It’s Sunday morning and I’m the last of the new guest authors for the Personal Branding Blog. Luckily, that means you won’t be reading too many more introductions thanking Dan. But I’m still going to make you read mine: Thank you so much, Dan! I’m very excited to be here and I think this will be a lot of fun.

I also have a confession to make to everyone: I’m not an expert on personal branding! Instead, I’m a master of creativity. Don’t worry though, I didn’t pull the wool over Dan’s eyes and finagle my way onto this blog through shady means.

In fact, there are a lot of similarities between innovation and personal branding.

For example, consider what Paul wrote on Wednesday:

“People don’t buy ‘run of the mill’ anything anymore!”

He’s totally correct in this statement. But he’s also a little wrong. Let me explain.

People actually buy tons of “run of the mill” things: Cereal, cell phones, computers, cars, airplane tickets, toilet paper, shampoos, clothing, etc, etc.

Walmart and other superstores are filled with products that don’t stand out from the crowd in any significant way. As a result, their parent companies constantly struggle to distinguish their products from others that are nearly identical. They try fancy commercials, price wars and flashy logos.

But customers know that those commodities are basically interchangeable.

Sure, they may loyally buy one shampoo because they like the smell, but if that brand were to suddenly disappear or drastically increase in price, they wouldn’t be devastated. They’d simply move on to another brand.

So, people still do buy “run of the mill.” What they don’t do is seek out, or go to extra effort for that “run of the mill” commodity. If it’s there, and it’s cheap, they buy it.

That’s where innovation comes in.

Creativity and innovation are about figuring out how to stand out from the crowd. In the best cases, they result in something so remarkable and unique that the “run of the mill” products are left in the dust.

Think the iPod, Starbucks, the Nintendo Wii. When each of those products came out on the market, they stood out so drastically that they had no competitors. They created a new market. People didn’t want just any mp3 player, they wanted an iPod.

Personal branding is about creating that same demand.

It’s about presenting yourself to the world not as a commodity, but as a unique individual who has something to offer that no one else does. It’s about creating your own market, where potential employers or clients see you (and only you) as a must-have.

Because, as Paul pointed out, most people don’t want to hire “run of the mill” individuals. They want to hire the best person for their particular need.

So that’s what I’ll be focusing on here: How to advance your personal brand so you stand out from the hundreds of others who have the same basic qualifications that you do.

It’s the exact same process that innovators go through to bring their products and services to market. And that’s how I convinced Dan to let a creativity geek write on his blog!


Katie Konrath writes about “ideas so fresh… they should be slapped” at, a top innovation blog.