Professional Coaches: The Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

My name is Andria, and I am a professional brand strategist for entrepreneurs, especially “solopreneurs”. Personal branding is important in many industries, but personal branding for professional coaches is especially important and especially challenging. As a professional coach, your personality is a big part of the product. This stands in contrast to some other products, such as foods; if you like the taste of chocolate, you will buy chocolate candy no matter what the packaging or the advertising campaigns, because you know about the product beyond the brand. Conversely, when you are a professional coach, the only ways to attract new clients is through personal branding or through word of mouth.

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My goal as a professional brand strategist for coaches is to help you develop a brand strategy for their services. Because personal branding for professional coaches deserves to be treated as its own special category within the field of personal branding for entrepreneurs, Bomnipotent’s founder Creighton Wong and I have just written an e-book called Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Make by Professional Coaches – Learn How To Avoid Them. Here are some pieces of wisdom the book contains about personal branding for professional coaches.

  • The four Cs of personal branding
  • Saying just enough, but not too much, on your website
  • Examples of professional coaches who have successfully built personal brands for themselves
  • Ways that technology makes personal branding both easier and more challenging
  • Links to sites that can be helpful in developing your personal brand

The book discusses personal branding for professional coaches from the perspective of a professional brand strategist for professional coaches, but it is so much more than just a list of four mistakes and the solutions to them. You will learn about what personal brand strategy is and how to develop your own unique personal brand as a professional coach. Reading the book is an empowering experience; I do not believe that charisma and presence are something that you either have or you don’t. Instead, the book focuses on things you can do to build your personal brand whether you are just starting out as a professional coach or whether you have been working in the professional coaching field for a while and want to strengthen your brand identity or appeal to a different audience in addition to the client base you already have.

What do you do about negative comments about your business online? What about social media, which can easily put you in contact with any potential friend and just as quickly turn that friend into an enemy? These are challenges faced by many professional coaches, even ones who are careful and meticulously strategize about how they present their businesses and personal brands. Our book contains advice about how to respond to these challenges and many others that you as an independent professional coach face in today’s Internet age. The advice you will learn can help you publicize your company and your services to build a loyal customer base.

If you are really serious about developing your personal brand in order to enhance your coaching career, then sign up for our free webinar, Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Made by Professional Coaches. The webinar will take place on October 19, 2016. Not only is the webinar absolutely free, but everyone who attends will receive a FREE copy of our e-book, Top 4 Personal Branding Mistakes Made by Professional Coaches.

Signup for Free Webinar Now!


Robert Herjavec Shares Why You Don’t Have to be a Shark to Create Success

As an avid watcher of Shark Tank, I jumped at the opportunity to attend an AOL Build taping with “Nice Shark” Robert Herjavec. For those of you who don’t know Robert, he is a successful entrepreneur, cyber security expert, and investor, having come to this country as an immigrant with nothing, and is now worth over $200 million dollars. He was talking about his new book, You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success.


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After seven years of being on Shark Tank, Robert observed that “…people are afraid of sales”. Many people think “sales” is a four letter word or has a sleazy connotation. This inspired Robert to write a book that teaches non-business people how to sell. Herjavec believes you must learn how to sell yourself to create your own success.

Here are some key takeaways from the interview relating to self-promoting your personal brand:

1) If you don’t learn how to sell something… especially yourself…you are not going to be successful in business, at your job, or in relationships.

2) You don’t have to be pushy or arrogant, but you must have confidence in what you are selling.

3) Nobody wants to do business with people who don’t even believe in themselves.

4) Be great at something that you are passionate about.

Watch below the full AOL Build interview of Robert Herjavec on You Don’t have to be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success.



What impressed me about Robert is that there is something relatable about him and his story. To go from someone with nothing to make it big in business is the American dream, even though he’s Canadian. He has done this with passion. Robert shared a story about one of his first computer jobs he got out of college which he had no training for, but he showed he had the passion. He told the boss that he was willing to work free for the first six months until he learned the skills necessary to succeed, and then they could decide to pay Robert if he gave them good value. Robert bet on himself because he believed in himself. On Shark Tank, he regularly invests in people who believe in themselves. It is this passion, this authenticity, that can make you stand out from the crowd in business, or in any endeavor in life.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Voilà – Change, Choices, and Chocolate

New York City entrepreneur turns passion for chocolate into retail entertainment concept where adults and children learn about the art of chocolatiering .

