Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die a Generic

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In an era of economic uncertainty, layoffs, and hiring freezes, creating and promoting a top-flight personal brand that stands out in the crowd is more important than ever.  

In Fresh Passion: Get a Brand Or Die A Generic, Michael D. Brown shows you how to employ the Fresh Passion methodology to build a personal brand that will maximize your potential and help you to achieve success beyond your dreams in whatever field you choose. Whether you are an executive, an ...

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Fresh Passion: Get a Brand or Die a Generic

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In an era of economic uncertainty, layoffs, and hiring freezes, creating and promoting a top-flight personal brand that stands out in the crowd is more important than ever.  

In Fresh Passion: Get a Brand Or Die A Generic, Michael D. Brown shows you how to employ the Fresh Passion methodology to build a personal brand that will maximize your potential and help you to achieve success beyond your dreams in whatever field you choose. Whether you are an executive, an entrepreneur, a tradesperson, an educator, a student, or a member of any other vocation, Fresh Passion is the pathway to outperform and outshine your peers and competitors and obtain the professional and personal rewards you deserve.

Brown outlines the Fresh Passion method in easy-to-follow detail, with plenty of interactive worksheets and quizzes to keep you engaged in the process and on the right track. You will discover how to create an entire experience you can present to employers, bosses, clients, and co-workers that will leave them begging for your services and expertise. With Fresh Passion, you can avoid the pitfalls of a generic career and instead obtain the benefits that come from being a branded entity.

Inject some Fresh Passion into your life and your career today! It’s never too soon to prevent a generic death and never too late to create a winning brand that will guarantee you long-term personal and professional success that does not waver?even when the economy starts to shake.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The latest from leadership coach Brown (Fresh Customer Service) features glib, used-car salesman advice on personal branding. According to Brown, it’s not enough to do good work under the radar. In addition, you need to build a personal brand that offers value to others at your organization, as well as clients and customers. Early in his career (while in college), Brown developed the Fresh PASSION® system; the acronym stands for “Preparing Yourself, Aspiring to Reach Your Goals, Staying Laser-Focused, Selling Your Value, Invigorating Yourself, Omitting the Negative, and Nailing the Brand.” He lays out the framework for building a personal brand, encouraging readers to thoroughly assess themselves and sell their own value to those who can help build their careers. The book moves quickly, thanks to gimmicky segments like “Your Perfect Day” worksheets (high-level goal-setting), “Brownie Points” (tales of his own experience), “Quotable Notables” (stories of “branded” people like Oprah, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Stephen King, and Pablo Picasso), “6.5 Steps Towards Achieving...” for each section, and “Doggie Bags” (takeaways). While the exercises are useful, Brown’s relentless catchphrases, pitches for his own site, and hyperactive tone will make readers feel like they’re sitting through a time-share pitch. (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608324118
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael D. Brown is a sought-after speaker, management expert, and author of Fresh Customer Service®: Treat the Employee as #1 and the Customer as #2 and You Will Get Customers for Life. He has over fifteen years of experience helping companies and individuals achieve results and has held numerous leadership positions at Fortune Global 100 Companies. Michael is a leading authority on fresh results and has motivated and helped hundreds of individuals and entrepreneurs create and deliver a competitive personal brand that yields exponential personal and professional success.

For more information about Michael please visit:

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Read an Excerpt



Greenleaf Book Group Press

Copyright © 2013 Michael D. Brown
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-60832-411-8

Chapter One

Get a Brand or Die a Generic

Quotable Notables: Peter Drucker, Steve Jobs

Brownie Point: My Life as a Frontline Prisoner

Your Perfect Day Worksheet

Become a Distinct and Competitive Brand or an Extinct Generic

A Brief Summary of Personal Branding

"Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves—their strengths, their values, and how they best perform." —Peter F. Drucker (1909–2005)

"Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." —Steve Jobs (1955–2011)


Peter Drucker was a highly regarded business thinker who popularized the term "knowledge worker" and helped major corporations such as General Motors adapt their organizational structure to the knowledge economy, which took root after World War II. He understood that business was increasingly relying upon the talents and capabilities of individuals.

