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What is AI-Branding? Easier Decision Making, Better Marketing, & More Efficient Business

AI-Branding is a holistic approach to building and maintaining brand identity through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

It centralizes a brand’s core concepts and values to create comprehensive guides aimed at ensuring brand consistency across all business operations.

Through the application of AI prompts, AI-Branding facilitates the ideation and decision-making processes, thereby streamlining the execution of new ideas and strategies.

This approach transcends traditional marketing strategies to encompass every aspect of a business, including customer service, HR management, product development, app creation, content management, event organization, office design, community engagement, and more.

Watch the video to learn more… and think about joining us at the next AI-Branding Bootcamp!

What is a Brand Avatar? The Key to Consistent & Impactful Branding

You have a product, not a business, and for that reason, I’m out.

You’ve probably heard one of the “sharks” on Shark Tank say something like this, and it makes a ton of sense.

They’re making a distinction between having a single successful item and having a fully developed, scalable, and sustainable business model. Further, when they can’t see the business beyond the product, they don’t invest (usually).

The reason they avoid investing is simple: if you want a business that can support you, your family, and your dreams, you need a business, not a product.

A “business” is a systematic process of that involves production, marketing, and sales, all coordinated to efficiently reach and serve a target market. A business has a systematic approach that ensures a continuous cycle of revenue generation, fueled by customer demand, market strategies, and the effective management of resources and operations.

While this definition clearly defines a “business,” we all know that success requires more than a system, it needs to be recognized as well. That’s what “branding” means… the recognition of a business or entity.

The problem is that starting a business is easy… turning it into a “brand” is much more difficult.

A Good Business Isn’t Enough, You Need a Good Brand

A good brand effectively communicates its core values, mission, and unique selling points, establishing a recognizable, strong, and positive connection with its target audience. It engenders trust and loyalty, leading to increased customer retention and advocacy.

It differentiates itself in the marketplace, providing a competitive edge and enabling more effective marketing. It can achieve sustainable growth, higher market share, and improved financial performance, ultimately contributing to the long-term success and resilience of the business.

A “good brand” is hard to visualize and even harder to achieve… we need to relate it to something that we can easily understand first.

Can you think of something that sticks around for a long time, say 50-100 years? Something that changes constantly but maintains a core set of features the entire time? Something that rides the waves of growth and failure, major and minor events, non-stop evolutions and changes, all while maintaining an undeniable consistency the entire time?

It’s people. People do all of these things.

They are born, they learn and grow, they progress and regress, all while following a linear path that displays the development of a single, recognizable entity.

We all have a “brand” whether we acknowledge it or not. Internally you can it your “soul.” Externally, we usually call it your “personality.”

The truth is, your brand evolves just like people do.

It grows and changes with the times. It sets goals and tries to progress. It establishes relationships and community. It builds reputation and authority. It’s born and it will die.

With all of these similarities, why not simply imagine your business as a person, then use it to drive a consistent, progressive image for your brand?

That’s where the Brand Avatar comes into play.

The Brand Avatar: Your Business as a Person

A “Brand Avatar” refers to the conceptual embodiment or personification of a brand’s identity and values. It is a tool used by businesses to create a more relatable and human-like representation of their brand.

Just as a “Customer Avatar” represents a target market or ideal customer, the “Brand Avatar” symbolizes the brand itself. It encompasses all aspects of the brand’s personality, ethos, and style, guiding branding strategies, style guides, advertising, and content creation.

This personification makes it easier for both the company and its customers to understand and relate to the brand, ensuring consistency and coherence in all marketing and communication efforts.

The Brand Avatar serves as a central character or persona that embodies the brand’s mission, vision, values, and attributes, providing a clear and consistent image that represents the company across all platforms and interactions.

Better yet, the Brand Avatar can be used internally for improved decision making, management efficiency, and ideation, and externally for improved recognition, consistency, and understanding.

Here are just a few of the benefits your business can gain through the establishment of a Brand Avatar:

