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Bristol Palin's Connection to YOUR Career

Last week on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos asked Tina Brown for her reaction to the announcement of Bristol Palin’s engagement to Levi Johnston.

“Absolutely brilliant,” said Brown, editor of The Daily Beast website. It was, she claimed, a great ploy by Bristol’s mom, Sarah, to keep the Palin brand in the news.

It’s all about “keeping the public interested,” Brown said. “It reminds me of Princess Diana who always knew just when the tabloid excitement was dying down, feed them another drama, you know?”

Brown quipped that it’s bad news for Lindsay Lohan’s family because “now they [the Palins] are the First Dysfunctional Family of America. It’s going to be a great show. Let’s face it: we’re all watching.”

None of us have any idea whether what Brown says is true—that the engagement is a simple PR gimmick or staged in hopes of landing a lucrative deal for a reality show. And, frankly, we can only wish the young lovebirds and their baby the very best.

But Brown’s basic point—that it’s very savvy for anyone who has a brand to protect and promote—is one that all of us should appreciate.

If you’re wondering why no one is responding to your resume, tapping you for a promotion, or clamoring to buy your products and services, consider this: What exactly are you doing to keep your name—your personal brand—front and center with your target audience?

You can’t assume that you’ll be discovered—and rewarded—without taking deliberate action on a regular basis.

That means you must break the waiting game. When someone tells us they’ve got a plan in mind, but they’re waiting for this, that and the other to happen before they can move forward, it’s a dead giveaway that they’re stalling, not prepping.

What exactly can—and will—you do this week, starting today, to make something big happen, to get someone to notice you—to buy from you, to interview you or to applaud you?

Take a page from the Palins—whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, America is fascinated by the famous family and they keep us talking.

Tell us what you think—and declare your goal for the week, then go make it happen.


  1. mj

    I have been struggling with just writing a cover letter to “sell” myself for an adjunct teaching position at our local community college. Your article says it all. No one is going to come knock at my door until I have something they want. I must find a way to have them take notice.

    Thanks for the great insight

  2. Lynn

    I get your point, but please leave the Palin name out of my email. I do not want to read any more about these people.

  3. Donna

    Using the Palins as an example for how women should promote themselves is the antithesis of everything “Women For Hire” stands for.

    Very disappointed that the “Women For Hire” team would go this route. Please refrain from promoting this family in the future.

  4. Donna G.

    What’s wrong with you people saying there’s a problem with the Palin family? I’m not fans of the fam, but this post doesn’t endorse or condemn them. It is just a reflection of a point made by Tina Brown that we ALL can learn from. DO NOT WAIT TO GET NOTICED. Make people notice you, which is something the Palin people know how to do very well. That’s not saying you like them or dislike them, but there’s a very good point here. If ya’ll are waiting to get noticed, which face it, so many of us are, we’ll be waiting a while. We wait to get noticed. We wait for our resume to be found. We wait for someone to hire us or give us a raise. STOP WAITING, gals! Palin ain’t waitin and neither should we!

  5. SD

    Wait this “negative” article is about how to get noticed? I would rather be noticed positively than negatively which is reflected in this outrageous show. So when the buzz dies down with Sarah the daughter is pushed to the forefront? Really?? So what is sooo positive about having a baby at her age, the daughter of a governor (at the time) and out of wedlock and the infant child in the middle of all of this drama. While I did have children at a young age I am no way condoning what’s going on here. She had her name and him blasted all over the media, her boo hooing and him posing in playgirl? What is sooo positive about all of this and why is it in “Women for Hire?” How does this show people how to “go get it” I am sure an article could have been written on how to go get it without these folks at the forefront.. Get a grip and I am very disappointed in this article Tory!
    If I never have to hear about this child, couple, and Sarah it will be too soon!

  6. Linda Stewart

    Wonderful illustration of the art of promotion! Waiting has never gotten me anywhere. Thanks for the heads up.

  7. ali

    I’m no fan of the Palins, but I agree with this 1000%. I’m no fan of Tina Brown’s either, but I agree with her 1000% on this point as well. I scratch my head curious as to why the phone never rings. Now my ah ha moment is here. I’m not making it ring. I need to do something to stand out. I need to do it quickly too before I’m pushed out. (Out of my house that is.) Thanks for sharing this. I know it takes guts to talk about political figures without enraging some people, but they should know this isn’t about politics – duh! It’s really about survival. I applaud you, Women for Hire, for the inspiration to shaking things up. Now I’ve got to go DO SOMETHING!

