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Why Everyone Needs a Personal Brand – Mike Kim
The Agents of Change

Why Everyone Needs a Personal Brand – Mike Kim

Branding plays a key role in the success of many companies you’re no doubt familiar with. But what about personal branding for yourself? Personal branding is vital to the development of your career. A successful brand self-promotes, it allows you to develop a unique personality, and can set you apart from others in your industry.

Business coach and marketing strategist, Mike Kim, reminds us that our personal brand helps us develop a professional identity and a coherent message that sets you apart for others and promotes trust and loyalty.

Rich: My guest today is a speaker and marketing strategist who specializes in brand strategy and copywriting. He’s been hired by some of today’s most influential thought leader brands, and is the author of the upcoming book, You Are the Brand.

I’ve seen him captivate a room at Social Media Marketing World, and I’ve been proud to have him up on stage at the Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference here in Maine. But also, he’s just a damn good guy.

Today we’re going to be delving into branding yourself with my good friend, Mike Kim. Mike, welcome back to the podcast.

Mike: Thank you. I feel so special, like those guys who have come back to Saturday Night Live and host the show multiple times. I’m waiting for the green jacket. But thank you for having me.

Rich: Are you the Tom Hanks?

Mike: Yeah, I want to be the Tom Hanks. Yeah. I want to be the Tom Hanks of the podcast. It’s just a great privilege.

Rich: Thank you. So first off, I just want to say, I really enjoyed the book, You Are the Brand. What caused you to pour all of these ideas into the book?

Mike: Well, I’d like to give some profound answer like, “grow the business” or anything along those lines. But honestly, I just did it because I knew I had to do it because it was in me.

Rich: I think that’s more profound then wanting to generate more revenue, by the way.

Mike: Okay. Well, there we have it. I heard Steven Pressfield, who is the multiple time author, but he wrote this great book years ago and I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, The War of Art. It’s about overcoming your creative battles. Oh my gosh, so good. I know I’m here talking about my book, but now I’m talking about his. But it’s salty, it’s short and punchy, and it’s made for creators, right? And he talks about resistance and he villainized his resistance, like capital ‘R’.

And his whole point is that anytime you’re moving towards something that is going to make you better, you encounter resistance. Hello workouts, hello eating right, hello writing a book. And he said this one thing, he said, “If you do the work for the sake of doing the work.” And that’s really what I kept at the forefront. I just felt like man, one day, if I’m like old and gray and I’m looking back on my life, I should have written a book. If I knew I had one or two in me and I didn’t do it, I would have been upset. And I don’t know, I was locked down all year like you were last year. So it’s like, if this is not the time, then when? So here we are.

Rich: Right now, this book is about building a personal brand. So why do you think that’s so important?

Mike: Well branding, you know, here we are. We’ll put on our marketing hats for a minute. We all know branding has been around forever. Like the branding is just all about identity. The thing that’s changing now in the space, in the industry, is that branding is being extended to people. And that that’s been around before, but how do we codify, how do we be intentional with what we’re doing with ourselves, our brand, as experts, as speakers. You and I are both speakers. You’re the head of an agency. I’m pretty sure, I mean you’ve never told me this, but I’m pretty sure you’re one of the primary – if not the primary driver – of business for the agency. Like you, Rich. And that’s a personal brand. 

And so it’s like, when you think about branding, we all know it started with those cattle prods, right. You know, the brand of your livestock. And then eventually it became to identify things in business. So branding is just all about identity. And when we talk about a personal brand, it just expands to include someone’s ideas, expertise, their reputation, and their personality. And this is happening whether we realize it or not. We all have a brand so you might as well become a good one.

Rich: So Mike, in your opinion, what makes up a personal brand? Like what are the elements.

Mike: Well, it’s kind of what I said before. Right? Ideas, expertise, reputation, personality. And you craft that collective, those things into a collective public identity for an express purpose. Now I know this sounds like that’s a very textbook definition. And believe me, I worked really hard to create that textbook definition. But we see this all the time. I mean, it’s why you like certain football players more than others. It’s why we like certain celebrities or entertainers more than others.