How do you transition from the world of banking and commerce into producing happiness?  Through chocolate, of course!  At least, that was the plan for Peter Moustakerski, who went from the world of consulting and finance to launching one of the most unique businesses in New York City, Voilà Chocolat.  I entered the shop to the enticing aroma of what may be the best chocolate in New York City.  While waiting to meet with him, I had a delicious cup of coffee, and could see the machines which temper the chocolate.  Adults and children come to Voilà to make unique gifts, from bars to chocolate pops to animals, and can personalize their creations with unique toppings.  This makes Voilà a great gathering place for groups, from birthday parties to team building activities. I’m always on the search for entrepreneurs who have interesting personal journeys and backstories.  Peter Moustakerski is one of those entrepreneurs. I sat down to discuss what went into Peter’s decision making process during this radical career change from corporate world to being an entrepreneur.

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Peter Moustakerski, founder of Voilà Chocolat in New York City.

Tell me about your backstory and background.

Peter:  I was born and raised in Bulgaria.  My parents were engineers, and my high school afforded me the opportunity to get exposed to the rest of the world.  I studied computer science and had the opportunity to be part of one of the early exchange programs between Bulgaria and China almost 30 years ago.  I ended up spending the next 13 years of my life in China, at a time when the business environment in China was like the Wild West, a cowboy in an uncharted territory with rules I had to learn as I went forward.  I made many connections and learned the ropes of how to start up a business in China by opening a candy factory producing for the Chinese consumer.  I realized that there was a void, a need in China that I hoped to fill.  I learned to network, wine and dine the right people to get the permits needed, built up the manufacturing and the marketing from the ground up.  We made a lot of mistakes during that time, and also had many successes. Eventually, I moved on from that to work at the USDA.

How did candy manufacturing in China lead to a job with the USDA?

Peter:  It was the late 1990s, and US growers and manufacturers were looking for opportunities to enter and distribute in the Chinese market.  It was a visionary concept to view the people in China as consumers. I had the connections to make that happen in the Chinese food distribution world, so even though I was a third-country national, the USDA hired me.  It was while I was doing this that I met my wife, who was an editor for The Economist writing about the opening China market.  We moved to the US in 2001, and I enrolled at Columbia Business School.  Having my crazy background led to some interesting opportunities.  I became the interpreter for the President of Bulgaria as he traveled around China and Hong Kong.  From there, I got involved in the consulting crowd for Booz Allen.  I later ran a strategic initiatives group for UBS, where I learned how to be effective in large business environments. After that, I began working for Bridgewater with its founder, Ray Dalio, who recruited me to help build his family office.  

What did you learn from working with Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater?

Peter:  Ray Dalio is a very smart and intellectually intense person.  But he also pushed you to your limits.  A few years earlier, he had begun thinking about and writing what was behind his success.  He wrote down his values and principles, which became the nucleus for the culture of Bridgewater.  The published vision was followed at Bridgewater almost at a cult level.  His process of self-analysis was a great opportunity to learn who you are, what you want, and how you are going to go about getting it.  After this job, I realized that something was missing in my world, and in the world in general: having more hands-on, creative fun together with other people. So I wanted to fill that void.  I realized that whatever activity we do as people, we are only going to enjoy it if we do things we believe in.  

How did working at the world’s largest hedge fund lead to the idea of Voilà Chocolat?

Peter:  I knew I wanted to work with chocolate.  I combined my passions for chocolate and business, and observed how much fun people were having when they were working with chocolate, as I used them as willing guinea pigs  along my journey of learning the chocolate craft.  I realized I could create a retail entertainment concept, that did not exist in the world, where people could interact and learn about the art of chocolatiering .  Then came the journey of taking that concept, and making it a real business. Thankfully, I had the background to create a business plan that would work, raise the capital needed for this venture, and connections that helped me build a network of people that would stand behind this seemingly crazy concept, and finally recruiting people who shared this vision.  After spending over 2 years launching the business and running the first store for over a year, we now have plans to expand, and aim to have 50 retail stores in key markets around the country.  Our vision of a larger concept gives us the flexibility so we can change and modify quickly to evolve.

What is one mantra that has helped throughout this journey?

Peter:  Creating a business is a very personal journey.  Corporations were designed to be impersonal, to shield away the people.  A business works well when it reflects your personality and values. We have a simple values-based vision at Voilà:  Create unexpected happiness. Succeeding in this goal becomes a powerful multiplying effect.  So, the people you hire should share your vision, your energy, your promise.

