In this episode, Katie and Chris discuss personal branding considerations and challenge the notion of what a personal brand is. Do you have to be the loudest person in the room? How do you build a personal brand without being perceived as arrogant and full of yourself? Tune in to find out!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
## Christopher Penn 00:16
In this week’s In-Ear Insights, we’re talking about personal brand.
These days with as many new social causes or existing social causes needing amplification people, and companies needing to be out there more than ever, because digital advertising is getting harder, and SEO is getting harder.
We need other ways of reaching audiences.
So we’re going to talk about personal brand and how that plays into your marketing and everything else.
Katie, where do you want to start when it comes to personal brand?
## Katie Robbert 00:48
So I want to start with this idea that, you know, Chris, you talk about a little bit and I want to respectfully pick it apart a little bit.
Because when we talk about personal brand, a lot of times what we’re talking about is your ability to, you know, change careers, find a new job, that kind of thing.
And so, when I’ve heard you speak about personal brand, before you talk about it in the sense of, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
The reason I want to respectfully challenge that a bit is because I feel like that only works for certain people, and certain industries.
And so for the marketing industry, I can see where that works.
The idea is that you’re supposed to be out there and loud and known, but like, let’s say you’re a bookkeeper, you know, that doesn’t necessarily translate into who knows you.
Because you balance the best checkbook.
Like it doesn’t it doesn’t quite translate.
The other side of that is.
So let’s just, you know, as an example, a few years back, I spoke at an event.
And they had there were so many people in the session, that they had an encore of that event of that talk that I did.
And it was one of the events that drove the most downloads for us, you know, from a session, and I got really rave reviews.
And so when I hear you say it’s who knows you that to me, says, Let the work speak for itself.
Well, if I just sit back and let the work speak for itself, I do really great work.
However, nobody cares.
Because there are other people who are louder.
There are other people who are not female, there are other people who people just, you know, the event quarters, just like better.
So that’s where I struggle with this idea of who knows you because it basically translate into let the work speak for itself.
And at no point in my career have I not had to advocate and fight for something even though my work was top notch.
So that’s where I want to start today.
## Christopher Penn 02:54
I think it’s a really great place to start because it separates two things.
On one hand, you have reputation, which is 100%.
The work speaks for itself, right? You do great work and people who’ve worked with you like yeah, Katie is a really, really great project manager.
If you want to get shit done.
Katie is the person to talk to you, right? That’s your reputation and your reputation has to be Sterling.
If it’s not.
You you’re building on a rocky Foundation, right? The personal brand side to me now this is my opinion.
The personal brand side involves marketing yourself to you’re using your words to advocating for yourself and marketing yourself.
Because the way that we define brands, the Ze Frank version is a brand is the emotional aftertaste of a series of experiences you have with something.
And a big part of brand we talk about all the time in our analytics, brand analysis, brand strategy, brand metrics, brand recall, brand strength is all about how much somebody remembers you.
And that memory is triggered by repeated contact repeated experiences, the more experiences you have with something, the stronger that emotional attachment is, right? So you could have a pleasant emotional attachment to a dog, right? That’s somebody else’s dog.
But then you have the repeated experiences with your own dog which creates a much stronger emotional touch because the dogs right there all the time, like literally right all the time.
And so to me, brand is not just reputation and you have to have reputation first.
But then you have to be promoting and as and I can totally see your point where for some people who are not comfortable being self promoters, that can be very challenging.
One of the easiest ways I generally tell people to start is with I can eat an email newsletter of some kind, and to your point.
Not every industry is perfectly suited for it but many industries are so let’s use your bookkeeper example.
Someone who’s a really good bookkeeper could put Gather a newsletter, your 52 week newsletter of just one simple financial bookkeeping.
Typically, they don’t have to talk about like, oh, what can be the best bookkeeper in the world, they have to provide value.
But more important how that frequency to say, remember who I am, remember who I am, and so on and so forth.
That’s the creating that brand.
## Katie Robbert 05:18
And so it’s you know, when you talk about personal brand, I know that you always start with, you know, a newsletter is the easiest thing.
I think, for a lot of people, especially those of us who don’t feel comfortable being self promotional, that feels like a daunting, ask, because you’re kind of trying to be self promotional to people who have chosen to subscribe to your self promotion.
