US professional speaker JT Foxx does something clever with his branding. Sometimes referred to as ‘The World’s No. 1 Wealth Coach’, he travels the globe, speaking, training and recruiting aspiring speakers. Foxx has become extremely recognisable through his yellow tie and his academies for speaker training. 

Whenever he arrives in a country, you invariably see aspiring speakers posing alongside Foxx for photo opportunities. These individuals then typically change their profile pictures on social media to show themselves standing side by side with the man. 

This is incredibly clever branding … for JT Foxx. It is also very poor branding for the other speaker in question. You can imagine their thought process when they post the photo: ‘If I stand next to JT Foxx, people will think I’m significant.’ In reality, if you stand next to JT Foxx, people will think JT Foxx is significant. 

There may be merit in taking a training course with a high-level professional. But, in terms of becoming iconic, there is only disadvantage to be found in being that high-level professional’s acolyte in the public eye. 

In your quest to position yourself as an expert, have the courage to use your own name. Build your own brand. One day, you can be the JT Foxx of your industry. 


Douglas Kruger, CSP, is a global speaker, who focuses on brand, culture and innovation. He is the author of five business books with Penguin and has won the national championships for Public Speaking, through Toastmasters International, a record 5 times.

In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. In 2018, the National Speakers Association granted him the accreditation of Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by only 12 per cent of speakers globally.

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