Nick Nanton, Esq. - The Celebrity Lawyer

Quick musings and pics from "The Life and Times" of Nick Nanton, Esq., The Celebrity Lawyer and Agent to top Celebrity Experts.
Mon Aug 26

Celebrity Branding Online: Five Keys to a Powerful Internet Presence

The internet is an incredible tool for small businesses. We have worked closely with dozens of business owners who have used the internet to leverage their personal brand and their expertise in order to create a powerful CelebrityExpert® brand.

And the good news is that today’s technology makes it easier than ever for a business to create an internet presence. But, while it may be easy to “get up and running”, there’s still a lot of work that goes into creating an appealing and engaging personal brand. Today, we’re going to look at five key components of a powerful online presence. How are you doing with each of these? Continue Reading…

Fri Apr 26

Personal Branding: Don’t Be Afraid to Shake Up Your Market

Many of the business owners that I work with are low-key and don’t love the spotlight. And most of them don’t like the idea of creating controversy.

But sometimes, as I tell them, generating a bit of controversy can be exactly what your brand needs. Now, I’m not talking about just any type of controversy. I’m talking about going against the grain—providing value to your customers in ways that your competitors aren’t.

Think about the way Apple revolutionized the mp3 player market in the early 2000’s, and the then again the smart phone market a few years later. Customers loved Apple products, but their competitors certainly didn’t. Steve Jobs wasn’t afraid to shake up his market and put real pressure on the competition. The result speaks for itself.

You may not be an international corporation, but the point still stands. You shouldn’t be afraid to shake up your market and generate some controversy—whether it’s through an aggressive marketing campaign, a new approach to the services you provide, or by introducing a brand-new business model.

But it is true that the wrong kind of controversy can have negative consequences on your brand and your business. So keep these four points in mind:

1) Don’t be disrespectful. It is one thing to be bold and clear while promoting your products and services, and while contrasting them against the competition. It’s another thing entirely to disrespect and bad-mouth the competition in your market. While this approach may generate attention and even perhaps lead to a short-term spike in sales, it’s a bad long-term strategy. Treat your competitors with the respect that you would like to be treated with.

2) Make sure you have done your homework. If you are preparing to “shake up” your market with a new product, a new service, a new marketing campaign, or whatever… ask yourself this question: “why hasn’t anyone else done it this way?” It may be that nobody else has ever thought of the idea. But there may be other reasons – such as legal liability or other unforeseen consequences. If you’re going to take a bold step, you’re going to attract attention, so make sure you have “dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.

3) Be prepared for the backlash. The better your innovation, the less your competitors are going to like it. So be prepared. I’ve had clients…

Continue Reading at

Tue Mar 19

Personal Branding 101: How to Tell a Better “Story”

As I’ve written before, one of the most important elements to creating a strong personal brand is learning to tell a compelling story. Storytelling is what brings your brand to life, and instead of being “just another business owner”, all of a sudden you become compelling to your audience.

This is a secret that virtually every successful brand has embraced. Nike doesn’t just sell shoes and shirts—they turn their customers into winners. Coca-cola isn’t just a drink—it’s an attitude, fun-loving and community oriented. Steve Jobs wasn’t just a brilliant engineer—he came to stand for innovation, vision, and of course black turtlenecks.

The ability of a brand to grow beyond just the products and services they sell is a major determining factor into the success or failure of that brand. This is true of global organizations and small businesses alike. And it’s true for you.

As I explain this point to clients and friends, the most common response is something like “but Nick… I don’t have a story to tell. I’m just a realtor.” (Or an investment advisor, or a CPA, or a dentist, etc.)

And my response is always “yes you DO have a story to tell. We just have to find it.”

Today, we’re going to discuss how to find (or create) that story. Below are several ideas.

1) Always highlight the benefits of what you do, not the features. Chances are, the actual products and services you sell aren’t that exciting. If that is what you focus on, it’s hard to create a compelling story. Instead, focus on the benefits. You’re not a stockbroker, you’re building a brighter financial future. My business doesn’t just do PR and marketing… we create celebrities. See the difference?