What other advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?

Peter: You have to be patient to get from A to Z, as the path is not always straight.  Keep to your values as a compass to guide you along the path to arrive at the best decisions.  Things are not going to turn out exactly the way you expected.  You have to have the passion to elevate you up.  You have to have the forward drive to say: if it didn’t happen today, it will happen tomorrow. Like a marathoner, think about the next step, not the long journey ahead. You have to be agile, and have sideways flexibility when you come against a wall.  You need to create an agile evolutionary process to succeed.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Self-Promotion: Building Your Personal Brand Without Bragging

Have you ever had a meeting or conversation with someone and thought, “It’s always about them.” or, “They never asked me one question about how I was doing.”

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Sounds familiar? We’ve all had negative experiences in our personal and professional lives with self-centered people who brag about themselves. Someone name dropping, or telling you how great they are, and never engaging others in the conversation is not self-promotion…. it’s BRAGGING. I know for myself, the art of self-promotion often doesn’t come naturally. Negative experiences I’ve had with people who “brag” can make me feel uncomfortable to promote myself.

There is a big difference between bragging and self-promotion. Self-promotion has more to do with active listening, asking questions, and talking less. It’s about coming from a place of, “How can I help?” vs. “What’s in it for me?” Especially for entrepreneurs, consultants, founders, and paid experts, the ability to actively listen well is actually a silent branding tactic that will help you “play big” and position you as a “go to” authority in your industry. The ability to self-promote and sell your expertise to people is critical to success.

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Helen Dayen – Executive Business Coach

Recently, I met Helen Dayen, founder of The Dayen Group, at the launch of the NYC Working Mom’s Networking Meetup Group, which I co-founded. Helen is an executive business coach in New York City. She specializes in coaching successful professionals in industries such as financial services, tech, and consulting that are seeking greater success. During our conversation, she mentioned she had just given a presentation on self-promotion. I shared with her how some of my clients struggle with the same issue in trying to monetize their expertise. Helen gave me some expert advice and tips on self-promotion.

Like so many entrepreneurs, Helen’s journey and motivation to become an entrepreneur was triggered by life changing events. After 10 years as a sales professional on Wall Street, she realized a greater passion for transforming people’s careers and helping develop leaders more than selling bonds and thus made a choice to leave. The big catalyst for her to become an entrepreneur came when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. Helen’s mom told her, “Life is too short, and if you’re not happy, you should do something else.” At the same time, a close friend transitioning from the sell side in hedge funds was struggling with the transition. In wanting to help her friend, Helen started doing research on “how hedge fund managers deal with stress”. Through her research, Helen discovered the whole world of executive business coaching, which combined her passions for business, career development, and human psychology.

For a year, Helen continued to work in finance and did executive coaching on the side to see if she liked it. It turned out she was very good at it. Just like most professionals and entrepreneurs, she had to work on developing and honing her self-promotion skills to market her executive coaching business services. What she discovered about promotion, unlike when she was selling on Wall Street where self-promotion felt like “work”, marketing her services didn’t feel hard because she was authentic and passionate about being an executive coach.

Helen and I have both noticed an epidemic of people who are afraid to self-promote. Her clients are smart, hard-working, but don’t let people know what accomplishments they have achieved or even let people know “what” gifts and services they can provide. This leads to missed opportunities for new clients, a promotions, or recognition.

Most people think self-promotion is about walking into someone’s office bragging about how great you are. Helen disagrees 100% with this notion. You have to not just talk, but show. People have to know what you want, but it’s also important to gain trust, establishing a relationship where you can add value to what matter most for the other person. For example, a senior financial executive came to Helen for coaching. Even though this person had a great new position with an asset management company, she did not see it as a success. What the client realized was she wanted more client facing work than focusing on internal company financials. The game plan was to determine a goal the Chief Marketing Officer wanted accomplished, but didn’t have the time to do. Helen’s client started by asking questions to figure out what mattered to the CMO. The result of listening was overtime opportunities where she demonstrated her abilities, while gaining the trust and confidence of her CMO. Recognizing her added value, he asked her to be on direct calls with clients. The result, she now reports directly to the CMO, instead of the Chief Financial Officer, and is a valued member of the marketing team.

