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APeeling - November :

What is a
How to
do the
Creating MarketAPeel
November 2019
You are
Is it important for
salespeople to have
their own brand?
What is a
What is a personal brand
and how can you dene
Anthony C. Gruppo UnPeeled
Who is the CEO of Marsh Commercial, UK, what story does
the internet tell about him, and what can we learn from his ef-
forts to build a personal brand? Shannon Peel of MarketAPeel
scours the internet to discover the real Anthony C. Gruppo.
In their book, Ditch the Act, Leonard
Kim and Ryan Foland, explore
creating a personal brand based
on vulnerabilty, imperfections, and
secrets. Find out more about their
new book.
Ditch the Act
Publisher: MarketAPeel
Editor: Shanon Peel
Design: Shannon Peel
APeeling Magazine is published by
939 Homer Street Unit 411 Vancou-
ver, BC V6B 2W6
Copyright 2019 MarketAPeel.
All rights reserved. No part of this
book may be reproduced into any
information retrieval systems without
the written permission of MarketAP-
eel. The publishers are not responsi-
ble in whole or part for any errors or
omissions in this publication.
Photo by Marcy Peel
When you push yourself
you end up in the most
awe inspiring places.
from the
For the last ten months
I’ve worked with Anthony
C. Gruppo, CEO of Marsh
Commercial, UK, to write
and publish his latest book,
Pushers of the Possible.
It is about pushing
to be the best versions of
ourselves so, we can reach
heights we didn’t believe
possible. During the pro-
cess I learned a lot about
what it takes to go after
a dream and succeed. I
enjoyed the project and
getting to know Anthony,
as a person and a leader.
MarketAPeel pub-
lishes his latest book and
the project ends, I wanted
to examine Anthony’s digi-
tal story. Does it match the
story he told me and his
I nd it frustrating when
people tell me one thing
about who they are and
behave the opposite way. It
causes me to distrust them
and wonder what else they
are lying about.
I know most people
don’t know themselves
and it can be tempting to
use positive buzz words
to create an avatar based
on who we wish we were
to attract people to us.
However, this approach
ultimately leads to distrust
and failure.
Personal branding is a
big part of how I help oth-
ers. I help them to dene
their personal brand, tell
their stories, and get in
front of their ideal audienc-
Personal branding is
important in today’s dig-
ital world because our
behaviours outside of the
ofce will affect our em-
ployment prospects, our
potential friendships, and
future opportunities.
We’ve all heard stories
about someone who post-
ed something on Facebook
and lost a job, friends, or a
business contract.
Yet, many people won’t
trust us if we don’t have a
digital footprint so, we can-
not hide. Decision makers
expect to nd us online.
In this issue I dissect
what a personal brand is
and why it is so important
in today’s digital world to
tell an authentic story the
right way.
The Apple Peels are
link buttons.

Pushers of the Possible
Available on Amazon
Anthony C. Gruppo, CEO of Marsh Commercial, UK, talks
to business leaders who started out with a dream and the
determination to build successful companies by Pushing the
Possible in both life and business. Join Anthony and his guests as
they share their stories, the advice they received from some of the
greats, and how they Pushed the Possible in their lives.
Discount code: APeeling
Buy it Today

Anthony Gruppo
who is he?
A Personal Branding Case Study
In January 2019, I had
the opportunity to talk with
Anthony Gruppo and when
I did, I discovered a man
who is unique and has a
lot to teach the world about
what it means to be a lead-
er. In February, we started
on a ten-month journey to
construct a book to help
others learn the lessons
he learned throughout his
career. As we peeled back
the layers of his story, I
got to know a man whom I
respect and admire. But, is
he the man in his stories or
is there a disconnect be-
tween who he thinks he is,
and the man others know?
Too often people tell one
story about who they are
and behave in a contra-
dictory way because they
construct a personal brand
based on whom they want
to be instead of who they
are. In the wake of publish-
ing his latest book, Push-
ers of the Possible, I de-
cided to nd out if Anthony
C. Gruppo Sr’s personal
brand matches the man he
says he is. Let’s nd out.
Humble Beginnings
He started life in a lit-
tle backwater town in
Pennsylvania, the son of
blue-collar workers who
gave him and his sister
a wonderful life. His lov-
ing parents instilled a
hard-work ethic into him
through example and
expectations, which has
served him well through-
out his career. During our
chats, he was quick to
give others the credit or
remind me, he is far from
perfect with many aws to
overcome. In an interview
with Paul Lucas of Insur-
ance Business Magazine,
Anthony described himself
as, “a small-town person
from a working-class fam-
ily,” noting, “I am not im-
pressed by myself – I am
impressed by humanity.”
Is this a true statement? I
went to the internet to nd
When I look at his Linke-
dIn activity, he is always
congratulating others
on their successes and
praising them as talented
leaders, regardless of their
position within a company.
