Personal brand and Alan Jones: The three lessons you can learn from the shock jock

From the moment his fateful words were captured on video and shared around there has been no shortage of commentary and hand-wringing about the Alan Jones thing. To date I have resisted entering the fray save a few tweets here and there, mostly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to add.

I’ll go on record as saying I loathe what he said and don’t know the man beyond what I have seen, heard and read.

However – and here I’ll surprise some people, in so far as Alan Jones’ personal brand goes, seems to me it was bang on target.

He has made his bones making hateful comments about anyone and anything to the left of centre politically speaking. His grandiose sense of self-importance and talk first and apologise later modus is not all that different from many others who hold media sway, even if his targeting and commentary is a little more extreme.

As anyone who reads this blog regularly will know, I say “Brand is the result of the promises you keep” – and that is no less true of individuals than of organisations. And by any measure I apply, Alan Jones has a strong personal brand because it is aligned, it is consistent and he keeps his promises.

Is it objectionable to many? Sure. But I don’t have to like who he is or what he says. I don’t have to like the brand he has built. I don’t have to like the things that come out of his mouth. I don’t have to like the promises he makes or keeps. I don’t have to support him with my attention or my ad dollars.

But it’s his brand and his right to be whoever and however he wants to in the same way Walmart can, Apple can, Telstra can and Commbank can! (Couldn’t resist that one.)

If you look beyond the what he says (hard for many I know) and beyond the things he does (again hard for many to do), you can actually see a thing or three in action that show how to build a personal brand. Moral judgement about intent and the brand result aside.

1. Be consistent
2. Everyone is not your audience
3. Keep your promises

For all the hand-wringing, sponsors fleeing from his program, charges and counter charges of bullying – the hype around the situation is really just more grist for his particular mill.

Because, when all is said and done, if your personal brand is predicated on controversy then all this is just another day in the life of brand Alan Jones.

Michel is an independent Brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan


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