The nuts and bolts of building a brand

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I am switching up the blog a bit. It’s time to take the Brazen Careerist part off of my blog. It’s time for the blog to just be Penelope Trunk, and only my company should use the name Brazen Careerist.

We have been saying this in Brazen Careerist board meetings for about five months. The conversation goes something like this:

Board member: How is the blog redesign going?

Me: Um. I’m thinking.

Board member: That’s what you said two months ago.

Me: Yeah. That’s true. I’ll get some bids.

Board member: It’s important the we differentiate the Brazen Careerist brand of the company from the brand of you.

Me: Yeah. I get it.

Then we have a pause in the meeting while everyone is silently frustrated with my inability to make changes.

The truth is that I have always known that I’m going to separate myself from the name Brazen Careerist. I mean, I don’t want to be the Brazen Careerist when I’m 70 years old. And anyway, the brand is better for a social network.

So, it’s time to take it off my blog. But I’m slow. I’m so slow that I am doing incremental changes as a warm up. And, also, as a way to make the board think that I am not constipated.

So the first change is that I added a section on my blog sidebar titled: My life disguised as career advice. And the list in that section contains topics that make sense for my blog, if it is separate from Brazen Careerist.

I think I will keep rejiggering my sidebar categories. I’m sick of the categories I have had. What’s up with time management being a separate category from productivity anyway? What was I thinking?

The other change is that I have agreed to do weekly, live video chats. I want to tell you they will happen at the same time every week, but my life is not so streamlined. Fortunately, Ed, our CEO, who is all over me to start doing these video chats, has come up with the idea that the banner ad on my blog, which surely none of you even notices because it never changes, will now announce the weekly topic and the weekly time.

Frankly, I’m more excited about changing my categories, but I’m also excited about making Ed happy. I have found in my career that the only time I have a good job is when the person who manages me is happy with me. So that’s the topic of this week’s video chat, Managing Up: How to make your boss love you.

You can sign up here.

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  1. Irina I
    Irina I says:

    That’s the advice I got when I started my new job – learn how to make your boss look good in front of his boss. Then we’ll all be one big happy family.

  2. Alice
    Alice says:

    As a reader, I’m OK with Brazen Careerist having its own place. (Like a former husband getting his own apartment.) I thought of you as “Brazen Careerist” *before* you relaunched the site as a social network. But since the relaunch the two brands don’t seem to mix as well — the BC type doesn’t even suit you. I like you standing alone. So while you may have a little trouble adjusting, we’re fine out here.

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    I noticed the banner INSTANTLY, and I think it’s brilliant. And, I think separating BC from PT is brilliant and will allow each to flourish. Cheerios to all.

  4. Adina
    Adina says:

    Super excited about the video chats. Only thing I can add is that evenings are great when people have busy work schedules during the day. Either way, thank you!!

  5. Erika Harris
    Erika Harris says:

    I am thrilled about this separation! For the past 2.5 years, I have read this blog in spite of the career advice, not because of it. And whenever a commentor would complain about you veering off the career advice track, it’d remind me that I was a voyeur who was much more interested in your insights about life in general. I’ve got totally renegade views about “career.” In fact, I advocate the burning of resumes. So I never identified with your blog name. But I couldn’t stay away from your writing. Goodbye BC. Hello PT.

  6. Izzie
    Izzie says:

    Great to hear about your changes. Agree with comments above as well…we listen to YOU and I enjoy the career stuff too. As for the boss loving me…well I guess I have a ways to go on that one. Work hard, but Asperger’s kiddo takes its toll on my energy and enthusiasm big time, so often I am exhausted and don’t even want to be at work. So that is a challenge I will have to face if I want to be employed for a few more years at least.

    Thanks P and looking forward to keeping up with you as always.

  7. Jorge Lazaro Diaz
    Jorge Lazaro Diaz says:

    I found you because of the affinity between your career advice and the job hunt and professional development information I provide. However, just like you I find myself writing more and more stuff that’s less “profesional” and really “personal development.” We seem to moving in the same direction and I recently divided my blog “professional development” category to “professional development” and “personal development.”

    What I’ve found is that’s the area where I’m having the most fun writing and the area where I have the strongest following. I will continue to follow you and see where we both evolved.