His posts are not - look
at how wonderful I am –
posts. They are stories
about his visits to the
many Marsh Commercial’s
branches to get to know
the people he leads.
His posts celebrate oth-
er’s talents and give back
to the community by en-
gaging with it, both virtual-
ly and in the real world. He
thanks people for the work
they do and for spending
time with him.
All his posts are simi-
lar to this recent Linke-
dIn post, “Being with
colleagues in Witham is
a great way to end the
week. A Talented group
asking challenging in-
formed and thoughtful
questions. Well done and
thank you for spending
time with me.”
His posts tell a story
about a CEO who stands
in the midst of the people
he works with and ap-
plauds their successes,
not his own.
When he arrived in Lon-
Photo & title page photo by Samuel Norman of White Villa Photography. Click to visit Website>>
don to take the helm, a
young woman at Marsh
Commercial, Jody Ox-
ford, asked if she could
shadow him for two days
and write about the expe-
rience - “There is no ego,
nor selsh motivation – at
the core of every decision
is the individual’s affected
and the effect on our busi-
ness. How will it affect
them? What can I do to
make it easier? Can I do
it differently to create less
Her article describes
him as a man who cares
and is committed to help-
ing the people he leads
by being open to their
opinions, ideas, and sug-
gestions. It also tells the
story about how he works
harder than most, “He
was ready to recharge
and refocus, but having
undertaken ve town halls
in less than 48 hours,
and travelling over 300
miles, it was intense. Still,
Anthony was able to give
his all to every meeting,
every call, every query
without hesitation or lack
of focus.”
He does not stop work-
ing, he gets up early
works through his rou-
tine, goes to the ofce
and works all day, then in
the evening, he goes to
events to make connec-
tions for the good of the
company. He never stops.
He would call me at a late
hour, in NY or London, and
I could hear the fatigue in
his voice, however, he still
moved forward to do what
he needed to do to get the
book done.
Considering his respon-
sibilities, restructuring a
large organization, visiting
all 63 branches, writing a
book, and being there for
his friends and family, I do
not think he sleeps.
While working on the
project, I noticed he stays
focused on what he needs
to do at the time. He re-
sponded to messages and
texts from me after his
work day, when he had
a moment to answer my
questions. If he was with
his family, he would get
back to me afterwards, to
focus on his family time.
When we talked, he fo-
cused on the project with
purpose, rarely straying
from the task at hand, and
only took a call if it was
Motivational Leader
Anthony tweets motiva-
tional and deep thoughts,
which are insightful, and
his followers engage with
regularly. When I read his
Tweets, I learn even in his
struggles and disappoint-
ments, he nds the inspi-
rational lessons to share
with the world. However,
does he actually keep a
positive attitude no matter
I never heard him com-
plain, even when the work-
load of writing the book
added hours to his weekly
responsibilities, which are
already beyond most peo-
ple’s weekly demands. He
might have complained to
a trusted friend, but not
to me and not online. He
ensured I felt secure in my
role in the project, even
when I made mistakes.
He never pointed a n-
ger, blamed me, or made
me feel I was not good
enough to continue with
the project. He did what
needed to be done and
kept moving forward with
me in tow.
When I look at his so-
cial media posts, they are
always upbeat, always
positive, always motiva-
tional. There is never a
time of doubt, pain, or a
pessimistic outlook. He
does not post about nega-
tive or controversial topics.
He chooses to focus only
on positive and insightful
I searched the internet
to see what others said
about his positive outlook
and found many people
agree, he is inspirational,
motivational, and upbeat.
Nikoleta Facey posted
after her experience at
Bristol life luncheon where
Anthony was the keynote
speaker, “It was an insight
into his unique leadership
and stimulating thoughts
on how we should chal-
lenge ourselves delivered
with great energy and
enthusiasm.” Tom Web-
ster mentioned, “Antho-
ny Gruppo talked about
Marsh Commercial and
his approach to leader-
ship, really inspirational
stuff.” Jody Oxford, in her
article, wrote, “Motivation
is one of Anthony’s great-
est strengths. He has the
ability to bring out the best
in people and help them
to believe in themselves.”
Chris Lay, CEO of Marsh
UK & Ireland, said in a
Anthony with Nikoleta Facey visit Linked Prole >>
press release picked up
by many insurance publi-
cations, “With his strong
track record of delivering
value to clients in our
fast-growing US-based
MMA business, I am excit-
ed to welcome Anthony to
lead our UK commercial
and consumer team. His
experience and dynamism
will help us strengthen
and enhance our offering
throughout the Jelf net-
work,” (Jelf is now Marsh
Commercial). The story
I found online about An-
thony describes him as a
motivational, inspirational,
and energetic leader.
