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Podcast

Episode 080: 3 Steps To Creating A Personal Brand – Back To Business Basics

Jun 16, 2020

For today’s episode, we’re continuing with our back to business basics series. This is our chance to peel back the layers to check the foundation of our business.

Today, we’re talking about the importance of having a personal brand and 3 steps you can take to start establishing yours today. This goes for both business owners and those of you working a 9-5.

As a reminder, this series of episodes is recorded during our weekly Instagram live so from time to time, you may hear me responding to comments from the audience, or hear the voice of someone I’ve invite to come on live with me.

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You’ll learn about:

  • How to create personal brand from scratch

Announcements:

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  • If you’re looking for a community of supportive women who are looking to Go Off Script with their careers, lifestyles and businesses join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShesOffScriptCommunity

Thank you so much for listening!

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Episode Transcript

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

people have a long memory, the Internet has a long memory, and they can roll it back and look at what you are saying in the past and see if it really aligns to who you are saying you are today. So make sure that when you pick your values these air values that are deeply entrenched so that they clearly come out of everything that you say and you do online and that becomes holistically, a part of your personal brand.

Hi Off-Scripters It's your host, Serwaa Adjei-Pellé and welcome to Episode 80 of the She's Off Script podcast. This is a show where we hear and learn from women who've created unique blueprints for success. My hope is that you'll hear their stories and translate their gems into a unique path for yourself.

For today's episode, we're continuing with our back to business basic. Siri's. This is our chance to peel back the layers of our business and check the foundations. Today we're talking about the importance of having a personal brand and three steps you could take to start establishing yours today. Now, if you have a 9 to 5, don't you? Not yet, because having a personal brand is important for both business owners and those of you working in the corporate space as a reminder. This series of episodes is reported during our weekly Instagram Live. So from time to time you may hear me responding to comments from the audience or hear the voice of someone I've invited to.

Come on live with me before we hear the rest of this episode. I would love it if you could subscribe, rate and review our show on iTunes. This'll help to spread the word about our podcast. So amazing stories we share on this show can continue to inspire women looking to launch their own Off-Scripters Ernie's with that. Let's go off script As we continue with our back to business basic series

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

today, we're talking about how to establish a personal brand. I know this is a topic that a lot of people don't think is important for running a business, and when they have a business, they hide behind the business and we never see who they are. But in the environment we have today where consumers expect that companies speak up on social justice issues, as we've seen with the Black lives matter issue, we're starting to notice the CEOs we've never heard from. I was very impressed by Jeff Bezos. If you look at his instagram account, he lets you know I'm not new to this right. He's true to the value of supporting the black lives movement, and he shared an exchange he had with the customer who was disappointed about the way he's plastic. Black lives matter all over the the home page of Amazon, and he said, I mean, you're the kind of customer I'm happy to lose. So that's an example of a CEO who does not hide behind his brand but has a personal brand of his own. We have a narrative about Jeff Bezos. We know who he is, and so as someone who is at the helm of a business, or even if you arm or of a corporate queen or king and you don't feel like having a personal brand is important or pertinent to what you're doing, um, stick with us because we're going to cover why it is important. While I worked at Goldman, I didn't feel like I needed a personal brand. I had a personal brand, I would say, within the firm people knew me for certain things, but I didn't have a personal brand on my own outside of the company. When it came to me launching my own business, I had to start from scratch. I had to start from ground zero because I didn't have an online footprint to speak of. I had a linked in account, which was just my resume, and then I had a private Facebook account. Because the popular line of thinking is, I don't want people all up in my business. I don't want them to know what I'm doing, but I think there's a good way for you to position yourself and your personal brand. That isn't necessarily about spewing your guts about every single personal detail of your life. I think there's a good balance that you can strike. So for me, when I found that I was ready to launch my own business, I had to figure out OK, how do I do this personal brand thing? Um, if you're looking to launch a business of your own, I think it's also important for you as a foundation toe launching your business to also establish yourself as a personal brand because people know like and trust and buy from people, not necessarily brands. Sometimes, yes, your brand can speak for itself. Your product. Your service can speak for itself, and you can speak volumes enough for sometimes word of mouth to spread like wildfire. But not always. Oftentimes, people latch onto you as the individual. They latch onto your story. So don't be afraid to share that out of the gate upfront and establish that as you are building your business as you are creating your product, make sure your story in your narrative is out there. So that's a little bit about why I feel it's important for you to have a personal brand as an individual. When you think about the way people recruit these days, they look at your social and your online footprint because it's an asset to a company that you are coming with some sort of social capital. If you think about executives in the corporate space right now, one of them that comes to mind is bosom a thing, John. She has a platform all on her own. She has jumped from uber to Pepsi, toe in different orders, large companies and in doing so she still has a personal brand of her own that she can stand on. People know what she's about, so you need to have something, a brand that really showcases what you could bring to whatever new company you go to. So even if you are in the corporate world, it's still important for you to have some sort of a personal brand.

