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BusinessVillage
english
edition
TILO BONOW
PERSONAL BRANDING
FOR MOVERS, STARTUPS
A N D V I S I O N A R I E S
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BusinessVillage
BusinessVillage
LIGHT YOUR FIRE!
PERSONAL BRANDING FOR
ENTREPRENEURS, STARTUPS
AND VISIONARIES
TILO BONOW
Tilo Bonow
Light your Fire!
Personal Branding for Movers, Shakers and Visionaries
1st
Edition 2023
©BusinessVillage GmbH, Göttingen
Order Numbers
ISBN 978-3-86980-719-5 (Print)
ISBN 978-3-86980-720-1 (e-book, PDF)
ISBN 978-3-86980-721-8 (e-book, EPUB)
Direct orders available at www.businessvillage.de, PB-1164
Order- and publisher’s address
BusinessVillage GmbH
Reinhäuser Landstraße 22
37083 Göttingen (Germany)
Telephone: +49 (0)551 2099-100
Email: info@businessvillage.de
Web: www.businessvillage.de
English translation
Patricia Goren WORDS
Proofreading and stylistics
Michael L. Usher
Cover design
Ayhan Yuruk und Hendrik Bonow
Photo of the author
Robert Lehmann
Layout and typesetting
Sabine Kempke
Printing and binding
www.booksfactory.de
Copyright Notice
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within the copyright law and without the written consent of the publisher is prohibited and punishable by
law.
This applies in particular to duplication, translation and microfilming, along with storage and processing in
electronic systems.
All information, findings, etc. contained in this book have been compiled by the author to the best of
his knowledge. They are provided without any obligation or guarantee on the part of the publisher. The
publisher therefore accepts no responsibility or liability for any inaccuracies.
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protection legislation and may therefore be used by anyone.
Content
About the author .......................................................................... 8
1. Let’s talk! ............................................................................... 11
2. This is my story ........................................................................ 21
3. Personal branding is your future ................................................. 27
3.1 What makes a brand come alive? ............................................ 30
3.2 Can you compare a product brand with a personal brand? ............ 36
3.3 How important is trust? ....................................................... 38
3.4 Exactly what is personal branding anyway? .............................. 43
3.5 Is personal branding a new concept? ...................................... 46
3.6 And just what exactly does personal branding do for me? ............ 50
3.7 Why women in particular can benefit from personal branding?...... 60
3.8 How does personal branding benefit medium-sized companies
in particular? ..................................................................... 62
3.9 How does personal branding defend me against crises? ............. 64
3.10 Okay, where do I start? ........................................................ 67
4. 3-2-1 go! ................................................................................ 69
5. Identify – how to clearly position yourself .................................... 75
5.1 What do I want to achieve with personal branding?.................... 81
5.2 Who do I want and not want to reach with personal branding?...... 82
5.3 What skills and knowledge are mine alone?............................... 88
5.4 Should I focus or is it better to have a broad base?..................... 94
5.5 Why do I do what I do? ......................................................... 97
5.6 What significance do my values have for my positioning? .......... 100
5.7 What do others think about me and my UCP? ........................... 107
5.8 How can I be sure that my positioning is accurate now
and in the future?.............................................................. 110
5.9 What am I promising others with my personal brand? ............... 112
5.10 Do I need an alias? ............................................................ 118
5.11 Do I need an identifier, like an anchor?.................................. 119
5.12 Which questions does Tilo Bonow have for me thus far?............. 121
6. Build – use appropriate channels to make a credible impression .... 123
6.1 What are channels – and which ones are right for me?............... 125
6.2 What are the differences between direct contacts and
media channels?............................................................... 130
6.3 How important are direct contacts for my personal brand?......... 132
6.4 How do I successfully communicate nonverbally with my target
group? ........................................................................... 134
6.5 What significance does spoken language have for my branding?... 139
6.6 How can a »book« transport my content and become a viable
media channel? ................................................................ 144
6.7 What type of media channels am I able to use? ........................ 147
6.8 What are the advantages of online media channels?................. 149
6.9 What first steps do I take to start sharing on my online media
channels?........................................................................ 152
6.10 Which online media channels can I use?................................. 154
6.11 What about social media? ................................................... 159
6.12 How do I build up my online media channels? ......................... 163
6.13 And finally, how do I link media channels and direct contacts? ... 167
6.14 What would Tilo Bonow like to ask me now? ............................ 168
7. Adding content – how to consistently get your message across ...... 171
7.1 How can I benefit from my network?...................................... 173
7.2 How do I find my network? ................................................. 177
7.3 How do I contact my network? ............................................. 180
7.4 How do I start sharing content?........................................... 184
7.5 But doesn’t personal branding mean that I should primarily
talk about myself? ............................................................ 187
7.6 What should I talk about instead? ........................................ 189
7.7 How do I make this understandable and comprehensible? ......... 192
7.8 I should tell stories? ......................................................... 195
7.9 How do I tell my story? ...................................................... 198
7.10 How private can my content be?........................................... 203
7.11 What topics should I be careful about?................................... 207
7.12 Is it okay if I bang on the table and polarize?.......................... 209
7.13 What questions does Tilo Bonow have for me now?................... 212
8. Sharing – continuity will take you to your destination ................. 213
8.1 So, I haven’t reached my goal yet?........................................ 216
8.2 What period of time are we talking about?.............................. 217
8.3 Which milestones can I set my sites on?................................. 218
8.4 What exactly should I do now?............................................. 220
8.5 Do I have to oversee my editorial plan all by myself? ................ 225
8.6 How can I measure and analyze my success? ........................... 226
8.7 Does my message change or does it remain the same?............... 227
8.8 What happens if I want to make a radical change? .................... 229
8.9 When will my personal brand finally reach the finish line? ......... 233
8.10 What final questions does Tilo Bonow have for me? .................. 234
9. Now, where were we? .............................................................. 235
Literature list ........................................................................... 242
8 | About the author
About the author
Tilo Bonow is a communications expert, keynote speaker and investor. As
founder and CEO of PIABO Communications – Europe’s leading full-service
communications partner for the digital economy – he helps futurists with
global ambitions and compelling stories get the attention they truly de-
serve, which in turn helps their ventures succeed. PIABO’s clients include
tech heavyweights like Stripe, GitHub, Google or Shopify, investors like
Balderton and Sequoia Capital, and European champions like momox, Qon-
to or Withings.
As a value-creating investor in many global venture capital funds such as
Cavalry Ventures, HV Capital in Europe, Unlock Ventures in North Ameri-
ca and Cocoon Capital, Headline VC and Kejora in Asia, along with many
others, he uses his experience and network to accelerate the growth of
emerging companies. He is also a keynote speaker at many international
technology conferences such as NOAH, DLD, Mobile World Congress, and
TNW and an active supporter of the digital ecosystem as a mentor for Plug
& Play and Microsoft Ventures, among others. In his field of expertise, Tilo
Bonow leads by example and is a personal brand himself. It is, therefore, no
wonder that he and his team regard the authentic personal brands of their
clients as a significant part of their work that has helped to write so many
success stories.