  • Brand Consistency: A Brand Avatar provides a clear and consistent image of what the brand stands for. This consistency is crucial across all platforms and marketing materials, helping to build recognition and trust among consumers.
  • Efficiency in Decision Making: With a well-defined Brand Avatar, businesses can make quicker and more consistent decisions regarding marketing strategies, design choices, and other brand-related decisions, as they have a clear reference point.
  • Enhanced Brand Loyalty: A relatable and well-crafted Brand Avatar can foster a stronger emotional connection with customers, leading to increased brand loyalty. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to a brand that they feel understands them and shares their values.
  • Facilitates Brand Evolution: As market trends and consumer preferences change, a Brand Avatar can evolve while maintaining the core essence of the brand. This evolution helps the brand stay relevant and appealing to its audience.
  • Flexibility with Market Conditions & Product Offerings: A Brand Avatar can adapt to changing market conditions and shifts in product offerings, ensuring the brand remains cohesive and recognizable even as it grows or pivots.
  • Improved Targeting & Personalization: Understanding the brand’s personality and values through the Brand Avatar helps in crafting more targeted and personalized marketing campaigns, which are more effective in engaging the intended audience.
  • Streamlined Communication & Messaging: A Brand Avatar serves as a guide for how the brand communicates, ensuring messaging is consistent, clear, and reflective of the brand’s values and personality.
  • Competitive Differentiation: A unique Brand Avatar can set a business apart from competitors, highlighting its unique qualities and providing a distinct market position.
  • Easier Internal Alignment: Having a Brand Avatar helps ensure that everyone within the organization understands the brand’s identity, leading to better alignment and cohesion in internal and external communications.
  • Increased Brand Value & Equity: Consistency, recognition, and emotional connection built through a Brand Avatar contribute to increased brand value and equity over time.
  • Enhanced Customer Understanding: By personifying the brand, businesses can better understand and anticipate customer needs and preferences, leading to more effective product development and customer service strategies.
  • More Effective Advertising & Marketing: With a clearly defined Brand Avatar, advertising and marketing efforts can be more precisely tailored, leading to higher engagement and better ROI.

You might be wondering, “If Brand Avatars are so useful, why don’t more businesses have them?” The truth is, they do, and some are extremely successful.

Successful Businesses Driven By Brand Avatars

There are many businesses, both large and small, that have effectively used the concept of the Brand Avatar to become successful and stay that way.

The Big Ones

The success of some businesses is significantly influenced by the popularity of their founders or leaders. These individuals or characters, which I call Brand Avatars, often become synonymous with the brand, enhancing its appeal and recognition.

Apple Inc.

Co-founded by Steve Jobs, whose charisma and innovative vision became central to Apple’s brand identity, greatly influencing its success. Even now, current leaders maintain Steve’s appearance and mentality.

Amazon

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has become a well-known public figure, with his entrepreneurial success story contributing to the brand’s image and growth.

Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart’s expertise and personality in home making and lifestyle significantly contributed to the success of her brand.

Telsa, Inc.

Elon Musk, known for his ambitious and sometimes controversial persona, has become closely associated with Tesla’s brand, impacting its popularity and customer loyalty.

The Smaller Ones

Brand Avatars aren’t just for big businesses; in fact, small businesses can benefit even more. The following are businesses that I’ve personally worked with over the years that have built successful brands.

Vintage Soul TX (https://vintagesoultx.com/)

The owner of Vintage Soul, Julie, has established and maintains a successful and growing women’s clothing boutique near Austin, Texas. Her personality shines through all of her branding and product selections, and her contributions on her social media channels are directly connected to her success.

The Art of Anti-Aging (https://artofantiagingatx.com/)

The Art of Anti-Aging is owned by Corina Corbeille, and her content, imagery, services, and marketing accurately reflect her passion and skill for aesthetic facial treatments.

Indigo Healing Acupuncture & Massage (https://indigohealingacupuncture.com/)

Dr. Michelle Wendt, owner of Indigo Healing Acupuncture & Massage, is another living example of the impact of a Brand Avatar on a business. Her personal dedication to healing is reflected in her graphics, website, content, services, and social media presence.

Do Brand Avatars Have To Be a Person?

Whether the Brand Avatar represents an actual person or a fictional one, it doesn’t really matter.

It can be an entirely fictional entity (like a hired or created mascot) or it can simply represent the owner or other key member of the business itself. It can also be used privately, publicly, or both.

The key is to define the Brand Avatar, then use the definition to drive decision making. It should be constantly referenced as a person to guide content creation, as well as make decisions regarding anything that may impact branding.

How Do You Build a Brand Avatar?

Building a REAL brand avatar requires a comprehensive set of style guides (I recommend these 5 Style Guides if you want to check them out).

If you want to learn how to do the 5 style guides and create a brand avatar using AI, I recommend attending my AI-Branding Bootcamp starting in February 2024.

Why Giving Up Habits Is Less About Discipline & More About Dialing Back Your Expectations

Over the last three years I’ve given up alcohol, beef, pork, and eggs (among many other things) – learn what superfoods and supplements your body needs – but I didn’t do it all overnight. Instead, it took years of baby steps, failures, and self-development to make it stick. Here’s one path that you can use to give up anything you want for good.

In our quest to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives, we often encounter the daunting challenge of giving up bad habits. It’s a journey that many embark on with a mix of determination and trepidation.

Over the last three years, I’ve successfully bid farewell to alcohol, beef, pork, and eggs (and a lot of other things), but it wasn’t an overnight transformation. It was a journey marked by incremental steps, setbacks, and personal growth. My experience might offer a roadmap for those seeking to make lasting changes in their own lives.


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Understanding the Role of Expectations in Breaking Habits

The common narrative around breaking bad habits centers heavily on discipline. However, through my journey, I’ve learned that it’s less about strict self-discipline and more about setting realistic expectations.

