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?

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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!

 


Sucking at Relationships….Take Aways from Bethenny Frankel’s AOL Build Series Interview

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As a personal brand strategist and founder of Cre8iv Branding, I’m always on the look out for successful personal brand stories.  This week I was at the AOL Build Series, a live interview, where Bethenny Frankel, entrepreneur, reality TV personality, and NY Times Bestselling author, was talking about her new book I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.

“Yes, my name is Andria Younger and I’m a Bravo reality TV addict.”

Over the years of watching Bravo, I’ve seen Bethenny Frankel go from being a struggling entrepreneur on Bravo’s Housewives of New York, living in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side, doing the hustle to launch her Skinny Girl brand, writing and promoting her four NY Times best-selling books, to selling her Skinny Girl Cocktail line to Jim Beam for a reported $50 million. This is the same person that Martha Stewart herself proclaimed that Bethenny would never amount to anything.

As a personal brand strategist, Bethenny Frankel has done an incredible job in creating and monetizing a successful personal brand…books, TV, appearances, and products. She’s worked it! Besides being a great marketer, I think what Bethenny does best is connecting to her fans and customers on a deep emotional level. She’s clear on who she is, what she does, what’s her story, allowing her fans to connect and relate to her on a very deep emotional level. This is what I call “Riding the Lightning Bolt”, when you are able to leverage and monetize your personal brand to grow your business, while your customer and client feel connected to you on a deep emotional and personal level. What you see on TV is what you get in person…. she’s open and honest, not afraid to express her opinions. As she admits, even in wake of her very public and nasty divorce and the “haters” attacking her, she still keeps it real and stays true to her personal brand.

Bethenny’s latest book I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To is about her being open and honest that personal relationships have been a problem. From the interview, here are three things that I took away that can be applied to help you build your personal brand and reputation:

1) Know Thy Self.  Sometimes we say and do things based on emotion, which can make for a big emotional mess which needs to be cleaned up in our relationships. This can lead to over-analyzing, beating yourself up, and undermining your confidence. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. It’s important to learn when and how to talk about what you see and are feeling so it doesn’t come back and bite you in your butt, giving toxic people ammunition. For Bethenny, she knows she can talk herself into a really emotional place, obsessing and feeling needy, which has resulted in her having to cleanup emotional messes. This is her truth. From a branding perspective, the more you know about yourself allows you to set clear boundaries on “what you do” and surround yourself with the right people that are supportive and energize you.

2) Let Go.Our past life experiences have a strong impact on our personal and professional relationships and can lead us to feel like we need to control everything in our life. For example, Bethenny is very open about growing up in an abusive environment, feeling abandoned by her father, and moving 12 times in her childhood. This left her with the need to control things. Its important to harness control and use it for good, but it has a negative impact when you feel the need to control everything and everybody around you. From a reputation standpoint, you can be seen, as over-controlling to the point where you are personally miserable and that you are “out of control”.

3) Stop Making Fear-Based Decisions. Are you making decisions based on fear, such as not having enough money, being alone, not getting enough clients, or perfectionism? I think we all have done this as some point in our personal or professional lives. As Bethenny says “fear distracts you from the truth, and you will never know if your decision was the right one if you made it out of fear.” For example, if you have a fear of not having enough money, this can lead you to form “crazy client relationships” with people that don’t respect or value your expertise, as well as people who “suck all your time and energy out of you.” This can prevent you from growing your business. Or, worst case, these people damage your reputation by sharing negative comments about you to others either in person or via social media.

Are you ready to take your personal brand to the next level?  If so, it’s important to assess all your relationships and ask yourself….do they support my personal brand?  If not, maybe its time to move on.  For my clients who are paid experts, its essential to build healthy and meaningful relationships with people who can refer, recommend, and hire your services.   Life is too short to surround or work for people who don’t respect or value your expertise.  I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration to play big.

  • Do current relationships support your personal brand?

  • Do you have a personal brand success story your want to share?


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.