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Rohit Bhargava is a Senior Digital Strategy & Marketing VP at Ogilvy.  He is also a power blogger and the author of an interesting new marketing book called Personality Not Included.  To promote it, he came up with a cost effective blogger endorsement strategy….3 days ago, he put out an open call, asking for any blogger to send him a 5 question interview that he would personally respond to.  I joined the challenge as I highly respect his opinion and thoughts.  I have to say, his answers were great…I bet Rohit will also find an engaging way to fill us all on the performance of the book later (e.g. did he make the top 20 biz book list on Amazon?).  I for one will definitely start recommending his Personality Not Included book at work and through my networks.  Below are the five questions (with the answers now).  Plus, a more personal additional question at the end…

You wrote a book on personality.  Did you discover that there was a crisis of brand character/equities after working with certain clients or did the idea just evolve?

ROHIT:  I would have to say the idea evolved from a trend I was continually seeing among companies of how they manage to stand out that was beyond the more common descriptions of authenticity. In the book, I tried to bring together what I felt was the three top trends in business today – authenticity, social media, and wom.  Personality is the umbrella concept that I believe brings all of these together.

Do you have a standard ”10 tips methodology” to getting brand personality back? Or, is the formula “woven” into the fabric of your book?

ROHIT:  Not sure if I can offer ten easy tips – but I did put the first part of the book into six chapters which you could easily look at as a six step process:

1. Understand how your organization loses personality
2. Learn who the voices are that should speak for your brand
3. Define your organization’s personality
4. Create a compelling backstory
5. Conquer the fear or get past roadblocks
6. Find and use your personality moments

What is the Point of difference for your book? Why should I buy this book as a brand marketer & how do you expect to change the marketing world with your book?

ROHIT:  This is by far my favourite question because it lets me do my little pitch for why I think this book is great – so here it goes. The main difference with this book versus most other marketing books comes down to two things. The first is my storytelling approach that actually makes it easy (as opposed to boring) to read. You’ll be the judge of whether or not that works. The second is that I have a unique two part format that let me focus on offering the idea of personality, and also an action guide (in Part 2) of how to put personality into action in your organization. That means this is not just a big think book, but also a useful guide.

Do you have any tips for those wanting to write their own marketing books? What are you goals for the book?

ROHIT:  This is a really good topic that I am sure to do a comprehensive blog post about at some point, but a few quick tips I would have are:

1. Don’t overstress about research – do your research, but know ahead of time if you are writing an academic research based book or not. PNI is not that kind of book.

2. Understand the positives and negatives of selfpublishing versus going with a publisher. In a nutshell, by self publishing, you make more per book and have full control. With a big publisher you get great distribution. For me, the distribution was the most important thing, which is why I went with the publisher I have.

As a VP, you must be a super busy guy…how did you manage all this and what times of the day were the easiest for you to write?

ROHIT: I wrote the book in about 5 months and while I was writing I changed my work schedule so I would only work 4 days a week. So, essentially, I wrote the book on Fridays and weekends. My “hump” during the day was definitely 3-5 pm … that was the time I had big trouble staying focused. It’s tough to save up your ideas to only write one or two days per week. I’m not sure I would do it the same way if I had to choose over again, but I don’t think 5 months is too long of a timeframe to write a book so maybe it worked for me

Do you think that the lack of brand personalities today comes from the top down?  That is to say, do we see a lack of individual heart or spirit within top management? Did you bring your personal religious beliefs into the book?

ROHIT:  Interesting take on the question – I’d have to say it’s not that they have lost their souls but that they are often afraid to use them. I wouldn’t consider myself religious, but I do believe in karma and have never been afraid to take a risk at work and apologize later. Unfortunately, fear rules many managers when it comes to deciding about how to promote their business … which is why I devoted all of Chapter 5 to ways of conquering this fear (whether it is yourself or your boss).