I recently talked to a guy named Rick Barker, he’s one of Taylor Swifts early managers, he helped discover her. And before Taylor became who she is today, she was just this talented but still normal person. And when I asked him, “What did you see in her?” He was like, “She had something intangible. She just had something about her.” And I think when we think like that and we just relegate it to, “Well, there has to be something about you”, we disqualify ourselves, because then we look at people like Taylor Swift or celebrities. But it’s not about who’s the best in a personal brand. It’s not about who’s the best if we were talking about who’s the best quarterback of all time. Rich, you would clearly say…

Rich: Tom Brady.

Mike: Exactly. But that doesn’t mean everyone likes Tom Brady.

Rich: I’m not even sure I like Tom Brady since he left New England. But that’s a conversation for another time.

Mike: You guys drove him out. Anyways. But my point exactly. Growing up, when we were growing up, Michael Jordan was the best basketball player in the world. And arguably still is, but not everyone is a Michael Jordan fan.

So here, like when we talk about marketing, we tend to think like, we are the best agency, I’m the best copywriter, we’re the best people you could ever work with, we have the best product. But that’s not why people make decisions sometimes in marketing. It’s about who we are. It’s why some people like Katy Perry more than Taylor Swift. And so it’s just understanding that for us to drive business forward in whatever business you’re in that you’re listening to on the show you’re involved in, there’s a huge element of you or your sales team or whoever’s front facing in your business driving the marketing forward. Case in point, Rich and the agency, me and my business. Yeah, it’s us.

Rich: So if we agree that building a personal brand isn’t necessarily being about the best, it’s more about just being the most, the most you or whatever it is. Is building a personal brand more about just exposing more of yourself to the world, like just putting yourself more out there, or is it more … I see you smiling, I know where your mind is going. But is it more about maybe hiding some of what we’re doing? Is it more about crafting the version of ourselves that we want other people to see?

Mike: I think it’s a little bit of both. So the way that I see this play out a lot in the space is people go one of two ways – and these are extremes – but I’ll just give them as guard rails.

Some people go out there and they just flat out lie, man. I mean, they just put a false version of themselves out there, right? Like these are the folks who rent an Airbnb and stage a photo shoot and act like it’s their house. They’re just lying. And those folks don’t understand that you have to earn attention. It’s not just given to you, you have to earn it.

And then we have this other side where we have people who overshare in the name of being authentic. And they’re sharing almost too much information, and it’s not actually carefully crafted, and they’re trying to sell their struggles or they’re trying to “be real” or be “authentic”. And these folks are building a brand around a car wreck. They get attention, but it’s not actually long lasting. It doesn’t actually attract people, it doesn’t keep people.

So one of the litmus tests I use with a lot of clients is I ask them a simple question, “Hey, with the things that you’re sharing, you’re putting out into the world, onto the internet, into the market, can you build a campfire around it?” By that I mean, is there warmth? Is it inviting? Are you projecting to people that you are someone that they might want to be around and hanging out with, exchange stories with? I mean, that’s a segue into marketing. I mean, one of the best things we can do in marketing is to tell great stories.

 

So I see the space play out in those two ways. And what I’m really advocating for is like, hey, be the person that you’re trying to sell to people, be the brand you’re trying to sell to people. That’s the real authenticity that people are looking for.

Rich: Okay. So it might be about creating this slightly better version of yourself or more version of yourself, but then it’s living up to the ideals. Would you say that that is one way of looking at it?

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think you’ve got to do that. I think that in this… I mean, how many people do you and I know or have seen – whether personally or not – their stuff comes out. They present… Okay. Ellen, great example, right? I mean, I was going to put her into my book as an example of a good personal brand, but I took it out because of what happened. She went on for years and years, and now everyone’s saying her brand is trashed. And that’s not a cancel culture thing. I mean, that’s just who people who have been around her for years say she is. That’s a reputation. That is personality. Again, ideas, expertise, reputation, personality, right?

Her blend of, her ideas and expertise were not in alignment with, apparently according to her staff and many others, who she was in her relationships and in how she treated people, in her personality. There’s a misalignment. Eventually it comes out. So do the hard work in becoming what you’re trying to sell to people.

Rich: I’m also hearing that part of this is craftsmanship. We’re crafting who we want the world to see us as, but you can only go so far from who you actually are. So either you’ve got to change who your brand is, or you need to change a little bit of who you are to kind of bring those two things into alignment better.