2) Highlight your impact on the community. Another great way to tell a compelling story…

Continue Reading:

Mon Jan 14

Make Personal Branding Fun This Year

Personal branding requires work. Personal branding can be very profitable. But there’s nothing that says it can’t also be fun.

In fact, the truth is that personal branding is more effective when you’re having fun. Personal branding is all about you – your personality, your strengths and weaknesses, your passions. For that reason, approaching it as simply another item on your to-do list won’t work. As 2013 kicks off, I encourage you to make personal branding a fun endeavor. Below are a few ways you can do this:

1) Be yourself. Many business owners make the mistake of building a serious, all-business personal brand. And while the core of your brand has to be your expertise within your market, a boring brand is simply not going to be memorable. So spice it up. Showcase your sense of humor. Share some opinions that may surprise people. Don’t hesitate to include your family and personal life into your public brand. You will connect with your customers and potential customers most effectively when they feel that you are a “real” person just like them—so stop being so uptight all the time!

2) Join associations and organizations that you genuinely enjoy. Networking is a big part of personal branding—after all, your brand needs an audience. But too many people force themselves to attend conventions and trade shows that they truly have no interest in. Do not go down that road. Instead, seek out organizations that you will truly enjoy—related to your industry, or not! If you like acting, join a theatre club that meets every week. Or find a club for fellow hobby enthusiasts. Make friends, be yourself, build your brand—and you will be surprised by how many valuable connections you create. And you will have fun in the process!

3) Support causes that you believe in. Supporting the community is a great way to gain exposure for you and your business—while helping out a good cause at the same time. Rather than supporting specific causes because you always have, or because you feel a duty to, seek out causes that you are passionate about. This could include local schools, community outreach—just about anything. By supporting an effort you truly believe in, you’ll be getting your brand out there while doing something you can truly feel good about.

Today’s consumers are savvy. They know when they’re looking at something genuine, and they know when they’re not. If you’re not truly committed to your branding efforts, they’re not going to ring true. That’s why it’s so important to stay true to yourself and to have some fun with the process. Give your audience a chance to get to know the real you—what makes you different, what makes you great at what you do. Make personal branding fun, and you’re going to be more successful at it. If you’d like to learn more, feel free to get in touch with me or with any of the Agents at our Agency!


Tue Dec 11

What is the most effective way to corner the market and lock out your competition?  Simple: you need to become a CelebrityExpert®.  You need to develop a compelling, engaging personal brand that positions you as the leading expert within your market.  You need to be the first name that pops into any potential customers mind when he or she needs your services or products.

And… to stand out amidst your competition, you need to go against the flow. 

This makes logical sense, right?  If you want to become the industry expert in your area, ahead of all your competition, why would you want to sound and look just like everyone else?  Today we are going to take a look at various strategies for differentiating yourself and your business from the competition—while establishing yourself as the leading expert in your market.

Break the Mold

How many businesses, even today, put serious effort into engaging their market via social media and compelling web sites?  While some businesses are gradually starting to come around, the reality is that most small businesses have been slow to adopt social media and web marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy.

Of course, it is not enough to simply create a Facebook page and a Twitter profile and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring.  To build a truly powerful presence, you need to do social media differently than your competitors.  Keep these three principles in mind:

1) Focus on relationships. Twitter and Facebook are full of individuals and companies that are trying to establish their brand and sell their products by ramming them down their audience’s throat. It’s free marketing, the theory goes, so why not aggressively self-promote and sell? The problem with that line of thought is that most people don’t log on to Facebook or Twitter looking to be sold something. Your customers use Facebook and Twitter to build relationships, both personal and professional. The key to establishing your brand on these sites is to build relationships. Spend more time replying to status updates and tweets than you do creating your own.

2) Don’t be boring. Too many Twitter and Facebook profiles are completely devoid of originality, personality and substance. If you’re going to stand out, you need to be interesting and thought provoking. Post jokes, or commentary on pop culture, or predictions for upcoming NFL games. Tweet using only haiku form for a couple of days. Be creative. Find a way to express yourself, your personality, and the personality of your business.  Before you know it, you’ll realize that followers and friends are looking forward to your next tweet or status update.  Not only does this mean more exposure for your business, but it also means a stronger bond between you and your clients.