Contact
Email: tilo.bonow@piabo.net
Web: piabo.net
You can also follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
About the author | 9
1.
Let’s talk!
12 | Let’s talk!
»Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions,
their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.«
Oscar Wilde, 1897
Now, this is something that we’ve all experienced. Some friends whom
you’ve known for years invite you to their party. They’re not really close
friends of yours, but you’ve known them forever, and they’re actually quite
nice. They always celebrate on their veranda and the adjacent terrace, and
more or less the same people have been coming to their parties for the past
ten years. They play the same old music year after year. They serve the same
Italian buffet year in and year out and always decorate the same; even the
selection of beer and wine doesn’t change. A bit dull, right? At least you
already know what to expect at the party. First, the quieter tunes while eve-
ryone makes small talk and helps themselves to antipasti and pretzel sticks.
Then, the more alcohol everyone consumes, the louder the music gets, and
the more crowded the dance floor becomes. And towards the end of the
night, Anne makes out with Andreas – again. Just like every year.
But the party’s okay, and you’re enjoying yourself, right? Of course, that
doesn’t mean there isn’t an even better party happening tonight some-
where near you right now. One where you don’t already know what might
be in store for you later in the evening. Awesome location. Exotic drinks.
Funky beats you’ve never heard before. And most importantly, lots of ex-
citing guests, some of whom may even become new friends or perhaps im-
portant business contacts once you’ve gotten to know each other. At the
night’s end, you may have even sealed a great business deal, nailed a new
job or cornered a new order for your company.
There’s just one little problem. You haven’t been invited to that party.
Not because you’re not wanted there. They don’t even know who you are
– and you have never even heard of this auspicious event. And even if you
knew about it and then just showed up: It’s the hottest party in town, and
Let’s talk! | 13
everyone is dying to go, so there’s a massive crowd outside the door waiting
excitedly to get in, and they’re all shouting and waving. You have always
been an excellent guest; you’re entertaining and charming, don’t puke on
the carpet, and you certainly know your way around the dance floor. But
how would they know who you are? And most importantly, how would you
get them to notice you out of all these people? So, you decide to just forget
about it and go, as planned, to the party given by your old friends.
This is something we all often experience in life: We settle for what we have
and what we usually do. First, because it’s familiar and it seems to function.
And secondly, because stepping outside of the box seems far too exhaust-
ing, perhaps even too difficult. This applies to how we spend our time off
– especially our professional life. You have a secure job and get along with
your colleagues, the company may not be world-class, but it is a solid mid-
sized enterprise. You have your customer base. You can do your thing. Why
change it? It could even end up being worse than before. Some proverbs and
idioms express this attitude:
Never touch a working system.
Cobbler, stick to your trade.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
But, to go back to that last figure of speech, we often don’t even get a
chance to get near those two birds in the bush; in other words, the possibili-
ties, opportunities and chances they represent. Therefore, we don’t know
which opportunities we miss out on, while we cautiously leave everything
just as it is. And even if we would see the opportunity: So do thousands of
others, and everyone is struggling, wanting to reach up and grab it. So what
makes you think that the prize should be yours?
It sounds like an impossible dream, right? It’s not.
14 | Let’s talk!
What if I told you that you wouldn’t have to reach out for opportunities but
that they would come drifting your way all by themselves? Of course, this
does not primarily refer to party invitations. They exemplify all the pos-
sibilities, opportunities and chances out there. But these prospects could
include an interview for a new, more exciting job. A promotion. A lucra-
tive contract. New customers. More sales, increased revenue, greater profit.
Or simply new experiences, learning curves, new fans and followers. When
they even think about your area of expertise, your name will pop up in the
minds of colleagues or headhunters, bosses or potential new clients. And
everyone will mention you purely positively and mean it:
»What a presence!«
This can be taken quite literally: You can become a presence – or better, a
brand presence. Your name can become a personal brand, your personal me
brand.
What does that mean? Perceived by your target audience, personal brand-
ing describes your conscious and strategic positioning as an authority in a
distinctly defined area of expertise with certain values, experiences, com-
petencies and achievements – which then clearly set you apart from others
(competitors, peers, colleagues).
How you are perceived can make or break your career and personal growth.
In the future, the call for generalists will steadily decrease in almost every
field. Instead, specialists and true experts will be in greater demand. Once
you have become a personal brand, your environment, audience, or indus-
try will identify you as someone who stands for something and can do some-
thing, who knows something and has achieved something. This makes you
stand out from the crowd. You position yourself clearly. You make an offer
to others, whether they are your superiors or your customers. It says: Look,
this is what I can do and what I know – please get in touch if I can be of help
to you.
Let’s talk! | 15
This doesn’t happen on its own; it takes a few carefully considered steps.
You think about what your story is. You identify who you want to tell that
story to. You define how you will tell your story. You determine the com-
munication channels you want others to use to hear about you and your
story. And once you’ve done all that, you keep at it and tell that story over
and over again.
Your own personal brand is like the secret to success for those achievers
and entrepreneurs who have made it all the way to the top. With a clearly
planned, well-designed, distinctly positioned and persistently promoted
personal brand, they have become a topic of conversation among the peo-
ple who are important to them. And they do something else: they make sure
they stay at the centre of the conversation.
If this is exactly what you want to achieve, this book will help you. But the
help you get may be different than what you expect. I won’t be giving you
any patent solutions. I’ll never tell you to »do it like Bill Gates, Elon Musk or
Steve Jobs«. That’s bullshit. Personal branding is always built on authentic-
ity and your own personal performance and skills. And let’s face it; yours
are different from those of others. That’s why I’ve decided to stop telling
the same old stories about established company leaders and well-known
unicorns. Not only because everyone has heard these stories a thousand
times. They are also not transferable because every person is unique. In-
stead, I rely mainly on practical examples in anonymised form, which I have
taken from my daily work experiences. Because I’d rather inspire you to find
your own approach.
So, how do you find it? In addition to owning convincing professional sub-
stance, you need a methodology; in other words, knowing which steps are
necessary and when. That’s why you’ll find basic strategies here that can
help everyone – whether you’re a career starter or a top manager. This book
explains them to you in four practical steps.
16 | Let’s talk!
Before anything else, I will help you find out how to define your brand.
Your brand core, as we marketing professionals say. In other words: Who
are you? What makes you special? What is your expertise? What are your
individual strengths and your unique selling point? How can you use them
to benefit others – which would benefit you professionally and personally?
This is about clarity and definition, which is why this section is titled:
»Clarity«.
Secondly, once you’ve identified and defined your brand essence, we’ll look
at how you can build your brand. This especially means determining which
channels and means you can use to bring your personal brand to your target
group – from stage appearances to social media postings. And to consider
which target group will be your audience. Since it is particularly important
that you are and continue to be credible and authentic at all times, this sec-
tion is called:
»Credibility«.
Third: In this step, we brainstorm about what content you fill the chan-
nels with in order to bring your brand essence to your target group, thereby
communicating your strengths. We look at how you can best use storytelling
to reach other people. Together, we’ll consider whether it’s okay to be pushy
or polarise people with your content. Obviously, this content shouldn’t pre-
sent a series of constantly changing viewpoints but should always be in line
with your positioning. That’s why this section is headed:
»Consistency«.