Steve Jobs was one of the original founders of Apple, one of the world's most successful and innovative technology brands. Always known as a maverick thinker, Jobs resigned in the mid-1980s to found NeXT Computer, a company whose technology was critical to developing the World Wide Web. Jobs rejoined Apple in the late 1990s and helped the then-struggling company achieve unprecedented success with products such as the iMac, iPod, and iPhone. Jobs was a true visionary whose aspirations allowed him to succeed despite significant obstacles and have benefited the entire world through technological advancement. His name still has the ability to inspire innovation and create customer experiences that are unmatched. Through innovation and a tireless focus on delivering a unique customer experience, Jobs took what otherwise would have been a generic high-technology company and turned it into a lifestyle accessory for hip, computer-savvy people, especially those in the creative fields.


I would like to share with you the story of my difficult time as a multiunit manager of frontline employees at a Fortune 500 company I will refer to as "Majestic Suites," a period I like to call my "frontline prisoner" days. I think this story is a great example of both why Fresh PASSION is so important and how it can make the difference between having a dead-end career and having a career that maximizes your professional and personal potential and allows you to realize your perfect day (more on that shortly).

Remember, when your brand is stale and dull, it will sit ignored in the marketplace while "consumers" (i.e., the people who will ultimately determine how well you succeed) will fight over the fresher, more exciting brands that are available. By the time someone selects your brand, out of desperation, lack of choice, or budgetary constraints, you will have died a generic death.

As I will explain in detail, the Majestic Suites unit at the Little Rock International Airport had fallen into disarray and was not representative of what you would expect when you enter a business that is a perennial member of the Fortune 500.

After about a week on the job, the other managers and assistant managers started to tell me about how things really worked at the airport. This was after I signed an oath in blood that I wouldn't tell the unit's general manager, a man I will refer to as Mr. Wallace Wright. A small sampling of the problems I heard about included a 400 percent turnover rate, ethical issues, several quarters of missed sales targets, expenses that were 30 percent over budget, and customer satisfaction scores that were in the toilet. We were using a temporary agency on a permanent basis to staff the stores and concessions.

Wallace (all these years later I still cringe at referring to him on a first-name basis, as if we were buddies) wanted us to increase sales and customer satisfaction scores, and most important, slow the bleeding with employee turnover, including the temporary employees who were leaving at an alarming rate. I was certainly up for the challenge and believed that I could help turn things around.

After about a month on the job, employees started regularly coming to me and saying things like, "Michael, you are much too smart to be working here, why are you here ... you can do so much better someplace else." I was determined to make a difference, despite Wallace's authoritarian, heavy-handed style. He came to me one day and stated that I had the highest sales and the employees liked working with me. Despite this positive comment, I was still determined to get myself out of this situation. These were some of the darkest days of my life.

Wallace said in a staff meeting that the employees complained that they couldn't get assistance from any manager except Michael, but he didn't ask what I was doing to assist them. He stated that my sales were 40 percent higher but did not ask how I got them that way.

Instead, he said the employees didn't up-sell, didn't take care of the customers in a timely manner, and were not happy when I wasn't at work. He went on to say that I should be training employees to perform at all times, even when they were working for other managers, and that I was a poor leader. I started to tell him how I motivated people and how I ran my shifts differently, which was a BIG mistake.

Wallace quickly stopped me and said that I didn't have authority to change the way things were done and that he was the general manager. He further said that I was being insubordinate. Though he liked the results I was getting, he didn't want to hear how I was getting the results. At this point, I just became confused and concluded that I needed to walk on eggshells with Wallace and just sing his praises.

I realized early on that if I wanted to deliver the financial and human results that would make me personally proud and get me noticed by the outside world (at this time I was trying to get promoted to an assistant GM position at the St. Louis airport), I needed to do this through and with the frontline employees.

I also realized that I needed to train them, set the expectations, provide them with tools, empower them, motivate them, inspire them, and genuinely care about them while at the same time hold them accountable to delivering a world-class customer experience. I further realized that Wallace was only concerned about the bottom-line number and cared very little about the frontline employees or customers.

So I went on and operated within the box while Wallace was around, but while he wasn't around I did the "extra" stuff that motivated, empowered, and excited the front line, which in turn delivered a world-class customer service experience and bottom-line numbers that Wallace couldn't deny were good. You have to quickly realize which battles are worth fighting and which ones you need to concede to on the surface.