And, you know, a lot of people think they know me because they’ve seen me at Social Media Marketing World, events, whatever it is. They see me up on stage, as an example, that’s The Rich Brooks. But The Rich Brooks and Rich Brooks are not exactly the same. There is a different version that I am when I’m out networking or up on stage. And it feels to me that might be some of what you’re talking about right now in our discussion.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, we see that differentiation all the time. I mean, how I know you is very different than how those people know you, because we’re friends. And your family knows you very differently than even I know you, but they’re all still you. So yeah, there are people out there who see you on stage, or listen to your podcast, read your book – which everyone should, by the way – and we have this image. And then as soon as people get closer, have you ever heard that quote, “Never meet your heroes”?

Rich: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Mike: Oh, what a terrible idea that is, right? How sad that that’s actually what we have to settle for. Because we have this image of this person, the closer and closer we get, this isn’t who they really are. So let’s just play the ignorance card and like not meet them and just hold them to this image that we’ve crafted for them. Right?

Why not be someone who people can approach closer and closer and say, “You know what, this guy, this gal, this business, this company, is in alignment with what they say.” And I mean, the world would be better for it. There are a lot of businesses, I’m not just talking about personal brands or individuals like Ellen. I mean, Wells Fargo bank, dude. We want to help families and they’re ripping people off and starting fraud accounts, right? Like, let’s hold ourselves to a better standard.

Rich: So far, we’ve talked about the fact that it’s good for your business to have a personal brand, to put it out there. And although it may be a slightly different version of you or more intense version of you, whatever it is, it still has to be in alignment with your core values and who you really are. The goal here is, obviously as we’ve discussed, is to increase your opportunities and increase your business.

I’m sure there’s some people out there who are listening to this podcast right now, and they’re thinking of themselves, “Developing a personal brand makes sense for Mike Kim, and maybe it makes sense for Rich Brooks, but I’m running a painting company. Nobody’s going to hire a painting company because of my personal brand.” What would you say to that person?

Mike: I would say you’re in denial, to be frank. Because if you’ve ever gotten a referral from anybody – you’re a painting company, let’s say – and they say, “Hey, you need to call this company and ask for Frank”, that’s a personal brand.

Personal brand is a very fancy way of saying reputation. I mean, that’s what it is. If ever go get your hair cut somewhere and a friend tells you, “Well, make sure you see Dominick.” I mean, that was one of the guys that cut my hair when I was growing up. I went to that salon and people waited hours for this guy. He didn’t take appointments ahead of time. He’s just this old Italian guy, just snip, snip, snip, snip. Smoked like a chimney, but he just had a brand, he had a reputation, he had expertise, he had personality.

Maybe you’re not the proprietor, maybe you have a sales team. Okay, well make sure that they project the identity of your company, because they’re front facing. Well, what if we just in our marketing, feature somebody to be the face of our brand? The companies do this all the time. Geico with the gecko. That’s actually really smart, which I’ll talk about in a second. You see Progressive Insurance with Flo.

But let’s talk about a horror story, Jared from Subway. I mean, after all those kinds of crazy allegations and he was arrested, and all that kind of stuff came out. A very sordid story, right? I mean, so you think the execs at Subway were freaking out about what they were going to do because the spokesman…yeah. So even these big companies are trying to personalize their brand by hiring a person to be the face of the brand. That’s why Geico is smart because the gecko will never get in trouble. That’s really smart.

Rich: He’s never going to find himself in a three-way with like a giraffe and something else.

Mike: Thanks, Rich. Okay. Yeah. I was going to push it there. You’re the host, you can push it that far. But you know, like the actors who play these people. Like Jared was a real person who lost weight eating Subway sandwiches. But then you talk about Flo and she says one wrong thing that the majority of people don’t agree with or she gets political or whatever it is, like, it’s going to hurt the company.

And these are all off the top of my head, but we see this all the time. Remember the Verizon guy, “Can you hear me now?”

Rich: Sure. Who then became the Sprint guy.

Mike: Yeah, Sprint hired that actor and the character. Like it’s ridiculous, but that’s what companies do.

Rich: So if we’ve decided listening to this that yes, I believe that I need to create a personal brand or hone my personal brand. Because really, we’re always creating our personal brand, but hone it and really get constructive about it.

