Business and Branding #2: Finding What Works

In the first post of this short series on Business and Branding, I suggested that the business environment today requires that our brands be built for now, rather than, as in older times, built to last. The two are not, of course, inherently incompatible. It’s a matter of where we put our priority.

The primary reason for giving not giving priority to the “built to last” objective is the rapidity of change in the business environment, in technology, in markets.

As I illustrated in that earlier post, the need to be adaptable about brands is symbolized by the way signage on buildings these days is “built to move or change”, not architected into the fabric of the building.

And of course it’s not just buildings.

So many people I know seem to change their business or professional focus quite rapidly these days.

I do it too.

Many of us seem to get new business cards, with new designs or at least new titles and other information, more often than we bought new suits in the olden days when we had to have a bunch of suits to wear to work.

Just the other day, while working on an update of the book LinkedIn for Recruiting, which I co-authored with my friend Bill Vick, I noticed in checking the details of people we had interviewed for the book that for some 35% of them there had been a change in their business or employer, or in their title. This, in the space of about two and a half years, did not seem to me extraordinary. But it did remind me that there is a whole lot of change going on.

And in my own business over the past twenty years, I have gone from flying by the flag of Des Walsh & Associates, through WebArts, then The Webarts Company. That is still the company name, but not so much the “trading brand”.

I quite liked WebArts as a brand. Still do. The only trouble is, people would lock onto their idea of what it meant and say “so you do websites?” Which was not where I wanted the conversation to start, or even head to.

WebArts banner

I’m now back with my own name, either stand alone, or in the format Des Walsh dot Com, as per my other blog.

Hang on, didn’t I just describe a twenty year lateral arabesque that brought me back basically to using my own name as the focus of my brand?

Actually, the decision to do that has been quite conscious and I have a strategy to go with it.

It works for me.

For now at least.

What I’m still working on is the concept expounded in the E-Mythand elsewhere, that you need to build a business in such a way that you can sell it. I have to admit I don’t know what the branding experts say about personal name brands (leaving aside celebrities) when it comes time to put a business on the market, but I suspect there is still a challenge here for me in the branding and business building game.

Suggestions welcome!

See also:

Business and Branding #1: Built to Last or Built for Now

Business and Branding #3: Brand You

Business and Branding #4: Online Reputation Management

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. I work from home through my webpage. I’ve been working very hard on branding my webpage especially after reading your great page. Branding has become a chore but I am definitely glad I have found your site…. I am a believer of knowledge is power and learning how to brand yourself properly is VERY important which I didn’t focus on as much as I should!

  2. Bobby
    That’s a great story. Kind of – your market has branded you :). It reminds me that when we go to the local market we have private names for the various stallholders – the mushroom guy, the honey guy, funny man (sells lots by cracking jokes, some – nicely – at the customers expense), veggie lady, the flower guy, the egg people, the herb people, avocado man … Easy to see how they could do better by branding themselves.

  3. On your subject of Business and Branding#2: Finding What Works, I think that it is important to pay close attention to your customers and listen to what they have to say about you and your business during normal visits and conversations. Then, all you have to do is to insert a bit of common sense and you’re on your way to branding your business. After all, the whole concept of business branding (that is for me) is creating an easy way for customers to remember, relate to your business, and promote your business little to no effort while carrying on with their normal daily routines. For example, my home based business is running a series of online “healthy chocolate” stores. Approximately 90 percent of my orders are drop shipped from the corporate warehouse. I ship the remaining orders via US Priority Mail. After a few visits to the post office, I noticed that the postal workers started referring to me as “the healthy chocolate man”. I also noticed that on each visit, they would ask more questions about my chocolate, my business, and specifics questions regarding whether or not my high antioxidant healthy chocolate would help their particular issue. They also told me that they had friends and relatives that had health issues and wondered if my healthy chocolate would help them. Then it hit me. My customers and postal worker contacts had determined that “business branding” for me was calling me “the healthy chocolate man” which was easy for them to remember, relate to, and pass on to others. I also learned that my customers were asking me more and more questions about the health benefits of my “high antioxidant chocolate” and that I had become a “healthy chocolate benefits” resource for them. I decided that instead of simply trying to promote and sell healthy chocolate, I needed to concentrate on providing (in layman’s terms) information about my high antioxidant healthy chocolate and how it helps to fight specific diseases such as diabetes, crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. Now, my sites are known for providing “health benefits” information about healthy high antioxidant gourmet chocolate. I get a ton of emails from visitors to my site each week, asking questions about my healthy chocolate. Quite naturally, some of them turn into customers.


  1. […] Business and Branding #2: Finding What Works : Thinking Home Business August 11, 2008 6:01 pm […] series on Business and Branding, I suggested that the business environment today requires that our brands be built for now, rather than, as in older times, built to last. The two are not, of course, inherently […] […]

  2. […] the second of this short series on Business and Branding, Finding What Works, I mentioned that my core brand these days is effectively my own name, as in the name of my other […]