This experience proved to be a tremendous building block for my personal brand. I learned that, sometimes, to deliver the lofty goals and results prescribed by your manager/leader, you need to be creative and ensure that the manager's ego and quest for power is not damaged.

This can lead to confrontations that will distract you from growing your personal brand (in this case it was me attempting to build on my track record of getting results through and with people) and achieving the goals of the business, and may ultimately lead to career suicide. So I marched to Wallace's orders while building my arsenal, skills, competencies, and brand equity in preparation for other opportunities that might exist internally and externally. I gained the trust and respect of thoroughly discouraged and demoralized frontline employees—no small feat. More important, despite the best efforts of Mr. Wallace Wright to obscure my accomplishments, I was able to build some brand equity that would pay handsome dividends both personally and professionally on the open market. I was able to eloquently and boldly speak of this brand equity I had built during an interview for a field manager role with Amoco Oil Company (a Fortune 5 company).

During the interview, I was able to draw on the experiences at my previous role with Majestic Suites and speak about my leadership style that gets results through and with people and how this translates to a more productive and excited workforce, increased customer satisfaction, and a double-digit increase to the bottom line.

I was then able to tell the interview panel how I could take this experience and provide even greater returns for Amoco. They realized that an investment in me would yield a great return for them. Out of sixteen candidates, I was offered the role. Thank you, Mr. Wallace Wright, for taking me through hell in preparation for a heavenly assignment!

As you can see, by maintaining a fresh approach to my job as a frontline manager and retaining my passion for my brand even in the face of overwhelming negativity and hostility from Wallace Wright, I was able to escape a situation that could have killed my career before it even really started. That would have doomed me to a generic death as a result of having my brand development squelched and I would have become known as another guy who went into a difficult situation, tried his best, and failed. This illustrates another important lesson about building your brand—you must build it, even if others are trying to tear it down, or you will die generic. Don't sit back and assume your hard work will be recognized, make sure it is visible for miles around!


If I had allowed my working environment to sap my will to succeed at a level hardly anyone would have dreamed possible, I would have remained a low-level manager under the suffocating thumb of Wallace Wright. I never would have built the brand I possess today and would probably still be stuck as a frontline manager in the Little Rock airport location of Majestic Suites, earning low pay, hating my job, and generally watching my career die a slow, generic death as I "topped out" at that level by never proving myself worthy of doing something more challenging, interesting, and rewarding. Instead, I have followed the principles of Fresh PASSION and built a brand that has allowed me to enjoy a tremendous amount of personal and professional success, and I live something close to what I would consider my perfect day.

Your perfect day is what you should be striving to achieve through the fresh personal brand you build. Imagine how your typical day would proceed if you were able to realize every major personal and professional goal you hold and you had full control over every aspect of your life. You may never fully achieve it, but by keeping your perfect day in mind, you create a concrete target at which you can aim your brand-building efforts. And even if you do fully realize your perfect day, a key part of Fresh PASSION is never being satisfied to rest on your past accomplishments, so it's time to develop an even more perfect "perfect day" to strive toward!

Complete the following worksheet exercise to determine exactly what kind of day you want to be living. I have also included my own perfect day worksheet to give you an example of the kinds of goals you may want to strive for. But don't feel constrained by what I say; this is your perfect day stemming from your brand—there are no right or wrong answers, and no two perfect days will be alike!

Write Your PERFECT DAY Five Years From Now

This is a day where you can wake up and say, "Wow, I have achieved my desired personal and professional success and I am going to keep going and do even better!"

If you are like me you just might want to type this on a computer and print it out instead of handwriting it (I am still learning how to read my own handwriting).

Now let's get started, and don't leave out any of the small details. Be sure to think as large and as globally as you like. Here are some questions to consider and answer: What does your family look like? What's your financial picture? What are you doing professionally? What does your personal life look like? What does personal and professional success look like? Are you an entrepreneur? Are you working in a corporation? Are you employed inside your home? Where do you vacation? Do you own real estate? Do you have a favorite cause/charity that you are giving back to? What are your credentials? ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

Michael D. Brown's Perfect Day Five Years From Now

• I am debt free, using the earnings of my investments to support and finance my lifestyle, foundation, business, and further personal, professional growth/goals.