You and the book have this blueprint for really developing that personal brand. And I don’t want to give away everything. People should definitely be going out and getting this book. But I would love to just talk about a few of the elements, starting with point of view. So why is point of view important, and important enough to be the first thing on your list? And is this is point of view something we develop, or is it just something that is?

Mike: A point of view is, I think, something that develops over time. But it also comes from the core. If you have a company or your personal brand. You have a company; I can delve into this in a second with stories that we tell. If you’re going to have a fighting chance, like that message has to be something that you actually believe in.

So when I talk about a point of view, it’s not just having an opinion. Opinions, like my grandfather used to say, are like armpits. Everyone has two and they all stink. He used to say that. But what I do is, I just ask people three questions to help formulate their point of view, which is what cuts across cuts through the noise, and then put those into stories.

So the three questions, I call this the PB3, the personal brand three. The first question is what pisses you off? Number two, what breaks your heart? Number three, what’s the big problem you’re trying to solve? And what breaks your heart is the injustice you see in the world, really. What breaks your heart is the compassion you have for people, or for a cause, or for a mission. The third question, what’s the big problem you’re trying to solve, is simple. Your business. Like business is nothing more than solving a problem for a profit.

Now there are some problems that are not profitable to solve, which is why we have nonprofits. Thank God. And nonprofits need to figure out how to tell better stories, too.

But if you had the answers to these questions, they lead right into step two, which is personal stories. And in your marketing, all of us, regardless of our business, what kind of business we have, have to have three stories. Number one is the founder story. Number two is the business story. And number three is the customer story.

And so if I were to look at this in light of even you Rich, right? We know each other well, but what’s the founder’s story. That’s your story? How’d you get into marketing? Like that’s what pissed you off. That’s what broke your heart? How’d you get into marketing, right?

Rich: Mine actually involves a psychic. But we can go into that or somebody can read my LinkedIn profile for that story.

Mike: There you go. So this is why I went into marketing. This is why I just was turned on to marketing. Now, the second story is flyte new media. That’s a different story than your story. What year was the company started? What year did Agents of Change Conference launch? That’s a different story, right? And that’s the ‘what’s the big problem you’re trying to solve’ story. Well, we started Agents of Change years ago because here’s the big problem we wanted to solve. We wanted to equip businesses in Maine and throughout New England and bring in the best from across the country, to our town, our city, where it’s like, let’s be honest, it’s not easy to get to and get these experts here. So that we could get the best of the best in the industry to speak to our local economies, our local businesses, and equip them. That’s the big problem we’re trying to solve. Well, who’s this Rich guy that started this conference? Rich Brooks went to see a psychic, and loved marketing, and all of that builds connection.

And then of course the customer story is just the story of lives that you’ve touched, businesses that you’ve changed, that have been transformed. But when I ask people to write a story, this is why I came up with this, “Hey, so tell me why you got into marketing.” “Oh, you know, I just wanted to make some money.” That’s not a great story. And that’s also not even true. If you want to just make money, you can flip houses, you can do weird things on the internet that we probably shouldn’t talk about.

Rich: Get into self-storage.

Mike: Yeah. Open up self-storage, I never thought about that one, but that’s true.

Rich: Porta Potties is always the one I go to. I’m like, those guys are raking in money. Raking it in. Right. That is just like, it wouldn’t serve my passion. But for other people it’s like, listen, it’s an important thing and we’re running a business, and now I’m employing people and it needs to be done.

Mike: Yeah. So my point is that if your business, you started your business because you legitimately care about that and it’s not just something that makes money, then you need to have these stories.

Now, I often wonder who invented Q-tips. Brilliant. Made bank. Did they just say, you know, “It ticks me off that I can’t get ear wax out of my ear” and debated whether you should even use Q-tips to do that. But there’s a story. There there’s a story somewhere, and that is what humanizes our businesses. It’s what allows us as small business owners to compete with the big boys, the big kids on the block.

It’s funny to me that those big brands are spending millions and sometimes billions of dollars trying to gain the leverage and get an advantage that we already have, which is to sound small. They’re spending a ton of money to try to sound like us. And here we are, we’re trying to sound big. Grass is always greener on the other side.

