I’m convinced human resources is going to play an increasingly pivotal role in brand identity going forward.

Why? We’re heading toward a post-digital world, and they hire the talent. And some sources aren’t convinced HR is ready for the digital transformation that’s coming, at least not yet.

Not even the biggest brands have a handle on digital, according to University of Southern California professor Jeffrey Cole in an insightful Q&A posted recently on CMO.com.

hr-hinds-human-resources-keyboard“Almost everybody is nervous about digital media,” Prof. Cole says. “Nobody thinks they have a grasp on it. Even the companies that use it really well, such as Nike, American Express, and Coca-Cola, think they’re behind. Nobody is comfortable because there’s so much to learn, and it moves so quickly.”

I think some of the angst in this area is due to the fact that we’re heading – fast – toward a post-digital existence, which writer David Chaffey explains here. You’ve got to scroll, but Chaffey says a post-digital world is “where the use of digital media and technology in marketing has become so ubiquitous we no longer complete separate ‘digital marketing activities’ since they should be fully integrated and simply part of marketing.”

In other words, no silos. Traditional marketing isn’t over here, and digital is over there, and social is somewhere down the hall. Sure, there are disciplines (for now, anyway), but the end goal is to craft the brand identity and promise and tell its story across the channels where the target audience congregates.

And sure, there are a LOT of digital channels today – hence the angst. But that’s where the hiring process is crucial: Finding the leadership talent not only with the strategic acumen to position a brand but an innate understanding of that post-digital world, along with the ability to build and integrate a team with the skills to be effective.


clock-clip-art-dcrakazc9When it comes to building one’s personal brand, time is the key resource. Because using your time wisely leads to knowledge, and knowledge provides insight.

Today has 24 hours – 1,440 minutes. You can redeem that time any way you like.

What’s the one thing you’re going to learn today that will translate to the insight necessary to build your brand? In other words, how do you want to be perceived?

There are lots of self-help resources available, lots of formulas to help you learn more despite the fact that our schedules are more packed than ever. Try this Inc. article about Benjamin Franklin’s five-hour rule, for example.

But to me, it’s better to be simple. Focus on that one thing, that one nugget of information that leads to insight, and then apply it with the express idea that that insight reflects your values.

It’s not that hard. You have a world of content at your fingertips, thanks to the web and social media, not to mention print. I read WSJ, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune faithfully, not necessarily for the news, but the analysis, which is a crucial piece of my personal brand. I’m also on Feedly, BuzzFeed and Flipboard for the same reasons. But remember, you can also gain a lot of insight from just being observant of what’s going on around you.

Our lives are frenetic because there never seems to be enough time. But focusing on one thing takes away the pressure of setting aside time to do it.


“People Don’t Read” and the Delicate Balance for Brands

June 21, 2016

So this just happened (recently) – the head of Facebook’s EMEA operations said that the social media site “will be probably all video” in five years, according to a Quartz piece with the compelling headline, “Facebook is predicting the end of the written word.” That led to Trib business columnist Phil Rosenthal’s insightful hold-your-horses counterpoint. […]

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Appeals Court Net Neutrality Ruling Benefits Small, Startup Brands

June 15, 2016

I have to say I’m pleased that a federal appeals court yesterday upheld the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said in a tweet: A victory for consumers & innovators! Court upholds Open Internet Order. No blocking, throttling or fast lanes online. I’ll add winners include small- to midsized companies, especially […]

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Innovation Aside, is the Apple Brand Heading Toward a Crossroads?

June 13, 2016

Christopher Mims’ Keywords column in this morning’s WSJ had a bold headline: Apple’s True Strengths Don’t Lie in Innovation. And so to me, the question: If so, is the Apple brand at a crossroads? Now, think about the essence of the Apple brand. To me, it’s about sleek, minimalist technology that makes lives and lifestyles […]

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How a Brand’s Story Bridges Tech, Innovation, Manufacturing, People

June 12, 2016

Here’s another reason why I’m blogging again: I continue to find myself at the nexus of technology, innovation, manufacturing and people. And I’m learning that brands have a unique positioning opportunity at this spot on the grid, because of the stories they can tell. Take Trumble Inc., which is based in the Detroit area. It’s […]

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What Inspired the Return of Branding Bricks

June 11, 2016

I’m a writer. I love to write, and in fact, according to books I’ve read over the past few months while Branding Bricks was on a short hiatus, I need to write. It’s part of what I am, and a big part of where I want to go, personally and professionally. In short, that’s the […]

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Why I’m Putting Branding Bricks on Hiatus

October 12, 2015

I’ve been writing Branding Bricks for five years this month, and by and large, it’s been a wonderful experience. I often think that the process of writing helps me learn – and indeed, because many of my posts are based on things that happen in business, and my reaction to them, I’ve been able to […]

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Subway Situ Just Proved a Social Media Point for B2Bs

August 19, 2015

Last month I wrote about how the situation involving long-time Subway ad spokesperson Jared Fogle had implications for B2B brands. I was literally just now reminded of another reason why. Before I continue, if you’re a B2Ber, stop and ask yourself the following question: Who’s managing our social media presence? Here’s why: Fogle is facing […]

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“Really Cool” Websites Don’t Necessarily Build a Brand

August 3, 2015

TSN Communications made some really good points in a blog entry it posted last week about web design. The bottom line is that form follows function; the look is dictated by what you want your followers to do when they are there. I loved the line that “Buy stuff” isn’t exactly the right answer when […]

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