And that, like, it’s for someone like me, who’s very uncomfortable with that, it starts to sort of like make your head spin of like, okay, I have to provide value, what if I don’t provide value? But isn’t that you know, what I’m supposed to be doing here? They’ve signed up because they think I have something to say, and it becomes this very overwhelming experience of people have chosen to sign up? Because they think I have something to say, what if I have nothing to say, you know, or, you know, what is a value that is still promoting myself? And so that I think that sort of a bit of a conundrum that people can find people like me can find themselves in when they’re trying to do that personal brand back to your point of the uncomfortableness of being self promotional.
## Christopher Penn 06:27
Well, let me turn that around on you.
What made you want to start writing the opens, which is effectively one of the longest parts of the Trust Insights newsletter.
## Katie Robbert 06:42
Because there needed to be more than one voice of the company because there is more than one voice of the company.
And I’ll be quite honest.
Every week when I sit down to write it, I second, third, fourth, guess myself of does this provide any value? Is this any good? I hope so.
And so it’s more of like, okay, here’s the newsletter opener, fingers crossed, that it’s something people care about, or that people go okay, that’s not a completely nitwit idea.
## Christopher Penn 07:14
But you still do it.
## Katie Robbert 07:16
I still do it.
Now I do it.
And here’s, here’s the catch 22, if you will, I do it.
Because it’s for the good of the company.
If I was not an owner of the company and financially invested in the company, I would probably find a way to talk myself out of doing it.
## Christopher Penn 07:36
So if the company has more than one voice, why not have John write it?
## Katie Robbert 07:42
We could absolutely have John write it.
## Christopher Penn 07:44
Say, why did you choose for you to write it?
## Katie Robbert 07:47
Because I’m because I’ve put myself in the position of being the CEO.
And there’s this unwritten rule that the CEO needs should have some sort of a vision and something to say, you know, companies that appoint a CEO that has no vision has no forward thinking has no idea.
They don’t do well.
And so yeah, I have to continually prove myself as CEO, I can’t just call myself, I mean, I can, I can absolutely just call myself a CEO and live my life.
But in order to be respected, in order to be to your point known, I have to demonstrate that I actually have a voice and I can see where this is going, and I dislike you for it.
## Christopher Penn 08:38
Your personal brand is important, because you are the CEO of you.
We are all the CEO of ourselves, we have that obligation to do exactly what you
## Katie Robbert 08:50
I’ve not had enough coffee for this for this trickery Monday morning.
## Christopher Penn 08:56
But know what you’re saying is 100% accurate is 100%.
True, to be respected, you have to be present, you don’t have to be loud, like in, in all of the cold opens, you’ve written for the Trust Insights newsletter, you’ve never once said overtly, Hey, pay attention to me because I’m the CEO, right? You have said, here’s something I think is a value, here’s something I think will help you do your job better or think about a problem differently.
And that’s what if you want to build a personal brand, and you don’t want to feel like after you do it, you’ve had to shower.
That’s the approach to do it is to say like, here’s things that I think provide value.
And in doing so you demonstrate your expertise.
You know, for example, the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about hiring on the podcast on the live stream, we have a service to sell.
But in order to sell it and convince people that we know what we’re doing, we have to provide that value upfront, say like that.
You actually yes, Katie does know what she’s talking about when she’s talking about hiring.
And so you do the same thing with your personal brand is you create that content To say, what to demonstrate, I know what I’m talking about in this thing, like when I write my newsletter, here’s the thing.
You we do data diaries and the Trust Insights newsletter.
It’s, here’s an example of how we’re working with data.
So you can see it applied, you can see oh, yeah, they, they may say, on their website, they do analytics.
But this is an actual demonstration of it.
So it’s it to going back to where we started, almost, it’s using the work to prove that you know what you’re doing, but promoting it in a way that that is, you know, show don’t tell.
## Katie Robbert 10:34
And I think that that’s one of the difficult things, when people start to wrap their head around where to start with personal brand is, you know, there’s this feeling that if you’re on social media, trying to get noticed, you have to be loud, and showy.
And so it does go back to that idea of let the work speak for itself.
But it sounds like Chris, what you’re saying is, you can’t just do the work, and then hope people just show up to see it.
You have to do the work, and then find other ways to communicate about it.
So let’s say we go back to that example of I was at an event I did in the events is a really great job, I sold out, you know, two sessions.
And you know, then what, so when I show up the next year, they’re like, Oh, we don’t have a speaking space for you.
