4 questions that will make your personal branding project go down the drain.

E-Mail-Ratgeber und Personal-Branding-Canvas gehen in die falsche Richtung.

After we have briefly clarified the essential principle of personal branding in the last article, many are probably already in the starting blocks, scratching their hooves and finally want to get started. Yay, there’s the Internet. If you surf for a while, you’ll come across a few email guides or personal branding canvases relatively quickly. Of course, these offerings are free, but in my opinion they lead you in the wrong direction from the start.

Before I solve the puzzle, briefly on the questions in the canvas or email guides that I personally find problematic:

  1. How do others perceive you? You are supposed to answer this question with friends and acquaintances. Hand on heart, who do you ask? But not the one with whom you don’t get along or with whom you fell out years ago. And this brings us to the first trap. A key insight from social psychology is that people prefer to surround themselves with people who have similar attitudes, views and values to their own. The potential for discovering serious opportunities for improvement and deficits is marginal. In this case, a comparison with product development is allowed, because you get much more interesting input from non-customers than from long-term, loyal customers. I sometimes see the latter as very generous in overlooking certain bugs, while this is not the case with the former. This was one of the most interesting learning effects during my time at Siemens.
  2. In combination with the question just discussed, you then find the hint that you don’t have to take every opinion to heart. What a wonderful invitation to pick out only what fits into one’s own world view. Or, to put it very harshly: a guide to deceiving oneself.
  3. then it usually goes into a self-analysis of one’s strengths, weaknesses, reason whys, benefits, etc. If you have a canvas in front of you, then you can delightfully write something in each column. And when the blackness level of the sheet increases, you eventually put the pen aside and are quite proud of having accomplished a lot. Yuppidu, your own personal brand is almost in place. Let’s move on to the final spurt of self-analysis.
  4. What image do you have at the moment and what image would you like to have in the future? This question may make sense for artists who can position themselves autonomously. But if you are a self-employed person looking for customers or a future employee, your image must not only match your job profile, but also your customers. Just as the strengths, benefits, etc. must fit the customer’s requirements profile and not just exist in the customer’s own imagination.

Navel gazing as a personal branding tool? Does that work?

The catch in all of these questions is the navel-gazing itself. If you are completely honest with yourself, this approach can lead you in the right direction, but I have my doubts about that. Therefore, respect to anyone who can objectively assess themselves with these questions. Nevertheless, these approaches are very popular because they don’t hurt. You look at your personal branding canvas and decide: I’m great, and I have to change a little bit, too. But in doing so, you give away a great opportunity to seriously do something for your own competitiveness. To stay with my metaphor of the journey: DomRep-all-inclusive or couch surfing in Africa? Am I leaving my comfort zone or do I really want to get significantly (!) better?

Is there another way? Yes, of course, in marketing there are so many tools with which you can gradually – even without a consultant – approach a authentic, credible and competitive core of your own personal brand. And, which tools are these?

As always, you should stop just when it’s most exciting and that brings us to today’s cliffhanger. The next post is about reference points that you should definitely consider so that you’re running in the right direction right from the start.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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Personal Branding, a journey?

Personal branding is one of the topics that are becoming increasingly important and interesting in the age of information overload and endless opportunities for self-expression on social networks. This article is about the core of personal branding, the creation of uniqueness

E-Mail-Ratgeber und Personal-Branding-Canvas gehen in die falsche Richtung.

Why one-size-fits-all? Isn’t everyone unique?

During my two management positions at Siemens – a long time ago – I had to read quite a few applications. After the HR department had already sorted out those who didn’t fit the picture at all, the following picture emerged: all applicants had good grades, had completed their studies on the fast track. In addition, they were highly motivated, goal-oriented, team players and, of course, ideally suited for the position. All of them were convinced that they were unique. All of them were convinced that they were clearly different from the masses. The candidates also demonstrated this eloquently in the interviews. And yet, each offered something similar and thus they were all interchangeable.

And that brings us to the topic: how can you escape this interchangeability through personal branding? Through big mouths and great internet presences?