Fourth: Brand core identified, content compiled, channels filled – is every-
thing up and running? Then let’s make sure it stays that way! That’s why the
fourth and final section is all about where we go from here. In other words,
which short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals can you set and pur-
Let’s talk! | 17
sue? How do you deal with resistance, opponents and critics? Is their pres-
ence a bad sign for your personal brand or a good one? And will you reach
your goal at some point? There’s one little secret I can already let you in on:
The most important thing now is that you persevere, stay focused and keep
going. In other words: No, you will never really reach your goal. That’s why
I’ve titled this fourth section:
»Continuity«.
Clarity, Credibility, Consistency, Continuity – the »4 Cs« of personal brand-
ing.
»That sounds really great, but …« I can already hear at least three objec-
tions. The first is: »Isn’t personal branding basically about self-promotion?
Driven by vanity and egomania?« At this point, others will interject: »I
don’t want to become a brand, I’m not a factory-made product, I’m me!«
And thirdly, those who produce or offer and sell something themselves will
now counter: »I would rather let my product (or my service) speak for itself
– quality will always prevail.«
Each of these objections is understandable. But all of them can be refuted.
Let’s start at the end: Letting your product speak for itself to convince cus-
tomers through quality is an honourable and honest concept. It fits in well
with the German culture of restraint and modesty. But the sad truth is that
this concept virtually no longer works today. Simply because a product or
service itself cannot speak at all. But particularly because so many others
are already making noise. And even if you have the best products and ser-
vices, the most highly qualified team, and the most sophisticated tools and
processes – if no one hears about it, it won’t do you any good. You may – no
– you must tell others about who you are and what you do especially well.
18 | Let’s talk!
Maybe you envision your job as selling products or services. But you don’t
want to become a product yourself; packaged, standardised, easy to con-
sume? Good personal branding does not want to turn you into a product.
On the contrary, it is about finding and highlighting what makes you spe-
cial as an individual and what sets you apart from everyone else. Personal
branding encourages you to tell your own personal story. And only that!
Don’t make anything up or invent anything to put yourself in a better light
or present yourself as something you’re not. Personal branding is based on
honesty and authenticity. And that, in turn, is based on outstanding perfor-
mance, exceptional skills, experience or know-how. That’s the foundation.
Without it, you’re just a big mouth.
This is exactly why successful personal branding is never driven by vanity,
bragging and faking it, as was feared in the first objection. Successful per-
sonal brands don’t strut around the room like a pompous peacock and text
others recklessly with their content. It’s not about advertising what you do
(otherwise, it would be called »personal advertising«). It’s about position-
ing yourself clearly with the topics that are important to you and that you
are passionate about. This helps you build loyal relationships with others.
Frankly speaking, personal branding is not even about you. It’s about all
the people around you – how you can support them and what you can offer
them.
Sure, you’re also going to have goals with personal branding. More custom-
ers, new orders, a promotion and whatever else applies. That is perfectly
legitimate. But you can and must decide for yourself exactly which goals
you want to pursue. These goals are as different as the groups of people who
can use personal branding to promote themselves. One thing is certain: A
personal brand is relevant for almost everyone who wants to reach others,
from job seekers to managers.
Let’s talk! | 19
This book particularly addresses people whom I call »future makers«. Right
now, you may be in the process of taking real responsibility. Perhaps you’ve
started a new business whose growth and profit you want to drive. Maybe
you’re a successor of your family business. You’ve possibly been promoted
for the first time to a position where you are responsible for other employ-
ees, as a project manager or department head, or maybe even as CEO. Or you
simply want to achieve more in the future, make more of a difference, and
reach a larger audience. Then you are a future maker. Because in the future,
you will help shape our lives, work, economy, and culture – by introducing
innovative technologies, new approaches, and a fresh way of thinking. You
are an agent of change. As such, you have to take other people with you
on your journey. They must trust you and be willing to join you in this en-
deavour. And they will if you have a clearly positioned personal brand that
appeals to them and invites them to build a relationship with you.
Deeper, stronger relationships establish trust and loyalty. In return, people
pay attention, show respect and ultimately are also willing to pay money.
Creating a clear, credible, consistent and continuously maintained personal
brand is one of the most important steps any professional can take. This is
especially true for professional women, who, in my experience, all too often
keep their abilities a secret instead of sharing their skills and expertise with
others. Personal branding can position employees as experts or managers
as forward thinkers.
Please don’t overlook the obvious: Your personal brand exists one way or
another. It’s the sum of all the stories others tell or hear about you. And,
whether you like it or not, they will be talking about you. So, take the initia-
tive and tell your own version of the best you before others tell the wrong
version. At the end of the day, people are not most interested in products,
companies, technologies or industries but in stories about other people.
And these stories can certainly have something to do with products, com-
panies, technologies or industries. But today, more than anything else,
consumers want to hear the story of the person or people behind the prod-
20 | Let’s talk!
ucts and services. And the same applies to the new boss, job applicant or
founder with an exciting business idea. What we all really want to know at
the end of the day is: Who are you?
Why? Because people buy from people. People hire people. People negoti-
ate, talk, work and live with other people. And you’d rather sit down with
someone you trust, like, know and are familiar with than with a stranger.
So, the motto of the story is: Do good and talk about it. Or, more precisely:
Do something very well and then tell people about it. It works. Personal
branding is the best way to get your story across to others.
Why am I so sure about that?
2.
This is my story
22 | This is my story
»What exactly is our product?« »What is actually our story?« Even during one
of my first internships, I constantly asked myself and my colleagues these
questions. Back then, when I was still at school, I worked for a company that
manufactures huge public addresses and loudspeaker systems for factories,
airports, shopping centres or police and fire departments. These enable peo-
ple to make announcements or give safety instructions in large buildings. The
company is still around today. I was part of the sales team and helped to design
seminars and workshops for the sales staff. Even then, still a marketing green-
horn, it was clear to me that the company wasn’t actually selling speakers,
amplifiers and microphones. But that the product is actually security. That’s
the real story! After all, these systems provide safety in environments where
people work, shop or travel. The equipment gives people the confidence that
even in an emergency situation, everything will proceed in an orderly fashion.
I discussed this concept with the manufacturer’s sales experts. We agreed that
they don’t just sell loudspeakers but that they make an important contribution
to society with these devices. The sales reps then began to pass this message
on to their customers. Prior to that, the selling angle was to explain each and
every screw and circuit board. But that ended up being too much information,
and the real point didn’t get across at all. Only the real story was actually able
to get prospective customers emotionally involved – and in turn, significantly
increased sales. As a result, my internship was extended several times, and I
even got a pay raise.
Even then, I knew that it’s easier to inspire people if you don’t just rattle off a
bunch of boring facts. Instead, it’s better to package these facts in emotional
stories. In addition, I also developed a fascination early on for technology and
innovations, which bring change to my life and everyone else’s. I wanted to
talk about this. I knew that people like to hear stories. Though perhaps not
just about the technologies themselves. At some point, I realised that the
most exciting stories were about other people. That’s why I soon began to look
at the people behind innovations and future technologies. With their creative
drive, these people are shaping our future – how we live, work, interact, and
communicate as a society. But on their way to success, these future makers
This is my story | 23
could use support to get the attention they deserve. And to take others along
with them on their journey.