Here are some tips from Helen Dayen on how to be more effective at self-promotion:

1) Eliminate Negative Self-Talk. You cannot self-promote if you don’t believe in your own value. Negative self-talk is that voice in your head, self-doubt that you are not good enough. She has found most of that internal dialogue is based on emotion instead of facts. You need to identify what is the trigger that starts the negative self-talk and challenge those negative thoughts.

2) Discover What Matters to Others. When self-promoting and talking about what you do, take out the “I” and replace it with “You”, which is far more powerful! Come from a place of wanting to help. Ask yourself, “What does this other person care about, what worries them? Connect your expertise, connections, or skills as a solution to their problems. It is essential to figure out what matters to people to build trust and show how you can add value.

3) Identify What You Want. Before starting to self-promote, identify what you want to achieve. Make sure you have a clear and achievable vision for self-promotion success.

4) Build A Connection. Try to get to know people on a deeper emotional level by asking questions and validating their feelings. Tailor responses to what matters most to the other person, using their language. Find specific examples of how you helped with a similar problem or situation. Show you understand their struggles and frustrations, and build a relationship based on respect and trust.

5) Don’t Downplay Self-Accomplishments. Knowledge is power. Self-promoting can actually help others. When you hold information back assuming that it would be of no value to others, you are missing out on opportunities. Are you not sharing your accomplishments because you can’t see a direct link to your audience? Learn what motivates the individuals you are interacting with, and think about how you can connect their needs to your strengths.

Next time you are meeting with a prospective client, ask some of these questions, and think about how their responses can connect with your strengths:

  • “What do you not have time for?” Time is a precious resource. We cannot create more time and will only delegate time to people and companies we trust.
  • What has been a stumbling block?
  • What have you accomplished, and what has been a challenge this year or month?

Questions: Are you bragging or self-promoting? What have you found works when self-promoting your expertise?  Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


“Beeing” Full Frontal: Samantha Bee and Making Your Point

As a personal brand strategist, “the backstory” on how individuals take a passion and turn it into a successful business always fascinates me. Often, a life-changing event led people to pursue a particular profession. Being a New Yorker, one of the opportunities I take advantage of is going to AOL Build interviews at AOL Headquarters. I recently went to see Samantha Bee talk about her new TBS series, “Full Frontal”.

As an avid viewer of the The Daily Show with John Stewart, one of my favorite correspondents was Samantha Bee.   Many alumni, such as Stephen Colbert Steve Carell, and John Oliver have graduated from The Daily Show and gone on to achieve great success. Just like Colbert, Carell, and Oliver, Samantha Bee is charting new territory as the only woman in the late-night show field with her new TBS series “Full Frontal” which airs on Monday nights at 10:30 pm ET.

Click here to watch the AOL Build’s Samantha Bee interview:

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At the AOL Build interview, Bee shared her journey and the process of creating a new show that offers a unique, satirical take on weekly news and explores in-depth stories that have been largely overlooked by more traditional media outlets. What I’ve always liked about Samantha is her strong point of view and comedic take on politics. At first, she mostly tried to be quiet and fit in at The Daily Show. Samantha shared it was Jon Stewart who really encouraged her to find, explore, and develop a strong point of view. Being able to have a convincing, controversial point of view takes a lot training and boldness, which is what she had at The Daily Show. As she said at the AOL Build interview about the show concept:

We wanted our show as authentic as humanly possible, and we hoped other people would go on that journey with us. It turns out other people will go on that journey with us, which is very rewarding because we know we have a strong point of view.

Personal branding is all about you being at the center of your brand and having a unique perspective/voice to stand out from the competition. Here is what I took away from Samantha Bee’s interview on building a strong point of view:

  • Don’t be afraid to have a point of view. Make it strong and real!
  • Go out in the world and talk to people who disagree with you.
  • If you’re going to create something (i.e. a business, TV show, etc.), create something you enjoy and are passionate about.
  • Don’t get caught up in what people might think who do not share your opinion.

Questions: Is the point of view of your brand clear to your audience? Do you keep your point of view strong and real?  Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.

 


DIY Project – Marketing and Promoting Your Personal Brand

Most entrepreneurs, paid experts, or consultants don’t have a lot of cash to burn on marketing. For those whose goal is to monetize their expertise, an online marketing strategy and self-promotion is a must! As a personal brand strategist and online marketing consultant, there are various free or minimal-cost ways to market and promote your company and/or services.

online-marketing-1246457_1280Here are some free or low cost marketing tactics you can do today to quickly start building reputation, authority, as well as generate leads for your services.