So the other thing is, you want to position yourself for a new opportunities to serve people if you never talk about who you are, if you never talk about what you do, how do people know to reach out to you as the person that can help them solve whatever the problem is that they have?

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

If you are too shy to get in front of a camera to speak about what you do, how do we know what you can offer when we see your shop? If I e commerce page, if we see that, how do we know who's behind it? I know there's a big by black movement going on right now. If we've never seen your face, we don't know who you are. We don't know what your values are, how can people start to shout you out as a black owned business? Your story isn't out there, so it's important now that we know it's important. I just wanted to harp on that a little bit. We want to talk about the three ways that you today can start to create a personal brand of your own. I would say Number one is to get clear on what is important to you. Get clear on what you value, because that's going to determine and dictate what you put out there, what you stand on and how you present yourself. If you don't have a clear anchor, people are going to get confused because you're gonna be all over the place. So I'll use myself as an example.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

If you follow me, you probably have seen on social media on my podcast on anything that I post. If I'm speaking somewhere on stage, you can see that I value family.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

You can see that I value success in the form of legacy building, not just for myself but for my community.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

And then you can see that I value innovation. I'm kind of I'm not. I would say I'm the black sheep of my family and friends, but I'm the one who's always doing something different and trying something different, and I look crazy when I first do it. But then they end up doing it because I've shown them how so that that's who I am, those air my values. So if you're a friend of mine, you understand that it's very interesting. A friend of mine recently told me we met something like seven or eight years ago, and she reminded me of the first time she met me. She said. I think she was new to the country and she was looking for a job, and I had told her, Hey, when you're ready, Teoh, get a job. If you want to succeed, you wanna make sure that you not only perform excellently, but you also get up off your desk and talk about what it is that you do boast about yourself a little bit. Let people know how excellent you are, because unfortunately, this is true in the corporate setting. It's also true in the business world. You've got to teach your own horn because no one is really going to do it for you. Fortunately, We're in an environment today where people are about the black business cause and they're tooting horns for you. But, girl, if you weren't doing it before, no one was going to be doing it for you. I gave her that piece of advice, needless to say, and she reminded of me of it recently because she said, when you said that to me, it just helped me get into the right mindset to succeed. When I finally got a job of my own, that really speaks to who I am, what I value, I want to see women around me succeeding. So any opportunity I have online offline to pour into women, I do it, and that has to be the way you operate. When you're thinking about creating a personal brand, figure out what is important to you, then be about it in every arena.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I know a lot of people don't necessarily want to be putting their business out there, and that's fine. I think you just need to decide what it is that is important to you. Then the next thing that I would say is you want to decide where you're going to share it But before I go on to that next point about where you're going to share it, I'll give you a little bit more context. My family is an immigrant family. I'm from Ghana, West Africa. And so when we first moved to the U. S. Really, your mindset is you got to succeed. You got to show people that they brought you here or they sponsor you to come to the country and you're making something of yourself. So that was the mindset of my parents. So it was Goto work. Keep your head down, go to school, get a great degree, get your MBA right, go to an Ivy League school. Come out, be successful, be on top. S.E.O. That's really the mindset that you have. And so the thought of putting yourself out there is a little bit scary. The thought of now trying Thio go out on social media and share your expertise is a bit scary for someone with my kind of background who wasn't necessarily encouraged to do that because my parents didn't grow up doing that either. So fast forward to where I am today, the way I carry myself or carried myself in an office setting versus the way I carry myself online today speaks to a certain