  8. Pam

    Using the Palins as any example of getting noticed turns my stomach and is definitely NOT how I want to be noticed. Yuk. At least Diana tried to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate. If this is an example of getting noticed then I am at the wrong place for guidance.

  9. CECT

    Apparently that’s what this country has come to: trashy people selling their trashy stories for enormous profit. I would be happy if I never heard of any member of the Palin “family” again. Lindsay Lohan may be a terribly troubled young woman with irresponsible parents, but at least she initially earned recognition through talent and hard work.

    I was raised with the slogan “Don’t air your dirty linen in public” ringing in my ears. Apparently you’re now considered a chump if you don’t sell your family sleaze for enormous profits. I’m increasingly ashamed of being a citizen of a country that values greedy, trashy behavior above everything else.

  10. Madeline C.

    The Palins are the worst example on how to get noticed. I have placed my resume out there. When will be my turn, I don’t know. I belong to all the social websites, but what can I do? I’m surprised, Tory, your’re not inviting the Palins to the next bunch of Women For Hire job fairs that are coming up!!!!!!!!!!!!!Especially your early morning coffee klatch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. K. H.

    There is NOTHING fascinating about the Palin family. I’m disappointed in Women for Hire’s decision to invoke the Palin name here, and I’m inclined to question the competence of the person who thought it was a good idea to use that family as an example.

    Wearing daisy dukes and a halter top will get you noticed, too, but is that the kind of attention you want as you build your career brand?

  12. ali

    CECT: You missed the point! The idea is to get yourself noticed. Not through trash, but through a splash of your good work.

    MADELINE: I didn’t read this as a way of COPYING the Palins, nor do I see this as an endorsement of the Palins. You people are missing the point.

    The point is we’re all sitting around hoping and praying the mortgage gets paid and it won’t on its own. We have to take action. NOT COPY THE ACTION of the Palins or anyone else. Just take the best action for YOU. Fast. And don’t be so negative and nasty.

  13. Tina

    Please, please, please, do not corrupt this site with that name again. It’s inescapable…news websites, entertainment websites…I never expected it here. Please reserve such examples for intelligent non-narcissistic women with real messages.

  14. Tina

    Palins not required: if you’re really interested in branding yourself, read Robin F Roffer’s book, “Make a Name for Yourself-8 Steps Every Woman Needs to Create a Personal Brand Strategy for Success”

  15. JG

    I want to tell you how much I enjoy reading your emails and how much insight and inspiration I get from knowing more about you and all the professional women out there who are doing their thing. I’m sorry to see so much hatred and venom here. You don’t have to like (or dislike) a person to learn from this very real example. To say that mentioning a name is akin to “corrupting” a website shows just how petty some people are. Of course this anecdote from Ms. Brown is for real women — real women like us. Thank you

  16. LL

    Take a page from the Palins Americans are fascinated with them. Who? A bunch of old grumpy men and some women. I think not there are pretty good examples out here better than this family. It’s sad to say if America form of excitement are trash people then forget it. There are many ways to get noticed without demeaning yourself and being delusional. Just brand you your product or what have you. I would love to see the polls on what types of people are fascinated with this family. I know women who are strong bright and they do care for Ms. Palin or her family. I for one do not care I agree they manipulate the media for there glory no one is getting anything out of it except for the Palins. That’s not my make I do what I do I’m rewarded in many ways by being true to who I am that always will work. Real saddened by Women for Hire with using this as a example. Lets use some others since your going this way.. Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Lil Kim or the Kardashians the list can go on and on with those types.

  17. Wow look at the Palin haters here. Give me a break. You all wish you were as talented and as popular. All of your comments show one thing: this site targets more democrats than republicans or tea party types. That’s fine. I don’t love the Palins, but this is a fine example to show us to get off our butts and make something of ourselves. This website isn’t telling us to act like fools. The message is to just do something to get noticed. Why do you all post comments about your personal feelings of the Palins? That is relevant. You can’t see the forest through the trees, can you? Who cares about the Palin clan. Just follow the message and get yourself noticed in a positive manner. Good luck to you all and stop being such haters.