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  • Search Engine Optimize your website. It’s worth the investment to hire someone to help you optimize your website for Google searches. You don’t need to spend a fortune. You can find top people on fiverr.com or upwork.com. Don’t forget clients may exist in your own backyard, so SEO your website for local search rankings, as well!
  • SEO blog posts for keywords. Make sure to SEO blog posts for key search words which help build your Google search rankings. WordPress plugins, such as Yoast and All In One SEO Pack Pro) makes it simple to do.
  • Be consistent with content publishing schedule. It doesn’t matter how much you publish, just try to be consistent in your content schedule. Stick to what works best for you – daily, bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly. Just be consistent and SEO content!
  • Crowd source for writers. Have great ideas for content? If you have the ideas, but not the time, don’t fall into the trap of writing everything yourself. Even NY Times Bestsellers have collaborators and editors. Hire affordable and professional writers/editors for content (i.e. blog posts, copy, social media posts, and eBooks) on sites like crowdcontent.com and fiverr.com.
  • Start your own digital newspaper.   Curate content that’s aligns with your customers’ interests and automatically share that content on social media, and own your own website. For example, I have The Personal Brand Buzz.
  • Interest breeds authenticity. All your competitors are looking for customers in the same places. Stand out from your competition. Find out what your clients and prospects like to do for fun or social causes. For example, maybe they like to surf. Write a blog post connecting that interest with what you do.  Write about some of your own personal interests. You never know when something you have an authentic passion for will also build a connection with a prospect.

CONNECTIONS:

  • Leverage personal connections. Identify 10–15 people on your LinkedIn account who can recommend, refer, or hire your services. See if you can determine who they might know that can be a good fit for your services. Be specific on who you are looking to connect to, and most importantly ask them “How can I help build your success?” Reap the benefits by paying the favor forward.
  • Build an email list. People love free stuff! Write a book, white paper, or tip sheets. Create a pop-up or lead page on a website and offer a free download after people enter their email. Use Evercontact.com app to capture contact info in emails.
  • Stay in touch. Use Mailchimp.com and send an email to your list at least once a month with a new blog post, link to a relevant study or article, or tools that your think you people find helpful in their day-to-day work or personal life.
  • Join and attend Meetup.com. Meetup groups are a great way to meet and connect with prospective clients as well as fellow peers.  And, if there is not one near you, create your own Meetup.com group.
  • Offer pro bono services. Is there a non-profit or charity organization whose members are ideal clients for you? For example, I do pro bono marketing for my daughter’s PTA fundraiser, which has a number of parents who are consultants and entrepreneurs.
  • Attending an industry or networking event. Connect with the speakers and panelists at the sessions. They tend to be industry influencers and have extensive personal and professional connections.  Make sure to follow-up by connecting on social media, or see if you can meet for coffee.

PR/MEDIA:

  • Get free PR. Find opportunities to serve as an expert source for media by signing up for FREE at haro.com or bottlesource.com. One client who did this was successfully featured in press such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.
  • Who doesn’t like free publicity? Interview a client, a follower, or influencer for your blog or a video and share on social media. Make sure to include their handle in the social media post. Helping them look good will only have positive effects for your reputation.
  • Think like a spy! Use Spyauthority.com or Klout.com to find top influencers by topic. Follow to see what they write about. Write comments on their blog as a way to build relationships and strengthen your influence.
  • Express yourself. Read an interesting blog, article, or watched a compelling news segment? Write a comment about what you liked or counter point. Add to the conversation.   A friend made poignant commentary on a CNN blog post and ended up later being featured in a CNN segment story.

