Review of Known by Mark W Schaefer

‘Known’ is described as ‘the must-read guide to personal branding in the digital age.’  If you have read a lot of books on marketing and branding and think you don’t need to read another one, I would say – make an exception for this is an incredible book.

This was my business book of the month for March, so I am two weeks behind with my review. This is because there was so much in this book, I spent a huge amount of time working my way through it – and I am still not done.

Mark Schaefer is the author of six best selling marketing books.  His book ‘The Tao of Twitter’ was named the best-selling book on Twitter in the world.

Mark writes with in an effortlessly entertaining and practical style.  The book takes you through finding your ‘place,’ finding your sustainable interest, finding your fuel and creating an actionable audience.  What I love most about this book are the exercises to help you discover your own unique personal brand, and how to help you find your unique place in the market.

The book is also choc-a-block full of interesting case studies and anecdotes.

My favourite exercise (and believe me they are all good) comes in Chapter 3 and it is Exercise 3.  It is called ‘The Core Values Mash-Up’    The idea is you take one of your core values – it could be family, authenticity, health, fitness, humour etc and you combine it with your sustainable interest.  Sounds simple, but just think about it for a minute.  It provides you with an extra dimension to your business, if not a whole new business idea!

The example Mark gives is of someone who does DIY – a very crowded market.   Now if they combined DIY with say a value of ‘caring for the environment’  they could have a whole new angle – how to complete your DIY projects in an environmentally friendly way – repurpose left over materials perhaps, or space saving and recycling with DIY projects.

Of you could do DIY plus FRUGAL – how do you do it as cheaply as possible?  Not everyone’s bag, but it’s different.

What about food bloggers?   A hugely saturated market.   But add food to the value of family and you have another angle, or food with humour.

The chapter continues with a discussion on the importance of finding your strengths and provides some powerful questions.   For me, the amount I learnt in Chapter Three was worth the price of the book alone.

This book is insanely practical, valuable and readable. If you don’t come away with a much clearer idea of your personal brand by the end of it, then you haven’t been paying attention!

It is going to take me some more time to work through the rest of the exercises in detail, but I have already started working on some tools I can put in place to help my brand stand out.  There is also an incredible amount of inspiring information on how to write creative content that sticks.

I know this is a book I will go back to again and again, and I feel that if I could implement even a quarter of the suggestions within it, my professional brand would be in a much stronger place.

This book was recommended to me by Jean Evans of Highline Office Technology. Thank you, Jean!

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