Why is Kaye Putnam happy that I’m IGNORING her marketing advice?

This is the cover art for the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme by the artist Simon & Garfunkel. The cover art can be obtained from Columbia. Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2184092

A few hours after finishing my revision of Bredemarket’s work process, I attended this month’s Orange County (California) Freelancers Union SPARK webinar. I’ve shared some things from SPARK meetings in the past (July’s happy hour, May’s AB2257 discussion), and I’m going to share some things from the August meeting also.

Jung and the restless

This meeting (which also happened to be the national Freelancers Union meeting for the month; our chapter rules!) was led by Cara Raffele, who spoke about “The Power of Storytelling.”

From https://www.freelancersunion.org/community/spark-events/#spark–monthly-theme, although it might have changed by the time you read this.

I’m not going to talk about the ENTIRE meeting, but will focus on the last part of the meeting, during which Raffele discussed “understanding your brand for maximum impact,” or brand archetypes.

The idea of archetypes started with Carl Jung, who defined them as images and themes that derive from the collective unconscious.

Jung claimed to identify a large number of archetypes but paid special attention to four. Jung labeled these archetypes the Self, the Persona, the Shadow and the Anima/Animus.

In modern-day marketing, this “large number of archetypes” has been boiled down to twelve, and it was these twelve that Raffele referenced in her presentation.

Twelve archetypes. From https://www.kayeputnam.com/brandality-archetypes/. More about Kaye Putnam later.

Raffele encouraged all of us freelancers to listen to all twelve, and then to select multiple archetypes (not just one) that seemed to reflect our freelance brands. So I iterated a first cut at the archetypes that I believed applied to Bredemarket; my preliminary list included Sage, Creator, and Explorer.

Why Sage? That particular one resonated with me because of my experiences with my clients (educating on benefits vs. features, expanding the understanding of law enforcement agency stakeholders), and because of the way I’ve been marketing myself anyway. After all, when I self-reference as the biometric content marketing expert and the biometric proposal writing expert, then it’s obvious that I can add the sage to my clients’ parsley, rosemary, and thyme. (Sorry, couldn’t resist, even though I know it’s bad.)

But after guessing that Bredemarket is Sage with a pinch of Creator and Explorer, I realized that I might not know myself as well as I thought, so I asked if there were some type of online “archetypes test,” similar to the online Meyers-Briggs personality tests, that could help you semi-independently discern your archetypes.

Raffele responded by pointing us to Kaye Putnam and her online Brand Personality Quiz.

(One aside before moving on to Putnam’s test. A few of you realize that I did not come up with the section title “Jung and the restless” on my own. Yes, I stole it from a Steve Taylor song title (and he stole it from a soap opera). I used the title even though Taylor is frankly not that positive about secular psychology. But he did say “some of my best friends are shrinks.” Oh, and that’s obviously Gym Nicholson of Undercover fame on guitar.)

From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JNOMb_IG8I.

My “Brand Personality Quiz” results, and Kaye Putnam’s recommendations

If you’ve taken an online Meyers-Briggs personality test, or any other similar online test, the process of the Brand Personality Quiz will seem familiar to you. Putnam’s quiz asks you a series of independent questions, some of which have as many as twelve options. It then tabulates your answers against attributes of the twelve brand archetypes, and produces a final result listing a primary brand archetype and some secondary archetypes.

Here are my results.

So if you take Putnam’s quiz as gospel, I was somewhat accurate in my initial self-assessment.

  • Note that “Sage” came first and “Explorer” came second in the quiz results, and those were two of the archetypes I initially tweeted about before taking the quiz.
  • Considering the personal writing style I use in my blog, tweets, and elsewhere, “Entertainer” wasn’t much of a surprise either.
  • Upon further personal reflection, “Royalty” makes sense also. (So bow before me, serfs.)

And after reading Putnam’s description of “Creator” and its emphasis on visual presentation (rather than textual presentation), I can see why this was NOT on the list.