  8. Tracey Linkous
    Tracey Linkous says:

    When attempting to sign up for your inaugural video chat, I was directed to either “sign in” or “login above” (as a member), so I logged in, then received the error, you are not permitted to view this page. When I clicked on the Home tab, it took me to my Brazen Careerist home page. What to do now?

  9. LPC
    LPC says:

    I’ve been ignoring the Brazen Careerist aspect for months. Maybe even a year. I’m happy for you to tell me what you do over there, but happier when you tell me what you do where you are.

  10. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    Any chance this will be available after the event? I’m in Australia, so this will occur at 4am Friday morning for me. I’d appreciate being able to access it afterwards instead.

  11. Natalie
    Natalie says:

    Congrats on the relaunch. I love your site for the insight and the anecdotes so as long as that’s still there, I don’t care so much about the title

  12. Socorro Luna
    Socorro Luna says:

    Don’t they know you are a genius and ought to just let you do your thing? I love reading your words. So on Thursday I will learn how to make the boss love me, give me raises, and who knows what else! That’s a genius work!

  13. neko
    neko says:

    i’ve never participated in a video chat & not sure if i’ll be around at the right place/time, but i SO want to hear PT’s thoughts re managing up (something i’ve never been good/ effective at).

    so, i signed up for a BC account …. i’m looking forward to learning how to Show My Boss The Love !

  14. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    Hi P-
    Problem. On my screen the ad doesn’t show a day/time for the video chat. Someone else mentioned expecting it on thursday but the only information I see reads: Live Video Chat with PT how to make your boss love you. Sign up here.

    Included a day/time on that bar would be fantastic. As a brazen member I’ve had a chance to see/hear you in video chat before and I’d love to do so again … I’m thrilled that they will be scheduled and linked from your blog from now on.

    Good luck with the changes!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Yeah, I know most people can’t do the middle of the day. We are going to move the time around, I think. So lots of people can do at least one time slot. Stay tuned…


      • Sara
        Sara says:

        Thank god for the time change, because one way to have my boss hate me is to sit at my desk with my face crammed into my monitor at noon. We have an open office so….would look odd.

  15. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I, for one, am happy that you will be inconsistent with the timing. I’d love to watch, but it’s always some unreasonable hour in Oz when you put them on. I live in hope that you will do some early morning or late night sessions.

  16. Lunatic Advice
    Lunatic Advice says:

    You blog is starting to sound like Beyonce. “It’s definitely time to take a break, to recharge my batteries. I’d like to take about six months and not go into the studio. I need to just live life, to be inspired by things again. I’m going to do random things. I want to go to restaurants, maybe take a class and see some movies and Broadway shows.”

    After the break and recharge the batteries, who knows you may decide to change careers? You may decide you want to become a care-free bed jumper. All you need is a camera, a place to put it and a timer (or someone to take the photo).

    As a side note, did you know that there's a Flickr group called bed jumpers? It's for pictures of people who – well, figure it out for yourself. Makes you curious who in the corporate office is doing this after workday, huh?

    I wish you a very happy week!

  17. claire
    claire says:

    Penelope Trunk is the CEO of, both the largest online community of Generation Y professionals and a consulting firm that helps companies each young professionals. Her clients rely on her to help them understand Generation Y's priorities and passions so they can better build and manage their young workforce.

    Pen, notice that it should say teach or reach. I think even high school kids applying for part time jobs know that they should spell words correctly, especially the words in their mission statement. Wow how professional of you to let that out there for how long?

  18. claire
    claire says:

    More proof that your idea to separate your professional side from your highly charged personal life is a good one. How can you have editors who let that go? Mock me about a typo, if you will, but that thing has been there for a long time.

    I suppose you want to “r”each young professionals. You are neihter young nor professional.

      • claire
        claire says:

        There is a huge difference between typos on a web post and a typo on a site designed to bring someone business. She presumably has editors, and if not, she should. If she does, she should fire them.

        I would recover from a typo in an e-mail to my sister, but do I want it on my resume? On my website begging for business? Hell no!!

  19. Jason
    Jason says:

    Nice branding advice here. Most of the times, personalization is one of the most important things in branding. People trust and follow personal stuff.

    Additionally, video chat is a good idea.