SPEAKING:

  • Speak up! Speaking is a great way to build your reputation as a paid expert, as well as generating word-of-mouth marketing leads for your services.
  • Where to speak? Connect with planners for events, chapters, or local professional organizations to see if there are opportunities for you to serve as a panelist, a presenter for a live event, or webinar guest. Also, check out expertfile.com and speakermatch.com where you may find some great opportunities.
  • Do more than speak. Stand out from your competitors by adding extra value as a speaker. Offer to promote their event on your own social media, write a blog post or vlog for their website, or do a free webinar to help them promote their event. Added value for event organizers enhances your repeat opportunities.
  • Don’t let people go away empty handed. Most adults learn visually, so offer a free tip sheet or link to your slide presentation via slideshare.com. Share your session with the event #hashtag or twitter account with a link to a free download of additional content material. Organizers and attendees LOVE THIS!
  • Offer a free webinar. A great way to showcase your expertise, promote your brand, build social proof, and generate leads.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • LinkedIn is a Must! A LinkedIn account is a must to build your authority and reputation as an expert. Publish your blog posts on LinkedIn, join relevant groups for target markets, and offer advice or comments for group questions, or ask questions for fostering further discussions
  • Manage your social media. Social media can be a time sucker. Post 5 times a day on social media. Plan out and schedule your content using tools like Buffer.com or klout.com to manage, as well as track analytics.
  • Don’t forget to share your blog post. For each blog post create 5 different tweets about your blog post to go out at various times within a 24 hour span, as well as post to other social media accounts..
  • What’s hot today? Each day look at what is trending on twitter. Join in the conversation by retweeting, adding a comment, or creating at tweet. Find ways to connect the topic discussion back to your brand.
  • Make a video on your smartphone. People love video. Create a 90 second “How To” video using your smart phone and share on social media. Need a video editor? Check out upwork.com or thumbtack.com.
  • Build followers:Refollow.com is a great tool to help you build your Twitter audience. You want to try and keep your Twitter follower and following to a 1:1 ratio. Clean house periodically and unfollow those who don’t follow to keep your Twitter feed fresh.

Questions: What marketing tactics have you tried that have generated good results? What is the one thing you struggle with the most when marketing your expertise and personal brand? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and marketing consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Kanye West Needs A Time Out Before Destroying his Personal Brand

Kanye, you need a time out! We need a break! There’s a fine line between being controversial and spiraling out of control.

The twitter rants, public attacks at Taylor Swift, and self-proclaiming to be a god is out of control. As a personal brand strategist, it’s really painful and scary to see successful people take their personal brands and reputations down a self-destructive path of no return.

Just because you made it to the top once, Kanye, doesn’t mean you can do it again if things fall apart. I’ve helped rebrand professionals who have suffered traumatic career setbacks that have played out in the media. These are my toughest and most challenging projects. Some people recover, and some don’t. For those who are able to rebrand and start over, it takes years to recover and repair some, not all, of the damage.

For those in the public eye, such as professional athletes, actors, or recording artists, it is important to protect your personal brand and reputation as much as you protect and invest your money. Your brand is your money maker, so you need to protect it even more! The fall from grace is never pretty, such as we have seen with Whitney Houston, Lance Armstrong, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan.

Kanye, many successful public figurers surround themselves with management teams and family members who don’t have the individual’s best interest at heart, enabling and even stroking the self-destructive personal branding and reputation behavior. For example, Melissa Rivers, on Fashion Police, recently asked Kris Jenner how the family selected what the Kardashians would wear to the recent Kanye West’s Yeezy Session 3 Fashion Show in NYC. Melissa Rivers asked…”Did he [Kayne] design each outfit for you [Kardashian-Jenner family] specifically? And did he give you options? And what was going to happen if you said, ‘I don’t like it?’ “ Kris Jenner’s response was…”I don’t think any of us would dare say we didn’t like it.”

Kayne, maybe everyone on your payroll or family is too afraid to tell you the truth or to stop. I’m not!

Let me offer you some FREE personal branding and reputation management advice. There is a fine line between controversial and self-destructive. You need to STOP before your personal brand and reputation goes up in flames.

If you can’t handle $53 million in personal debt now, I guarantee you will be far more in debt professionally, emotionally, and financially if your career, business ventures, personal relationships, and brand goes down the drain. Your buddy, JayZ, may be happy you’re boosting Tidal subscriptions, but you are quickly crossing the line and becoming a brand liability instead of a brand asset to family members, business partners, and endorsers, such as Adidas. For example, you could have ruined your sister-in-law’s endorsement deal with Puma with your latest Twitter rant. When your behavior starts hurting family members, they will begin to avoid you so you won’t affect their bottom line.

Is this what you want? I don’t think so. It’s clear something is going on in your personal and professional life. I hope you will reach out and ask for help from someone who will offer you some unconditional and unbiased support, guidance or advice. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for your two beautiful children. As someone who has seen too many go down this self-destructive path, you can turn this around before it is too late. Quoting yourself,


My fifteen seconds up, but I got more to say

That’s enough Mr. West, please no more today.