My passion for communication soon led me to work for an advertising agency
that created campaigns for the emerging IT industry, including the first Inter-
net provider in Brandenburg, Germany, and one of the very first online stores.
The intention of these campaigns was to spark curiosity and enthusiasm for
innovative products and services for technology, technological enterprises
and the Internet. But the poster-like advertising was soon no longer enough
– a poster here, an event there, or a roadshow. More had to be possible. So I
switched to a PR agency that, among other things, had handled communica-
tions for one of Berlin’s first venture capital funds that supported technology
companies. This brought me one step closer to my goal: PR and communica-
tions about future makers and their technologies for journalists, bloggers,
multipliers and other stakeholders. Of course, this also included clear, cred-
ible, consistent and continuous personal branding for those very future mak-
ers.
In 2002, I was hired as Global Head of Communications at what was then the
Samwer brothers’ corporation. For many people in the Internet and startup
scene, the three Samwer brothers are something like living legends. They had
already successfully founded the online auction house Alando in the previous
century, which became eBay Europe once it was sold. They then invested their
money in tech and Internet companies. In 2002, although smartphones were
still not on the market, business was booming for cell phone ringtones. So, the
successful Berlin trio established, among other things, Europe’s largest pro-
vider of ringtones and cell phone applications at the time: Jamba. In addition
to many other startups, they founded the European Founders Fund investment
company. I built up and managed the entire corporate, product, and political
communications for the group and many of its investments. At the time, this
naturally also included personal branding for the Samwer brothers and estab-
lishing them in people’s minds as successful founders. I am very grateful for
this time in my life. I was allowed to work closely with successful future shap-
24 | This is my story
ers who constantly have ideas for new world-changing products and services.
It was empowering and exciting to challenge the status quo every day and
spend time with people who are real movers and shakers.
After four years, I sought more independence and started my own business
using my know-how, experience and contacts. I founded my agency PIABO in
Berlin in 2006: »PI«, the infinite number to express never-ending success and
the future, and »BO« for my last name, Bonow. Today, PIABO offers a platform
where the best and smartest entrepreneurs in the world and their investors
and partners can connect. Our customers are tech heavyweights like Shopify,
Stripe, GitHub, Evernote, Google or Sequoia Capital. Today, we are one of the
leading full-service communications partners for the digital economy in Eu-
rope. We support future makers in all aspects of their communication, be it
public relations, social media, content marketing or influencer relations.
This is how we help future makers tell their stories, position themselves and
make their mark. Whether they seek to attract investors or the best talent,
customers, potential partners and suppliers. I also speak about these topics
as a keynote speaker at international technology conferences and as a mentor
for founders.
My experience with countless projects taught me what I only suspected when
I was a student: The best way to convince and connect with people is through
stories. One way to communicate successfully is to tell stories about the peo-
ple behind innovative products and services. In other words, stories about
the future maker. This applies to the founder of a tech startup, a medium-
sized company that is now tackling the issue of digitisation, or to the aspir-
ing department head of a corporate group. It is always about the person who
stands in front and has to inspire other people, whether the audience being
addressed consists of investors, potential customers, or their own colleagues
and employees.
This is my story | 25
This is precisely why personal branding plays an entirely pivotal role. Future
leaders want to and must inspire others to join them on their journey. To do
so, their messages and visions must represent and stand for something. Any-
one who positions themself clearly, consistently and credibly with a personal
brand and then continues to build this brand resolutely show others which
things are important to them.
They show which values they stand for.
They reveal what drives them.
They indicate where they are headed.
This is how to gain the trust of everyone involved for yourself and your project.
When a startup is launched, for example, it often doesn’t have much going for
it at first. Let’s say there’s a good idea, a PowerPoint presentation and maybe
even an Internet domain. But the best thing it has is the person or people be-
hind it. People like to work with people, trust people, are interested in people,
and want to hear stories about other people. That is my daily business.
My daily work experiences taught me how essential personal branding is to-
day. And practice taught me that ideas need methods. The steps are meant to
build up your own brand strategically smartly, make it sustainable and suc-
cessfully cultivate it. Clear, credible, consistent and continuous is the way to
go, and my intention is to share what I’ve learned and make it available for you
in this book.
Agile Leadership
Agile leadership is considered the modern miracle cure. Hardly any executive gets
past this topic. Yet in many places this topic is nothing more than a buzzword.
Unfortunately – because agile leadership is a valuable tool that can be acquired and
applied by every manager.
What does agile leadership mean in the context of digital transformation? How
does it change leadership responsibility and style? How can agile leadership
competence be developed in everyday life? How do you become an agile leader
driving transformation?
Puckett and Neubauer‘s book provides answers to these questions. It looks beneath
the surface and shows evidence-based which competencies and personality traits
distinguish agile leaders, and how they can be acquired. This is complemented by
the perspective of how agile leadership can be successfully implemented. Agile
leadership must be authentic and connect. It all too often fails due to the existing
environment or resistance from others. Pragmatically, the book shows how this
resistance can be overcome and how the transformation of the organization can
succeed.
This book is based on decades of work with leaders and organizations, and a
scientifically substantiated behavior-oriented competency model.
It focuses on how learning agile leadership helps to use our existing strengths,
competencies and experiences to become fit for the future.
www.BusinessVillage.de
Dr. Stefanie Puckett, Dr. Rainer M. Neubauer
Agile Leadership
Leadership Competencies for the Agile Transformation
1st edition 2020
288 pages; paperback; 24,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-86980-554-2; SKU: 1113
Win With OKR
OKR, aka Objectives and Key results, makes the difference between setting strategic goals and
actually achieving them. Entire teams focus on those few important things, which truly make
a difference, bringing purpose, agility and transparency to the work they do. In three-month
sprints, companies take quantum leaps and innovative pivots, whilst their teams establish
a learning culture, constantly questioning how to not if they can overdeliver on the next
audacious targets.
The power of OKR is truly impressive, but how should a team practically decide which priorities
to ignore for three months? How does a leader let go a little without letting go too much? How
do teams deal with the challenge of de-prioritizing their own dreams in order to support their
colleagues and how do individuals learn to collaborate and deliver ten times more without
sacrificing their personal wellbeing in the process?
Whilst the OKR methodology is simple to describe and easy to understand, experienced OKR
practitioners know that the mindset behind this methodology is the true key to a successful
implementation and return on energy invested.
As one of Europe’s first ever OKR consultants, our author Nick Stanforth shares his ground-
breaking approach to a swift, successful and enjoyable OKR implementation for the first time.
He shares valuable insights, gathered whilst training hundreds of OKR practitioners in the
most diverse markets and coaching them throughout their transformation journey.
Regardless whether you are new to OKR or have been working with the methodology for years;
whether you are a manager, team mate, agile PO or even an OKR trainer yourself, Nick goes
beyond the standard theory of OKR and shares real-life examples of how his international
client-base made OKR their own, repeatedly delivering audacious results and solving age-old
puzzles in astonishingly short timeframes.