The easiest way with the least effort is to optimize one’s social media accounts and launch a one-pager with meaningful content. Doesn’t hurt and is done with a manageable effort. With this short-term oriented approach, you definitely reach your goal, and may be invited to an interview (customer/employer). At the latest then you have to “let your pants down” and this can – depending on the competence of the partner – go in the pants or also work. Then, however, the probationary period or the first project approaches and, at the latest during this period, the “Moments of Truth” are already on the mat in the morning and accompany the test person throughout the day. Nevertheless – as examples such as Thomas Middelhoff and Billy McFarland show – you can hold your own for quite a long time even as a “Potemkin village”. But at some point, the charade comes to an end. The only thing that remains is long-term orientation.

In the long term, genuine uniqueness based on clearly recognizable results is the more promising strategy.

What can this look like? In the case of a musician, this would be a distinctive musical style; in the case of a professional, the ability to deliver better results in less time; in the case of a manager, a superior leadership style that combines increased efficiency, employee motivation and superior performance. Easy to say, but how do you create such uniqueness? Acquire knowledge, build competencies, acquire/deepen skills and get a grip on your own hubris. Sounds like a lot of work, blood, sweat and tears? Well, that’s the catch.

But now the good news, the journey to your own competitiveness is fun. Each milestone is another step toward true competence and competitive uniqueness. And it’s amazing what you learn about yourself in the process and how you successively become more efficient, better and more focused. As a side effect, so to speak, you achieve your goals much more effortlessly and easily.

What are we waiting for? Let’s pack our bags and get going.

Stop. What are we packing in our suitcases? We’ll talk about that next time. Stay tuned.

More about Personal Branding…

Personal Branding for musicians.

Personal Branding für Musiker. Ein Artikel auf Delamar.

Already in August this year I wrote an article together with Thorsten Sprengel from delamar on the topic of self-marketing for musicians. Shortly after my vacation – end of September – the article was published. Since I already have my own opinion on the topic of Unique Selling Points of musicians, the actual topic was no problem thanks to my study (https://christianzich.com/category/personal-branding/).

A challenge, however, was the search for good examples. Mr. Sprengel gave me this task right at the beginning of our cooperation. O. k., I thought to myself, it won’t be easy; but I’ll do it. It shouldn’t be that difficult to find a few highlights in the vastness of the social networks. Far from it, I was really surprised how boring musicians are positioning and marketing themselves most of the time.

There’s particularly little to learn from the superstars. Their accounts are perfect, mostly without surprises, corners and edges and thus somehow stainless steel brushed, but boring. The superstars have so many followers because they were already famous in the pre-Instagram era. They are interesting not because of their content, but simply because they have a very high profile. Nevertheless, I found some examples. More about them on the following page:

Selbstvermarktung auf Instagram, Erfolgsgarant für Musiker? https://www.delamar.de/musikbusiness/selbstvermarktung-auf-instagram-61098/

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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Personal Branding for Artists – the entire study.

Personal Branding, die Ergebnisse der Umfrage/Personal branding, the results of the survey

After publishing all the results of the Personal Branding Study for Artists last month, it’s time to summarize all the posts in one place, or comment on the links.

The 9 parts of the entire study:

  1. Personal branding survey, the results of the survey. Part 1.
  2. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 2.
  3. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 3
  4. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 4.
  5. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 5
  6. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 6.
  7. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 7.
  8. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.
  9. Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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anding…

Personal branding for DJs.

Ein Artikel im DJ Magazin über Personal Branding für DJs; An article in the DJ Magazine about personal branding for DJs

Last week on Saturday came a very special gift from the professional association Discjockey e.V. (https://www.dj-magazin.de/) A few copies of the current DJ magazine, packed with interesting articles. Of course, I was especially pleased to see the publication of my article on personal branding for DJs.

Based on my study (Personal Branding for Artists – the entire study.), I worked out many tips and suggestions during the summer on how to market yourself better as a DJ. More will not be revealed, reading it yourself is fun.

Stay tuned, more stuff is on the way.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 8.

Why unfollow an artist on Instagram? The eighth and final part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

We are entering the final spurt. An empirical study on social networks would definitely be incomplete without asking why people unfollow. Let’s jump in.

No surprise to me personally, the main reason for unfollowing is that the artist simply posts too much advertising. Number 2 is also obvious – if you review the previous results. Apparently, fans and followers on Instagram expect a permanent stream of new, creative ideas from an artist. If he/she no longer delivers that, he/she is almost certainly uninteresting.

Diagram What are the reasons for unfollowing an artist?

A little surprise for me is number 3, but understandable. Numbers 4,6,8 also indicate that loss of authenticity and closeness to fans and followers will lead to termination and virtual friendship. The logical conclusion from this is that artists – especially if you are successful – should remain genuine and continue to interact with their fans and followers at eye level and without artificial distance.