Anthony’s personal
brand is 100% profession-
al. Except for one special
piece of content when
his granddaughter was a
co-host for an episode of
his podcast, the Roots of
Leadership, there is not
one post about his family
or personal friendships.
There is very little about
his personal life online, in
fact, I couldn’t nd any-
thing. All of his posts are
about work, leadership,
and motivation.
While working on his
book, I learned he has
been married for over
three decades, he has two
adult children, and two
granddaughters. Beyond
this, he kept his private
life, private, and remained
professional at all times.
The stories he shared
were about his career, ser-
vant leadership, his phi-
losophy about becoming
better, and to keep push-
ing ourselves to do greater
Even his digital image is
professional, I could only
nd one casual photo of
him online. All his posted
photos are work-related
with him posed, dressed
Paul Lucas’ Article >>Tom Webster LinkedIn >>Chris Lay LinkedIn >>

to the nines in a suit with
shined shoes, and a smile.
His comments are well
thought out and all his con-
tent is business-related, be
it a blog post, his podcast,
a tweet, or a Linkedin post.
His personal brand is well
crafted and he does not
stray from it.
This does not mean there
isn’t personality, the man
exudes personality. He
has a positive energy, a
light-heartedness, and a
composed image. The man
I got to know during the
Video Here
Anthony with Jody Oxford. LinkedIn Prole >>
Video provided by Nikoleta Facey Click to visit Linked Prole >>
project and the one I see
online are very similar.
Servant Leadership
As a CEO and leader, he
has a lot of people looking
to him for direction, ad-
vice, and help. It’s part of
the job, however, Anthony
goes beyond most CEOs.
He seeks out those he
can assist. As he told Paul
Lucas of Insurance Busi-
ness Magazine, “I don’t
manage from a spread-
sheet in London, looking
at nancials and making a
decision. I sit with people
doing a job. That’s when
you nd out about organ-
isational procedures. I
want us to be more func-
tional – when you listen
to people and you x that,
then they really want to
help you too. Now there is
a groundswell of people
across the country offering
ideas – after one town hall
I had 92 ideas submitted
to me.” I know he is busy,
but never too busy to be
there for others when they
need his help because he
cares about the people he
His dedication to being
a servant leader is not lip
service, as Jody Oxford
discovered when she
shadowed him and wrote
about it on LinkedIn, “He
isn’t afraid to push bound-
aries and challenge meth-
odology and importantly,
gives credit to those that
deserve it. He is not here
to solve every problem but
to empower others to seek
solutions and enhance
their own personal devel-
opment.” This behaviour is
exemplied on both Linke-
dIn and Twitter in his posts
and those posts he engag-
es with.
Like a true servant lead-
er, his ego does not come
before those whom he
He is cognisant of how
everything he does re-
ects on his personal
brand and is careful with
the choices he makes
personally and profession-
ally, to ensure he protects
the image he has crafted.
Unlike most, who have a
purposefully crafted brand,
there is no disconnect be-
tween his behaviour and
the story he tells about
himself. He truly wants to
do better every day and
works hard to improve
himself and support those
around him.
Being a CEO is a tough-
er job than I imagined. De-
Discount code: APeeling
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the Possible
Available on

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Are you feeling lost in the
social media and digital crowd?
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cisions are not made light-
ly, carelessly, or without a
heavy heart wishing there
was a different way. It
isn’t easy being him, even
though he makes it look
effortless at times. I know
the difcult decisions he
is required to make weigh
heavy on him because he
cares and has a height-
ened sense of responsibili-
ty to those whom he leads.
From the other side of
the world, I watched him,
and others, tell his story
and discovered an ex-
tremely capable man.
Surprisingly, in his latest
book, he admits he has
condence cracks and
will turn to those whom
he trusts to bandage him
up and help him get back
into the game. It is hard
for me to believe a man so
accomplished, intelligent,
and self-assured has con-
dence cracks. It is easy
to assume he has all the
answers to life because of
his condence, his experi-
ence, and his values.
He constantly asks oth-
ers for their opinions and
listens to their thoughts to
gather the data he needs
to make decisions. He
does not speak without
knowing all the facts and
looks at problems from dif-
ferent points of view to nd
the best course of action.
He can be an effective
leader because he be-
lieves in others to help
him succeed and does not
believe he is a one-man
I am fortunate he be-
lieved in me and my ability
to help him with his book,
Pushers of the Possible.
 As happy as I am to see 
the book on my shelf, with
my logo on the spine, I am
sad this project is over. He
made a big impression on
me, helped me to believe
in myself, and gave my
business a new direction.
The APeeling magazine
would not exist if it was not
for him, because I came up
with the idea of the maga-
zine to promote our project
and give back to him by
promoting his personal
brand to the marketplace.
Now, I am able to provide
MarketAPeel clients with 
a product to get their sto-
ries in front of global and
hyper-local audiences.