Nick Stanforth
Win With OKR
Your Fast Track to Awesome OKR
1st edition 2020
210 pages; paperback; 24,95 Euro
ISBN 978-3-86980-575-7; SKU: 1117
www.BusinessVillage.de

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  • 1. BusinessVillage english edition TILO BONOW PERSONAL BRANDING FOR MOVERS, STARTUPS A N D V I S I O N A R I E S R e a d i n g s a m p l e
  • 3. BusinessVillage LIGHT YOUR FIRE! PERSONAL BRANDING FOR ENTREPRENEURS, STARTUPS AND VISIONARIES TILO BONOW
  • 4. Tilo Bonow Light your Fire! Personal Branding for Movers, Shakers and Visionaries 1st Edition 2023 ©BusinessVillage GmbH, Göttingen Order Numbers ISBN 978-3-86980-719-5 (Print) ISBN 978-3-86980-720-1 (e-book, PDF) ISBN 978-3-86980-721-8 (e-book, EPUB) Direct orders available at www.businessvillage.de, PB-1164 Order- and publisher’s address BusinessVillage GmbH Reinhäuser Landstraße 22 37083 Göttingen (Germany) Telephone: +49 (0)551 2099-100 Email: info@businessvillage.de Web: www.businessvillage.de English translation Patricia Goren WORDS Proofreading and stylistics Michael L. Usher Cover design Ayhan Yuruk und Hendrik Bonow Photo of the author Robert Lehmann Layout and typesetting Sabine Kempke Printing and binding www.booksfactory.de Copyright Notice All rights reserved. This work, or parts thereof, are subject to and protected by copyright law. Any use not within the copyright law and without the written consent of the publisher is prohibited and punishable by law. This applies in particular to duplication, translation and microfilming, along with storage and processing in electronic systems. All information, findings, etc. contained in this book have been compiled by the author to the best of his knowledge. They are provided without any obligation or guarantee on the part of the publisher. The publisher therefore accepts no responsibility or liability for any inaccuracies. The printing of common names, trade names, product designations, etc. in this work does not entitle the reader to assume that such names may be regarded as free within the meaning of the trademark and brand protection legislation and may therefore be used by anyone.
  • 5. Content About the author .......................................................................... 8 1. Let’s talk! ............................................................................... 11 2. This is my story ........................................................................ 21 3. Personal branding is your future ................................................. 27 3.1 What makes a brand come alive? ............................................ 30 3.2 Can you compare a product brand with a personal brand? ............ 36 3.3 How important is trust? ....................................................... 38 3.4 Exactly what is personal branding anyway? .............................. 43 3.5 Is personal branding a new concept? ...................................... 46 3.6 And just what exactly does personal branding do for me? ............ 50 3.7 Why women in particular can benefit from personal branding?...... 60 3.8 How does personal branding benefit medium-sized companies in particular? ..................................................................... 62 3.9 How does personal branding defend me against crises? ............. 64 3.10 Okay, where do I start? ........................................................ 67 4. 3-2-1 go! ................................................................................ 69 5. Identify – how to clearly position yourself .................................... 75 5.1 What do I want to achieve with personal branding?.................... 81 5.2 Who do I want and not want to reach with personal branding?...... 82 5.3 What skills and knowledge are mine alone?............................... 88 5.4 Should I focus or is it better to have a broad base?..................... 94 5.5 Why do I do what I do? ......................................................... 97 5.6 What significance do my values have for my positioning? .......... 100 5.7 What do others think about me and my UCP? ........................... 107 5.8 How can I be sure that my positioning is accurate now and in the future?.............................................................. 110 5.9 What am I promising others with my personal brand? ............... 112 5.10 Do I need an alias? ............................................................ 118 5.11 Do I need an identifier, like an anchor?.................................. 119 5.12 Which questions does Tilo Bonow have for me thus far?............. 121
  • 6. 6. Build – use appropriate channels to make a credible impression .... 123 6.1 What are channels – and which ones are right for me?............... 125 6.2 What are the differences between direct contacts and media channels?............................................................... 130 6.3 How important are direct contacts for my personal brand?......... 132 6.4 How do I successfully communicate nonverbally with my target group? ........................................................................... 134 6.5 What significance does spoken language have for my branding?... 139 6.6 How can a »book« transport my content and become a viable media channel? ................................................................ 144 6.7 What type of media channels am I able to use? ........................ 147 6.8 What are the advantages of online media channels?................. 149 6.9 What first steps do I take to start sharing on my online media channels?........................................................................ 152 6.10 Which online media channels can I use?................................. 154 6.11 What about social media? ................................................... 159 6.12 How do I build up my online media channels? ......................... 163 6.13 And finally, how do I link media channels and direct contacts? ... 167 6.14 What would Tilo Bonow like to ask me now? ............................ 168 7. Adding content – how to consistently get your message across ...... 171 7.1 How can I benefit from my network?...................................... 173 7.2 How do I find my network? ................................................. 177 7.3 How do I contact my network? ............................................. 180 7.4 How do I start sharing content?........................................... 184 7.5 But doesn’t personal branding mean that I should primarily talk about myself? ............................................................ 187 7.6 What should I talk about instead? ........................................ 189 7.7 How do I make this understandable and comprehensible? ......... 192 7.8 I should tell stories? ......................................................... 195 7.9 How do I tell my story? ...................................................... 198 7.10 How private can my content be?........................................... 203 7.11 What topics should I be careful about?................................... 207 7.12 Is it okay if I bang on the table and polarize?.......................... 209 7.13 What questions does Tilo Bonow have for me now?................... 212
  • 7. 8. Sharing – continuity will take you to your destination ................. 213 8.1 So, I haven’t reached my goal yet?........................................ 216 8.2 What period of time are we talking about?.............................. 217 8.3 Which milestones can I set my sites on?................................. 218 8.4 What exactly should I do now?............................................. 220 8.5 Do I have to oversee my editorial plan all by myself? ................ 225 8.6 How can I measure and analyze my success? ........................... 226 8.7 Does my message change or does it remain the same?............... 227 8.8 What happens if I want to make a radical change? .................... 229 8.9 When will my personal brand finally reach the finish line? ......... 233 8.10 What final questions does Tilo Bonow have for me? .................. 234 9. Now, where were we? .............................................................. 235 Literature list ........................................................................... 242