level of growth and a change in my level of understanding about the importance of putting yourself out there and in order to gain a status where people understand that you are an expert in your field, you need to be out there speaking about it, whether it's to run a business or to get that next big role. People need to understand that you are subject matter expert. I think they do it very well in the tech area. In the tech space, you'll see them on Twitter, sharing whatever you know, code that they're building that day, sharing whatever processes and experiments they've had, because that is one of the ways that in the technical space you are able to establish yourself as a subject matter expert. So you just need to decide what that's gonna look like for you. But after you understand what your values are, your next step in creating a personal brand is gonna be to decide where where are you going to share who you are. It's not necessarily an online thing. For some of you, it might mean that you're going to work in the conference scene, You're gonna work in the conference circuits, and that's where you're gonna meet people. That's where you're going to influence people. For some of you, it might be at church. For others, it might be in civic organizations that you're a part of, and that is where you're gonna live out your values. I mean, I think we all know that person at work or that person in the group that we volunteer with where people say, Man, she's always so kind or oh, she's always so put together. She always knows the right thing to say That is the manifestation of the values that you hold. People can see that about you. So when you think about a personal brand, a lot of times we think we are something. But the true manifestation of your personal brand is what people mirror back to you, what people see and know and say about who you are, how you make them feel and the impact that you're having. In order for you to have that impact, you need to decide on a platform you're gonna use to do that. So, using myself as an example. When I first started, remember, I started from ground zero. I really had no online footprint. I really had no

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

anything. I decided that I was going to start a podcast, which I think is jumping into the deep end. I quit my job at Goldman in May. I took a couple months, just thio. Rest, breathe and detached from the corporate life. And in August I launched the She's Off Script podcast, and this was away from me to document my journey into entrepreneurship. But then it's also morphed into away from me to highlight other women who are making similar moves and doing it very successfully. So not everyone is going to be prepared to create a podcast for themselves right off the bat. But that's something I decided to do because I have a gift for speaking. My mom has a nickname for me. It's a new cassia, which in my native tongue means big. Now it's like literally you are the talker, and that's been me since I was Ah, young kid. That was me in the corporate setting. I spoke on behalf of my company in different settings, so I was comfortable doing that I'm a very technical person. Part of my job was technical, so it didn't take long to figure out that the other place I decided to establish my footprint online was instagram. This is where my people live. And then after a couple years, I decided to add different things on, like blogging a little bit and also being able to do a little bit on the YouTube space. But I didn't do that until I had been fairly established on the two core platforms that I was going to use for myself. So you want to make sure that you understand how it is that you want to put yourself out into the world was the vehicle that you're going to use. You don't need to be everywhere

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

right here. Me, You don't need to be everywhere. You just need to pick

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

one major platform that you want to use as a way to get your voice out there as a way to get your expertise out there and then remembering that your expertise and whatever you're going to share is going to be based on what you value.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

You can't fake that because people have a long memory. The Internet has a long memory and they can roll it back And look at what you are saying in the past and see if it really aligns to who you are saying you are today. So make sure that when you pick your values these air values that are deeply entrenched so that they clearly come out of everything that you say and you do online and that becomes holistically, a part of your personal brand. So, yeah, decide where it is. You want thio, have your online footprint or your offline footprint. It doesn't have to necessarily be an online thing that you do. So the third thing we have then is to be consistent. Once you decide that you're going to put yourself into whatever arena you decide is important for you