It is his belief in me as a
writer and publisher, which
gave me the condence
to take a step towards my
By Shannon Peel

Vancouver is lled with
talent and there are many
brilliant start-ups here, but
they are limited by how
much they can grow be-
cause the global big mon-
ey investors do not see
Vancouver companies.
We are currently in the
fourth Industrial Revolution
and Canada has the won-
derful opportunity of sec-
ond mover advantage in
both the Internet of Things
and Associated Data Plat-
form industries. Instead
of starting from scratch or
copying ideas which failed
in other cities, City leaders
can meet with global mu-
nicipality leaders to learn
what worked and what
didn’t because Canadian
cities are ten years behind
their global counterparts in
this technological space.
This enables Leaders to
nd a new uniquely Cana-
dian approach to future in-
frastructure advancement.
Attracting global in-
vestment dollars for local
technology companies is
possible because Can-
ada is an English and
French-speaking country
with a smart, relatively
small population, making
it an interesting place to
scale things before going
to a larger market. When I
look at Canada, I can see
its similarities to Hungary,
which is a technological
testing ground for Europe.
In Vancouver, TransLink
is already utilizing smart
technology solutions to
improve Vancouver’s pub-
lic transportation system.
If we create an ecosystem
to encourage smart tech-
nological innovation for
Canadian industries, like
natural resources, it will
put Canada in a good po-
sition on the global stage.
To achieve this goal, the
local tech industry needs
money to attract the nec-
essary talent.
If we can start to scale
some of the local projects,
I believe we can create a
sustainable Investment
fund in BC to foster growth
in local technology compa-
nies. When I’ve talked with
wealthy global investors,
they are open to investing
in Canadian companies
because the market is a
decent size, they speak
English, and are scal-
ly and politically stable.
Plus, Canada’s market is
made up of different en-
vironments, regions, and
cultures, which make it a
good testing ground for all
sorts of Telecommunica-
tions, Media, and Technol-
ogy innovations in health,
nancial services, natural
resources, and transporta-
The current problem is,
Canada struggles to keep
successful technology
companies, along with
investment dollars, in the
country. Currently, tech
companies can scale to a
By Nicholas Jeffery
Can Canada
Appeal to Global
Tech Investors
certain inection point in
Canada before they have
to leave because there is
not enough investment
dollars. To scale, tech
companies have to fol-
low the money. If Canada
wants to keep these won-
derful companies here, it
will take global investors to
support the initiative, and
this means, the industry
needs to foster Canadian
Canada and specically
BC has some amazing
University programs pro-
ducing talented people,
however, these students
leave the country because
there are too few jobs and
if they nd one, it doesn’t
pay enough to keep pace
with the cost of living.
Canada seems to think
not paying talent enough
money is a unique selling
proposition to attract for-
eign companies to oper-
ate here, which is one of
the reasons big corporate
companies don’t move
here. If BC’s tech industry
trains people but doesn’t
pay them a competitive
wage, they will leave and
go where they will be paid
This is local business-
es’ fault because if they
can get away with paying
somebody $10 when they
should be paying them
$20, they will keep paying
them $10. It is a short-
term gain rather than a
long-term benet. It’s like
the chicken and the egg
because if we don’t have
global money coming here
to invest in Canada, we
can’t afford to pay com-
petitive wages. If we don’t
pay competitive wages,
our talent will leave, limit-
ing the industry’s ability to
Impressario’s vision
is to solve the lack of re-
sources by attracting for-
eign investment and cre-
ating a sizable investment
fund with the mandate
to invest in local projects
worth scaling. We need
$250 million Canadian to
start developing one of the
largest technology funds in
Canada focused on the In-
dustrial Internet of Things.
The fund will put smart
technology innovators
onto a platform where they
can be seen and heard by
global investors. Global
investors will be able to
nd interesting invesment
opportunities in smart Ca-
nadian tech companies.
The fund will have a
strong link to local aca-
demia and focus on West-
ern Canadian opportuni-
ties. It is a public/private
nance initiative run here
for here and has a mentor-
ship module to help peo-
ple scale their businesses
with smart money.
We have already creat-
ed a prospectus and built
a team of leaders who are
experts in technology and
nance to help develop it.
I believe this fund will
have a positive impact on
the Vancouver tech indus-
try and enable it to com-
pete on the global stage.
Nicholas Jeffery is a smart city
expert, a founding member
of Impressario Consulting a
media man, technologist, and
investment banker.
Website | Email
+1 (778) 628 3664
Vancouver | London | Budapest
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What is a
Personal Brand
By Shannon Peel
Branding is a vital part of
marketing because it is the
image company’s project
to the world, but what is
personal branding?
We have all become
products. We sell our time
for a paycheque or our
services as professionals
and business owners. Like
a company selling prod-
ucts, we need a personal
brand to attract the best
What is Branding?