  • 8. 8 | About the author About the author Tilo Bonow is a communications expert, keynote speaker and investor. As founder and CEO of PIABO Communications – Europe’s leading full-service communications partner for the digital economy – he helps futurists with global ambitions and compelling stories get the attention they truly de- serve, which in turn helps their ventures succeed. PIABO’s clients include tech heavyweights like Stripe, GitHub, Google or Shopify, investors like Balderton and Sequoia Capital, and European champions like momox, Qon- to or Withings. As a value-creating investor in many global venture capital funds such as Cavalry Ventures, HV Capital in Europe, Unlock Ventures in North Ameri- ca and Cocoon Capital, Headline VC and Kejora in Asia, along with many others, he uses his experience and network to accelerate the growth of emerging companies. He is also a keynote speaker at many international technology conferences such as NOAH, DLD, Mobile World Congress, and TNW and an active supporter of the digital ecosystem as a mentor for Plug & Play and Microsoft Ventures, among others. In his field of expertise, Tilo Bonow leads by example and is a personal brand himself. It is, therefore, no wonder that he and his team regard the authentic personal brands of their clients as a significant part of their work that has helped to write so many success stories. Contact Email: tilo.bonow@piabo.net Web: piabo.net You can also follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
  • 11. 12 | Let’s talk! »Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.« Oscar Wilde, 1897 Now, this is something that we’ve all experienced. Some friends whom you’ve known for years invite you to their party. They’re not really close friends of yours, but you’ve known them forever, and they’re actually quite nice. They always celebrate on their veranda and the adjacent terrace, and more or less the same people have been coming to their parties for the past ten years. They play the same old music year after year. They serve the same Italian buffet year in and year out and always decorate the same; even the selection of beer and wine doesn’t change. A bit dull, right? At least you already know what to expect at the party. First, the quieter tunes while eve- ryone makes small talk and helps themselves to antipasti and pretzel sticks. Then, the more alcohol everyone consumes, the louder the music gets, and the more crowded the dance floor becomes. And towards the end of the night, Anne makes out with Andreas – again. Just like every year. But the party’s okay, and you’re enjoying yourself, right? Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t an even better party happening tonight some- where near you right now. One where you don’t already know what might be in store for you later in the evening. Awesome location. Exotic drinks. Funky beats you’ve never heard before. And most importantly, lots of ex- citing guests, some of whom may even become new friends or perhaps im- portant business contacts once you’ve gotten to know each other. At the night’s end, you may have even sealed a great business deal, nailed a new job or cornered a new order for your company. There’s just one little problem. You haven’t been invited to that party. Not because you’re not wanted there. They don’t even know who you are – and you have never even heard of this auspicious event. And even if you knew about it and then just showed up: It’s the hottest party in town, and
  • 12. Let’s talk! | 13 everyone is dying to go, so there’s a massive crowd outside the door waiting excitedly to get in, and they’re all shouting and waving. You have always been an excellent guest; you’re entertaining and charming, don’t puke on the carpet, and you certainly know your way around the dance floor. But how would they know who you are? And most importantly, how would you get them to notice you out of all these people? So, you decide to just forget about it and go, as planned, to the party given by your old friends. This is something we all often experience in life: We settle for what we have and what we usually do. First, because it’s familiar and it seems to function. And secondly, because stepping outside of the box seems far too exhaust- ing, perhaps even too difficult. This applies to how we spend our time off – especially our professional life. You have a secure job and get along with your colleagues, the company may not be world-class, but it is a solid mid- sized enterprise. You have your customer base. You can do your thing. Why change it? It could even end up being worse than before. Some proverbs and idioms express this attitude: Never touch a working system. Cobbler, stick to your trade. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But, to go back to that last figure of speech, we often don’t even get a chance to get near those two birds in the bush; in other words, the possibili- ties, opportunities and chances they represent. Therefore, we don’t know which opportunities we miss out on, while we cautiously leave everything just as it is. And even if we would see the opportunity: So do thousands of others, and everyone is struggling, wanting to reach up and grab it. So what makes you think that the prize should be yours? It sounds like an impossible dream, right? It’s not.
  • 13. 14 | Let’s talk! What if I told you that you wouldn’t have to reach out for opportunities but that they would come drifting your way all by themselves? Of course, this does not primarily refer to party invitations. They exemplify all the pos- sibilities, opportunities and chances out there. But these prospects could include an interview for a new, more exciting job. A promotion. A lucra- tive contract. New customers. More sales, increased revenue, greater profit. Or simply new experiences, learning curves, new fans and followers. When they even think about your area of expertise, your name will pop up in the minds of colleagues or headhunters, bosses or potential new clients. And everyone will mention you purely positively and mean it: »What a presence!« This can be taken quite literally: You can become a presence – or better, a brand presence. Your name can become a personal brand, your personal me brand. What does that mean? Perceived by your target audience, personal brand- ing describes your conscious and strategic positioning as an authority in a distinctly defined area of expertise with certain values, experiences, com- petencies and achievements – which then clearly set you apart from others (competitors, peers, colleagues). How you are perceived can make or break your career and personal growth. In the future, the call for generalists will steadily decrease in almost every field. Instead, specialists and true experts will be in greater demand. Once you have become a personal brand, your environment, audience, or indus- try will identify you as someone who stands for something and can do some- thing, who knows something and has achieved something. This makes you stand out from the crowd. You position yourself clearly. You make an offer to others, whether they are your superiors or your customers. It says: Look, this is what I can do and what I know – please get in touch if I can be of help to you.
  • 14. Let’s talk! | 15 This doesn’t happen on its own; it takes a few carefully considered steps. You think about what your story is. You identify who you want to tell that story to. You define how you will tell your story. You determine the com- munication channels you want others to use to hear about you and your story. And once you’ve done all that, you keep at it and tell that story over and over again. Your own personal brand is like the secret to success for those achievers and entrepreneurs who have made it all the way to the top. With a clearly planned, well-designed, distinctly positioned and persistently promoted personal brand, they have become a topic of conversation among the peo- ple who are important to them. And they do something else: they make sure they stay at the centre of the conversation. If this is exactly what you want to achieve, this book will help you. But the help you get may be different than what you expect. I won’t be giving you any patent solutions. I’ll never tell you to »do it like Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs«. That’s bullshit. Personal branding is always built on authentic- ity and your own personal performance and skills. And let’s face it; yours are different from those of others. That’s why I’ve decided to stop telling the same old stories about established company leaders and well-known unicorns. Not only because everyone has heard these stories a thousand times. They are also not transferable because every person is unique. In- stead, I rely mainly on practical examples in anonymised form, which I have taken from my daily work experiences. Because I’d rather inspire you to find your own approach. So, how do you find it? In addition to owning convincing professional sub- stance, you need a methodology; in other words, knowing which steps are necessary and when. That’s why you’ll find basic strategies here that can help everyone – whether you’re a career starter or a top manager. This book explains them to you in four practical steps.