3) Break down the news. Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news. As soon as anything of even minor importance happens, you can bet there will be thousands of posts announcing it and linking to news stories. Posting a link to a breaking news story will not help you stand out—but insightful analysis will. Imagine you’re a CPA for a moment, and a new tax bill has just been signed into law. Don’t just share the news, explain what it means for business owners and taxpayers! Your tweet will stand out from the thousands of others, because you won’t simply be stating what happened, you’ll be telling your audience what it means to them.  By breaking down recent developments that matter to your customers, you provide value to your social media followers—and you establish yourself as the clear expert in your market!

Social media can be a great way to differentiate your business from the competition—but you have to find a way to stand out.  Be creative, don’t hesitate to think outside the box, and keep these three strategies in mind as you build your social media presence.

Wed Dec 5

Celebrity Branding: Establish Your Value and Stop Competing on Price

Why is personal branding worthwhile? There are many reasons, but today we’re going to focus on one of them: Developing a dominant personal brand will allow you to stop competing on price. You won’t have to charge rock-bottom rates in order to bring in new business, and you won’t have to worry about customers bolting for a competitor the moment they find a lower price.

Here are several ways to accomplish this with your personal brand:

  1. Use your personal brand to highlight your experience and qualifications. Your customers want to know that they are in good hands. If you can position yourself as experienced and well-qualified, you allow them to simply relax and trust that you’ll get the job done right. That sense of confidence is exceptionally valuable—and most customers are willing to pay a premium for it.
  2. Use your personal brand to emphasize your expert status. Media exposure is key—whether that means writing a book, publishing articles in nationally circulated magazines, or appearing on local TV. Many business owners laugh at this idea when we discuss it for the first time—their common response is “what in the world would I have to talk/write about?” But every business owner has a story to tell, and you are no exception! Emphasizing your expertise makes it easy to charge higher rates… because it’s a given that working with an expert means paying a premium rate.
  3. Use your personal brand to communicate what makes you different. A well-defined personal brand makes it easy for your market to understand what makes you different from everyone else out there. At the Celebrity Branding Agency, we are passionate about the music and entertainment industry, and it shows—whether it’s on social media, through our website, or in face-to-face conversation. As a result, our clients know that we have the ability to leverage the same tools that are available to A-list celebrities. Take the time to define your most valuable points of differentiation, whether it’s your education, a revolutionary new product, or a commitment to exceptional customer service—and work to incorporate them into your personal brand.

Your clients prefer to do business with experts whenever they can. Think about it—when your child is sick and you have to choose a doctor, which would you prefer—one who is generic and non-descript, or a recognized expert in his field? Of course you’ll choose the expert. The same goes when you’re choosing an accountant to prepare your taxes, a real estate agent to help you sell your home, or even a mechanic to work on your car.

If you can develop a personal brand that communicates your qualifications, your expert status, and the attributes that set you apart from the competition, it will be very easy for your market to understand the value that you provide. And at that point, your target customers won’t blink at your price tag—because the value you provide more than justifies it.


Mon Nov 12

Personal Branding 101: Six Classic Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Personal branding isn’t something that is ever “done”, as I’ve written before. Building an effective brand is a journey. It’s an ongoing process. It requires consistency and it requires that you create and adhere to a plan.

But while the goal is to consistently strengthen one’s personal brand over time, the reverse is also possible. Below are six common branding mistakes that will sabotage your efforts to build a powerful personal brand. Are you committing any of them?

1) Poor focus. You can’t be everything to everyone. Your personal brand should be focused around a few key qualities—your unique skillset, your sarcastic sense of humor, or your years of experience, for instance. Trying to “do too much” ends up diluting your brand, and you end up not standing for anything. Identify the most important traits or attributes to highlight, and focus your efforts on them.

2) Being Mr. (or Mrs.) Negative. Nobody wants to be around negativity. So no matter what the specifics of your brand may be, stay away from negativity. Don’t complain on social media. Don’t start a phone call by complaining about the weather or your local sports team. Stay positive and upbeat as much as possible, and your brand will be that much more appealing.

3) Misunderstanding your audience. Do you understand your audience? I mean… really understand them. Do you know their hopes and their dreams? Do you know the fears that keep them up at night? It’s critical that you understand your audience in a very comprehensive way so that you can tailor your brand accordingly.