According to Entrepre-, “Your brand is 
your promise to your cus-
tomer. It tells them what
they can expect from your
products and services,
and it differentiates your
offering from your com-
petitors’. Your brand is
derived from who you are,
who you want to be and
who people perceive you
to be.”
According to the Brand-
ing Journal, “You can con-
sider a brand as the idea
or image people have in
mind when thinking about
specic products of a com-
pany, both in a practical
(e.g. “the shoe is light-
weight”) and emotional
way (e.g. “the shoe makes
me feel powerful”). It is
therefore not just the phys-
ical features that create a
brand but also the feelings
that consumers develop
towards the company’s
product. This combination
of physical and emotion-
al cues is triggered when
exposed to the name, the
logo, the visual identity, or
even the message com-
The Tronvig Group
says, “Branding is the 
expression of the essential
truth or value of an orga-
nization, product, or ser-
vice. It is communication
of characteristics, values,
and attributes that clarify
what this particular brand
is and is not.”
Branding is who you are,
it’s your story, your image,
and your behaviour. It is >>
The Braning Journal >>
Trovig Group >>

important to understand
your brand to ensure your
marketing message re-
ects who you are.
Branding is Your
Your reputation is what
people say about you
when you aren’t around
based on their interactions
with you, your company,
and your marketing mes-
sage. Today, you are able
to be part of your reputa-
tion’s conversation online.
If someone posts a
comment on social media
about you or your busi-
ness, you can address any
negative comments and
post gratitude for positive
comments. By doing so,
you are building your rep-
Each social media men-
tion, online review, and all
your digital content works
together to build a larger
picture of your reputation.
The more content, the
more complete the picture.
Don’t fear digital com-
ments, embrace them to
build a virtual reputation
and enhance your real
world one.
Your Strengths.
Quick, make a list of
everything you are good
at. You know, those tasks
you are passionate about
and do better than anyone
else. The things people
come to you for help with.
Focus your market-
ing message, business,
and services on these
strengths to set yourself
apart and create a reputa-
tion based on what comes
easily to you.
As for those pesky
weaknesses, either hire
someone who is an expert
at those tasks or nd a
strategic partner to work
on projects together. If you
are not self employed and
want a position within a
company doing what you
love to do, don’t mention
the things you struggle
with, unless you have
found a way to overcome
If you have found a
solution to help you over-
come a weakness, post
about what you learned.
Everyone loves an under-
dog story about overcom-
ing the odds and nding
strength in suffering.
Brand Yourself as an
What is the one thing
you do better than anyone
else? Your superpower?
Create a marketing mes-
sage based on one skill
and once you have satu-
rated all the media chan-
nels, start talking about
the next thing you are
great at until you have cre-
ated a well rounded story
of all your superpowers.
People want to hire or
buy from someone they
know, like, and trust. Em-
ployers hire people who
know what they are talking
about and are personable.
We want to deal with
those people who can
teach us something, who
come across as experts
because we want to know
we are being taken care of
by the best and not having
the wool pulled over our
eyes by a con artist.
Create a Brand
Whether you own a busi-
ness, are a professional,
or on the corporate ladder
fast track, creating a per-
sonal brand with a website
will help increase your
chances of being hired.
If you are a sales pro-
fessional you can trans-
port your reputation from
one company to the next
and benet from having a
portable customer base,
image, and reputation. By
creating your own brand,
people will buy from you
and not just the company
you work for.
If you are a Realtor,
Insurance Broker, Finan-
cial Planner, or any other
‘Agent’ type position, hav-
ing a personal brand is
vital because it differenti-
ates you from your compe-
tition, who in essence sell
the exact same product as
Don’t Hide
People engage with peo-
ple online more than brand
No one wants to feel like
they aren’t getting person-
al service. They want to
know they are communi-
cating with an individual
who cares about them.
Whether you are a baby
boomer, an x-gen, milleni-
al, or z-gener, you want to
connect with people, not
bots, no matter how many
businesses employ them.
A bot can only get a cus-
tomer so far towards the
solution they need. It still
takes personalized service
to make an impression.
Do you
need help
Learn More
Peeling the layers to get to
the core of the story
Click for info
An Authentic Brand
They say the best lies
are the ones based on
truth because even the
best liars can’t keep all the
facts straight. It is no dif-
ferent with your brand.
Customer dissatisfaction
is due to brand messages
being disconnected from
services. No one likes to
nd out that the person
they have been dealing
with isn’t whom they say
they are, or worse, whom
we think they are.
No one likes to feel
they’ve been duped by a
lie, a con, or a selsh jerk.
We all want to deal with a
person who provides what
they promise in the man-
ner they said they would.
Manage client’s expec-
tations by being open and
transparent about what
you can deliver.