Adjusting our expectations plays a crucial role in the process of giving up detrimental habits. It’s about understanding that change is gradual, and accepting that setbacks are part of the journey.

A Gradual Departure

My process of giving up alcohol exemplifies this gradual approach. The process spanned over five years, starting with giving up certain types of alcohol, one at a time. I also gave up drinking for longer and longer periods, spanning weeks, then months (I found purpose-based periods helpful as well, like giving up for the 40 days of Lent). In 2019, I took a bold step and abstained for a whole year.

This period of abstinence was crucial; it allowed me to reset my relationship with alcohol. While I drank again in 2020, I decided to give up entirely in 2021. This phased approach helped me adjust psychologically and physically to a life without alcohol, making the final step feel less like a leap and more like a natural progression.

The Power of Factual Backing

One aspect that significantly bolstered my resolve was the factual understanding of how these habits affected my health.

In-depth research into the scientific and medical implications of alcohol and dietary choices laid a strong foundation for my decision-making.

Acknowledging the tangible health risks and benefits made the process more objective and less reliant on fluctuating willpower.

Spiritual & Personal Motivations

Alongside factual knowledge, my journey was deeply rooted in spiritual and personal motivations. These motivations stemmed from a desire for a healthier lifestyle and the responsibility I felt towards my family and personal well-being. This deeper, more intrinsic motivation provided a constant source of strength, especially during times when my discipline wavered.

The biggest driver in this regard is my 11-year-old-son Damien. Damien is severely autistic; non-verbal with the mental capacity, behavioral control, and potty-habits of a 3-4 year old child. My son will never leave my wife and I’s side as long as we live… we will directly care for him as long as we are able to. That means that I need to do two very important things: (1) stay alive, and (2) be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Now, you might be thinking: “Of course you want to stay alive and be healthy, we ALL do!” But you’d be wrong.

Most people draw only from self-motivation (“I want to be a better version of myself”) rather than external motivation (“I NEED to be better for my family”). This distinction makes all the difference.

Learning From Failures

An underappreciated aspect of giving up bad habits is the role of failure. My path was punctuated with setbacks and relapses. Each failure, however, was a learning experience. It was about experimenting with different approaches and understanding what worked and what didn’t in the long term.

These experiences taught me that lasting change is a process of trial and error, and success often comes after several attempts.

How to Craft a Sustainable Path Forward

Building on these insights, here’s a guide to help you navigate the journey of giving up bad habits.

#1 – Start Small: Begin with manageable changes rather than drastic overhauls. Small successes build momentum and confidence.

#2 – Educate Yourself: Understanding the facts about your habits helps rationalize your decisions and provides a solid foundation for change.

#3 – Find Deeper Motivation: Identify personal or spiritual reasons for change. These can be powerful motivators that transcend momentary urges.

#4 – Embrace the Process: Accept that setbacks are part of the journey. Each failure is an opportunity to learn and refine your approach.

#5 – Create a Support System: Surround yourself with people who support and understand your goals. A strong support system can be invaluable during tough times.

#6 – Reflect & Adjust: Regularly reflect on your progress and be willing to adjust your strategies. Flexibility is key to finding what works best for you.


This article was originally published in Magazine Mark, the personal brand magazine of Mark de Grasse. Download the full magazine for free by Clicking Here.

I Need FIVE Brand Style Guides?!? Yes. And Why Your Business Can’t Survive Without Them

Imagine for a moment a house that seems off-putting, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly why.

SOURCE: Selling America’s Ugliest House https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/lifestyle/selling-americas-ugliest-house/
SOURCE: Selling America’s Ugliest House https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/lifestyle/selling-americas-ugliest-house/

There’s something about its structure, the way it stands, or its color scheme that just doesn’t sit right. This house stirs a sense of unease, a primal instinct that tells you to steer clear.

This is the power of consistency, or the lack thereof, and it’s at the heart of branding.

The entire purpose of branding is to establish and maintain this consistency. Why? Because as humans, we are hardwired to seek familiarity and safety. It’s in our DNA to be drawn to things we can predict and understand.

That’s what makes a well-branded product or service so appealing. It feels familiar, reliable, trustworthy. It’s like a beacon of safety in the chaotic sea of the market.

Now, back to that house. Just as you might instinctually avoid a house that looks scary or unattractive, consumers instinctively shy away from a brand that lacks consistency.

It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about trust. An inconsistent brand is like that unsettling house – it signals danger, uncertainty, and unreliability.

This is why a strong, cohesive brand style guide is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. It ensures that every aspect of your brand – from its logo to its language – resonates with familiarity and reliability, attracting and retaining customers by catering to their innate need for safety and consistency.

What is a Brand Style Guide?

What exactly is a Brand Style Guide? Imagine it as the blueprint for your brand’s appearance and voice. In today’s world, where ad costs are skyrocketing, and customer loyalty is gold, a Brand Style Guide is your secret weapon. It’s not just about attracting people; it’s about keeping them.