What in that example, were the missteps that I as the person responsible for my personal brand, likely took
## Christopher Penn 11:34
the same thing that you actually tell me, I do wrong with a lot of our stuff, which is we don’t, we don’t atomize and keep the momentum, right.
So for example, you have those that talk that you did the session.
Why not take 32nd snippets that session for the next year slice up, and that’s on social like, Hey, this is what I spoke about, and things, you put it in your newsletter, you put up a transcript, you write an e book from it, all these things, just take that one piece of content that anchor idea, and, and expand on it, and keep promoting it.
Because to your point, it was really good.
If you look at what a lot of the excellent professional speakers in our space, do, they have one talk, right, they give pretty much just one talk and they will give it you know, a gajillion times.
But then that talk becomes a book, that book becomes a speaking tour, and so on, so forth.
So they’re just taking their thing and recycling it a bunch of different ways.
Now there are downsides to doing that.
One of which is that once you’ve seen it once, you don’t need to see it again.
But to each audience is new.
So in the case of the event, it would have been taking that talk splitting up into pieces, maybe doing you know blog posts and podcasts and live streams about the things in that talk that you didn’t have time to get to on stage.
I made this point at minute 17.
And this talk about, you know how to build a data driven customer journey we didn’t have time to talk about today.
So let’s take the next 20 minutes to this podcast talking about this, and so on and so forth.
Guests speaking, after you’re talking about, Hey, I just had to sold out sessions at inbound.
Let’s you know, have me on your podcast and we can see what about it made people so enthralled that they you know, they had to come back a second time.
Those would be the tactical things.
Because again, it’s that it’s that heartbeat of presence.
The the thing that I I liken it to is you’ve ever been in a relationship.
There’s always habits, you know, saying good night to somebody every night or saying I love you before you hang up the phone or before you leave for the day.
There’s just habits that people have that keep presence of mind to keep, like somebody know you care.
Right? We can take that concept and apply it to personal brand.
How often are you letting people know like the event like the people who work at Hubspot, for example.
Know that yeah, you’re still around, you’re still doing the thing.
So that when speaking slots open for the next year.
They’re like, who’s Katie, who they’re like, oh, yeah, okay, we got your newsletter last week about that point, you made it inbound last year, and you know, clearly people still like it.
## Katie Robbert 14:10
Which is definitely so as the person responsible for your own personal brand, you have to make choices to put yourself out there.
It might be uncomfortable, but it really depends on what your overall goals are, for your career for yourself for your own professional development, those things.
So, you know, in that scenario, the good news is I don’t have lofty goals of being a professional speaker, you know, but I can say on the other side of that, I did find frustration to not feel like I got the respect from the same event the following year, following years, even after that, but there sounds like there was responsibility on both sides responsibility for them to recognize the work but responsibility for me to continually remind them of the work.
And in that scenario, we both fell down, we both didn’t do what we needed to do in order to make that happen again.
## Christopher Penn 15:10
And the advantage of your side of it is, even if they decided not to have you back, the presence of mine might have encouraged other events to go, oh, wow, she’s really, she’s really onto something here, let’s let’s bring into our event.
And it might be a smaller event might be a less well known event.
But again, it’s one of those things where once somebody sees it, then you promote it and promote it and pronoun promote it, I was talking to my friend, Donna Monstrum, about this, because she just spoke at an event in Vegas, as of now what exactly this, now you have to take this thing apart and expand on all those concepts that you don’t have time to get it to onstage.
But you could spend and we have spent hours talking about that, right? When you go back and look at our podcasts or go to our YouTube channel at trust insights.ai/youtube, you can see that we’ve spent, you know, 30, or 40 or 50 hours of talk time on a lot of topics.
So there’s always something that you can take apart and blow it out.
You know, and it’s there’s even little things that you can do just to make sure that you’re getting, you’re reminding yourself to focus on stuff.
So like, for example, each week, when I do the Instagram snippet for the for this podcast and stuff.
On average, I think that 75 or 80% of time, I try to find a piece of you speaking because in terms of personal brand, I want you to get the recognition you deserve as CEO, as somebody who’s led this company very successfully for four years, you know, made us gotten us to seven figures of revenue and stuff that’s important.
So even just something as simple as okay, how do you what percentage of you goes in the marketing mix for the company, so people can keep seeing that you are an authority on something, that’s something that we have to do,
## Katie Robbert 16:48
which, so that, and thank you for that, you know, it, as I was thinking about this conversation that we are now having this morning, prior to us having it, the other thing that I was thinking about was sometimes you’re just not going to be able to reach people, regardless of how good you are at it.