  20. Paulo
    Paulo says:

    I always look forward to your email because of the variety in your writing. Whether its about time management or a nagging boss its the variety that counts for me.
    Paulo, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa

  21. Adriana
    Adriana says:

    Great idea for the banner. I’ll start looking at them now and using my Brazen Careerist account more :)

  22. M. Goerig
    M. Goerig says:

    Even your utilitarian posts about processes have gems in them. This time, it was here:
    “Then we have a pause in the meeting while everyone is silently frustrated with my inability to make changes.”
    I love that line. It’s heartbreakingly sweet–kind of a Christopher Guest moment.
    Good luck with this change. It will be painful for awhile but ultimately, it should work out for the best, and you’ll feel more love from the two separate entities than you would trying to keep them fused. They’ll feel more love, too.

  23. theWiz
    theWiz says:

    I get the seperation. I am not sure if it is a good decision. I guess you have a better understanding internally if both brands are strong enough to stand seperate. I do get the desire to split them, but you have a growing public following. In one sentence you have them waiting to be seperate and in another you have a CEO telling you to host public chats via your personal site. Is it seeprate? You just want to image of seperate? Why not embrace it and develop a way to co-Brand. As I said you have a better view of your corporate needs.

    • Caitlin @ Roaming Tales
      Caitlin @ Roaming Tales says:

      I’m with Wiz. I understand the reasons why the Brazen Careerist CEO wants it to be separate but there were probably good reasons why you gave the startup “your” brand in the first place. It’s the name of your blog, the name of your book, and now the name of your Gen Y social network. By making you give up the name, they are making you less indispensable to the company. It works for them, but does it work for readers/members and you? At the very least, you should be compensated and/or protected in some way if you do decide to give up the name. And yes, I know you own a good chunk of Brazen Careerist the company but I’m talking about beyond that.

      • theWiz
        theWiz says:

        Thank you for making sense of my quickly written, mistake filled comment.The more I thought about it the more I think BC has an opportunity for being something unique from the other social/career sites and you have the right target audience. You are able to give a personal touch. Give guidance on work, work/life issues, teaching people how to take their real life experiences and leverage them. This isn’t something that should be diminished, this is an opportunity to differentiate. It makes it personal coming from PT vs BC. Maybe you need to change the format so it is more a co-brand, maybe wrap it within BC. But this also allows you to broaden the speakers, invite corporate leaders, successful gen y folks, etc. to speak to BC members in a personal way. Not as a BC write up, but as a person reaching out through social media to help, educate, and mentor the up coming generation of work force. I think this is something unique that you have to offer. You are the evangelist. That is not a bad role. My companies leverage an evangelist role, you are just using different venues to do it.

  24. Anna
    Anna says:

    Gosh, it’s too bad your video chat is taking place during my workday. My boss will not love me if I stop my workday to figure out how to make him love me.

  25. Nikki
    Nikki says:

    I wish I could attend tomorrow’s video chat, but my office PC does not have a web camera.

    I participated in a video chat in December one evening from home and loved it. So keep em coming!

    P.S. Could you post a summary of your advice from the webchat in an upcoming blog post?

  26. Liza
    Liza says:

    Advice to live by:

    You cannot prepare for change. The only way to get through is to plunge into change headfirst and hope for the best.

  27. Stan Adler
    Stan Adler says:

    I realize you’re not Dear Abby, or even Dear Pen for that matter, but hey, I’m in foreclosure and about to lose my home of 30 years. I’m a gifted strategist and writer-at-large with a resume that includes all manner and mode of social media as well as recent publication of novel in progress in Barney Rosset’s Evergreen Review (Issues 116 & 120). I’m not Gen Y, but closer to baby boomer and, aside from contracts gone bad because of bad economy, that’s part of the problem. I’m not fresh out of college; I’m fresh and have been out of college for a while now. Do any specific places or contacts or projects come to mind? I’ve got talent, drive, and extraordinary concepting ability! I’ll work to get the job, keep the job, and make the job a go-to position. Thanks for your consideration.
    Stan Adler

  28. Gabi
    Gabi says:

    I have to say, if you are doing a redesign, you may want to rethink that orange outline on the video chat banner. It is bit retina-burning.