  18. Michele

    I do not feel it is necessary to make the Palin family an example- I am embarrassed by what they represent & want no part of it.
    On the other hand it is important to create a buzz about your business and keep your company/brand visible-
    I think it is really sad the general public is enamored with dysfunction & wrong doing-
    How about focusing on people changing the world and making a positive difference.
    That is where I spend my time & the energy I want in my life-

  19. Cynthia

    For that matter, why not cite the queens of PR, Madonna and Lady Gaga?

  20. Millie

    I saw a larger message in the email and took it as a motivation to do something.

    What the email did for me is it allowed me to think about what I have to do this week to promote my business.

  21. Millie — same here. I agree with you and I understood the real spirit of this anecdote just as you did. That’s why you and I will go far, right? 🙂

  22. Elizabeth

    What a cynical and horrible example to use to illustrate a point.

  23. Stephen

    I’m afraid I must say I find this example appalling. I’ve done master’s and doctoral work in Marketing (at Wharton), and I’m a person of faith, and I’ve already had difficulty with the concept of “the brand me”. We’re people; we’re children of God, not products; yes, we need to hone our messages, and listen to our customers, but we also need to guard and cherish our humanity.

    This item is about parents and their children, and about a commitment (that should be for a lifetime) of marriage; and it’s being taken as an example of how to stay in the market of the US electorate. I don’t think many of us are operating in a market of that scale; or that we’re that jaundiced about marriage; or (especially) that we’re so manipulative about our children.

    Has it come to this? Does the end justify the means? I have one daughter, now launched (tentatively, in this economy) on her own career; I’ve moved 8 times, across 2 continents and 3 countries, to support my wife’s career. I’m still active professionally and in my church; and I would never dream of anything like this item on a politician’s “brand”. I believe I’ve followed, and still follow, a path of honor. I see the path described in this item as its antithesis.

    My goals this week? Go to choir rehearsal tomorrow, then do a bang-up job at our special service Sunday; participate in networkings tomorrow and Friday; reply to some job postings; support my wife in her job search. Yes, we’re both looking. But we’re not stooping to this kind of brand-management-of-me (and she’s in marketing – P&G, Coke, Mars – I’m GE, Mars, consulting myself). We’re human beings. And so is our daughter.

  24. MJG

    Oh, please, Stephen. You and your wife are oh-so-mighty and above it all. Just because you’re devoted to your church doesn’t make you any different from anyone else. You’re missing the point here, that only a few people seem to get: Yes, we all have personal brands. Like it or not. Personal branding is a big part of today’s reality. You don’t have to like someone’s personal brand to learn the important message, which is that we all have a need to hone our personal brands. Your brand is your brand, your daughter has her own, etc. Why do you wrongly assume that developing and promoting your brand is somehow tawdry or not honorable? That’s a false assumption. Steve Jobs has a personal brand. Is he a loser? The Obamas have a personal brand. Are they less honorable than you? The Dalai Lama has a personal brand. Is he tawdry? All of them – in business, politics, religion — have personal brands that they carefully craft and hone every day through very calculated moves to get the attention they need for themselves and the causes they believe in. It’s called SUCCESS. You say “stooping to this kind of brand-management-of-me” as if it’s WRONG. If you really work in marketing, then you know the value and importance of brand management. Success doesn’t just happen without growing and protecting your brand. You don’t have to agree with someone brands nor should a devoted religious man mock someone else’s brand management. But one thing is true: BRAND MANAGEMENT FOR INDIVIDUALS ISN”T GOING ANYWHERE. So if you want to remain out of work, ignore it at your peril.

  25. JM

    I think this article is the author’s complete opinion (and opinion only) on the Palin family, and I did not appreciate the author using them as the example. Very poor use to get your point across. This article was not helpful, and it certainly did not put a positive spin on “branding yourself.” I think Women for Hire could have done a much better job in getting their point across.

  26. Stephen

    MJG – wow. I fear you reveal too much of your own biases in your comment. Your criticism seems very personal; I really just tried to use my personal experience to illustrate a broader observation, and if I failed I’m sorry. You’ve used pejorative and judgemental language like “tawdry“, “wrong”, “oh-so-mighty”, “false assumptions”, “mock“, “less honorable” “oh, please”; I really tried to refrain from that, and I’m sorry if I failed.

    All of my nuclear family “gets” branding, and I used our credentials as shorthand (in a carefully edited post) to buttress that. And many of the people I respect most have faith lives that are completely private, so I don’t see that as essential either; again, I used those references as shorthand to raise the ethical and values-based issues involved. So please don’t misread these references; far from ignoring brand-management-of-me, I’m in fact taking it very seriously. If these references misled, I apologise.