• I am staying fresh with specialty and advanced training, certifications, and credentialing in my area of branded expertise.

• God is still the center and is still working through me.

• My personal and professional success continues to accelerate and stay fresh—I'm forever growing both personally and professionally.

• I am fully engaged in my personal and professional success and in total alignment: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

• I am speaking for Fortune 500 companies and business schools.

• My daily investment fee for clients has increased 55 percent and I am delivering 55 percent more return on their investment.

• I am delivering and driving fresh results through and with people while offering a unique experience. This work is underpinned by my Fresh Customer Service® and Fresh PASSION tools and processes. The main focus here is to help individuals, organizations, and companies achieve exponential personal, professional, and economic growth. This work has a coaching, speaking, training, and seminar component. I have completed the books on Fresh Customer Service (done!) and Fresh PASSION (you are reading it now).

• The Get a Brand or Die a Generic program has expanded to a full executive coaching, training, and seminar enterprise.

• This feels really good, because I am working in my destiny and doing what I am passionate about and I am making a difference in the lives of individuals and in organizations.

• I have opened the Fresh Results Institute and am serving 1,000 participants.

• I have a Ritz-Carlton vacation home in Florida.

• I have a slate of products centered around Fresh Customer Service and Get a Brand or Die a Generic. This includes books, manuals, audio, teleseminars, online courses, and other training materials.

• My personal relationship has been strengthened with my family—I am spending the holidays with them and I am taking them on an all-expenses-paid vacation once a year.

• My health is in tip-top shape, and I am still working out.

• I have started the Michael D. Brown Foundation.


The world is changing, as is the economy. It is no secret that for the past few years, we have been in the midst of what can only be termed an "economic tsunami."

Companies, organizations, customers, your colleagues, and your boss all expect more—and with unemployment at new highs, it's more important than ever to distinguish yourself. Your customers and employers expect you to provide an experience that is different from what your competition is offering. They want an experience that adds more value. They want an experience that fulfills a particular need, want, or desire, and you have to figure out how to give it to them.

So if they see you as a "generic," then you're in trouble. You've seen generic brands, the "no-name" products that usually sit low on the supermarket shelves. For the most part, they're not that radically different from the costlier name brands placed directly at eye-level—in fact, the very same companies that make those name brands often make the generics as well! But whether it's due to their dull packaging, lack of promotion, or simple fact they are less recognizable to the typical consumer, generic products typically sit on the shelves for a long period of time, only picked up by someone looking for a short-term bargain. People expect to and do pay less for generic!

Guess what? People can be generic, too. What is a generic person? Simply put, a generic person is someone who may be perfectly nice, intelligent, and talented, but who hasn't made any effort to stand out from the crowd. They probably went to an average school, got average grades, and have an average work history and personal background. They don't stand out as being especially bad, but don't really stand out as being especially good, either. You could call them your average working stiffs.


Excerpted from fresh PASSION by MICHAEL D. BROWN Copyright © 2013 by Michael D. Brown. Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xv

About this Fresh Green Book xix

1 Get a Brand or Die a Generic 1

2 Achieving Freshness 17

3 fresh Passion: Preparing Yourself 39

4 fresh Passion: Aspiring to Reach Your Goals 61

5 fresh Passion: Staying Laser-Focused 81

6 fresh Passion: Selling your Value 101

7 fresh Passion: Invigorating Yourself 131

8 fresh Passion: Omitting the Negative 149

9 fresh Passion: Nailing the Brand 169

Final Thoughts: the Last Bite of the Brownie 209

About Michael D. Brown 217

About Michael D. Brown's Brand Logo 221

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  • Posted December 11, 2012

    A must read for anyone wanting to accelerate their success!

    I have to admit- I have been a bit skeptical about his whole personal branding thing- I dismissed it as a new buzzword and fad. I heard this author speak about branding at a conference and became a little more interested in the branding thing. I used some of the Fresh Passion process and was able to land a job after looking unsuccessfully for a year. The new book is helping me to refresh my brand, make it more competitive and position myself for a promotion. This is a book, workbook and motivational tool all in one-love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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