Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson is on the Brand.com Board of Advisors and is the Brand.com Blog Moderator. Zac has over 17 years of experience in internet marketing and branding and has helped generate millions of dollars in business for brands and individuals of all sizes across the world. He is compensated for his contributions to the Brand.com Blog.
November 1, 2013 at 11:00 am |

Joel Comm – Personal Branding Spotlight

Joel Comm is a very well-known author and Internet marketer. In addition to writing many books, some of which that have went on to be New York Times and Business Week bestsellers, Joel has a great following and a personal brand that he has built up along the way.

I’m always stressing the importance of building your own brand. If the Internet and all of your site visitors and advertisers were to disappear, what would you do? If you have an established brand built around your name, then you always will have something to fall back on… even if that means starting from scratch with something new.

- Tell us how your (personal of business) brand’s online reputation impacts the success of your business.

My reputation is the most important part of my brand. I’ve worked hard to produce quality products, services and content over my eighteen-year career. It’s essential to maintain a high standard of integrity so customers and associates know that you are trustworthy, implicitly.

- Please share 3 tips with us on how to build a great online reputation for your brand.

1) Always over-deliver – All your products, services, blog entries, podcasts, promotions and live speeches should communicate that you care deeply about what you do and who you are doing it for.
2) If you screw up, just admit it and move on. People will respect you for your transparency and relate to your humanity.
3) Be willing to help others even when it appears there is nothing in it for you. It demonstrates true caring.

- The bigger your brand, the more apt you are to come under attack. Care to share with us a personal story of an online attack that you encountered and how you dealt with it?

Around 2009, I released the fourth edition of my Google AdSense ebook. Along with the ebook purchase, the sales page offered a bonus trial edition of my printed magazine, The Top One Report. The sales page was very clear in sharing that the trial would lead to a subscription for the magazine. However, many people didn’t read the sales page, and some bloggers wrote how I was attempting to “hide” the subscription from the buyers.

When I saw that people were really missing what we clearly explained on the page, I took full responsibility. I put up a special page with a self-deprecating images of myself and the words “I screwed up” as a headline. I then proceeded to email the entire customer list and provided them with the opportunity to opt out. Since many unscrupulous marketers were forcing continuity without even presenting it to people on their sales page, I got caught up in the controversy and responded as quickly as possible to make things right. I received many emails from people telling me that they were impressed at how fast I moved to take responsibility to make things right.

- Just like a display case for a brand in a retail store, it’s important to manage how your brand looks in search engines. What steps do you take to ensure that you control what people see when they Google your brand?

I don’t. There are so many links to me and my content that a few negative articles here or there don’t have much of an impact. I used to keep my eye on the consumer review sites, but some of them are more concerned about extorting money from brands in order to remove bad reviews. I refuse to play that game.

- Please share 1 valuable and not readily known tip with the Brand Blog audience on how to improve your brand’s online reputation.

Google Alerts. Kidding…

I’ll give you a simple one. Buy “yourbrandsucks.com” and redirect it to your website so someone else can’t own it. See JoelCommSucks.com for an example.

Special thanks to Joel Comm for taking the time to featured in our “Personal Branding Spotlight” series. If you liked what you saw, also be sure to check out our ORM Experts interview series as well.

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Zac Johnson
Board Advisor at Brand.com
Zac Johnson is on the Brand.com Board of Advisors and is the Brand.com Blog Moderator. Zac has over 17 years of experience in internet marketing and branding and has helped generate millions of dollars in business for brands and individuals of all sizes across the world. He is compensated for his contributions to the Brand.com Blog.
Zac Johnson
Zac Johnson
47 comments
Jerome Wilhort
Jerome Wilhort

Immediacy in dealing with any situation seems to be a common theme.

Direct Response
Direct Response

great interview. Totally agree with buying "yournamesucks.com" because that is one of the most common domains haters will pick up to blast you online. I advise taking it as step forward and purchasing just about every domain out there possible that has your exact match name and something negative attached. i.e.yournamescam.com yourname + anything specific to you that could be badI see more and more interviewees pointing out how important it is to apologize when you screw up. I totally agree. If you mess up you should announce it very loudly and then talk about corrective actions that you will take to ensure that it never happens agains. Then take those actions. People will respect you for that and it will take the wind out of the sails of haters!

