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.

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.

What do you want to know about personal branding?


Each week I get many inquiries from entrepreneurs, business authors, and consultants about how to brand and position themselves as paid experts in the B2B marketplace. Some FAQs I’ve received include:

What are the steps I need to take to brand and position myself as an expert?

How do I monetize my personal brand?

How do I figure out my target market?

How did I take a business author from $300K to $2 million in three years?

If I’m employed full time, can I brand and position myself as a paid expert while still working?

Do I need to have a website?

How do I market myself as a paid expert?

How do I get into the professional speaking business?

Do I need to write a book?

…and the list goes on. I love the input because I’m very passionate about helping individuals tap into the power of their personal brand and play big in the B2B marketplace. I want to learn how I can better help you better create, build, and monetize your personal brand.

So, what burning questions do you have about branding and positioning yourself as a paid expert?

 Click and send me your questions!


Online Reputation

Online Reputation

If a potential client looks you up online, what will they see? This is an ever-increasing worry for small businesses as the internet marketplace becomes more and more dominant. Your online reputation is built and destroyed by the things you post, the websites you frequent, the comments you make publicly, and the comments that are made about you. A few bad remarks on Facebook, or a bad review on Yelp.com, and before you know it, your reputation is destroyed. These days, a disgruntled employee or an unhappy customer can leave a lasting impression for the world to see.

The worst part about it is that you don’t always get a chance for a rebuttal. The attackers get to fire the first shot at you from the comfort of their easy chairs. There are no filters to stop statements from hitting the internet simply because they may not be true. When it comes to your online reputation, you are truly guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. Having negative comments or remarks about you or your business floating around in cyberspace can have damaging results. In order to avoid this situation, adopt a more involved internet approach. Constantly search for yourself and your business on Google.com and other popular search engines. See what comes up as you click on the various entries that are available about you. If you find something that is damaging or negative, search around the site that posted it for remedies about getting it taken down. Perhaps you can send an email or a signed letter about the event that took place that led to the bad remark. There may be a place for a rebuttal to be logged, or a “contact us” function where you can levy a dispute. Regardless of the outcome, it is an excellent idea to stay on top of these things. Preventing bad publicity from spreading is usually easiest when it is caught early, so research your own online reputation and make sure you are safe.

Online Reputation Repair

Online Reputation Repair

The online reputation of an individual or a business is becoming more and more important as advances in technology continue to evolve.  Our lives are displayed for the world to see on today’s internet, through social sites and blogs.  What few people realize is that the picture you post on Facebook, or the comment you make on twitter, can be picked up at any time, by any search engine, completely at random.  Once that happens, those events can be posted in any number of arenas without your knowledge.  These occurrences may turn out to be totally harmless or they may come back to haunt you.

It is a good idea to be proactive about your own online reputation, and periodically search comment sites, social media, and perform Google searches on your name and your business.  The sooner you find out whether or not there is a problem, the sooner you can repair the damage.  Once you find that some damage has been done, you do not have to handle the situation alone.  There are several excellent companies that specialize in online reputation repair that can assist you in curing your ailment.  These companies possess the experience and expertise to search out the places online that are causing problems for you, and they have proven strategies on how to eliminate the issue or minimize it.  These companies also have the tools to rebuild your reputation if needed by commenting and posting positive remarks and reviews in strategic locations throughout the various social media outlets.  If you find that you are in need of these services, act quickly, and bigger problems may be avoided down the line.

Reputation Management Services

Reputation Management Services

If checking the internet every day for comments and remarks about you or your business is leaving you cold, don’t worry.  The cavalry is on its way.  There are professional companies that specialize in offering reputation management services to help you stay safe in cyberspace.  These companies usually offer a variety of specialties such as reputation rebuilding, for those clients who have experienced damage to themselves or their businesses, or reputation maintenance, for those clients that have a good reputation now and want to keep it that way.  In addition, some of these reputation management services offer an ongoing feature to constantly cleanse your reputation from day to day.  This can range from notifying you about negative material being posted about you to actually engaging people in real time on blogs and on websites in order to steer the conversation in a direction that is more favorable to you.  Real time, active management of someone’s online reputation is a growing field, and may be just what you are looking for.

A good reputation management service also understands that business, is business.  As such you will have a few people now and then that will be unhappy.  Some of those may even leave comments or remarks on blogs or on websites.  These companies will seek out those bad comments and have them removed if possible.  If that can’t be done, then they will leave additional positive comments on top of the negative entries again and again until those negative comments are buried from sight.  A reputation management service can be incredibly helpful to an individual or a business.