When we receive what
we expected to get we are
satised. When we receive
something we were not
expecting to get - we are
blown away.
If you want your custom-
ers to become your cheer-
leaders you have to sur-
prise them with extras they
didn’t expect, either with
higher service or product
add ons.
Managing expectations
will make your life easier
in the long run, providing
a bonus surprise will make
growth of your reputation
faster because customers
will spread the word.
Personal branding is
not a new concept. We’ve
always had a reputation
based on who we are and
what we deliver. The dif-
ference is, now you get a
more active role in telling
the story to sell yourself as
the best option available.
Do you have
a story to
share about
a Free PDF Copy
Personal Branding Workbook #1
- Your Values
Our gift to you
We created the Creating MarketAPeel Personal
Branding Workbook to help you discovery your story,
dene your personal brand, and design a plan of action
to tell your story to your ideal audience. The workbook
is broken into manageable parts to make it easy for you
to take the time to invest in your story.
Our gift to you is a free download of the rst
installment in the series - On Values.
Click to learn more
Until recently, I never
realized how much my life
revolved around sales,
branding, marketing and
understanding the needs
of my customers.
My sales life started
from a very young age in
Girl Guides. I would go
door to door selling box-
es of the mint and “Oreo”
style cookies. There were
no sales goals or targets
for Girl Guiders, they just
wanted you to do your
best to sell one or two
boxes. I, on the other
hand, would sell cases
of cookies. I sold them to
students in school, teach-
ers, principals, neighbors,
my after-school program
councilors and of course
family members.
I created my own ver-
sions of sales funnels.
I put up printed notices
anywhere I frequented
stating I was selling Girl
Guide cookies allowing
anyone to ll in the in-
formation, name, phone
number, quantity and to
sign up for your boxes
I would revisit the loca-
tions every week to count
how many boxes were
sold and if the area I was
selling in had any inter-
est in buying the cookies
(Metrics & Analytics). I
would go door to door with
the same forms asking
neighbors if they wanted
to pre-purchase boxes of
cookies (Direct marketing/
Direct sales)
What does this have
to do with my topic? Ev-
erything! I was my brand,
dressed in the Girl Guide
uniform, even though my
friends made fun of me all
the time. This built trust, I
was identiable, in a uni-
form, showing that I was
not trying to fool anyone.
Why is trust the most im-
portant thing in branding
and sales? People buy
from people they know
and trust.
Now, how do you build
trust when you meet com-
plete strangers, or even
if you are introverted or
have little to no con-
dence? In this article I’m
going to show you some
quick steps to start taking
to build your authentici-
ty and your best brand,
Let’s start with some
simple easy tricks…
Yes, you read that right,
Language. Building your-
self as a brand means ev-
erything about you is who
you are. Your language
speaks volumes to trust
and how much trust your
potential clients will invest
in you. Here are some
words NEVER to use in
By Hannah Cohen
You are your
brand – How
to build it
business and denitely not
in written correspondence.
WE: So who is ‘we’ who
has ownership if issues
arise? Why aren’t you
taking ownership over
this? These are the ques-
tions that subconsciously
run through everyone’s
mind when you use WE.
Instead replace it with I or
whomever will handle the
account going forward.
Just think you call a com-
pany, you are asked ‘who
did you speak with’ is your
answer I talked to ‘WE’ or
someone’s name? Which
is stronger?
HAVE: Ever hear the
saying “There are 10 sec-
onds to make an impres-
sion?” well, don’t use the
word HAVE! It is a weak
useless word. Look at a
resume, how many times
do you need to read I have
this talent I have done that
task, before you think wow
big ego with nothing to
show. If the sentence will
ow without the word, then
delete it. Rewrite what you
are trying to convey with
strength and power. For
example: I have worked
with a sales team. I have
achieved sales goals.
I have increased over-
all sales by 70%. V.S. I
spearheaded my sales
team by setting high tar-
gets, developing tactics to
motivate my team, the re-
sults, we achieved a 70%
increase in sales volume.
Which is stronger?
THINK: No one is com-
ing to your business to
hear what you have to
think. There is google,
consumer reports and
reviews to hear what
people think about you,
the product, or the ser-
vice. Consumers want to
KNOW what you know.
To demonstrate, you have
to be condent, not just
in your products or ser-
vices but yourself as well.
Instead of saying “I think
that’s a great idea” say
“That’s a great idea” BIG
TIP, if you do not know
something, don’t bullshit!
Nothing pisses off a cus-
tomer more than a liar and
a moron. Want to know my
rule of thumb? I say “You
bring up a great point, I
don’t know the answer to
that, let’s nd out together”
You win way more brownie
points with someone if you
are humble, honest and
demonstrate that you are
willing to nd the answer
without lying to them.