That’s where Lifetime Customer Value and retention come into play. A strong, consistent brand is like a lighthouse in a sea of competition, guiding customers back to you, time and time again.

5 Types of Style Guides

I created this list of five style guides that you need if you’re serious about branding and consistency. Most of it was pulled from a London-based branding agency called Poppins, who has worked with classic brands like Meyers Manx (https://meyersmanx.com/).

I combined their framework with my own experience creating over 300 brands for small and large businesses, as well as my education in human resources (hence the “Community Styling” addition).

Finally, I pulled in elements of BrandScience™ that I learned from my friend Stæven Frey of Quantum Branding Agency (Click Here to see my DigitalMarketer Podcast interview with him).

I believe that these five components of style are essential for long-term branding. They incorporate both essential/classic branding elements with the need for multi-media styling that can accommodate future technologies like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and advanced AI generative design.

Interactive Styling

This is all about how your brand plays in the digital sandbox. It’s the cool techy stuff – from the way your website interacts with visitors to the swag you hand out.

We’re talking about UI styles, those nifty animations, even how your brand looks on apparel. It’s like outfitting your digital persona in the best gear.

Definition: Encompasses user-focused elements such as digital interfaces, interactive technology, and user engagement features that facilitate direct interaction with the brand.

Elements: Packaging, Icons, UI Style, Animation, Motion, Apparel

Visual Styling

This is your brand’s look. The face it shows to the world. From your logo to the colors and fonts you use, it’s all about making a visual impact.

It’s the difference between a forgettable brand and one that’s etched in memory. Think striking graphics, captivating imagery, and a style that screams “you.”

Definition: Comprises all visual aspects of branding, including logos, color palettes, typography, and imagery, forming the visual identity and aesthetic appeal of the brand.

Elements: Graphics, Imagery Generation (photography, videography, and stock imagery selection), Color, Type, Logo, AI-Imagery

Written/Verbal Styling

Here’s where your brand finds its voice. How does it speak? What’s its language and tone? It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.

From naming your products to the style of your copy, it’s all about communicating in a way that resonates with your audience.

Definition: Involves the use of language, tone, and messaging in brand communication, encompassing everything from the brand’s name to its style of verbal expression.

Elements: Name, Sub-Naming, Verbal, Language, Tone of Voice, Voice UI

Experiential Styling

This is about creating experiences. Think about the vibe your events give off, the feel of your materials, even the lighting in your spaces. It’s about engaging all senses to create a memorable encounter with your brand.

Definition: Focuses on creating immersive and sensory experiences through events, environmental design, and physical interactions, offering memorable brand encounters.

Elements: Sonic (Jingle, Music, Sound Effects), Events, Material, Lighting

Community Styling

This one’s all about people – your team. How they act, dress, and interact with customers reflects on your brand. It’s about ensuring that every team member embodies what your brand stands for, from the slogans they use to the way they dress.

Definition: This style guide focuses on the conduct and presentation of employees both within the company and in public-facing roles. It emphasizes the importance of consistent, positive interactions and the representation of the brand’s values in all employee actions and choices.

Elements: Employee Conduct, Customer Interaction, Public Representation, Common Language and Slogans, Dress Code, Selection of Brand Representatives, Training and Development

Create Your First Style Guide in Minutes

Now, let’s get practical. You’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but where do I start?”

Here’s the deal: You can kickstart your visual and written/verbal style guides using my free Logo-CRAFT framework.

And guess what? It’s not some high-flying, complex thing. It’s a super easy process with a few free AI prompts and Canva templates. It’s like having a branding expert in your pocket.

Just dive in, and you’ll be crafting a style guide that’s as unique as your brand in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s turn that branding house into a home!


Logo-CRAFT AI-driven style guide creation system

Logo-CRAFT: Create Instant Style Guides Using AI (Video Tutorial)

Logo-CRAFT uses GPT4 to analyze your logo, then create visual and written style guides using the assessment.

Download all prompts and canva templates instantly: Download Now

The 1:60 Hiring Method: The Easiest Way to Hire Your Next Assistant

Finding the right assistant can be tough, especially when everyone looking for a job interviews well, knows exactly what you want to hear, and has probably done them more times than they’d like to remember.

How do you sort through an enormous pool of potential assistants when all you want is one that can get the job done? In my experience, here’s the best way to get what you want.

I needed an assistant and my previous hiring practices weren’t up to post-COVID hiring requirements. So, I came up with something a little easier.

I believe that people have an innate sense of each other even when they don’t use words. We know that a significant portion of human communication is non-verbal (between 50-92% based on studies), and that humans aren’t great at organizing, remembering, and incorporating new information, but we still think we can find a good employee by reviewing a piece of paper and having a couple conversations with a stranger.

Not anymore!