The NFL Crisis: Why Professionals Need Personal Brand Management

article-frontpage-9-9-0910webOver the past few weeks, you cannot turn on the TV, read the headlines, or go online without another breaking news story about a NFL player  involved in a form of violence (100 cases to date). While this crisis has exposed the serious domestic, sexual, and child abuse issues existing within the NFL, it also shows the complete lack of understanding of effective management of personal brand and reputation by those in the public spotlight and high-power business positions.

In this day and age, people are tried, convicted and sentenced in the court of social media. It only takes one action, one comment, one tweet, or one video, someone seeking 15 minutes of fame or money for your personal brand and reputation to be ruined. And this rule extends past sports and the entertainment industry to include business professionals who are in the public eye.  Just look at the recent social media firestorms targeted at Roger Goodell, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, or ousted Mozilla CEO, Brendan Eich

As a personal brand strategist who helps individuals to rebrand themselves after traumatic career setbacks, the NFL crisis shows the shocking power of a personal brand…

“IT IS POWERFUL…you can either harness this power or it can electrocute you.”

Why You Need A Personal Brand Manager? 

If you are in the public spotlight in today’s world, you need a dedicated personal brand manager.  Here’s why:

1.  Personal Brand + Reputation = Money – At the end of the day, ask yourself who’s watching out for your brand?  Just like your money, you need to manage and protect your personal brand and online reputation.  This is how you earn your living. You may be leaving money on the table or losing money because of a bad personal brand and reputation.  If you don’t have a dedicated personal brand manager, GET ONE!  A good publicist and lawyer can only do so much in the clean up department.   If your management team only says “YES” to you…NO ONE is protecting your brand.   One client calls me “The Hammer” because I tell him when actions or opportunities don’t support his passions, personal brand, or reputation.  Just like a football coach, a great personal brand manager knows how to tap into your passions, strengths, and push you out of your comfort zone to take your personal brand to the next level and earn top dollar.  Just look at Michael Strahan as an example of someone who knows how to manage his personal brand and reputation.

2. Employers Only Care About Their Own Brand and Reputation – You will never convince me that allegedly Roger Goodell never saw the complete video of Rice knocking out his then fiancée in the elevator before it went public.   It is clear the NFL was hoping the incident would just go away, and their light 2 game ban came across as too lenient.  While there is no justification for domestic violence, I will give Rice credit.  He did allegedly inform the NFL and Goodell of the incident right away.  If you are ever in a media/PR crisis, you cannot trust your employer will have your best interests in mind.   By Rice and the NFL not publicly disclosing the video, it looks like they tried to hide the truth.  In the court of social media, this is conviction in seconds.   In a personal branding crisis, you must take control and be the one to tell your side of the story.  People are more likely to forgive you and give you a second chance if you immediately take accountability for your actions, be extremely open and honest, and take swift proactive steps to seek help to rehabilitate yourself or admit your comments were wrong.  Look how Michael Vick went from being a star, to being convicted and hated by PETA and others, later getting his professional football career back by cleaning up his act, becoming the poster boy for protecting animal rights.

3. Professionals in the Public Eye Are Held To A Different Standard – When you are paid big money, viewed as a role model, or in charge, and have access to the top management, people expect you to know and act better than the average person, regardless of your upbringing or past experiences. Peterson’s excuse for beating his four-year with a switch was that it was “ok” because that’s how he was raised.  It just doesn’t cut it when you’re in the spotlight!  The same was true for Joe Paterno.  While he did what was required by law in reporting the Sandusky incident to his bosses, when Penn State took no action against Sandusky people felt Paterno had a moral obligation to go above and beyond to report the incident to the authorities.  As a Penn State Alumni, I felt this way, too. The end result smeared a pristine reputation, which had taken decades for Paterno to create that bordered on sainthood.  All of his successes with his students (i.e. highest players graduation rates) were forgotten because of the depravities of one person who Joe had removed from his staff.  Also, the outcomes may have been different if Joe had spearheaded an aggressive campaign against Sandusky from the moment that he learned of this inappropriate behavior.

4. Successful Personal Brands Take Years to Build and Seconds To Destroy – Miley Cyrus, for better or worse, has been effectively managing her brand.  Remember when she was the wholesome Nickelodeon child star?  This seems like a distant memory.  Although many of her public exploits have seemed outrageous, they have been carefully orchestrated to make her seem the hero to a generation of youth, and her brand name is stronger than ever.  Derek Jeter has had a personal brand and reputation that he has developed carefully throughout his career, and it has helped him become an iconic figure.  He is as well known on the field for his exploits as he is known for his charity work through his Take Two Foundation.  There has been careful brand management of his name and reputation over the years, and as he retires, it clearly has paid dividends.