There are many other
techniques to convey con-
dence and improve your
communication in life, but
once you get started you
will start to see the bene-
ts of implementing simple
little adjustments when
talking to new clients,
friends, family and your
Click apple to learn more
Visit Hannah Cohen’s
Do You Want Your
Story Featured in
Leonard Kim is a personal branding expert, marketing consultant, and writer
whose content has been read over 14 million times. Ryan Foland is a
communication strategist, speaker, and personal branding expert.
Together, they operate InuenceTree, a personal branding accelerator that
teaches people how to build their brand, get featured in publications, and
grow their social media following. Their clients include New York Times
bestselling authors, venture capitalists, and Fortune 500 executives
Purchase the Book
When brands and
products try to hide their
shortcomings—a aw
in their product, lack of
ethical standards, tumul-
tuous nancial stability,
or other challenges—it
never works long term. If
the company is already
established, spinning the
story might work for a
while. That is, until some-
one calls the brand out
on what they are doing,
or they face a lawsuit—or
worse, they are dragged
through the news and their
reputations are castrated
by consumers who stand
up against and boycott
them. When the compa-
ny isn’t established, con-
sumers usually see right
through the deceit. That is
because they can either
see how bold the claims
are that are made by com-
panies that do not have
the history to back them,
or they can see through
the founder’s inability to
be vulnerable and authen-
tic when they are wearing
masks, pretending that
everything in their compa-
ny is going perfectly. And
instead of working with the
brand or using the prod-
uct, they avoid it outright.
Why doesn’t putting on
a mask and portraying a
facade of success work?
Why do so many people
outright avoid or condemn
the brands and products
that act as if everything is
perfect? It’s simple.
The marketplace isn’t
looking for perfection and
brands are beginning to
Personal Brands
and their secrets
Leonard Kim and Ryan FolandExcerpt of Ditch the Act
understand this. That is
why smart companies are
doing everything in their
power to try to showcase
their brands as being
real. Brands are creating
messaging that’s honest,
vulnerable, and really
connects with consumers.
Rhett Power, author of
The Entrepreneurs Book
of Actions: Essential Dai-
ly Exercises and Habits
for Becoming Wealthier,
Smarter, and More Suc-
cessful, wrote an article in
Inc. Magazine titled “Trust
is as Important as Price for
Todays Consumer.” In the
article, Rhett discusses
how more than 73 percent
of consumers consider
transparency more import-
ant than price. He states
that what consumers
are most looking for are
brands that they feel they
can trust through educa-
tion, setting up listening
networks to make sure
your voice is heard, and
that they are owning up to
their mistakes.
Cheryl Snapp Conner,
who specializes in crisis
PR at Snapp Conner PR,
shared a story of one of
her friends who runs one
of the most successful
technology companies
in the United States. The
CEO of the company
normally discussed busi-
ness on his outlets, yet
he had been stricken with
a huge personal tragedy;
he lost his son to suicide.
Instead of crawling into a
hole (which he probably
felt like doing), he made a
brave decision to open up
about what had happened.
When he posted the sto-
ry that shared his heart’s
deepest feelings, along
with what was in his mind,
people began responding
in droves. Their hearts
went out to him. That was
probably the most vulnera-
ble moment of his life, but
speaking from his heart
and sharing that moment
was truly the right thing to
Who is bigger, Warren
Buffett or Geico? Who
can you relate to more?
Chances are, you may
potentially nd some af-
nity when you are think-
ing about Warren Buffett
eating McDonalds and
drinking Cherry Coca
Cola. But when is the last
time you thought, “I can
totally relate to Geico.
They completely get who
I am as a consumer and
they know exactly what
I’m looking for!” Geico isn’t
doing anything wrong per
se, but they aren’t max-
imizing what they could
do to create a deep level
of camaraderie with their
audience. If you’re like us
and the people we talk to
on a regular basis, that
thought has never crossed
your mind.
It’s not just Warren
Buffett who stands out
though. It’s people like
Tony Robbins, Oprah, your
favorite YouTube star, the
industry expert you follow
for insights on Twitter, and
the salesperson at your fa-
vorite store that you have
built a bond with. These
are the people whose
personal brands you reso-
nate with, and whom you
ultimately decide to trust
or work with.
This philosophy doesn’t
just involve the CEO of a
company and public g-
ures. Think about why so
many brands like Netix
and Spotify want you to
login to their platforms us-
ing your name. They want
you to have a personal-
ized experience when you
are using their services.
They do this by giving
you your own custom
username, allowing you to
attach your own picture to
your avatar, customizing
their recommendations
based off of other content
you have already con-
sumed, and making each
individual’s prole unique
to that singular user’s ex-
The goal is to create
a brand that people can
trust, can relate with, and
what to go back to. That
starts with vulnerability.
Think about it, we don’t
trust people who look
perfect and act as if they
have everything together.