A New Way to Interview Lots of People

I created the 1:60 hiring method because I needed help, and I instantly received 60 applications the moment I listed the job. I wanted a fast way to test potential hires on basic parameters before I spoke with anyone.

These parameters included: Will they show up to a set time? Will they take initiative to answer questions in a group environment? Do their answers display their competency?

This method allowed me to “test” 60 applicants in just a day, and complete the process with an excellent hire within two weeks (my fastest time ever for finding a good employee which wasn’t a referral).

My hire, named Cameron Miller (http://CameronMiller.bio), has done an amazing job at her position and continues to be a huge help to both the company and my sanity (not sure about hers in regards to working with me, however). This is how I determined she’d be the best hire out of 60 applicants.

The 1:60 Hiring Process

Give this process a shot if you’re looking for good people!

STEP 1: Initial Selection

The hiring manager identifies the need for a new position within their team. A hiring manager from a different team or department is designated to oversee the hiring process.

STEP 2: Candidate Outreach

The designated hiring manager invites a pool of 60 prospective candidates to participate in the hiring process. Invitations are sent with a single set time for a Zoom interview session. Candidates are informed that non-attendance will result in elimination from consideration.

STEP 3: First Zoom Interview

The first Zoom interview session consists of all 60 prospective candidates and is moderated by the designated hiring manager, not the hiring manager in need of the position. Questions are asked to the entire group, and there are no specific rules about who can answer.

The interview is free-form, allowing candidates to interact and provide answers as they see fit. No instructions are given after the interview question is asked. After the interview, the designated hiring manager selects the top 50% of candidates based on parameters specified by the hiring manager in need of the position.

STEP 4: Second Zoom Interview

The second Zoom interview session is scheduled with the selected candidates from the first round. Again, attendance is mandatory. The designated hiring manager conducts this interview, asking each candidate the same questions. The hiring manager in need of the position silently observes the interview.

STEP 5: Final Group Interview

The top candidates are selected based on their performance in the second interview. The designated hiring manager conducts a final group interview session with these candidates. The hiring manager in need of the position silently observes this interview.

STEP 6: Presentation to Higher Manager

The designated hiring manager selects the top two candidates based on all the interviews. These top candidates are presented to the manager of the manager in need of the hire.

STEP 7: Final Selection

The manager of the manager makes the final selection between the top two candidates.

STEP 8: Offer & Onboarding

The chosen candidate is extended a job offer and proceeds with the onboarding process.

Why You Need a Personal Brand Magazine

As unconventional as it may sound, I believe EVERYONE should have a magazine.

I believe that every person is special enough, interesting enough, and worthy of having their own publication… the biggest tragedy is that they don’t.

If we expect to change the world for the better, we just need to do one thing: SHARE EVERYTHING. This is one way to do it.

I created my own personal brand magazine last month called “Magazine Mark.” Thanks to AI tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, I was able to create the publication in less than four weeks with most of the design elements being done over Thanksgiving weekend.

I wanted a way to share a range of information to highlight various aspects of my profession, interests, and life in one central place that I could hand to people when I met them.

I was going to publish a new book (and probably still will), but since everyone and their mother is doing the same, I wanted something different.

I wanted something that people wouldn’t automatically throw away (like a business card or brochure), that they wouldn’t put on a shelf and get to “eventually” read (like a book), or completely lose the moment I sent to them (like any kind of digital transfer of information communicated through a QR-code).

There’s nothing wrong with any of those methods, they just lack the style and longevity that I was looking for.

A magazine does more than simply share information, it does it with style and connection.

Style in the way you can display information through text, bullet points, flow charts, pictures, infographics, etc. Connection in the way that you can connect each piece of information with online information like videos, articles, social posts, emails, downloads, and more.

It also has longevity. No one throws away a magazine before they’ve flipped through it. If a quick flip offers ANYTHING of interest, they’ll hold on to it for their next plane ride, relax session (maybe on the toilet, but who cares), or house-cleaning session (when they go through the pile of junk they received at their last conference).

The last reason for a magazine is a little more complex.

It has to do with the ability of magazine creation to guide your content marketing strategy. With a magazine, you have a blueprint for weeks or months of online content. The articles in the magazine act as anchors for vast quantities of related information like online articles, youtube videos, directories, social media posts, downloads, and more.

If you need even more reasons, continue reading!

The Practical Reasons for a Personal Brand Magazine

I was looking for a way to share the biggest thoughts and drivers of my life as they stand right now, all in a single project. Something like a website, but that could be handed to someone in person, or contained in a single document online.

A magazine is the only way I could adequately achieve my goals.

If this was just a few years ago, a magazine would have been out of the question. It would have been too much work (I know because I owned and sold a magazine back in 2014).

The ONLY thing that made this publication possible, is AI. Specifically, the ability to create unlimited, stylized content and visuals instantly (which I achieved through ChatGPT, Claude.ai, and Midjourney among others) without any outside help.