Kanye, do something to protect your personal brand before your 15 seconds and your opportunities are gone.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


Personal Branding is Why Donald Trump Will Win the GOP Nomination

As a New Yorker and a personal brand strategist, I have to admit when I first saw Donald Trump announce his candidacy for presidency, I thought… “Here we go again with another Donald Trump PR stunt”. However, my opinion changed when I watched the first CNN Republican Debate in August along with 22 million other viewers. Frankly, it was the best two hours of reality TV I’ve ever watched! I remember saying to my husband…“the GOP better take him seriously because Donald Trump is a master at leveraging his personal brand and the media.”

donald-trump

While I’m not a fan of Donald Trump, his double-digit primary wins in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada are impressive from a branding and marketing perspective. Trump seems to be steamrolling his way to winning the GOP nomination. While the GOP may still be in denial about Trump and top political strategists and pundits are scratching their heads why this “outsider” is leading in the polls, there is actually a very simple explanation for the Donald’s popularity and success. It’s personal branding! Here is how a personal branding master plays big to win:

First, a personal brand is a lightning bolt. Personal branding is essentially telling your story in your own voice. No matter what you are offering to your target audience, you must be at the center of your brand. A personal brand has tremendous power. You can either harness this power, or it will electrocute you. There is no mistaking…Donald Trump is the CENTER of his brand. He is a master at projecting power and protecting his personal brand by being clear and consistent on his brand message platform as to who he is, what he does, and what’s his story. Did you happen to hear that Trump is a billionaire and has done thousands of deals? We have all heard it, loud and clear!

Second, masters of personal branding keep their brand message platform simple and relatable, such as Donald Trump’s mantra, “Let’s Make America Great Again”. This simple message has gotten many people to “buy-in”. Donald Trump is tapping into fears, frustrations, and economic challenges people have with the current status quo in the United States. A branding master knows how to identify pain points for their audience and quickly build a deep emotional connection through shared common interests, goals, struggles, or passions. People may say they don’t trust Trump, but believe he is correct that America has lost its way. He has struck a nerve. When you connect with people on a deep emotional level, they feel like you understand their challenges and problems. They will walk through fires and do your marketing for you. Just look at the size of Donald Trump’s rallies compared to all the other candidates on both sides.

Third, masters know how to keep their personal brand front and center in the media. They are constantly putting content and comments out to attract followers and the media. Think about it, Trump’s approach to media is more like an entertainer (i.e. Kanye West) than a presidential candidate. Since the presidential election in 2008, the media world has changed dramatically. We now live in a celebrity obsessed, reality TV, Kardashian world where entertainment is news, and news, political or not, is entertainment. Being provocative, personal attacks on people’s reputation, family, appearance, and integrity (live or via social media) is not an option, but almost a requirement to gain attention, followers, and airtime. As we have seen, no one is safe from a Donald Trump public or social media attack, even the Pope. Unfortunately for the other candidates, Trump has pretty much sucked up all the media time and attention.

Fourth, personal brand masters are experts at “growth hacking” their personal brands and DON’T need to spend a lot of money on marketing. Look as the latest campaign casualty, Jeb Bush, who spent $130 million on his primary efforts. Even money couldn’t help him with his personal brand image and the ability to connect emotionally with voters. When you have to beg for applause, it’s all over. A master brand manipulator uses integrated marketing strategies to build their brands. They focus on the big multipliers which generate the most influence and word-of-mouth marketing buzz. These are speaking, PR/media, content, connections, and social media. As we all know, Donald knows how to communicate his thoughts and opinions across all marketing channels (i.e. Tweeter and speaking) while remaining on-message, true to his brand.

jeb-bush

Finally, what makes Donald Trump unique is that he is both a disruptor and a master of personal branding. For competitors, this is a deadly combination if you don’t know how to play the game. There is nothing typical about this election cycle. In a crowded field, you have to find ways to stand out from the competition. To position yourself as an influencer, authority, or leader, a personal branding master is not afraid to stand out and offer unique perspectives, provoke, or take a stance against the status quo. Donald Trump’s approach to his campaign has been unorthodox. He has been controversial by challenging, provoking, and disrupting the usual politics by self-funding his campaign, then openly discussing campaign fundraising, and attacking his rivals for their fundraising influences, which immediately set him apart from his opponents. He challenged the media itself as being unfair in their influence. Both these issues struck a chord with the public. Donald Trump has hammered these points home repeatedly with powerful effect, as seen at the polls. His message continues to resonate and will result in the GOP nomination.