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

be consistent with it. So consistency doesn't necessarily mean the number of times you're gonna post or show up at a certain point, um, it also means that if you are someone like Gary V, who curses up a storm everywhere he is,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

he's consistently that that's him. So if that's you, be you don't try toe fake monsieur. No, prim and proper when girl. That's not you, right? I think there's some people who their online saying sis and girl and whatever other slain because they're trying to get a black dollar. But that's not them. It rings false, just be you and be consistent about being who you are in the branding space. They have what they called brand archetypes. When I've done this exercise before, I've been pinned as someone who falls into the hero archetype, but also someone who falls into. I think it's called the rogue archetype. So because I know that I'm more in the leadership hero space, and I know that I'm a little bit of, ah, of a rogue personality because I told you I value innovation, so sometimes I go rogue. I do things that people look at me like. One of the things that I can't stand is when people say the thing that you're doing, we black people don't do it. I do a lot of things that black people don't do because I want to try different things. I wanna meet different people and I wanna learn and innovate based on the other things I learned, and as I said eventually, people come over to what I'm doing, so that is my personality, and you'll probably see me on here doing things that you have never done or thought to do. But that's the value I bring to my communities. I can expose you to different things, different ways of thinking, like the other day. I love to bake. You will see food up and down my feet in my stories I love to bake, and the other day I think I posted something about all the things I've been baking with my kids while we've been on quarantine and I think I baked chocolate chip cookies but a different kind of cookie. And someone said, You know, I've never baked chocolate chip cookies before. I'm going to try your recipe and I feel like Okay, I didn't grow up eating chocolate chip cookies at either of my mom didn't make those. Maybe it's an American thing, not sure, but

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I was able to expose someone to something different that maybe they didn't grow up doing so. That's something I value, and that's something I will do. But in order to do that, you know that sometimes you're going to be looked at weird. You may be an outcast. People might think that you're an odd duck, but I'm okay with that. That's who I am, right? And I think it also contributes to the value I bring to the world. So you need to decide how you're gonna consistently show up. Another example of that is there are some accounts where their brand voice that I think that's the technical term for it Brand voice is very snarky, like whatever they say, it has a little bit of a bite to it, and that's them and have come to expect that the shade room all about shade up and down their timeline like they called on their roomies because they want their roomies to get in the comments. And

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I'm one of the people who are just there for the comments because it's funny. But that is what I go to the shade room to hear and see. If I go to the shade room and all of a sudden there reporting like a British BBC reporter, it rings false right And I would say the personal brand side of things is something that, if you as a leader

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

have established strongly for yourself. It's going to bleed into your company.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

And if ever you decide as a leader of a company, you're not going to let your personal brand show up in a business. This is a conversation I've had with some of my clients where they say, I just feel like my brand isn't connecting. It's just not really catching on. And sometimes when I look at all their brand assets, I look at the way they're talking online.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

It's because there's no personality anywhere. It's very Here's my product. It's very impersonal. And people, as I said, at the top of this, people are drawn and know like and trust people and a persona, right, So you want to make sure that you are including that, and if for some reason you have started your business and your marketing to an audience, that for some reason is not gonna like who you are, you've already started on the wrong foot because you need to be able to infuse who you are into your brand. I don't really remember her name off the top of my head, but the CEO of Uomo, I think, is that a new makeup brand that was started three years ago. So she's the one spearheading the pull up or shut up campaign where she's asking Beauty Brand because she herself owns a beauty brand. And that's the reason she started. That beauty brand was really to serve the people that were not being served by the beauty industry, not just black, but anybody who really didn't have what they needed from the mainstream beauty. So she created her brand. That's all about that. And as an individual, she's also created this pull up or shut up campaign along with Jackie. I know where they're calling brands out, and they're asking them to pull up and show their diversity metrics. But