I also realized that the best way to organize and expand your content marketing strategy, is through a publication. In that regards, here are 4 key reasons why a magazine is the best way to execute your content:

Efficiency

By consolidating all content creation efforts into a single, meticulously crafted publication, individuals and businesses can optimize time and resources while maintaining brand consistency.

Versatility

Magazine Mark is designed to cater to a broad spectrum of industries and niches, making it a versatile tool for content creators across diverse sectors.

Quality

AI-driven design and styling elements ensure that each issue of Magazine Mark stands out visually and engages the audience effectively, setting a benchmark for content quality.

Content Unity

This approach enables content creators to bridge the divide between offline and online marketing, ensuring a cohesive and harmonized brand presence across all platforms.

The Deeper Reasons Behind My Personal Brand Magazine

Magazine Mark

While there are several practical reasons why I built my new publication, there are much deeper ones that relate to my goals for personal development as well.

Most of us live extremely solitary lives, whether we realize it or not. Who we think we are resides in a 3-pound lump of organic matter nestled precariously atop a stack of bones.

Problem is that everything we “think” could be extremely far from reality, simply because our thoughts and experiences have led us to incorrect conclusions about who we are and what the world is.

Since we lack telepathy, we can’t share these thoughts, and due to our individual programming, we might find them to be wrong or undesirable to the outside world. So, like any fearful creature protecting itself, we pack away that information and hide it from everyone, hoping that it will never be seen or noticed.

The problem is that those thoughts aren’t locked away anywhere. In fact, they’re whispering their existence into your every thought, action, and perception. The thing that you think you’re hiding is actually controlling and influencing everything you say and do.

I am guilty of falling into the myth that I know what I think and why I think it. I am guilty of letting these thoughts hurt my self-perception and the perception I have of others (and the entire world itself, actually). I am tired of that guilt, and I am now seeking to let it go.

This is how I am letting it go… I am sharing everything. Some may think this practice is foolish or even dangerous, but I think the opposite is true.

The highest form of being yourself is both simple and astoundingly difficult. It requires that you first know and understand who you are, something that very few people really know. What most people know is contained in a little box called, “things that are acceptable and safe for people to know about me.”

This box rarely contains anything significant, unless you’ve gone through the personal development necessary to understand everything that has been put in that box. For most people, it just contains the stuff they’ve never been judged for (which isn’t much).

What does all of this have to do with creating the concept of the “personal magazine” of which you are reading right now? Everything.

It gives me the ability to share it all in whatever way I see fit. It unifies my disclosure into a single place, allowing me to connect everything on a timely basis.

Do You Want to Make a Personal Brand Magazine?

I’m considering providing a Personal Brand Magazine course (and possibly a service). If you’re interested, Click Here.

AI for Newbs It’s Not So Scary!

If you feel like you’re late to the game… stop it. Even the most “experienced” AI experts (at least from the consumer side) have only been at it for a year or two. If you’re ready to start using AI, follow these steps.

AI is one of the first modern pieces of technology that is 100% user friendly. Yes, the thought of manipulating an “intelligent” machine sounds daunting to people, but that’s simply because a lot of modern technology hasn’t been user friendly.

You’ve been taught that any significant advance will come with it’s own set of unique challenges… when we first got online with dial-up you needed to install it from a floppy disk, listen to the devil’s piano play (dial-up), and navigate a completely new environment to find information.

When cell phones came about, I remember sitting on the curb in front of my parent’s house to make a phone call (with my Nokia no less) because that’s the only place that got reception.

AI isn’t either of those. In fact, AI’s chief benefit is it’s simplicity… you just need to get started.
Use the following steps to start using AI TODAY, and realize the simple benefits it has to offer.

If you’re a beginner to AI, you can get started right now! Simply use this 3 step process to start generating both written and visual content today.

STEP 1: Use AI Instead of Search

Next time you need an answer to a basic question, use ChatGPT. For example, let’s say you want to make banana bread for the first time. You could use a search engine and get 300+ million results including a bunch of product ads you didn’t ask for, OR you can type a quick query into ChatGPT and get a succinct, commercial-free answer in seconds and save yourself a ton of time.

The best thing about “prompting AI” (the act of questioning, instructing, or inputting data into an artificial intelligence) is that you get to ask follow-up questions!

So, ask how to make banana bread, then tell it to make a grocery list of what you need, or ask for alternative recipes that leave out ingredients that you’re allergic to, or go nuts and ask for 20 different recipes with different flavors! The sky is the limit.

STEP 2: Have Some Fun

After you’ve had your first “conversation” with AI, get goofy! One of my son’s favorite road-trip pastimes is having AI write funny poems. He’s 10 years old so they usually involve a sport and the word “farts,” but that’s just one option. Use this prompt in ChatGPT and have some fun:

Write a short, funny poem about [ENTER PERSON’S NAME] and how they always [ENTER ACTIVITY] which causes problems with [ENTER PROBLEMS].