They put on an aura of un-
achievable success and it
makes it that much harder
to connect at a deep emo-
tional level to the people
who wear these masks.
Instead, look at person
who is walking up on po-
dium to receive an award.
On their way up, they trip
over themselves. The peo-
ple watching laugh. But
that trip and the laughs
that come with it do some-
thing phenomenal; they
humanize the award win-
ner to no longer be a su-
perior to us, but to be just
like me and you. Research
from the Annual Review
of Neuroscience titled The
Neural Basis of Empathy
says that our brains are
wired to grow a deeper af-
nity and liking to this per-
son because they aren’t
seen as better than us any
longer, but that they be-
come another human that
we can connect with. The
study states that empathy
is based on the shared
representations of painful
or embarrassing moments
of others, which allows
people to see themselves
in others. In other words, it
drives human connection
to a deeper level. It works
so well that people have
speculated whether or not
Jennifer Lawrence has
been faking her falls at
award shows, since they
become the most talk-
ed about incidents of the
This means is that in
order to build a person-
al brand that people can
trust, we can’t keep wear-
ing our masks of success,
happiness, or having ev-
erything together. Instead,
the only way we can suc-
ceed is by taking the mask
off, ditching the act, and
exposing ourselves--our
whole selves. We need to
expose our stories, even
the hardest ones, to help
cultivate connection, com-
passion, and empathy.
Chances are, if you
are anything like us, you
have had secrets that
you kept, whether they
be legal issues like Ryan,
or nancial failures like
myself, or even problems
in your relationships with
loved ones. When you
hide your secrets, people
can use them against you.
If you were paying atten-
tion when Meg Whitman
ran for governor of Cali-
fornia, you can probably
recall the outrage that
was cast by the media
and the public when we
discovered that she did
not disclose that she had
employed an illegal immi-
grant, her housekeeper
who she just happened
to re before running for
governor, for nearly 10
years. Because she stood
against illegal immigrants,
when this news came out,
she seemed heartless
and mean. She tried to go
on the defensive, but that
skeleton in her closet cost
her the entire election.
If she was forthcoming
about the incident, her
$140 million investment
into her campaign could
have had an entirely differ-
ent result.
The truth is that when
you expose your secrets
and your weakest vulner-
abilities, something magi-
cal happens: you become
untouchable. You develop
an armor where the short-
comings in your life no lon-
ger become a hindrance
that holds you back from
achieving your dreams—
but a foundation that you
can stand on to hold your
ground and become im-
mune to attacks. Much
like how Ryan was able to
maintain his spot on the
television show, Break-
through The Crowd, you
will also be able to show
that you have owned up
and grown from the events
that once prohibited you
from moving forward as

The Last Word on
Ditch the Act
By Shannon Peel
Let’s get the elephant
out of the room shall we,
Why am I including Ditch
the Act in the same issue I
am launching Pusher’s of
the Possible?
The answer is...drum-
roll... It’s a good book and
ties in to what
is all about, Creating an
appealing brand story.
Plus, the topic ts this is-
sue of
APeeling perfect-
ly, wouldn’t you agree?.
I wish I had helped them
write and publish this book
because it reects what
MarketAPeel does.
Their story of going
through the mudpit of
life and nding their own
unique way to success is
the type of story I want to
help tell.
However, considering
Leonard is a talented writ-
er and Ryan has the skill
to take it to the next level,
these two hardly need my
help marketing, promot-
ing, constructing, or taking
the time suck of writing
off their plate. They’ve got
this - in spades.
The book isn’t just their
personal stories, it is lled
with advice, tips, and ex-
ercises to help the reader
create their own personal
brand story. It is useful.
How one tells their story
is as important as telling
it. I could tell you my sto-
ry and leave you in tears
from laughing so hard, or,
I could tell you the same
story and you would only
feel pity for me. This book
provides guidelines on
how to tell the mudpit
part of your story without
sounding like the pity party
victim of the world.
As these two explain and
exemplify, what makes
a story interesting is our
ability to move beyond
the mudpit of life. To learn
from it, share those les-
sons, and allow others to
relate to us.
People feel connected
to others when they see
common threads in each
other’s lives.
When I read the biog-
raphies of the eonomic
leaders of our time, I can-
not relate and I learn little
from their story because I
do not possess the super
human qualities they claim
to possess. How can I
achieve even a fraction of
their success?
I love how Leonard
and Ryan teach about
how to create a personal
brand by sharing how they
found the courage to de-
ne theirs beyond a mask
of perfection.
This is why I loved the
book, Ditch the Act, I could
relate to them, I saw my
own struggles in their
stories, and their topic is
in line with what I am pas-
sionate about. -- Creating
a personal brand based on
real stories.
I encourage you to buy
the book, read it, and
dene your story. -- After
you’ve read Pushers of the
Possible of course.
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