Rich: Absolutely. So as we’re doing all this work, and like we said you mentioned stories, which I was going to talk about, but you did talk about. Those are two, I think of seven, different elements of the blueprint. And like I said, I want people to read the book and get a lot out of it. But I guess one question I have is, how much time should we put into figuring out our own personal brand before unleashing it on the world, versus how much of it should we just be living our personal brand every day and continuing to bring out new iterations of that personal brand?

Mike: Yeah, I think you go out into the world and just start, and you iterate as you go. The worst thing that you can do is just go radio silent, completely. That doesn’t serve you. You know, whenever there’s silence or a vacuum, people fill it and assume the worst. You ever notice that? “Oh, I haven’t heard from Mike in a while. I wonder if he’s dead.” You know, we don’t think automatically, “I’m sure he’s doing great, he’s eating healthy, and he’s well.” We don’t assume that we always think the worst.

Now when people are pivoting their brand, that’s a different story. Let’s go back to the subway example, this is a great off the cuff example. I don’t talk about this in the book, but it does a good example of it. Subway has this crazy scandal with Jared. And I was like, I know exactly what these guys are going to do. They are not going to go silent and let people take control of the narrative. The whole Jared thing happens, he’s fired, whatever. You know what they come up with right away? $5 a foot long. You remember that stinking song?

Rich: How could you get it out of your head?

Mike: $5 foot long. And they did it for about a year. I was like, this is not going to last forever. There’s they’re cutting their profit margins really low giving away sandwiches for five bucks. Because I used to pay like $6.50 or $7.00. And they came out with that and they filled that vacuum. But they went silent, of course, on Jared and here’s what they did. That was really smart. They didn’t hire another spokesman for the brand, because then you’d compare Jared to this person. So they created a vacuum, they went silent, and then they filled that vacuum.

One of the examples that I do talk about the book is Steve Carell from The Office. You love The Office. I mean, who doesn’t love The Office? Okay. He decides he’s going to leave the show after a couple of years. He creates this legendary role, he plays his legendary role, and he decides, “I want to become a serious actor”. He leaves The Office, and he doesn’t take more comedic roles on the big screen. He changes his brand, and he stars in a film, these dark noir films, like Foxcatcher, about murder and all this scandal. And he gets nominated for an Academy award. Like, that’s Michael Scott from Dunder Mifflin. But he didn’t go into the movie scene trying to land comedic roles. He went silent on what he did before, and then doubled down on what he was pivoting into.

Rich: He’s also excellent in Vice, where he plays Donald Rumsfeld.

Mike: Yes. Yes. That was an amazing movie. Yeah.

Rich: So I’m curious to know, because now you’ve written a book, and I wrote a book a couple of years ago. I’m curious to know what lessons did you take away from putting all these thoughts to paper, or maybe more likely to Google docs? I don’t know. Did you find any ‘a-ha’ moments where all of a sudden things just clarified for you that hadn’t hit you before now that you’re actually committing things to the page?

Mike: Yeah. So I’m going to admit, this is the most painful, one of the most painful processes I’ve ever gone through. I mean, I almost hated every single minute of it. I don’t know how it was for you.

Rich: I actually loved it, quite honestly, because I love to write. But people were like, you’re going to hate this. And I’m like, I’m really loving it. And then they’re like, well, you’re going to hate the editing part. The editing is the least fun, I will admit. But even that, it wasn’t terrible. So, yeah.

Mike: I’m a copywriter by trade, so everyone’s like, “Oh, this is going to be so fun for you. You can write.” I hated almost every minute of it. And here’s what actually happened, Rich. I had a book coach. I had several folks coach me through the whole thing. Jeff Goins, who is a multiple time bestselling author, Todd Herman, and Karen Anderson, who really was involved with me from strategicbookcoach.com. And it was like signing up to work with my like 11th grade honors English teacher. And I’d send her drafts and I’m like, “This is what it is.” And she’s like, “Nope, has no personality. Mike, your stuff reads like a textbook. Here you are talking about personal branding and being warm and all this campfire stuff, and there’s no warmth in this book.” What do you want from me? Right. So I had to dig into all. It was painful criticism, but that’s why I hired her. Because I wanted the best in my world to help me with this.