Simply replace the bracketed text with whatever you want! Read it out loud and see what your friends think :)

STEP 3: Make Your Dreams Reality

Now that you have a handle on prompting, it’s time to create visual representations of your dreams. There are many visual tools out there, but I think the easiest to start on is DALL·E.

Similar to ChatGPT, you can simply prompt what you want and it will create it for you! Test it by explaining the last crazy dream you had and see what it comes up with!

If you’re more advanced (or have a BIGGER imagination), I recommend using Midjourney.

It’s a little more complicated, but you can simply use the Midjourney Emotionally-Drive Prompt Generator linked here to help you get going!

How to Invent Anything Using AI

AI can be fun if you know how to use it! Just open up your mind like my 10-year-old son did.

Believe it or not, AI is FUN. Imagine doing all the projects you always WANTED TO DO, but never had time for? Now you can with AI! Just follow these steps.

You first need to change your mindset about what’s possible, and focus on the projects the projects you avoided because they were too time consuming to be practical. Think about all those dreams you’ve never been able to pursue because of a lack of resources: time, money, energy, etc.

My son Declan is a constant source of inspiration for new and fun ideas. Thanks to AI, I can now help him pursue them!

Introducing the RoboCookie

The idea for the RoboCookie Single-Cookie Making Machine came about after he found out that “cookie making machines” didn’t exist. Like any good child, his next question was, “why not?”

STEP 1: Create the Basic Concept of the Invention

We started with a quick prompt on ChatGPT* to conceptualize the machine, then we sketched it on a piece of paper.


*View the ChatGPT Executed Prompt of the RoboCookie invention concept: Click Here


STEP 2: Build Rough Prototype

Next, my son used tape and cardboard to create the basic dimensions and position each component.

STEP 3: Build Animated Prototype

Next, we built a foam-board version that more accurately showed the dimensions, and added small electric motors and electric lights to animate the prototype.

STEP 4: Envision Future Functional Prototype

Finally, we went into Midjourney**, uploaded a picture of the latest prototype, then created a mock-up of a functional version of the machine. Next up is the funding round! Please let me know if you’re interested ;)


**Here is the prompt that generated the image shown here:

<https://s.mj.run/UksZGNvkq-k> cookie making machine with internal assembly line

The url references a picture of the second prototype.


10 Essential Tips for Managing Your First Personal Brand Photoshoot

Every business professional looking to build or enhance their personal brand should consider investing in a professional photoshoot. It’s an affordable, efficient way to create a strong visual presence for your brand. A well-executed photoshoot can provide a wealth of high-quality images for your website, social media, and marketing materials, setting you apart in the competitive business landscape.

I recently did a photo shoot with my co-worker Cameron Miller. We got hundreds of photos and over 20+ extremely useful shots that I’m already using in a variety of media (you’ll see them if you follow me social media). The best thing about them is we only spent one hour shoot!

Check out how these turned out:

Here are 10 key tips to manage your first personal brand photoshoot successfully:

#1 – Gather Inspiration from Diverse Sources

Start by collecting examples of photos that resonate with your brand’s image. Look beyond typical business settings; explore different genres like fashion, lifestyle, and even artistic photography for inspiration. Pay attention to elements like lighting, composition, and mood in these photos, and select a few favorites to discuss with your photographer.

#2 – Prepare a Detailed Shot List

Avoid a haphazard approach by planning every photo you need. Think about the various aspects of your brand and the different platforms where the photos will be used. Whether it’s for your LinkedIn profile, your website’s about page, or marketing materials, having a clear list ensures you cover all necessary shots.

#3 – Bring Multiple Outfits

To maximize the output of your photoshoot, bring various outfits. Changing your attire can significantly alter the feel of the photos, providing a diverse range of images for different purposes.

#4 – Choose a Versatile Location

Select a location that offers a variety of backdrops. This could be a modern office space, a cozy café, urban streets, or even a serene park. Different settings can help in creating a range of photos that cater to various aspects of your personal brand.

#5 – Stay Flexible & Adaptive

Be prepared to seize spontaneous photo opportunities. Unexpected moments, lighting conditions, or backgrounds can lead to some of the most impactful images.

#6 – Select the Right Photographer

Research and choose a photographer whose style aligns with your vision. Utilize platforms like Thumbtack to find photographers and carefully review their portfolios. Ensure they have experience in capturing the essence of a personal brand.

#7 – Balance Candid & Posed Shots

Include both candid shots that capture you in action, perhaps during a meeting or giving a presentation, and posed shots that convey your professional persona. Candid shots add authenticity, while posed shots ensure you have some classic, professional images.

#8 – Direct the Photoshoot Actively

While photographers bring their expertise, your guidance is crucial to get the shots that truly represent your brand. Be clear about your expectations and don’t hesitate to provide feedback during the shoot.