Surprising for me also that the loss of the “certain something” of an artist lands relatively far behind in the ranking. Personally, I had expected this to be a more significant reason for unfollowing.

This brings us to the end of this series on personal branding for artists. But an end is also a beginning. A beginning for every artist who can now critically scrutinize their own Instagram account and optimize his or her own unique external image. Good luck with that, I personally will now start to actively distribute the results of this study in the social networks and dedicate myself to the exciting possibilities of artist marketing.

English translation of the questions:

01 too much advertising or sponsored posts.
02 the content of the artist bores me, because he posts the same thing over and over again.
03 the artist has a strongly differing opinion from me and expresses it constantly
04 the artist does not seem authentic anymore
05 he/she posts too much
06 the artist is too arrogant
07 the artist simply gets on my nerves
08 the artist is too aloof
09 the artist becomes increasingly uninteresting for me
10 the artist has lost his/her “certain something”.
11 she/he posts too little
12 there is too little interaction between the artist and his/her followers
13 the artist is too distant
14 other reasons

Stay tuned, now it’s really getting started.

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 6.

Which photo makes fans and followers curious? The sixth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

Last week we looked at the question which categories of photos the participants in the survey like the most. But this is only one aspect of visual communication, because an artist should not only entertain fans and followers, but also actively promote the artist’s activities or events. Therefore, it is only logical to also ask which visual content arouses curiosity/interest. For this reason, two photos were explicitly selected from the portfolio of the artist Federika Rubartelli: number 6 and number 13 (many thanks again to Federica Rubartelli [https://www.instagram.com/federikamusic/] for the permission to use the photos).

The results were partly sobering, partly positively surprising. Let’s start with the sobering results. Picture number 13 unfortunately only moved from last to second to last place, picture number 6 from seventh to fifth place. However, these results have to be put into perspective a bit, because I think that the artist’s fans will react differently to both the announcement of the podcast (picture number 13) and the announcement of a series of events (Number 6, Kicks by Federika) compared to the survey participants, to whom the artist was more or less unknown.

How to create curiosity with a photo?

Now to the surprising results: image 16, which shows the artist in a club while djing, has once again landed at number 1, number 9 has moved up one place and – surprisingly – image 8 has made up a lot of ground and landed in third place. However, the gap to number 2 is quite clear and the distance to 4 and 5 is relatively small.

Also surprising to me is the performance of image number 10 in this second round. It slipped from second to fourth place. Image number 15 even slipped from a middle position to last place.

The conclusions in a nutshell: as long as it is obvious that the artist is concerned with his/her art, a picture triggers not only liking but also interest (e.g. image 16).

On the other hand, beautiful photos that are not recognizably related to the artist’s activity trigger less curiosity than those in which the artist is shown “in action.”

To sum it up in one sentence: fans and followers want the 100% perfect, they should be beautiful, appealing, and at the same time include the artist’s activity.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study. How to create curiosity with a photo?

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 5

What is the best photo? The fifth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Personal Branding for Artists. An empirical study.


If you’re into Instagram, then it’s natural that you try to figure out which visual styles you can use to attract your fans and followers. That’s why we selected some photos from a real account (many thanks to Federica Rubartelli for sharing the photos).

The photos can be sorted into the following categories:

  • Category 1, the artist at work: number 1 (work unrelated to music), number 8 (the artist in the studio with a colleague), number 9 (the artist at home in the creative process), number 16 (the artist during a DJ session).
  • Category 2, snapshots of the artist: number 10 (a rather spontaneous, very positive photo), number 15 (a rather professional photo from a photo shoot)
  • Category 3, photos directly related to the artist’s work: number 6 (a reference to a podcast), number 13 (a reference to an event of the artist)
  • Category 4, a photo of the artist with acquaintances/friends.
How to choose the best photo on Instagram

Now to the results (bigger photos please see at the end of the article). In the questionnaire there were 2 different questions dealing with these photos. This week we’ll take a closer look at the results of the 1st question “which photo do you like the most?”. For those who have read the previous posts, there are few surprises. Number 16, number 9 and number 1 land on the 1st, 3rd and 4th place. It is directly recognizable in these 3 photos what the artist is doing or it tends to look like work. Herewith also again the consistent confirmation that the work is in the foreground.