Ten years ago, there seemed to be a small market for personal brand management, that only the elite of the elite may need someone to manage their brand.  In today’s media obsessed culture, the rules have changed.  Those who learn how to manage this new world effectively can use personal brand management to bring their reputation to new levels, becoming icons in the public eye, or trusted authorities.

Has your personal brand or online reputation been damaged by online negative comments or social media attacks?

Do you know how to protect and manage your personal brand and online reputation?

Or do you have your own story of suffering a traumatic career setback and want to share with others?

I hope this post has been helpful and would welcome your comments.  If you need help in rebranding or repairing your online reputation,  Cre8iv can help.  call + 1 646.535.9450 or email.

Repair Online Reputation

Repair Online Reputation

You are calling prospects every day. You bought a great phone list, and you are following a proven talk track. The appointments should be flooding in. Yet for some reason, as soon as you identify yourself on the phone people are hanging up. They seem to be totally disinterested in talking with you about your service and you don’t understand why. What is even worse is that of the few appointments you have been able to secure, several have cancelled later on and claimed they are not interested. One client was very specific about not wanting to do business with you.

If any of this sounds like your experience, you have a problem. It could be that you simply are not very good on the phone. It could be that your talk track or your call list is simply ineffective. However, a very often overlooked issue could be at the heart of this problem…you may have a negative reputation online.

If you find yourself in this predicament, immediate action is needed. If you even suspect this is the case, you need to act. Immediately search any available rating site, opinion page, social outlet or trade publication for any mention of you or your company. Are there negative stories or accounts posted? Was there a negative comment left by a past client or disgruntled former employee? These are things you have to know if you are going to move forward in owning, running or even participating in any type of business that provides a service or product. These items need to be sought out and repaired. Find them now, so you don’t suffer from them later.

How to Repair your Reputation

How to repair your reputation

In life, and especially in business, mistakes happen.  The wrong words can be said in anger, the wrong product can get shipped to the wrong customer or any other mishap can occur on the endless list of possible mistakes.  It is the goal of every person or business to stop these issues from occurring before there is a problem.  On those rare occurrences when they cannot be prevented, here are a few things that can lessen the sting from the wound.

Sometimes, a simple “I’m sorry” works wonders.

Very often, people simply want to hear someone say “I’m sorry.”  They want to know that someone understands their inconvenience and dissatisfaction.  They want validation for how they are feeling as much as they want a solution to the issue.  Offering an apology to an upset acquaintance or client can often prevent them from telling everyone they know about how poorly you took care of their needs.

Fix the problem…publicly

If your reputation has been damaged by someone for something that was truly your fault, fix it.  If the wrong box was delivered to the wrong address, fix it.  Deliver the correct box to the correct address.  However, if your reputation has been damaged by the mistake, then you must fix the mistake publicly.  If the unhappy customer posted their anger on social media, have a picture taken of you delivering the right box personally, along with a bonus free gift, and post it on the same social media with a caption about how sorry you are for their inconvenience.  Turn it into an advertisement for you and your business.  This theory works on personal matter as well.  The key is to be as public with the solution as they were with the problem.

Following either of these solutions will start you down the path to repairing your reputation.

Internet Reputation

Internet Reputation

In person, people see you as a responsible, trustworthy member of the community.  However, on the internet you appear to be a drinking, smoking slacker whom nobody should trust.  How can this happen?  Your internet reputation is compiled of all of the little pieces of you that people see without being able to assemble them all into one big picture.  On Facebook, a post that talks about taking drugs leads the reader to believe that you are an addict.

In reality, you have a prescription for painkillers for a bulging disc that you have to take three times a day or you can’t go to work. An Instagram photo of a large bottle of scotch makes your boss think that you are an alcoholic.  He doesn’t realize that the big bottle of scotch is a Christmas present to him from the staff.  On the internet, pictures are taken out of context, words are used in casual speak and references are made that have plenty of undiscovered back story.  These random instances are what make up your internet reputation for the world to see.

The time to start changing your internet reputation is now.  Be mindful of the phrases you use.  Ask yourself what someone might think who didn’t have any prior knowledge and who read what you posted.  It may surprise you how often we think that people know exactly what we are talking about, and it turns out otherwise.  Don’t post things that can be taken the wrong way, and you can rest assured that they won’t be.