#9 – Obtain the Raw Images

Always ask for the raw, unedited photos. These files give you flexibility for future editing and usage across various platforms and contexts.

#10 – Bring Someone You Trust

Having a colleague or a friend who understands your brand can be invaluable. They can provide feedback on your appearance, suggest adjustments, and assist with logistics during the shoot.

Remember, a personal brand photoshoot is a key step in defining and conveying your professional identity. Approach it with preparation and creativity to make the most of the opportunity.


Apply This Concept INSTANTLY!

Use this quick ChatGPT prompt to generate a Custom Personal Photo Shoot Plan! Click Here


How to Write Your Next Podcast Commercial

Believe it or not, the point of podcasting is NOT podcasting, it’s selling stuff.

Like all content marketing methods, podcasting needs to be connected to the thing you’re ultimately trying to achieve, which more traffic and sales! Sounds obvious, but it’s an easy point to miss.

So, how do you incorporate commercials into your podcast? You start by getting the content. The following are four simple commercial outlines.

If this STILL seems like too much work, try the “Podcast Commercial Prompt” and let AI do the heavy lifting for you (always be sure to EDIT what it produces, AI isn’t magic).

4 Podcast Commercial Outlines

Storytelling Approach

  1. Introduction: Greet the audience and mention the podcast sponsor.
  2. Transition: Transition with a brief teaser related to the product.
  3. Narrative: Share a relatable or entertaining story related to the product or brand.
  4. Recommendation: Express personal endorsement and recommend trying the product.
  5. Call-to-Action: Encourage listeners to take action and provide the necessary details.

Interview/Testimonial Style:

  1. Introduction: Greet the audience and acknowledge the podcast sponsor.
  2. Transition: Transition smoothly with a teaser about an upcoming interview or testimonial.
  3. Interview/Testimonial: Play a pre-recorded interview or testimonial from a satisfied customer or expert.
  4. Call-to-Action: Direct listeners to the sponsor’s website or offer details.
  5. Closing: Express gratitude for the sponsor’s support and tease upcoming podcast content.

Problem-Solution Scenario:

  1. Introduction: Greet the audience and introduce the sponsor.
  2. Transition: Transition by posing a common problem related to the product.
  3. Solution Presentation: Present the sponsor’s product as the ideal solution to the mentioned problem.
  4. Call-to-Action: Encourage listeners to visit the website or use a promo code for a special offer.
  5. Closing: Thank the sponsor and reinforce the product’s benefits.

Humorous Approach:

  1. Introduction: Greet the audience in a light-hearted manner and mention the sponsor.
  2. Transition: Transition with a humorous comment or anecdote.
  3. Comic Presentation: Present the sponsor’s product in a funny or entertaining way.
  4. Call-to-Action: Inject humor into the call-to-action, encouraging listeners to act in a playful manner.
  5. Closing: Thank the sponsor for their support and maintain the playful tone.

If this STILL seems like too much work, try the “Podcast Commercial Prompt” and let AI do the heavy lifting for you (always be sure to EDIT what it produces, AI isn’t magic).


Why HeyGen’s AI Translator is a Revolution in Communication

Last week I gave a presentation in Medellín, Colombia, and it started with this video:

My name is Mark de Grasse and I don’t speak Spanish.

In fact, that video you just watched was shot in English.

I’m sorry if I deceived you!

That video was created using HeyGen, an AI service that not only translates speech from one language to another, it translates your words AND voice, THEN it moves your my mouth to mimic the motions of speech in whatever language you want.


Want to translate a video using HeyGen for FREE? Click Here


And it does EVEN MORE than that! But let’s focus on translation for now.

HeyGen translated a video I shot in just a few minutes, and it demonstrates an enormous leap in our ability to not only communicate, but more importantly, to UNDERSTAND each other better.

It’s more than a translation, it’s the ability to connect with people in a way that has never been known before.

Did you know that 55-93% (depending on the study) of our language is non-verbal?

If you’re in marketing or sales, you SHOULD know that.

How much more emotion and influence can you convey with a phone call over a simple text message? With a zoom call over a phone call?

Let’s take it a step further than simple marketing messages and sales calls…

How much would your sales increase if everything your prospects and customers saw came directly from you?

All the product updates… all of the industry news… all of the useful details that will help them get the MOST out of the service or product you sold them?

HeyGen can help you accomplish that too! You can create an Instant Avatar and create as many videos as you want (in over 20 languages) by simply TYPING. No more dressing up for shoots or rearranging your entire office for proper lighting.

Just create your avatar, write a script with ChatGPT (Click Here for a free script-writing prompt), and you’re good to go!

Here’s a few video’s I’ve made recently in different languages:

Mark Speaks Dutch

Mark Speaks Portuguese

Mark Speaks German

Mark’s Instant Avatar Speaks English (I typed what I said)

Learn More

Interested in creating your own Instant Avatar and/or translating your video into over 20 languages? Click Here to learn more.