Personal Branding Lessons from an Experienced Brand Builder

Personal Branding Magazine issue 3 is now available. For issue 3, I interviewed John Purdy of the Kendall Purdy Group.

The article tells his story of leaving the Ad Agency he’d worked at for over 20 years to become a one-man consulting firm.

My article, featured on PDF page 25/magazine page 19, is below.


Personal Branding Advice from an Experienced Brand Builder

By Craig Rentmeester

Freelanceconsulting is considered to be the ultimate reward in personal branding by many professionals. It signifies you’ve reached a point in your career where people recognize your brand and value your opinions.

Togain perspective on consulting and personal branding I caught up with John Purdy. With over 30 years of marketing experience on both the agency and corporate side, Purdy is a thought leader when it comes to brand building. For the past nine years he has helped his clients grow their brands on a freelance basis through his consultancy, the Kendall Purdy Group.

Striking Out (on His Own)
The decision to go into freelance consulting brings both freedom and uncertainty. It allows professionals a chance to take on projects they’ll enjoy while setting their own work pace. However, it also brings an unstable income and less job security. When asked about the decision to go into this line of work Purdy responded, “I started consulting when my agency client fired the agency in favor of an agency with a more extensive international network. As (it) often happens in the (advertising) agency world, my job was eliminated when the income from that large client ceased. The client who left the agency still valued my counsel in their business and contracted for a portion of my time if I chose to consult. That was sufficient incentive to establish a consultancy, with that client as a base.”

Choosing a Brand
The Kendall Purdy Group is a unique choice for a freelance consultant’s brand. When
asked why he decided on that Purdy said, “…I developed a list of possible names that had probably 20 options to choose from. There were logical and descriptive names, benefit-focused names, fanciful names and others. I reviewed the list of names with friends and the clear winner was the Kendall Purdy Group. ”
Purdy said it was the clear choice because, “It sounded as though I wasn’t all by myself, which I was. It sounded dignified and professional, which it wasn’t particularly…and it was vague enough not to pigeonhole me in any one discipline or area of consulting.”

John Purdy had two things at this point; a client to stabilize his business, and a brand to manage and grow. But, the key to running to a successful business is a consistent customer base.

Getting Customers
When asked about how he normally gains business, Purdy said, “Ninety-five percent of my business comes from referrals — from people I know in the business who either hire me themselves or recommend me to others. My network has been the only dependable source of business over the nine years of consulting.”

Tricky Situations
Purdy also went on to mention how he is put into peculiar situations. He mentioned how he sometimes competes against advertising agency’s he consulted for and consulting for two businesses that directly compete with one another.
“I always try to be upfront about the organizations I have worked with and (let clients know) that I cannot disclose anything that is considered proprietary information,” says Purdy.

“Honesty is the best policy in consulting,” says Purdy.

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