Clubhouse Notes: Top Secrets to Building a Powerful Personal Brand


These are room notes from today’s Clubhouse Room entitled “Top Secrets to Building a Powerful Personal Brand” led by The A.D.S. Agency‘s @MissADS08 (Andrea D. Smith) and @DelanoAJohnson (Delano A. Johnson):

I met Delano recently on Clubhouse in a Brand Voice room and was thoroughly impressed not only by his voice (he has been dubbed “Sexiest Male Moderator Voice on Clubhouse” and can whip out an excellent Optimus Prime impression at a moment’s notice), but also by the fact that he’s been in the branding game for a quarter of a century now as a creative director, has sold over 85,000 books (see and has 15X’d the revenue for a top division of Toys R Us. And today, as HBO’s documentary “Fake Famous” has hit the media scene – detailing the reality of the fake influencer-based economy, this conversation couldn’t have come at a better time. The word “authenticity” is thrown around like a dodge ball on a daily basis and it’s easy to get confused about what’s real influence and what’s not. Today’s conversation around powerful personal branding certainly focused in on the real.

Delano A. Johnson, #theCEOofCreativity

The first thing Delano asked us to consider when it comes to personal branding is Michael Jordan – who built a brand around his gift set. Going around the room, we discussed what we thought might be the number one attribute that could build rapport instantly. We heard comments like his excellence and excitement, the fact that he flew through the air and his athleticism, his confidence and smile, leadership, showmanship and creativity. Ultimately, Delano said that the number one attribute Michael had was his AIRNESS. His hang time was unmatched – like he could defy gravity. “He stayed up in the air seemingly longer than everybody else did,” Delano mentioned. And so Nike built an entire brand around that one word: “AIR.” Michael had flair and his ballerina-like moves were unforgettable.

Delano’s point: as branders, we’re looking to extract that one attribute that builds instant rapport with your audience that’s also marketable as well as extremely evident to everybody else – even though everyone else may see other attributes about you. That one attribute is your core competency (that’s your why). We can find the people who need this and where they hang out – which is where we can start to give that message and find authentic ways to do it.


Before he does every job, Delano always prays and asks God to reveal to him what He’s shown his client. He noted that as branders, we create psychological, visual and physical manifestations of a brand through imagery – and we tie that imagery into a narrative, a story, a value statement and a commitment. Praying, Delano noted, changed the entire trajectory of his business. In the past, he would normally give a customer 3-4 comps to check out. “We do that because we know you’re going to be confused,” he said. “You’re going to ask for some from this one, some from that one – and that’s more billable hours for us. But converting something from your heavenly site to your earthly site is totally different. I use the intuitive communication with the Creator so He can tell me, as the artist, what He showed that person.” Delano noted he has a 98% success rate with showing the customer a concept one time now. So now he doesn’t do 50 comps and he also doesn’t take every customer. “I have to feel a connection. Because I’m joining myself to their dreams. It’s extremely spiritual.”


People see all of the big guys – like Tony Robbins. They’re used to big numbers, but let’s strip that down. You’ve gotta figure out the why here. You have to develop your personal narrative: how are you going to use your experience to bring authentic, real, tangible change in your listeners – the people that are going to follow you? We have to have a reason to constantly smash that follow button. So you have to know for yourself two things: (1) why are you doing this and (2) why is this important to you? If it’s money – let’s strip that. Money is nothing but power reduced to paper. You want that power. Is it that power you had in your corporate life? You have to get to the bottom of it and deal with your why at a molecular level – because otherwise your brand is going to come across as extremely inauthentic. You have to be authentic to yourself and be willing to show up as yourself. The authentic route is the best – it’s like your thumbprint and is totally unique to you. That bespoke path is what you want.

We have to get to the essence of who you are constantly becoming – your Personal Product Brand. These are the parts that we extract from you – different personality traits, your laughter, your talents. We extract these things and then we market them and present them in the market as a point of impact where people can engage with it, get inspiration from it and instruction from it. Those are two different things: your personal brand (the way you dress, your choice of words, etc.) versus your personal product brand. There are definitely two parts to who you are. Ultimately – we promote our solutions to our stories.

LAWYER PERSONAL BRANDS: Lawyers are notoriously bad at branding. Everything is done in the name of professionalism and they can find it difficult to be authentic and fun in a more expressive way – but at the same time, they like helping people. My advice to you: because you know other lawyers are bad at branding and typically go for the images of justice, the alphabet soup of surnames as firm names, etc. – any effort you put towards properly shaping a personal brand in this space will go a long way. For example, there is an outstanding Georgia lawyer TikTok’er who doesn’t dance per se (as most people think TikTok’s all about), but she shows a lot of behind-the-scenes in a lawyer life. She shows her prep for court, how cases turned out, wins of the day, failures, her personal life (she’s LGBTQ and just got married), etc. She probably has half a million followers now there. There’s something to be said for loosening up that stiff, white button-up shirt and infusing some humanity in the legal space.

Just this week, I had a photoshoot with a CPA firm here in Atlanta – a guy and gal team – and the shoot was done in their swanky condo office. It was beautifully decorated – not at all what you would expect from your typical CPA whom people usually think of as dry number-crunchers with no panache or charisma. These people were anything but! The walls were colorful, the decor details were impeccable. It looked like something out of an HGTV makeover. So the photography, the imagery which would be used for their website and social media, needed to reflect their personalities: fun, self-defacing, doesn’t-take-themselves-seriously. That’s a brand that’s going to stand out in this space and it’s going to attract the kinds of clients they want to work with as well.

CAPTURE THE HEART: Pastor R.R. Jordan in the room gave a wonderful way to think about personal branding with a Heart acronym. In the word Heart are three other words: hear, ear and art. “Once you begin to hear,” he said, “you have to have an ear to hear. You can begin to draw out your personal brand in a way that truly reflects your heart’s desires and the things you want to be able to communicate when someone is observing anything you’re putting out. That personal brand needs to come from your heart and you should get excited about your own personal brand” Pastor said.

There was a lot more shared in the room pertinent to people’s personal branding situations, but these are the highlights. Hope you enjoyed it! If you want to get more notes from our Clubhouse room conversations, be sure to sign up at where we can keep you in the know. See you around in the hallway soon!