    I’m not trying to be an Obama, or a Jobs, or a Dalai Lama. I’m trying to find a meaningful purpose (which is almost certainly not so mass-market), and communicate it effectively. Even a product like Coke or M&Ms is managed in a way that reflects values and purpose; how much more so then for us as humans? You’ve quoted me reflecting on “this kind of brand-management-of-me” (emphasis on the first two words), and I chose that phrasing carefully – I worry tremendously that unhealthy lessons may be learned from the example cited in the original item. The end doesn’t justify the means, in my view; how we manage our personal brands matters. Perhaps more than any other brand management we undertake.

    I’d like to invite you to re-read our posts, and to reflect in particular on your emphasis on “success” How do we define that? How do we measure it? I’m a management scientist, and I’ve seen (in a 25-year career to date) the truth of “you get what you measure”. It’s true for organisations, and I think in the main it’s true for individuals too. For me, it comes down to understanding what the “abundant life” (John 10:10) really means. For you, it may come down to something else. In any case, MJG, I hope your personal brand will be healthy; and I hope, independent of that, that you and those you love will be healthy too.

  27. Jo

    WOW! In reading all the comments, it is fascinating that one name can bring about such dialog and get totally away from the point of the article.

    But I get the theme of the article. As someone who has always struggled with self-image, how can I self promote? I have good skills but don’t know how to get the ‘self’ brand out there that is eye-catching? Do I include or highlight my personal interests or hobbies? Any additional insight would be gratefully accepted.

  28. CRLT

    My, my, what we are willing to spend our good time on amazes me sometimes. It is an article with a point.

    If you missed the point, sorry. If you don’t like the example, sorry. Everyone has a right to be heard and their opinion given. Stop wasting your time posting and take or leave the information as you choose.

    But this is certainly a way to cull the over-reactive, my way attitudes if you are in a hiring position. I will have to use this information when posting my next opening.

  29. Stephen

    Gee – sorry if I upset any sensibilities. I’ve never written a post like these; this item spoke strongly to family, and values, and branding in a job search, all of which matter to me. I don’t think my post was about just the article, or the point, or the example, or about the right to have an opinion heard; it was about underlying ideas that go beyond those limits.

    The invitation to post, it seems to me, is an invitation to share and build on ideas. If it was a simple matter of get the point / don’t, or agree with the point / don‘t, WFH could have run a poll rather than saying “tell us what you think”. And while many of the preceding posts were of a simpler, up/down nature, others seemed to explore deeper issues raised by the article.

    I certainly don’t feel I’ve wasted my own time developing and sharing my thinking on this topic. If any reader feels I’ve wasted their time, I apologise; though I do think it’s every reader’s prerogative to disagree with a post, and to ignore it entirely if they find it a waste of their time.

    Doubtless there are forums more appropriate to a discussion of this earnestness, but I don’t believe WFH is an inappropriate forum for it. The earlier posts suggest there is at least a subset of WFH readers who see broader, potentially disturbing issues in the article’s example.

    As for me, my view is:
    – branding matters
    – personal branding matters even more, since it’s about persons
    – family matters even more yet
    – respect for self, family, and others is critical in making personal branding choices
    – all branding should reflect the brand’s values – especially personal branding
    – what gets noticed in mass-market branding situations may or may not be relevant in personal branding situations
    – taking away appropriate lessons is always important
    – WFH generally does such great work that it’s disappointing to see the newsletter holding up such a questionable example
    – if there’s redeeming value in engendering discussion by using such an example, then the discussion should be in earnest
    – seek to understand your values, what you truly love, what matters to you and why. You’ll be miles ahead of the example cited, and well on the way to a consistent, powerful, meaningful personal brand.

    Many thanks to the posters on all sides, and to WFH for providing the forum.

  30. LISA

    To Brown,
    So, this is what you are writing to call in your sheep? While you are making things up, (to keep the interest), you are keeping YOU career going.(?) None of what you eluded to, regarding the Palin’s is true. I wouldn’t call this brilliaNt, I would call this dishonest, AND difunctional on you part. Try writing the truth. This is what fasinates America about Sarah Palin. She speaks honestly. She doesn’t have to make things up. Most intelligent and wise Americans laugh at you insinuations’. Sorry.

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