  • 15. 16 | Let’s talk! Before anything else, I will help you find out how to define your brand. Your brand core, as we marketing professionals say. In other words: Who are you? What makes you special? What is your expertise? What are your individual strengths and your unique selling point? How can you use them to benefit others – which would benefit you professionally and personally? This is about clarity and definition, which is why this section is titled: »Clarity«. Secondly, once you’ve identified and defined your brand essence, we’ll look at how you can build your brand. This especially means determining which channels and means you can use to bring your personal brand to your target group – from stage appearances to social media postings. And to consider which target group will be your audience. Since it is particularly important that you are and continue to be credible and authentic at all times, this sec- tion is called: »Credibility«. Third: In this step, we brainstorm about what content you fill the chan- nels with in order to bring your brand essence to your target group, thereby communicating your strengths. We look at how you can best use storytelling to reach other people. Together, we’ll consider whether it’s okay to be pushy or polarise people with your content. Obviously, this content shouldn’t pre- sent a series of constantly changing viewpoints but should always be in line with your positioning. That’s why this section is headed: »Consistency«. Fourth: Brand core identified, content compiled, channels filled – is every- thing up and running? Then let’s make sure it stays that way! That’s why the fourth and final section is all about where we go from here. In other words, which short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals can you set and pur-
  • 16. Let’s talk! | 17 sue? How do you deal with resistance, opponents and critics? Is their pres- ence a bad sign for your personal brand or a good one? And will you reach your goal at some point? There’s one little secret I can already let you in on: The most important thing now is that you persevere, stay focused and keep going. In other words: No, you will never really reach your goal. That’s why I’ve titled this fourth section: »Continuity«. Clarity, Credibility, Consistency, Continuity – the »4 Cs« of personal brand- ing. »That sounds really great, but …« I can already hear at least three objec- tions. The first is: »Isn’t personal branding basically about self-promotion? Driven by vanity and egomania?« At this point, others will interject: »I don’t want to become a brand, I’m not a factory-made product, I’m me!« And thirdly, those who produce or offer and sell something themselves will now counter: »I would rather let my product (or my service) speak for itself – quality will always prevail.« Each of these objections is understandable. But all of them can be refuted. Let’s start at the end: Letting your product speak for itself to convince cus- tomers through quality is an honourable and honest concept. It fits in well with the German culture of restraint and modesty. But the sad truth is that this concept virtually no longer works today. Simply because a product or service itself cannot speak at all. But particularly because so many others are already making noise. And even if you have the best products and ser- vices, the most highly qualified team, and the most sophisticated tools and processes – if no one hears about it, it won’t do you any good. You may – no – you must tell others about who you are and what you do especially well.
  • 17. 18 | Let’s talk! Maybe you envision your job as selling products or services. But you don’t want to become a product yourself; packaged, standardised, easy to con- sume? Good personal branding does not want to turn you into a product. On the contrary, it is about finding and highlighting what makes you spe- cial as an individual and what sets you apart from everyone else. Personal branding encourages you to tell your own personal story. And only that! Don’t make anything up or invent anything to put yourself in a better light or present yourself as something you’re not. Personal branding is based on honesty and authenticity. And that, in turn, is based on outstanding perfor- mance, exceptional skills, experience or know-how. That’s the foundation. Without it, you’re just a big mouth. This is exactly why successful personal branding is never driven by vanity, bragging and faking it, as was feared in the first objection. Successful per- sonal brands don’t strut around the room like a pompous peacock and text others recklessly with their content. It’s not about advertising what you do (otherwise, it would be called »personal advertising«). It’s about position- ing yourself clearly with the topics that are important to you and that you are passionate about. This helps you build loyal relationships with others. Frankly speaking, personal branding is not even about you. It’s about all the people around you – how you can support them and what you can offer them. Sure, you’re also going to have goals with personal branding. More custom- ers, new orders, a promotion and whatever else applies. That is perfectly legitimate. But you can and must decide for yourself exactly which goals you want to pursue. These goals are as different as the groups of people who can use personal branding to promote themselves. One thing is certain: A personal brand is relevant for almost everyone who wants to reach others, from job seekers to managers.
  • 18. Let’s talk! | 19 This book particularly addresses people whom I call »future makers«. Right now, you may be in the process of taking real responsibility. Perhaps you’ve started a new business whose growth and profit you want to drive. Maybe you’re a successor of your family business. You’ve possibly been promoted for the first time to a position where you are responsible for other employ- ees, as a project manager or department head, or maybe even as CEO. Or you simply want to achieve more in the future, make more of a difference, and reach a larger audience. Then you are a future maker. Because in the future, you will help shape our lives, work, economy, and culture – by introducing innovative technologies, new approaches, and a fresh way of thinking. You are an agent of change. As such, you have to take other people with you on your journey. They must trust you and be willing to join you in this en- deavour. And they will if you have a clearly positioned personal brand that appeals to them and invites them to build a relationship with you. Deeper, stronger relationships establish trust and loyalty. In return, people pay attention, show respect and ultimately are also willing to pay money. Creating a clear, credible, consistent and continuously maintained personal brand is one of the most important steps any professional can take. This is especially true for professional women, who, in my experience, all too often keep their abilities a secret instead of sharing their skills and expertise with others. Personal branding can position employees as experts or managers as forward thinkers. Please don’t overlook the obvious: Your personal brand exists one way or another. It’s the sum of all the stories others tell or hear about you. And, whether you like it or not, they will be talking about you. So, take the initia- tive and tell your own version of the best you before others tell the wrong version. At the end of the day, people are not most interested in products, companies, technologies or industries but in stories about other people. And these stories can certainly have something to do with products, com- panies, technologies or industries. But today, more than anything else, consumers want to hear the story of the person or people behind the prod-
  • 19. 20 | Let’s talk! ucts and services. And the same applies to the new boss, job applicant or founder with an exciting business idea. What we all really want to know at the end of the day is: Who are you? Why? Because people buy from people. People hire people. People negoti- ate, talk, work and live with other people. And you’d rather sit down with someone you trust, like, know and are familiar with than with a stranger. So, the motto of the story is: Do good and talk about it. Or, more precisely: Do something very well and then tell people about it. It works. Personal branding is the best way to get your story across to others. Why am I so sure about that?