Interesting, however, the placement of the image number 8 in penultimate place. This can be explained by the fact that it is not immediately apparent to every viewer that the artist is in a studio. This is most likely only recognizable to experts.

Also no surprise is the cut off of number 10 and number 15, whereby the natural-spontaneous character of the 1st photo was probably the decisive factor for it landing in 2nd place, while the other photo only landed in 5th place.

On the other hand, the placement of the podcast (number 6) and the announcement of the event (number 13) was interesting. Whereby I believe that fans of the artist react quite positively to these announcements.

On the other hand, the photo of the social event only landed on number 6, which was a surprise for me personally, because I would have thought that this would rather land on one of the front places.

How to choose the best photo on Instagram?

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

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Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 4.

What do you want to see more of? The fourth part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

More Content please!

Let’s start with more good news for all artists, it seamlessly links up with last week’s survey results: fans and followers are not keen on prize games.

After the good news the bad news, only very few are really satisfied with what an artist offers to his fans and followers. Now – short and sweet – the remaining results.

A big surprise are number 1 and number 2 of the evaluation in combination with number 4. Here again everything revolves around the actual work of the artist. A wonderful opportunity to stand out from the masses of other artists by providing insight behind the scenes of an artist’s life in an target-audience-oriented and creative way.

Number 3 is no surprise, analogous to last week’s survey results.

Number 6 and number 7 are also interesting, why? Apparently, fans and followers certainly expect an artist to display a certain amount of serious thoughtfulness and thereby stand out from the crowd of his/her competitors.

In contrast, interaction with fans and followers is a rather insignificant aspect of an artist’s account.

More Content please!

English Translation of the questions (in the order in which they are listed in the diagram):

  1. more entertaining photos/videos of his/her activity (e.g. music videos, dance videos, etc.)
  2. more surprising and creative ideas
  3. more insights into his/her private life, hobbies, etc.
  4. more insights into his/her daily routine
  5. more stimulating and inspiring posts
  6. more posts that make the artist stand out from the mainstream
  7. more information about the artist’s future events
  8. more great, beautiful photos/videos of herself/himself
  9. more interaction of the artist with his/her followers
  10. everything is fine, I don’t want any more
  11. more prize games
  12. Other

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

More about Personal Branding…

Personal branding, the results of the survey. Part 3

Why do people follow artists on Instagram? The third part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Why do people follow artists on Instagram? The third part of the survey results on personal branding for artists.

Let’s start with the good news: you don’t have to offer prize games to be interesting for fans and followers.

Most important reason: the work itself, i.e. the music, the artwork, etc. Conclusion: to be interesting, the work itself must be interesting to followers.

No surprise is the number 3, interest in the artist’s personal life. Number 4 isn’t a surprise as well. Instagram thrives on giving other people a glimpse into your life.

Number 5 is occupied by a positive outlook on life with a good dash of humor. This result is quite surprising, because you can overdo it with humor to such an extent that you make a clown out of yourself, and your seriousness as an artist suffers as a result. Therefore, one should think very carefully in what way one uses this stylistic device.

No surprise is the place number 6, but number 7 is. We personally thought that artists also have a role model function in a certain way, this seems to play a rather subordinate role.

Also a surprise were the places 8 and 9, because one would think that just surprising and creative ideas and standing out from the mainstream are really important for artists.

Was macht einen Künstler interessant auf Instagram?

English Translation of the questions:

  1. I am a fan of the artist (I am a fan of his/her music, books, exhibitions, etc.)
  2. I am interested in his/her personal life (How does he/she live? What hobbies does he/she have? How does he/she spend the day? etc.)
  3. She/he provides information about her/his future events/exhibitions/concerts/readings, etc.
  4. I would like to know more about her/his activities
  5. She/he is simply likeable, interesting, fascinating to me as a person
  6. She/he stands out from the mainstream, is something special in my opinion
  7. She/he has surprising and creative ideas
  8. She/he posts great, beautiful photos/videos of herself/himself
  9. She/he offers prize games
    14.She/he belongs to my circle of friends
  10. I follow her/him out of solidarity among artists
  11. I do something similar to the artist (play music myself, paint myself, DJ myself, …)
  12. She/he shares helpful information about her/his work or the creative process
  13. I like his/her interaction with his/her followers
  14. I get inspired by her/him

That’s it for today. There will be more next week.

Stay tuned

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