Because the thinking that I was the root of thinking I was going down was when we talk about hiring.
You know, there’s a lot of bias that goes with it, you know, people I was talking, I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about, you know, she works with a client who predominantly white men, who only like to hire other white men who are very similar to them, because that’s what they’re comfortable with.
So regardless of how good you know, this, you know, a person over here might be if they don’t look like them, if their names are not similar to theirs, if they don’t have a similar educational background or similar, no journey in terms of you know, their learning and career, they could be the best person for the job, the company still will not hire them because of their lack of diversity or their subconscious, you know, fears of anything that are different.
And so I do want to address that point a little bit that regardless of how good you are, regardless of how well crafted and strategic, you’ve put together your personal brand, you may still run into those roadblocks, and they may not be anything that you’re doing wrong.
It’s likely 100% The other person it
## Christopher Penn 18:33
is and that’s where, again, as as business owners and as people in the marketing community, I mean, you have to look at studies like what McKinsey Consulting put together.
McKinsey did a diversity study three years ago and 2019 and found that something like companies, which actually walked the talk on diversity, had a 17% increase in profitability over companies that that didn’t think so.
From, you know, from the company side, if you have the opportunity to have that discussion with stakeholders, you can pull out that McKinsey study to say, Yeah, we need to make sure we are diversifying not to have to be, you know, politically correct, we’re but because it makes you more money.
That’s one thing.
And the other thing that’s important, and this is a flip side to what you just said is your brand is a filter.
Your brand is a filter.
Sometimes that’s bad, because you know, obviously there are people with biases, but on the other hand, sometimes it’s a good thing, because you may not necessarily want to work for a company that, for example, has a substantial bias against women or people of color or people who are not heterosexual and so on and so forth.
And your brand if you’re putting that out and saying this is who I am.
We’ll filter out some of those people.
They will not hire you.
So yes, there is that diminish opportunity on one side, but on the other side, it’s also you don’t have to be surrounded by jerks.
This weekend, I published an issue of my newsletter that was dedicated solely to the Supreme Court ruling I got I got a bunch of positive responses, I got some really scathing negative responses like I’m sorry, I ever referred people to you your blah, blah, blah.
And I’m like, Cool, I’m, I’m happy with this, because you’re not somebody who I would want to work with.
But also tells me, you’re not somebody who believes in data or the value of data.
Because you would not necessarily have that strong position if you did, which means that as a potential customer of mine, you wouldn’t value the work that I would do, because I would give you bad news in the form of here’s some analytics that say you’re, you’re doing terribly, and you would be fact resistant, right? So you probably wouldn’t pay your bills.
So your personal brand can be a filter to say, Yeah, this is who I am, this is what I stand for this is, these are the things that I can do to help you.
And if you’re not comfortable getting hiring advice, or management, consulting, advice, or change, manage advice from a woman or personal color, whatever.
Let’s not do business, because it’s not going to be good for either party.
## Katie Robbert 21:02
And I think that that’s a really good sort of flip side to that perspective.
Because it is, it’s that two sided coin one, you can be really frustrated that you’re not making headway and getting ahead.
But the other side of it is, that’s probably okay.
Because it’s not people you want to do business with, anyway.
And so, you know, I think the point that we’re coming to is, you know, you are constantly needing to work on your personal brand.
However, it doesn’t need to be intense, it doesn’t need to be look at me, look at me, because not all of us are comfortable operating that way.
A lot of people aren’t comfortable operating that way.
And when we try to, it comes across as disingenuous.
I know, when I tried to do it people like you, okay, you have in a moment, you’re about to jump off the cliff.
Because it’s just not who I am.
As a person.
I’ve never been that way.
And so finding other ways to demonstrate your expertise to remind people, Hey, I did this really cool thing without shoving it in their face.
That’s the real challenge.
That’s the real question that you need to answer is, how do you feel the most comfortable reminding people that you have something of value to say, in a way that you are okay, doing it repeatedly?
## Christopher Penn 22:23
And I would add to that if you find yourself in a place where there are not enough opportunities, and there’s enough people who are like you, tell the establishment go take a long walk off a short pier and, and do your own thing, right? You know, for example, you’re a member of the women and analytics group.
There’s a group of people who traditionally have been very marginalized and outlooks and data science.
And so a bunch of folks got together and said, Well, you know, we’re tired of being told no, we can’t speak at this event.
