many wrong things, one after another, in so short a soundbite. 

Reputations don’t always come from producing legendary results. Some of the nastiest people in history had a reputation, but not built on producing legendary results. Some sports people have reputations for things other than producing legendary results.  Take golf.  The late Doug Sanders, if you cast your mind way back, had a reputation for colorful attire. Ricky Fowler is known for the same thing. Attention seeking golfers. Good, but not legendary. They just felt more comfortable standing out than fitting in with plaid and grey.

Reputation, for those that desire it, doesn’t come instantly. It takes years to form and guess what, it’s not in your control. It’s the perception others have of your work.

Personal branding, by definition, is not a contrived and inauthentic thing. It’s only inauthentic if one chooses for it to be that way. It doesn’t have to be contrived – deliberately created, rather than arising spontaneously. It can arise very naturally, without any effort on the part of a person. By the things we say. By small insignificant things that we unconsciously do.  As for inauthentic, that’s the very antithesis of personal branding.

Authentic is original. Authentic is transparent. Authentic is having courage to be rejected. Authentic, my friend, is different. Being any of those things doesn’t make you contrived. It makes you unique.

Of course, there are those who are inauthentic when building their personal brand. Trying to be who they imagine others want them to be. But they get found out before long. They forget that congruence requires them to actually believe in what they say, over time.

Producing “legendary results” might build one’s reputation, but it has nothing to do with personal brand.

Take estate agency.  There are thousands of realtors out there who are all capable of producing legendary results.

Competing, on a daily basis, to be better.

The #1 real estate agency in USA would appear to be Keller Williams. Hugely successful at selling homes.  At recruiting realtors to their training sessions. “I’m a money-magnet” they encourage their agent recruits to yell, as prostrate, they are showered with dollar bills.

I wouldn’t answer the door or the phone to any of them. 


Because the methods they instill into their recruits is the very opposite of what I hold most dear.

Interruption marketing on steroids. Hustling and grinding for their worth.

To me, it’s impertinent.

So any realtor that signs up for that process/system, in my view, isn’t a good fit.

I don’t care about their reputation.

I care for their character.  In my eyes, they don’t demonstrate any that resonates.

There’s very little logical though in this short podcast from Christopher.

“I’ve heard of social media personal brand guru’s saying you should put out 100 pieces of social media content a day. Really, what do I want to be known for? Putting out 100 stupid quotes on social media? Or, as a person of substance.  Someone who is a person of character & substance – someone who produces legendary results.”

In effect, the same wrong advice that Christopher is peddling on personal brand.

Putting out 100 pieces of content on social media gets you visibility and attention.

But if the content is “stupid”, then that’s what you will be known for.

Put out 100 pieces of intelligent thought-provoking content that engages with an audience and starts a conversation – you will demonstrate things far more relevant than someone who produces “legendary results”.  You will demonstrate how you think, who you are, what matters most, your values & beliefs and whether there might even be affinity.

Reputation has NOTHING to do with demonstrating who you are.  It is simply a story of what you have done.

“Don’t spend a second on personal brand” advises Christopher.

Oblivious, it would seem, to having just spent the better part of 10 minutes demonstrating facets of his character and thought process that go to make up his personal brand. I’ve already formed an opinion and I have to be honest.

It’s not favorable.  Yet.

I’ve still to listen to his other podcasts. So, who knows?

I’m also prepared to excuse the lack of logical thinking on personal brand since he comes from a tech/software background. An industry where emotion doesn’t compute and where technology, to quote Archibald Purr, is dominated by two types of people: Those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand.”

Contrast that view with Nicolas Cole who headlined this:

“If you don’t have a personal brand, in three years, no-one is going to work with you.”

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are all CEO’s of our own companies – Me Inc.  To be in business today, our most important job is to be Head Marketer for the brand called YOU.”  –  Tom Peters.

“Its important to build a personal brand because it’s the only thing you’re going to have.”  –  Gary Vaynerchuk.

“I am not a businessman – I am a business, man!”  – Jay Z.

Criticize away on Personal Brand if you don’t have the courage to accept the challenge. If you prefer to deal in the hazy adjectives of “legendary results”. Hiding behind the mask of reputation. Without ever, for a second, coming clean and admitting that mistakes were made along the way. That there were times when it didn’t go to plan.  That, after all, we were human.

Never mind those mistakes. We’ve reached our goal.  We have a REPUTATION.

The Holy Grail for all salespeople.  Legendary results.

Better than all the rest!

Just not for everyone.

Thanks, as always, for reading.  If you have comments, or questions, on personal brand, I’m happy to help.

There’s a series of six short emails if you follow this link: www.andsothestorybegan.co.uk/personal-brand-helpline/

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