How I Know Dennis
Dennis and I first met at a B3 event this past summer. He was recommended for A Good Pour conversation by Erik Thornton.
Dennis’ Sumner Story
Originally from Detroit, Dennis moved to Nashville in 2007 basically because he loves country music. He moved to Sumner County in 2016, and until the pandemic, he commuted to work at Studio Bank in Nashville, a boutique bank offering concierge-level services to its customers. Dennis, also known as the Mortgage Cowboy, is a mortgage relationship manager at Studio. Dennis is husband to Jenna and dad to Savannah and Willow and is a graduate of MTSU.
Mortgage Cowboy is a fantastic personal brand with a logo to remember. He even has stickers, and I love stickers, so this was a successful coffee conversation from the beginning. Of course, I had to know where he got the name, and yes, there is a story. He picked the name because he always wore cowboy boots on Fridays at a previous employer. A customer walked in and called him the Mortgage Cowboy. Dennis, knowing the value of memorable marketing, took it as his own. I love it when great ideas come from random conversations.
Last year, Dennis helped Erik form B3 – Business, Bonding, and Beer, a networking group that hopes to connect like-minded business professionals in a relaxed environment. Their slogan is Good People & Good Times, so you know I like it. Also, I heard good news from him about the podcast they are hoping to create;-they are closer to recording and are working on branding.
I’m confident that if Dennis was not excelling in mortgages, he could have a career in marketing. He knows the value of keeping up a brand and how marketing is really just about relationships. Dennis, talk to me if you ever want to switch careers.
What is helping him right now?
What is an organization or cause near and dear to his heart?
He is on the board of St. Luke’s Community House, a nonprofit in Nashville that empowers children, families, and seniors to live fulfilling lives by providing access to food, childcare, case management, and wraparound services. He is also on the board of Hendersonville Chamber and is a recent graduate of Leadership Sumner.
What is a movie, television show, podcast, writer, song, etc., to add The Good List?
- Serendipity with Inky Johnson
- Green Lights by Matthew McConaughey
(Read more from The Good List.)
What’s a marketing question for me?
What are best practices for building a personal brand?
I’m getting a lot of questions about personal branding right now as people look to define themselves in their careers and industries even though they may work for a business brand. It’s smart because it increases the awareness of your talent and personality, and that heightened awareness makes you more valuable to the employer. Plus, most people would rather follow other people than a brand account, so the reach and understanding of a business can increase due to employees developing personal brands. And really, we all have a personal brand anyway if you are sharing stuff online. Your brand is what you do, what you believe, and your interests.
Here are three tips if you want to develop a brand for yourself:
1. Know your goal. And no, this isn’t about the number of followers; this is about growing awareness. When people think of Dennis, he wants them to think of mortgages immediately, and more importantly, when people think of mortgages, Dennis wants them to think – Mortgage Cowboy Dennis Tulpa. Increased connection equals success, not increased followers.
2. Pick some interests. I tell people to think of no more than five things that genuinely interest them and bring those things into the brand. So for Dennis, it could be mortgages, country music, and networking. That doesn’t mean that you can never post about or talk about other things, but having a few interests defined gives people a few things to latch onto and honestly can make content creation and personal conversations easier. It also expands your connection audience. For example, I may not want to read about mortgages, but Dennis has some pretty cool quotes by country music artists (and others) that I enjoy reading.
3. Be the brand. This is not about creating a brand; a personal brand is just that – the brand of you. If you are establishing a brand that isn’t authentically you, it will fail; I promise. You simply need to be more transparent and purposeful in telling your story and being you. Seriously, this should be easy. Dennis wears a lot of cowboy boots, so he’s got this one covered.