And I found stories, dug deep, some that came at the 11th hour before I had to submit the book, that I had just completely forgotten. Because here’s the thing, Rich, you and I are both veteran marketers, we’ve been in this space for a long time now. And storytelling, we know it’s right, we know it’s good, but it can become clinical for us. We’re both writers, and when I looked back at the blog posts I wrote eight years ago, seven years ago, six years ago, they had so much more warmth in them. There’s a lot more relatability, now I’ve become more didactic. I’m just teaching people, right? I’m like nuts and bolts. Here’s what to do, here’s the formula. And what really stood out to me was I actually had a lot more stories to tell. And this helped me, I think, become a better marketer because it reconnected me to those kinds of stories, and all this humanity. And all this stuff that I’m talking about right now is a process I went through in writing the book.

One story was, I opened the book with this, and the I’ll be honest I was struggling a long, long time on how to open the book in the first chapter. Because they go right into talking about who you are as a brand. And I couldn’t figure out how to open the chapter. And it’s the night before I have to send in the draft, and I’m wrestling with this and wrestling with this. And a friend of mine, Jeff, we’re having a conversation. I’m like, “Dude, I still don’t like the opening. It’s a little weak”. He goes, “Yeah. I don’t know, man. I mean, people have been branding since the dawn of the internet”. That’s all he said. And I was like, that just spoke to me and we got off the phone and I just started writing. I was like, ‘dawn of the internet’. Well, when did I start using the internet? I was in high school. What did I do on the internet in high school? I used AOL instant messenger. And then this story popped in, I wrote it in like 10 minutes, and I opened the book with that story.

You know, people have been trying to look good on the internet since the dawn of the internet. And for me, it was my screen name, my AIM screen name. I was trying to get girls, dude. I mean, they’re going to love my screen name, they’re going to fall in love with me. Should I tell everyone my screen name? I mean, we’re selling the book. Can I, can I say? Okay, so for all you listening, you remember I was frozen, all my friends were on AIM and I’m like, “Oh, I got to get on there.” And I’m like, I got to think of this epic screen name. So I come up with this manly, creative play on my name and it’s ‘Mikovich’. And my friends are like, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. What is that even? And they think I’m trying to sound Russian, and they start saluting me when I see them. They’re like “Hail comrade, Mikovich.” And then dude, it backfired. This one girl, this is a true story, I still remember her name. I shouldn’t say it out loud, but I still remember. I remember she’s like, “Hey, I saw your screen name, “Mike, go bitch”. I was like, “Yo, that’s cold. That’s savage.” I was just humiliated. But we’ve been trying to look good on the internet ever since. And that’s how I opened the book. So dude, I don’t even remember that happening until that night that I wrote that. I was like, oh my gosh, that’s how it happened.

Rich: This has been great. And it definitely, I know that there’s going to be a lot of people out there wanting to check out the book, which is called, You Are the Brand. Available on Amazon and bookstores, hopefully everywhere. Where can we find you online though, Mike?

Mike: Well, here we are on a podcast. You could just hop over to my podcast, it’s called Brand You. I have had the privilege of having the amazing Rich Brooks on the show, and many of our friends, many friends that you yourself have introduced me to. So that’s a podcast that’s really centered on personal branding. So if that’s kind of your thing, hop on over.

And of course we’ve got the book, and we’ve got my blog, and that’s primarily how I communicate. I have social media, too. This thing called social media. Whatever channel you’re on, I’m probably on it.

Rich: Mike’s stuff is really good. You should absolutely check it out.

Mike: Oh, thank you.

Rich: Well, it’s just, it is filled with warmth and humor and it often makes me laugh. And when I don’t see it, because unfortunately I sometimes just stay away from social media to avoid the doom scroll. But luckily my girlfriend will show me and be like, “Have you seen what Mike’s been up to?” And then I’ll go check it out and I always find it enjoyable and/or educational or both. So Mike, appreciate it. Good luck on the new book, it was an absolute pleasure to read, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. Thanks for stopping by.

Mike: Yeah. Thank you, man. Thank you also for endorsing the book, it means a lot. Thanks so much.

Show Notes:

Mike Kim is all about building relationship, not just closing the sale. And he teaches his clients to do that through storytelling as part of their branding. Check out his website to see how he helps clients with branding and marketing and follow him on Twitter for his insightful thoughts. And definitely grab a copy of his upcoming book!

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.