Questions: Is Donald Trump a master at personal branding? Can disruptive personal branding create an impact for your business? Share your answers on LinkedIn or Twitter.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.


5 Things A Leader Can Do To Improve Their Reputation

What are your professional goals for 2016? Earning a promotion, scaling-up your company, recruiting the best talent, or improving team performance? Your success will be determined by your ability to build relationships, shape culture and drive breakthrough results, as well as the ability to enhance your reputation as a great leader that attracts and retains top talent.

To live by

Why is reputation important to leaders?

As a personal brand strategist, my most challenging rebranding and reputation repair projects are senior executives who have suffered traumatic reputation damage due to negative media or social media attacks. We live in a world where everyone is a free agent according to the article Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders: 50 intrepid guides for a messy world.   It takes a different way of leading to survive this fast paced world, as well as prevent the revolving door of employees leaving, disengagement, burnout, or even worse, an online negative reputation attack led by unhappy employees.

For example, Indeed.com requires an individual to review past employers before applying for a position. Have you read any of these reviews? People do not hold back! Think about it…would you go to a restaurant if you read bad reviews on Yelp.com about the lack of service or how bad customers are treated? Probably not! The same goes for leaders. You are not going to recruit or retain top talent, as well as survive if people hear or read negative things about your leadership, how employees are treated, or if the work environment is not friendly.

As a personal branding expert, I believe a leader’s reputation is directly linked to their interpersonal skills. I asked my client, Chalmers Brothers, who is an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership development, what has been his experience working with Fortune 500 and tech senior executives when it comes to interpersonal skills? As co-author of Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence: How Extraordinary Leaders Build Relationships, Shape Culture and Drive Breakthrough Results, Chalmers found most leaders are fired, replaced, or removed not because they lack technical expertise or know-how, but due to the lack of effective interpersonal skills.

5 Things a Leader Can Do to Improve Their Reputation

All leaders have their own unique style, habits, and routines of how they lead, communicate, engage with others, and build relationships… for better or worse. But the lack of effective interpersonal skills often prevents leaders from achieving their professional and personal goals, and can damage their reputation permanently.

From his upcoming SOAR Executive Retreat in March, Chalmers offers five essential things individuals can do today to improve their leadership effectiveness, reputation, and drive results:

  1. Build Healthy Relationships. Resist the temptation to fall for “The Grand Illusion” that you are the leader and in control. This leads to developing unhealthy, dysfunctional, unproductive working relationships. Real power, energy, effectiveness is achieved when you are able to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships both inside and outside the organization.

  2. Grow Emotionally. Become as emotionally intelligent as you are intellectually intelligent. Notice missing conversations in your life and learn how to increase the quality of critical conversations with the most important people in your professional and personal lives. Mood and emotions of people dramatically impact organizational performance.

  3. Agree to Disagree. Do you have to be right all the time? Create a space for healthy, respectful disagreement that leads to a team situation which encourages a full commitment to action. Most of us will not volunteer to be with, work with, or associate with people who constantly make us wrong. Being right all the time drives people away from the organization and prevents successful execution.

  4. Execute. Organizations are networks of commitments (requests, offers, and promises) to take action. As a leader, notice whether or not you’re getting valid response when making a request of another, as well as when you are (or aren’t) providing a valid response to someone else’s request of you. Learn the “nuts and bolts” of execution and dramatically improve how people collaborate and work together. Your leadership purposefully shapes and sustains a culture of accountability.

  5. Keep Learning. Be willing to say, “I don’t know”. This vulnerability is really a strength that produces opening for learning opportunities where they did not previously exist. This expands your ability to “look at things” in multiple ways, which greatly increases your horizon of possibilities. Declare yourself a beginner in domains in which you need to grow. Whether it is emotional intelligence, leadership techniques, or any other skills needed to succeed, a leader striving to learn is perceived not as an individual with a weakness or liability, but wisdom and a position of strength. Continuous learning fosters an environment of innovation and adaptability, as well as helps you stay relevant as a leader.

Questions: What is your leadership reputation inside and outside your organization? Are you doing everything you can to optimize your interpersonal skills? Share your answers on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.