Asil1219
Asil1219

Love the over deliver mentality. Under promise & over deliver & you can never go wrong!

Genevieve Moser
Genevieve Moser

Protecting your brand by owning negative domain names is great advice!

Darius Coit
Darius Coit

I'm slowly learning how to take control of my online image as a result of this blog.

Michael Petrucci
Michael Petrucci

Joel definitely hit it on the head when he suggests that companies should own up to their mistakes. They will gain much more respect from their customers in the long run, which will eventually lead to them continuing to bring their business back to these companies.

Adam felch
Adam felch

My question from the last Blog has been answered. I wasn't sure how buying Your Name + Sucks would work...now I know! Thanks!

constante quirino
constante quirino

Being self deprecating, or at the very least, self aware, seems like a realistic and viable strategy for anyone looking to preserve their reputation. It operates on the real-life principle of making fun of oneself before others have a chance to. Doing so takes the power from others to be nasty and spiteful.

Derek Saybolt
Derek Saybolt

The three tips Joel on how to build a great online reputation for your brand is very insightful advice for improving your personal brand.

Jacob Hammer
Jacob Hammer

Joel - I really like your philosophy about admitting when you screw up. While many brands certainly face a ton of illegitimate complaints, every business will make a mistake every now and then. If you try to counter a real complaint where you are clearly at fault, you dig yourself a deeper hole because you start to lose consumer trust altogether. It's best to take legitimate complaints as constructive criticism. It's a very respectable approach.

Kyle McGrath
Kyle McGrath

Taking responsibility for your brand and responding quickly to issues is extremely important. Sometimes in the wake of something negative, if you act professionally, you can end up building even more value to your brand!

Samantha
Samantha

Buying the 'yourbrandsucks.com' is a great idea. You keep control over it and what goes on it.

ElizaAPearce8
ElizaAPearce8

Great tips! It's very good to over-deliver. It's good to show people that you care for your company and brand!

Ryan Andrews
Ryan Andrews

Under promise and over deliver is a philosophy that should be practiced way more often. Coupled with admitting mistakes and moving forward, people looking to up their brand and their reputation can really turn around negative content online, and in some cases even prevent it.

Thomas Navin
Thomas Navin

Tip #2 is spot on, "If you screw up, just admit it and move on. People will respect you for your transparency and relate to your humanity."

Mike Griffenberg
Mike Griffenberg

When it comes to mistakes that a company makes, honesty is the best policy.

Ryan Maley
Ryan Maley

Joel makes it clear that taking full responsibility for your mistakes is one of the best ways to build trust and earn the respect of your customers or followers.

Ann Johnson
Ann Johnson

I love the idea about owning websites that seem negative, only to redirect them back to your own website. So smart!!

Harrison Pew
Harrison Pew

I couldn't agree more with the tip of over-delivering whether it be with the content you are publishing online, providing customer service, selling, etc. It is always best to under-promise and over-deliver because it will result in followers of your content, or customers of your service, to keep coming back for more and more.

Monica Johnson
Monica Johnson

"I’ll give you a simple one. Buy “yourbrandsucks.com” and redirect it to your website so someone else can’t own it." Interesting approach!

John Gottschall
John Gottschall

Admitting when you are wrong is certainly good advice. One thing you do not want to do is post rebuttals on negative reporting sites like Ripoff report and pissed consumer. This will propagate another ripoff report listing in your SERP and people may not take the time to read the report, only the headline in your SERP. This may lead them to look for another provider of your service.

Jeff Glauser
Jeff Glauser

Under-promise/over-deliver, admit to a mistake and act quickly to remedy it, be genuine in your approach to help. All obviously important traits in achieveing a positive reputation, but all far too often underutilized.

Nathan Mellor
Nathan Mellor

"1) Always over-deliver" - this is a great point, over-deliver, under-promise! When you do this, it will reflect well on your online reputation. All customers appreciate that kind of quality service.

Jessica Veazey
Jessica Veazey

I never thought about buying the "yourbrandsucks.com" so someone else can't own it. Domain names are probably one of the most dangerous ways to taint an online reputation. I think it is worth the investment to purchase your name or your brands domain names as a precaution.