I did not draw this myself. Originally created by Jleedev using Inkscape and GIMP. Redrawn as SVG by Ben Liblit using Inkscape. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1692938

Along with my results, Putnam provided a link that allowed me to download a brief description of my primary archetype, Sage. Now this brief description doesn’t include all of the detail found in Putnam’s 12 Brandfluency courses (one for each archetype), but it does include many actionable items.

The “Sage Inspiration Kit” provides useful tips for Sage businesspeople to include in their brand marketing. The kit asserts that if the tips are followed, the results will produce emotional responses in potential clients that will increase brand attractiveness, thus allowing businesspeople to win more business (and win better business).

Tips are provided on the following:

  • Color.
  • Typography.
  • Words.

Obviously that’s a lot of stuff to absorb, even in this brief kit. (The paid course offers tips in additional areas.) And even if I wanted to, I couldn’t change all the colors and fonts in my marketing overnight.

But I could look at Putnam’s word suggestions.

Ignoring the expert

Now Kaye Putnam’s word suggestions are freely available to anyone, but I’m not going to just copy all of them and reproduce them here. Request them yourself. (The link is for the Sage archetype)

But I’ll offer comments on a few of the 18 words and phrases in the kit.

From https://xkcd.com/386/. Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.5).

First off, I’m NOT going to use “think tank” in Bredemarket’s marketing. Perhaps this phrase may resonate for a larger firm, or even for a smaller firm with a team of people addressing their clients’ needs. But it would take a lot of stretching to describer a solopreneur think tank.

Another term that DOESN’T make sense for Bredemarket is “engineering.” Now obviously engineering is a good thing, although I’ve seen cases where engineering is overemphasized. But it doesn’t really make sense for my business, in which I make a point of emphasizing my ability to communicate engineering concepts to non-engineers. The same issues apply with the phrase “the code.”

I won’t go into all of my concerns, but there are several “Sage words” in the list that I would never use for Bredemarket, or would use very sparingly.

And that’s…OK

Remember, of course, that Stuart Smalley is not a licensed practitioner. By http://www.tvacres.com/words_stuart.htm, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31855280

When someone gives you advice, whether it’s Kaye Putnam or John Bredehoft, you have to judge whether the advice is good for YOU.

Even if you narrow a brand down to one archetype, there are innumerable differences between individuals who align with this archetype. One size does not fit all, and I personally may love the term “experiment” but hate the terms listed above.

Now perhaps I may be wrong in rejecting Putnam’s advice. Perhaps there’s a really, really good reason why I should sprinkle the phrase “think tank” through all of my marketing materials.

But in the end it’s up to the recipient to decide whether or not to follow the advice of the expert. That applies to people giving advice to me, and that also applies to the advice that I give to my clients. (If a client insists on using the phrase “best of breed,” I can’t stop the client from doing so.)

But several of those words and phrases DO seem like good ideas, and I’ll probably make a concerted effort to sprinkle the GOOD words and phrases throughout Bredemarket’s website, social media channels, proposals, and other marketing.

Even though this might require me to re-revise the content creation process that I just revised.

Oh well. It’s good to…experiment with things. After all, Bredemarket is in effect a laboratory in which I like to try solutions out myself before I try to make a case for them with my clients. It’s easier to speak to research-based proven solutions than ones with which I have no experience at all.

By Rembrandt – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=157824

Did that paragraph sound sage-like? I got six of the words/phrases into that paragraph!

Oh, and if you’re looking for a Royally Entertaining and Exploring Sage…

Bredemarket offers clients deep experience in content marketing, proposals, and strategy. I can offer expert advice to biometrics firms, since (as noted above) I am a biometric content marketing expert and a biometric proposal writing expert. However, this expert advice can also be provided to other technology firms, and to general business.

You can read here about how my content creation process ensures that the final written content (a) advances your GOAL, (b) communicates your BENEFITS, and (c) speaks to your TARGET AUDIENCE.

If Bredemarket can fill a gap in your company’s needs (NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT MENTION PARSLEY. DO NOT MENTION PARSLEY. DO NOT MENTION PARSLEY.), then feel free to contact me and we can discuss your needs and possible solutions.

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