So we’re going to have our own event.
There is relatively little, I’m not gonna say nothing, but there’s relatively little standing in the way of organizing something these days, particularly with virtual events, things like that, for like minded people, so if you’re finding that the opportunities are not there, find like minded people and start building your own thing.
And it doesn’t have to be huge, right? You know, if you had a once a month zoom call with 20 other folks, that would be a great starting point, because every time you do, each person there has their own network, and they can spread the word and each person and that person has their own network, and eventually it can become a thing.
Way back in 2006, when podcasting was was just getting started.
My friend, Chris Brogan, and I were like, we can’t afford to go to all these podcasting conferences, they got 595, whatever.
It’s like, okay, let’s do our own.
We got a room at Bunker Hill Community College, which if you’ve seen oh, gosh, what’s that? Robin Williams, Matt Damon movie?
## Katie Robbert 23:54
Oh, Goodwill Hunting.
## Christopher Penn 23:56
It was basically set to film there.
It was not fancy at all.
The thing we spent the most money on was a vinyl banner, I think was like 50 bucks.
Besides renting the venue.
And in the next six years, it became one of the largest podcasting conferences there was with multiple cities and things like that.
Start somewhere with like minded people, it find your community find your tribe, and that’s who you need to be known by first.
And once they know you, they can help spread the word for you.
## Katie Robbert 24:31
Yeah, I think that that solid advice and, you know, I think that personal brand looks different for everybody.
And I think that that’s the thing that it’s okay to remember that.
You know, and this is something Chris, you and I have talked about that when I was first getting started in this on this side of the industry.
I come from academia, which is very different from the commercial side.
A lot of what I learned was by mirroring Chris what you were doing, and at some point like that worked fine.
went for a while, but then I had to diverge.
And I still am working on it diverging off my own path.
So it’s good to find someone to emulate to start.
But then at some point, you have to decide, what does that look like for me.
You know, if I continue to try to emulate everything you’re doing, Chris, then all I’m doing is really becoming a copycat of you.
And I’m sort of losing my own identity in doing so.
And so, you’ve given me really great tools and examples and resources.
I now for myself need to figure out what that looks like.
## Christopher Penn 25:34
It’s like cooking, right? Once we all know how to use the appliances, you gotta cook what you want to cook.
I’m like, Yeah, I’m gonna make a bunch of sushi.
And you’re like, Nope,
## Katie Robbert 25:42
I’m gonna fry that shit.
## Christopher Penn 25:45
But it’s true.
Apple’s brand is not the same as IBM’s IBM’s brand is not the same as Tesla.
Tesla’s brand is not the same as you know, Home Depot, they’re all different brands, but they all follow similar principles.
So it’s the, we have to do the same thing, whatever your personal brand is.
Use the tools, you know, to the best way possible with the audience you have, which is a key point, and then go from there.
You may find Katie, for example, people may resonate with you based on Tiktok, for example, we don’t know until you find out but right.
That may be unique to your brand.
So that’s part of it.
## Katie Robbert 26:21
And I think that that is the other piece of advice is, it’s okay to try and fail.
So if you, let’s say you start a newsletter, and nobody subscribes, okay? Try something different.
It doesn’t mean that your personal brand is not strong, it means that you haven’t found the right way to reach the people that you care about where they are.
## Christopher Penn 26:43
Exactly, right, exactly.
And the only thing I can guarantee as there are people out there who want to hear what you say there’s 7 billion people on this planet, right? If only one in a million people wanted to hear what you had to say, right? That’s what 77,000 People who want to be in your tribe, right.
So there’s a lot of people out there, it’s a question of finding them.
Any final thoughts on on your personal brand, Katie.
## Katie Robbert 27:15
I mean, the biggest piece of advice that I can give people is, be authentic.
Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself because it will come through and people will not people will have a harder time trusting you.
Because they will be able to see through the fact that you are not just being yourself.
## Christopher Penn 27:34
That’s a lot more work to
## Katie Robbert 27:37
it’s, it’s not worth it.
## Christopher Penn 27:40
If you’ve got comments or questions or you want to talk about your personal brand, pop on over to our free slack group go to trust insights.ai/analytics or market is where you and over 2500 other folks are asking answering each other’s questions every day.
And wherever it is.
You watch or listen to the show.
Go to trust insights.ai/ti podcast, we can find it on a platform of your choice.
Thanks for tuning in.
I will talk to you soon.
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