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I expect that from her. So when I saw the pull up or shut up campaign, I looked her up and I said, This aligns, This is everything she says on a daily basis. In fact, that's why she even created her own company. So it makes sense that she would be the one in the bee industry to call people out on that, it aligns. So be consistent with. Once you decide that you're going to put yourself out there, you're gonna talk about what you're doing, be consistent about who you are and what you're putting out there, because in the long run, people can smell and see through all of it, Lady Mills. And you said you can't stand What brands do that? Yeah, you could tell it's false. You could tell they're just doing it to pander to you. So just be sure that once you put yourself out there, you've decided. So I just to kind of recap the three things you're going to need in order to establish and start working on a personal brand on your own one. You have to decide on what it is that you value what is important to you to you're gonna need to need to decide where it is that you're going to live out those values online or offline. Whether it's in your office at church, at a civic organization, you volunteer for or online you pick your platform. Are you gonna be on YouTube and show up there consistently? Are you gonna be on instagram Facebook? Where you going to be, and then three. You wanna be consistent about the type of content you put you put out and the type of brand voice that you're using when you put that content out so that consistently people know that this is Yep, this is the way she speaks. This is the way Saleh speaks, and you can come toe expect that of her. So those are the three steps. So now I definitely want to answer some of your questions. I see a couple of them have been popped into the question box. Told that you have had one, you said, What is the perfect place to start when trying to find your personal brand? Is this more of the I'm not sure what I want to put out their type of a question. I would say My first point was, Find out what you value now. You might value a lot of things, but you may not want to also share every single one of the values. So I would say Start with three strands, three values that you want to hold up when you're out and about online wherever you are. Start with just those three values and see if you are able to consistently show that value online, and I think values or something that are deeply ingrained, so it shouldn't be difficult to be what you value. I think it's also then a different question. How you're going to show these values. I think that's something that we could talk about. The third point I mentioned of being consistent, the strands of content that you choose. I think this is kind of more on a business strategy perspective. The strands that you choose to show is it that you're going to show images of family and your narrative is gonna be about family If you're ah, family Mom, Blogger, Um, is it that you're going to continuously talk about black love and relationships with your husband and show that you value family in that way, you have tow, decide what makes sense for you and what you can actually continue to consistently show. I hope that answers your question there. So next question here, I'm nervous. Someone might try to use my name and like this for a fake account. Interesting. You're you're nervous. If you use your actual name, your nervous people will use it well, I think First instagram and a lot of other social media platforms have the verify functionality and I've seen people who don't have that many followers get verified because the subject matter that they put out there, it's important that it comes from them uniquely so. If depending on the kind of subject matter you plan to put out there, I would 1st 1st line of defense explore getting verified. Ah, lot of people who are journalists get verified because they're writing articles with their byline on it, and it's important that people understand it's coming from them specially. If getting verified isn't an option for you, I will say that I've noticed other people who have way more followers get their account verbatim that people stripped all the images and put it on those accounts and their community rallied for them because some of the things that were coming out that account, we're not consistent with who this thes individuals were. So the community rose up. Of course they raised it and it was removed. I think whenever you put yourself in a public arena, there's always a risk that you're going to get the trolls, you're going to get the snark. People are not going to agree with what you have to say, and then you do expose yourself to a little bit of risk, which is why you need to decide what it is that you're ready to put out there. But I would say by virtue of you fully putting yourself out there, you are protecting yourself in a way because people have gotten to know so much of the content that you put out there that it just sounds weird rings false when things are being said or put out there that are not coming from you. So you want to be sure that you are not half in so that you're able to defend your position. So I think we had another one here. Would you advise sharing your personal brand even if it doesn't really relate to your job? So I'm guessing this is like the corporate, but I have a side hustle. Um, I would say I get this question a lot, and I think we've even done a podcast episode about it on How do I find a way to promote myself even when I'm working for corporate? If you're not comfortable being up front, I would say continue to share what is true. Thio you if you're not doing anything that's in direct competition with your company or that is illegal or something that is s o far in conflict that is going to cost you your job. I think you should be fine being yourself. If I could go back to my example about what it is that I I regret about, the way I transitioned when I was moving from corporate to entrepreneurship is I didn't put myself out there at all, although a lot of the things I do today I was doing when I worked for Goldman, I didn't share that online and I could have because it was very in line. I meant toward women. I meant toward businesses. I shared career tips. I shared business tips.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