Anthony Giacomucci
Anthony Giacomucci

Always true that you can never do too much when it comes to proving how deeply you care for what you do

Brian Newmark
Brian Newmark

Love the advice about the sucks.com. I will totally start using that with my clients. It is all part of building the cyber firewall.

James
James

"Always over-deliver."I really like that advice! That's basically along the same lines of thinking as Zappos. If you're over-delivering, you're impressing your audience, and they'll always be back for more. Great advice on accepting responsibility, too! The quicker you move to make things better the more people will respect your brand.

Daniel Connolly
Daniel Connolly

Loved the 2009 anecdote Joel shared about how he personally took responsibility over his online reputation. It demonstrates that even if you don't necessarily need to go above and beyond in the way he did, it will show each an every customer that you care deeply about their contribution.

Ron Gamble
Ron Gamble

"Buy “yourbrandsucks.com” "This is awesome advice. You gotta pre-empt the negatives with all the haters in the world today.

miawallace
miawallace

"Always over deliver" - this is a great tip. Be passionate about your service and go above and beyond to exceed customer expectations. This is a great way to build a stellar reputation.

Michael Dectis
Michael Dectis

Always addressing a negative situation will always improve your customer service skills as well at your online reputation. Be truthful.

Jpileggi
Jpileggi

I really like the 3 tips on building a good reputation for a brand. Admitting your mistakes is one of the hardest things to do but also one of the most respectable.

Anna Albrecht
Anna Albrecht

I love the idea of buying the "yourbrandsucks.com" domain! It's also a great tongue-in-cheek marketing strategy.

The_Sizzle
The_Sizzle

Thanks for the tips, Joel! I took a lot of your message as: be a good person, and good things will happen! Very to the point.

Melissa Adams Morris
Melissa Adams Morris

Taking responsibility is key. When you make a mistake, admit to it, address it, and move on. Crisis management should always be used in these situations. Most people love this approach because it shows that you are human and it makes them feel appreciated and valued when the CEO or Corporate Executive takes the time to respond to customer concerns or issues evolving around the brand and etc.

Jane't Jones
Jane't Jones

Over-delivering is definitely my favorite tip in this article. People love getting more than they expected! It seems that nowadays people have unfortunately become accustomed to getting less than they expected so doing the opposite of the expectation definitely sets you apart fro other businesses.

Celina Levin
Celina Levin

I like the tip about always being willing to help others. I feel like it's important to always represent yourself as a caring individual no matter if you're experiencing any negative or positive reports from people. Selflessness is a great quality to show.

Tarek Osman
Tarek Osman

Admitting a mistake and taking accountability is very important in maintaining a positive reputation. Eventually everyone screws up. It's how you handle it that determines your perception.

John Lamplugh
John Lamplugh

I agree with you Joel about admitting you are wrong. It is a great way to show people that you are human, everyone makes mistakes.

Ian S
Ian S

Buying "yourbrandsucks.com" is a great idea! I talk to so many business owners that deal with this all the time. If you own it, no one else can, and it won't damage you!

Paul Dudek
Paul Dudek

Tons of good online branding tips and advice can be learned from this man, I am just glad that one of my coworkers spoke with him and will share all of his wisdom with us here at Brand.com

Joshua Griffith
Joshua Griffith

I love the "always over deliver" advice. If you are always over delivering to your clients you drastically reduce the chances someone will be upset with you.

Cory Adams
Cory Adams

it's important to over deliver, people have high expectations and often get a lot of informational value online for free.

Sean Cooper
Sean Cooper

A common theme to protect your brand and reputation is admit to the mistakes you have made, address them, and try to fix them, and then move on. The worst thing that one can do is ignore the mistakes and hope it will go away and not hurt their reputation. Address the problem and move on, do not try to think it will fix itself.

B Herron
B Herron

Buy “yourbrandsucks.com” and redirect it to your website so someone else can’t own it is awesome advice. I have seen so many major brands do this. It allows you to stop a negative before it even occurs; very crafty!

Adam C
Adam C

Joel has always been a leader in online reputation, very cool to see an article and pick his brain!

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