The speaking business is ripe with marketing myths, the latest of which is the idea that professional speakers can brand themselves. A few years ago I suffered through a painful session at the National Speakers Association’s CSP/CPAE meeting in Dallas listening to a branding expert trying to persuade us that it was possible to brand yourself as a speaker in  the same way Coca-Cola or Holiday Inn. Any marketing expert will tell you this is ridiculous, because speakers, like actors, singers, dancers, are PERSONALITIES…NOT BRANDS. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was one of the most famous character actors in Hollywood, and far more famous than any professional speaker in the world. Now that he’s passed away, do you think his “brand” will continue? Of course not, because he was a personality, not a brand. When Ray Kroc, who built McDonald’s, died, McDonald’s restaurants never missed a beat, because McDonald’s IS a brand. Following myths will cost you money in the speaking business, and if you buy into too many of them, it could cost you your career. Watch this video I shot in the green room at FOX NEWS in Los Angeles and I’ll look forward to your comments.

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