I don't know why I couldn't have shared any of that online and established my expertise. So I think there's a way to do it where you are not necessarily contradicting the company that you work for. But you're showing that you're showing how you are a value add because, as I also mentioned, when you're ready to find that next job, people look online. They want to see what kind of value are you adding, Look out for a new episode I have coming out with Tiffany Du Fu, who wrote the book, dropped the ball before she launched this new company. She has called the crew. She worked for a startup called Leveaux, and she said working for a startup helped her get the courage to launch her own business because they encouraged her to go out and create her speaking business to go out and explore other side hustles because they felt like if your profile is raised in the press, it really raises our profile and our stock. My husband works for a tech company, and that is their M O as well as they have people on Twitter. My husband's on Twitter sharing his expertise, although he works for a corporation and they encouraged. In fact, they have roles, formal rules, that air called evangelists within the company. And they're all over social media speaking about what they do, what the company does, it's like a they become personalities in the tech world, so you need to find a way to help it mesh until you make the decision to part ways and start your own company and do your own thing. It's not an easy distinction to make if you are solidly in the corporate space and they don't allow any outside activities versus if you are in one, but you're just not sure how to make the balance. I think it's possible to do that if you're clear and true to yourself.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

So that's that one. So I'll scroll to see if there any questions. So, Lady Militant, you said this is gonna be your real name for voice over work.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Oh, I would think a voice would be difficult to to copy.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

So is that common in the voiceover space where people say that there other people in order to get jobs? I'm not very familiar with that space at all. But unless you're a very skilled imitator, I don't know that people would be able to imitate your voice and you and your work. If you have samples of your work that are out there, they're yours. They're protected, I would assume,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

but that just might be my ignorance about your field.

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

Okay, so I think we've gotten through all of the questions that we had. I'm glad I got to answer a couple of your questions I would challenge you take baby steps and figure out what you value,

Serwaa Adjei-Pellé

what you want to share, figure out where you're going to share it and how you're going to share it consistently and go for it. This isn't something that's going to happen overnight. You're gonna have to work at it because people need to see a brand multiple times. They need to get multiple contact points and multiple impressions off that brand before they start to recognize it. Like how many times did you see that Nike swoosh before you recognize it? You know, on site it takes time. So start slowly. Don't do anything that you're not comfortable with, because at the end of the day, the Internet never forgets they're gonna come back. They're gonna show your receipts. Nothing gets buried. So be sure that anything that you put out there you're doing so authentically and it really aligns with what you value and who you are. And a personal brand is for everybody. Even if you say you don't have a personal brand that people google people and they want to know they kind of online stock, they want to know what you're about. And when they find nothing, it's harder for them to trust and make that spend or that investment in you. So think about that. Think about what you're trying to accomplish and how not having a personal brand is going Thio negatively impact what you're working on. Hi, Off-Scripters. I'm so glad you made it to the end of this episode. If you enjoy listening to our show, please pay forward by sharing us with your network. Between episodes, you can find me on Instagram. Our handle is at She's Off Script, or you can catch up on past episodes at She's Off Script dot com. See you on the next one.

hey there!

I'm Serwaa, your new business strategist.

I’m a digital business strategy expert, headstrong high achiever, mom of two girls and wife to a strapping African man.

Embracing these facets of my life has been the key to breaking through my plateaus!

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