4) Expecting instant results. You can’t build a powerful brand overnight. Unfortunately, many business owners grow discouraged if they don’t see instant results—and as a result pull the plug on what could otherwise be a very successful initiative. Understand that building a personal brand is a long-term project, not something you accomplish overnight.

5) Putting it off. Branding requires consistent work on your part (or on the part of your staff). Updating social media, blogging, networking… it all takes time. And because most business owners are extremely busy, in many cases they end up putting off their branding efforts as they don’t seem as immediately important. Unfortunately, this mindset leads to weak or ineffective branding efforts. If you’re serious about your personal brand, commit to it!

6) Not telling the truth. The worst thing you can do when it comes to building a powerful brand is to make promises you can’t keep. Don’t make outlandish claims or crazy promises just to close a deal. While these tactics may be helpful in the short run, in time it will come back to haunt you. Be honest and upfront as you create your brand… that way you can be sure it is built on a solid foundation that won’t crumble over time.

Personal branding can be extremely profitable for business owners. We’ve talked extensively in this space about the process of creating an effective brand. But if you’re committing any of these mistakes, you’re making the job much harder for yourself! Feel free to get in touch with me or any of the other agents at the agency if you’d like to learn more.


Fri Oct 12

Personal Branding and the Presidency: How Personal Branding Impacts Political Races

We are in the heat of election season now—not like you could have missed it!

It seems like you can’t go five minutes without hearing or seeing an advertisement for President Obama or for Mitt Romney, his challenger. (If you’re completely tired of them and just want the election to be over with already, I can promise you that you’re not alone!)

As you probably know, political elections largely come down to marketing and branding. “Likeability” is an important component of every election—and in fact, many experts believe that the President’s edge in the likeability category is largely responsible for his narrow lead in the polls.

At the end of the day, “likeability” largely comes down to personal branding—so we’re going to take a few moments to look at the efforts both Romney and Obama are making to build their personal brands. How can you apply these lessons to your business?

Pursuing photo ops. If you had a dollar for every time a presidential candidate was “caught” kissing a baby, you’d be very, very wealthy. And it’s no accident. Politicians are acutely aware of the power of photographs to communicate their brand, and they work tirelessly to ensure that they are photographed in as many flattering settings as possible.

Dressing appropriately. Political candidates want to appear to be normal people just like you and I—and they dress accordingly when they’re out campaigning. Mitt Romney in particular seems to be determined to shed the idea that he is somehow “different” from voters due to his wealth and his high-level business success. He can frequently be seen in a dress shirt, with no tie, and with his sleeves rolled up.

Talking about the same things their audience is talking about. Both Romney and Obama made a point of commenting on the “replacement referee” controversy that angered NFL fans through the first four weeks of the season. It’s entirely possible that both candidates did feel passionately about the issue, but it’s also clear that the controversy represented an opportunity to demonstrate that they are “normal” people too.

Interacting with voters and donors. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that politicians put a great deal of energy into every single handshake they make at a campaign event. They want each individual that they interact with to feel valued and appreciated. And they do this by focusing on each interaction, even if it only last for a couple of seconds.

Staying on message. One of the most important elements when it comes to building a personal brand is consistently staying “on message.” They want to hammer the same themes home time after time, and the more they can keep their message consistent, the more sincere and genuine they seem.

You may not be running for office, but you are competing for business. And each of the strategies that are currently being utilized by politicians across the nation can be adapted to work for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more!

Mon Sep 10

Personal Branding Success: Why Relationships Are the “Missing Ingredient”

There are a whole lot of elements that go into building an effective personal brand. Credibility and visibility are two of these crucial elements—credibility to ensure that the business owner is perceived to be an expert in his or her industry, and visibility ensuring that the business owner reaches his or her audience. But beyond these elements and a variety of additional strategies that go into building a powerful brand, there is a “missing ingredient” which is often overlooked.

That ingredient is relationships. It is only through building strong relationships that your personal brand can achieve maximum effectiveness.