  29. brooke b.
    brooke b. says:

    anybody else get the nagging feeling that P is about to get fired??? i mean i understand why she is not BC and BC is not she.. but it seems like all these actions being taken have been to further separate her from control of the company… just my honest opinion

    i rather enjoy how she intertwines work life with personal life, as the two are inseparable most of the time and i’m pretty sick of having to be two different people

    • Elizabeth
      Elizabeth says:

      I was wondering the same thing, brooke, but then P has done this before – start up, get successful, exit. I wonder if this is what is going on…

      I struggle to agree with everyone else on here. I see BC as still quite dependent on P for success. I think the board is kidding themselves if they think that they can compete with the other social networking sites out there without a frontman like her to publicise the hell out of BC in such an entertaining and genuine fashion.

      • JJ
        JJ says:

        I think the CEO is on the right path. PT may be great at bringing traffic, but most people come here to be entretained. It’s like having Bret Michael/Rock of Love as the spokeperson of a marriage-oriented dating site.

  30. Suzanne
    Suzanne says:

    Great idea, this is my first time to your blog (via Serial Reinvention) and after your mention of it in the first paragraph, I clicked over to Brazen Careerist and signed up.

  31. neko
    neko says:

    PT: Pls do replay the “Managing Up” session or post transcript / highlights. (I’ve been invited to your next week’s gig – 8PM EST(YAY!) – but the content isnt really my cup’o tea ie, “Blogging Bootcamp.”)

    I’m really anxious to hear your secrets behind The Tao of Boss Love ….

  32. Alex
    Alex says:

    Thank god for the time change, because one way to have my boss hate me is to sit at my desk with my face crammed into my monitor at noon.

  33. Delena
    Delena says:

    You should make your video chats available in an archive. I would have loved to attend the chat today but alas I work during the day. Hope you’ll consider it!

  34. Phil Bolton
    Phil Bolton says:

    Wow – I found out the best way to make my boss love me was to be my own boss. Having a board sounds annoying. Having said that there are days when I wish someone would just tell me what to do.

  35. Scott
    Scott says:

    I would REALLY like to see these video chat sessions once they are finished. I am sure there is a LOT of good material, and know I am not the only one wanting to watch sessions that I may have missed.

  36. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

    Well, I hope that keeps him happy:) It would be lovely to see a spiffy new design here. I’m working on a redesign of my site and compiling a long design brief for my brilliant graphic designer.

    Hehe, you have got a few categories too many there, under 10 would be great:)

    Excellent news. Your vid thing is 11am here in Queensland , Australia so I’m very excited about seeing you. Been reading you for yonks. Off to sign up now.

    Many thanks!

  37. Whitney
    Whitney says:

    I think separating yourself from Brazen Careerist will be a good change for you. At this point, there is enough separation there for you to branch off. I am excited to see your new videos. It is always fun to read your blog.

  38. Dan
    Dan says:

    Be very interesting to see the differences between branding yourself affordably and the branding of the major players with money to burn.

  39. Paul Gruber
    Paul Gruber says:

    Actually, there are two sides of the medal) one is that if you boss happy of you, so you can play a little your own game around your job) The second is, that when your boss happy,becouse may be you are doing some work instead of him, sometimes he does not have a will to give you extratime for you, becouse he has got a habit to be relax for the time you are doing the work instead of him))
    Did you get me?

  40. Jordan
    Jordan says:

    I was able to make my boss more than happy a long time ago…that was before she was my boss…thankfully, we are great friends today with her as my boss.

  41. Dennis
    Dennis says:

    Change is something to be embraced as change is what life is all about. Letting go is hard sometimes, but especially in business and branding one needs to be sensitive to flows and developments. In the words of Harold Wilson: “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”

    • John Langman
      John Langman says:

      I totally agree with you…

      My experience in developing websites and software shows that people take changes very badly. For example, when changing a user interface on a software, the first few days is like hell :) We get numerious complaints that the old one was better, why did we have to change it, they like the old one better…etc.

      Fortunatelly, the user statistics show that change is good…

      People like changes, they are just afraid of it or feel uncomfortable.

  42. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Nuts & Bolts identifies 9 Key Brand Identity Promises that lead to successfully positioning yourself as an invaluable asset with prospects and customers. Each Brand element is a vital tool for ultimate relationship development & increased income potential.

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