  • 20. 2. This is my story
  • 21. 22 | This is my story »What exactly is our product?« »What is actually our story?« Even during one of my first internships, I constantly asked myself and my colleagues these questions. Back then, when I was still at school, I worked for a company that manufactures huge public addresses and loudspeaker systems for factories, airports, shopping centres or police and fire departments. These enable peo- ple to make announcements or give safety instructions in large buildings. The company is still around today. I was part of the sales team and helped to design seminars and workshops for the sales staff. Even then, still a marketing green- horn, it was clear to me that the company wasn’t actually selling speakers, amplifiers and microphones. But that the product is actually security. That’s the real story! After all, these systems provide safety in environments where people work, shop or travel. The equipment gives people the confidence that even in an emergency situation, everything will proceed in an orderly fashion. I discussed this concept with the manufacturer’s sales experts. We agreed that they don’t just sell loudspeakers but that they make an important contribution to society with these devices. The sales reps then began to pass this message on to their customers. Prior to that, the selling angle was to explain each and every screw and circuit board. But that ended up being too much information, and the real point didn’t get across at all. Only the real story was actually able to get prospective customers emotionally involved – and in turn, significantly increased sales. As a result, my internship was extended several times, and I even got a pay raise. Even then, I knew that it’s easier to inspire people if you don’t just rattle off a bunch of boring facts. Instead, it’s better to package these facts in emotional stories. In addition, I also developed a fascination early on for technology and innovations, which bring change to my life and everyone else’s. I wanted to talk about this. I knew that people like to hear stories. Though perhaps not just about the technologies themselves. At some point, I realised that the most exciting stories were about other people. That’s why I soon began to look at the people behind innovations and future technologies. With their creative drive, these people are shaping our future – how we live, work, interact, and communicate as a society. But on their way to success, these future makers
  • 22. This is my story | 23 could use support to get the attention they deserve. And to take others along with them on their journey. My passion for communication soon led me to work for an advertising agency that created campaigns for the emerging IT industry, including the first Inter- net provider in Brandenburg, Germany, and one of the very first online stores. The intention of these campaigns was to spark curiosity and enthusiasm for innovative products and services for technology, technological enterprises and the Internet. But the poster-like advertising was soon no longer enough – a poster here, an event there, or a roadshow. More had to be possible. So I switched to a PR agency that, among other things, had handled communica- tions for one of Berlin’s first venture capital funds that supported technology companies. This brought me one step closer to my goal: PR and communica- tions about future makers and their technologies for journalists, bloggers, multipliers and other stakeholders. Of course, this also included clear, cred- ible, consistent and continuous personal branding for those very future mak- ers. In 2002, I was hired as Global Head of Communications at what was then the Samwer brothers’ corporation. For many people in the Internet and startup scene, the three Samwer brothers are something like living legends. They had already successfully founded the online auction house Alando in the previous century, which became eBay Europe once it was sold. They then invested their money in tech and Internet companies. In 2002, although smartphones were still not on the market, business was booming for cell phone ringtones. So, the successful Berlin trio established, among other things, Europe’s largest pro- vider of ringtones and cell phone applications at the time: Jamba. In addition to many other startups, they founded the European Founders Fund investment company. I built up and managed the entire corporate, product, and political communications for the group and many of its investments. At the time, this naturally also included personal branding for the Samwer brothers and estab- lishing them in people’s minds as successful founders. I am very grateful for this time in my life. I was allowed to work closely with successful future shap-
  • 23. 24 | This is my story ers who constantly have ideas for new world-changing products and services. It was empowering and exciting to challenge the status quo every day and spend time with people who are real movers and shakers. After four years, I sought more independence and started my own business using my know-how, experience and contacts. I founded my agency PIABO in Berlin in 2006: »PI«, the infinite number to express never-ending success and the future, and »BO« for my last name, Bonow. Today, PIABO offers a platform where the best and smartest entrepreneurs in the world and their investors and partners can connect. Our customers are tech heavyweights like Shopify, Stripe, GitHub, Evernote, Google or Sequoia Capital. Today, we are one of the leading full-service communications partners for the digital economy in Eu- rope. We support future makers in all aspects of their communication, be it public relations, social media, content marketing or influencer relations. This is how we help future makers tell their stories, position themselves and make their mark. Whether they seek to attract investors or the best talent, customers, potential partners and suppliers. I also speak about these topics as a keynote speaker at international technology conferences and as a mentor for founders. My experience with countless projects taught me what I only suspected when I was a student: The best way to convince and connect with people is through stories. One way to communicate successfully is to tell stories about the peo- ple behind innovative products and services. In other words, stories about the future maker. This applies to the founder of a tech startup, a medium- sized company that is now tackling the issue of digitisation, or to the aspir- ing department head of a corporate group. It is always about the person who stands in front and has to inspire other people, whether the audience being addressed consists of investors, potential customers, or their own colleagues and employees.
  • 24. This is my story | 25 This is precisely why personal branding plays an entirely pivotal role. Future leaders want to and must inspire others to join them on their journey. To do so, their messages and visions must represent and stand for something. Any- one who positions themself clearly, consistently and credibly with a personal brand and then continues to build this brand resolutely show others which things are important to them. They show which values they stand for. They reveal what drives them. They indicate where they are headed. This is how to gain the trust of everyone involved for yourself and your project. When a startup is launched, for example, it often doesn’t have much going for it at first. Let’s say there’s a good idea, a PowerPoint presentation and maybe even an Internet domain. But the best thing it has is the person or people be- hind it. People like to work with people, trust people, are interested in people, and want to hear stories about other people. That is my daily business. My daily work experiences taught me how essential personal branding is to- day. And practice taught me that ideas need methods. The steps are meant to build up your own brand strategically smartly, make it sustainable and suc- cessfully cultivate it. Clear, credible, consistent and continuous is the way to go, and my intention is to share what I’ve learned and make it available for you in this book.
  • 25. Agile Leadership Agile leadership is considered the modern miracle cure. Hardly any executive gets past this topic. Yet in many places this topic is nothing more than a buzzword. Unfortunately – because agile leadership is a valuable tool that can be acquired and applied by every manager. What does agile leadership mean in the context of digital transformation? How does it change leadership responsibility and style? How can agile leadership competence be developed in everyday life? How do you become an agile leader driving transformation? Puckett and Neubauer‘s book provides answers to these questions. It looks beneath the surface and shows evidence-based which competencies and personality traits distinguish agile leaders, and how they can be acquired. This is complemented by the perspective of how agile leadership can be successfully implemented. Agile leadership must be authentic and connect. It all too often fails due to the existing environment or resistance from others. Pragmatically, the book shows how this resistance can be overcome and how the transformation of the organization can succeed. This book is based on decades of work with leaders and organizations, and a scientifically substantiated behavior-oriented competency model. It focuses on how learning agile leadership helps to use our existing strengths, competencies and experiences to become fit for the future. www.BusinessVillage.de Dr. Stefanie Puckett, Dr. Rainer M. Neubauer Agile Leadership Leadership Competencies for the Agile Transformation 1st edition 2020 288 pages; paperback; 24,95 Euro ISBN 978-3-86980-554-2; SKU: 1113
  • 26. Win With OKR OKR, aka Objectives and Key results, makes the difference between setting strategic goals and actually achieving them. Entire teams focus on those few important things, which truly make a difference, bringing purpose, agility and transparency to the work they do. In three-month sprints, companies take quantum leaps and innovative pivots, whilst their teams establish a learning culture, constantly questioning how to not if they can overdeliver on the next audacious targets. The power of OKR is truly impressive, but how should a team practically decide which priorities to ignore for three months? How does a leader let go a little without letting go too much? How do teams deal with the challenge of de-prioritizing their own dreams in order to support their colleagues and how do individuals learn to collaborate and deliver ten times more without sacrificing their personal wellbeing in the process? Whilst the OKR methodology is simple to describe and easy to understand, experienced OKR practitioners know that the mindset behind this methodology is the true key to a successful implementation and return on energy invested. As one of Europe’s first ever OKR consultants, our author Nick Stanforth shares his ground- breaking approach to a swift, successful and enjoyable OKR implementation for the first time. He shares valuable insights, gathered whilst training hundreds of OKR practitioners in the most diverse markets and coaching them throughout their transformation journey. Regardless whether you are new to OKR or have been working with the methodology for years; whether you are a manager, team mate, agile PO or even an OKR trainer yourself, Nick goes beyond the standard theory of OKR and shares real-life examples of how his international client-base made OKR their own, repeatedly delivering audacious results and solving age-old puzzles in astonishingly short timeframes. Nick Stanforth Win With OKR Your Fast Track to Awesome OKR 1st edition 2020 210 pages; paperback; 24,95 Euro ISBN 978-3-86980-575-7; SKU: 1117 www.BusinessVillage.de