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Self-branding but not with a hot poker

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Everybody knows iconic individuals who have branded themselves: national domestic advisor Martha Stewart, for example, and real estate hotshot Donald Trump.

Lower lights do it, too, and we can learn from them.

David Bach, who dispenses advice on personal investing through his “Finish It Rich” series, started out with a single book and uses the same publicity strategies as companies, including a statement of core values. You build a brand by standing for something. Find a unique approach and that’s your brand.

Rick Haskins, co-author of Brand Yourself, advises sticking to one or two main things. Here’s how that worked for Bach:

Do it yourself. Bach’s publisher initially set up one book signing. Bach drove around within 100 miles of his home and arranged signings himself.

Evolve. If one customer lays out a problem, you can bet others have the same one. When women told Bach their husbands wouldn’t read his first book, Smart Women Finish Rich, because it was targeted to women, he wrote another one aimed at couples.

Create multiple channels. Bach runs workshops, writes a blog, has his books translated into 15 languages, and hosts radio and television shows. Each of these produces a revenue stream.

Find sponsors. Scotiabank bought 250,000 copies of the Canadian version of Bach’s Automatic Millionaire for its customers.

Stay targeted. You can’t please everyone.

— Adapted from “The Art of Branding Yourself In Business,” Gary M. Stern, Investor’s Business Daily.

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