Why is this? Because people buy people. They want to do business with individuals that they know, and that they trust. This means that, in addition to the more traditional branding strategies that you are pursuing, you must also be working to develop strong relationships with colleagues, fellow professionals, and potential customers.

These relationships have the power to “prove” that you are:

1) Trustworthy. Today’s consumers are increasingly skeptical, and with good reason. For every great business, there are five more that either do a terrible job or are outright scams. But a strong relationship demonstrates your trustworthiness and makes potential clients much more inclined to do business with you.

2) Knowledgeable. Trust is great, but it alone isn’t enough to close the deal. You need to show that you are a credible expert in your industry. Hopefully you’re pursuing some, if not all, of the strategies that we regularly discuss on my blogand in these articles—because they will position you as an expert within your market. But it’s important that your face-to-face relationship with consumers in your market convey the same image. If your books, your website, and your media presence position you as a respected thought-leader in your industry, your in-person persona should reinforce this image.

3) Relational. Consumers prefer to do business with others that they like. After all, if they’re going to be spending time working with you or with your team, they want to be sure that the time is enjoyable. (Or at least, that it’s not unpleasant.) For many of you, this comes naturally. But if it doesn’t, it’s important that you make an effort to become known as someone who is pleasant to deal with.

4) Reachable. Finally, developing real-life relationships with others in your market demonstrates that you are reachable.One of the fears that many consumers have is that they will agree to do business with an individual or a firm, write them a check—and rarely hear from them again. Work to establish a reputation as someone that is reachable—that returns phone calls or responds to email. It’s much easier for a potential customer to decide to do business with you when they have complete confidence that they’ll always be able to get you on the phone! (Keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be you. A good staff can help relieve the burden of having to respond to hundreds of questions, which happens when you have a large client base, and still keep your customers happy because you and your team are always reachable.)

As you work to create a powerful personal brand, it is important that you continue to invest into building and developing relationships. As you do this, you’ll find that converting prospects into clients becomes easier than ever!

Fri Jul 27

Build Raving Fans: What the Music Industry Can Teach You About Inspiring Loyalty

As a business owner, there are few assets that are more valuable than raving fans. By this, I mean customers that aren’t just satisfied with your business—but that are so happy with it that they can’t stop telling family, friends, and others about you. From a marketing standpoint, this is as good as it gets—even the best-produced TV commercial or the most impressive website can’t influence consumers like a glowing recommendation from someone they personally know.

This sounds great, right—but how can you actually make it happen? This is the first in a two-part series in which we will take a look at proven strategies for generating raving fans and creating loyalty. Where will we pull these strategies from? You guessed it… the music industry. As someone who is deeply involved in the music business as well as more “traditional” business, I witnessed firsthand how strategies that work for musicians can work for your business, too. So here we go…

1) Make fans (customers) feel like insiders. This is particularly true for bands that are just starting out and trying to build a fan base. I tell them all the time that the best thing they can do is make their fans feel like members of the band. The same is true of your business. Let customers get a glimpse behind the scenes from time to time. Sharing pictures on social media is one great way to do this.

2) Develop your own unique “thing.” Lady Gaga is notorious for her creative outfits and stagecraft. When Justin Bieber broke out, it seemed that his haircut was at least as important as his musical ability. What is your “thing”? What can you do to make your business stand out from the crowd? There are many different ways to answer this question—a catchy name for your business, a dynamite personal brand, or even a one of a kind product or service are all ways to differentiate from the crowd.

3) Cultivate relationships with other professionals. One thing that I can say with certainty: it is very hard to succeed in the music industry without the right relationships. And the industry is a relatively small and insulated community—so aspiring musicians must be very careful not to burn any bridges. The same is true in your area. Make an effort to build strong relationships with professionals and fellow business owners… because you never know when knowing the right person could make all the difference.

4) Don’t be afraid to grow. Change is scary. But in business, as in the music industry, the failure to change eventually results in obsolesce. Justin Bieber’s recent “evolution” comes to mind. His re-branding as an adult may have ruffled some feathers and saddened some fans… but the cost for not evolving would have been much worse. Your business can’t afford to stand still—you should always be searching for opportunities to innovate and improve.

Check back soon for part two, where I’ll break down three more lessons from the music industry that can be applied to your business!