Defining Your Personal Brand: The First Step to Becoming a Thought Leader with Carol Cox and Diane Diaz: Podcast Ep. 332

Defining Your Personal Brand: The First Step to Becoming a Thought Leader

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We’re kicking off a new series all about personal branding.

Do you know you have a personal brand, whether you’re aware of it or not?

Now more than ever, your personal brand is essential.

We’re all swimming in a sea of online content, from social media posts to podcasts and videos, and even AI churning out more stuff. 

How do you stand out in that crowd? How can you connect with the people you most want to connect with so that they understand who you really are, what matters to you, and then how they align with that?

We know it can be confusing about what personal branding actually means. 

How slick and buttoned up does your personal brand need to be? Does it feel superficial or like a facade to have a personal brand? How does your personal brand connect with your company brand? 

That’s why we’re doing this series on personal branding. It’s a perfect match with thought leadership and public speaking. So, let’s navigate this together and help you make your mark in your world.

In this episode, Diane Diaz, our lead speaking coach, and I talk about:

  • What a personal brand is
  • What it looks like to define your personal brand
  • Our 3 C’s of personal branding
  • How to determine what your personal brand is currently
  • And more!

 

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

 

 

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox, joined in this episode by our lead speaking coach Diane Diaz. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

 

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/332/

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/quiz/

Enroll in our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

Connect on LinkedIn:

 

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332-SYB-Defining_Your_Personal_Brand.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
We’re kicking off our new series all about personal branding. Today. It’s about defining your personal brand. The first step to becoming a thought leader. On this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience. Hi there and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox, joined today by our lead speaking coach, Diane Diaz. Hi, Diane.

Diane Diaz:
Hi, Carol. Happy to be here. Great.

Carol Cox:
Well, we are kicking off a brand new series this month all about personal branding. Today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how to define your personal brand. The first step to becoming a thought leader. Next week, Diane and I are going to be talking about building your personal brand. So how to establish your thought leadership both online and offline. And then the following week we have a very special guest. Our client, concierge and image stylist Selita Roberts is on the podcast to talk about styling your personal brand. So how you show up, the clothes that you wear, the impact that you make in any room that you go in, so you feel confident and comfortable. And then finally, the fourth episode in the series will be amplifying your personal brand specifically around public speaking. So we’re doing this personal branding series because we know that we talk with so many women, our clients, podcast listeners like you, women that we chat with on LinkedIn or at networking events, and that there’s a lot of kind of mystery around personal branding. I feel like there’s a lot of confusion around what exactly it means to have a personal brand. How buttoned up does it? Does it have to be to have a personal brand? Does it feel almost like superficial or facade to have a personal brand? How does your personal brand connect with your company? Brand There are so many different things, but yet in this day and age, as there’s more and more content online, as artificial intelligence is going to help us create even more and more content as there are just more podcasts, more LinkedIn posts, more social media posts in general, how are we going to stand out? How are we going to connect with the people we most want to connect with so that they understand who we really are, what matters to us, and then how they align with that.

Carol Cox:
So that’s why we’re doing this episode, this whole series on personal branding, because it dovetails so much with thought leadership as well as with public speaking. If you’re new to the podcast, welcome here. Speaking your brand. We empower women entrepreneurs and professionals to confidently and effectively communicate their unique brand message and story to their audiences. We do this through our coaching and training programs like our Thought Leader Academy, which I’ll tell you about more at the end of this episode. We believe that by amplifying the voices of women and increasing their visibility, we work towards challenging the status quo and changing things for the better. All right, Diane, let’s dig in to personal branding. What exactly does it mean to have a personal brand?

Diane Diaz:
That’s a great question, Carol. And just to be clear, everybody has a personal brand. Not everybody necessarily is intentional about how their personal brand is coming across. So if you think about a brand just in general, a brand, you know, we know brands, we consume brands because we’re consumers in our capitalistic economy, right? So we buy from Starbucks. Maybe we like Nike products, maybe you’re an Apple person versus, you know, you use Mac products versus PCs. So we know brands. Brands make us feel a certain way. And just like with, let’s say I use all Apple products and they make me feel smart and they’re easy to use and they have certain attributes just like that. A person also has attributes that they send, signals that they send out to their audience that tell the audience something about them and how they want to be perceived. So for a personal brand, it is how your audience feels about you, what they believe about you, the impression that you make. So you’re constantly sending signals, whether it’s online or offline. You know, no matter what you’re doing, you’re sending these signals about who you are and what you stand for, what you believe, what your values are, all of those things. And it’s how the audience determines that what your brand is. So your audience actually determines what your brand is, but you can decide how you want to present yourself and how you want to show up to make sure that they’re perceiving you the way you want to be perceived to reach your goals.

Carol Cox:
I’ve heard said and I don’t remember who said this, that your personal brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.

Diane Diaz:
Yes. Think about when you go to a some sort of function or you meet even meet someone for coffee and you leave. What do they say about you? How do they feel about how you made them feel? Do they feel that you’re knowledgeable? In what? Area specialty that you have. Do they feel that you’re friendly, you’re warm, you’re connecting, that’s your personal brand. And again, there can be a disconnect between how you want to be perceived and how you’re actually being perceived, but we can talk about that more.

Carol Cox:
Well, it reminds me, Diane, that not just about a month ago I received a message on LinkedIn from someone who’s a LinkedIn connection, and I have not seen this person in person for probably least 5 or 6 years. And they live here in the Orlando area. And I don’t even remember exactly how we originally got connected. Probably in all of the networking events that we used to go to in 2016, 2017, 2018, and we were really active in those groups here in Orlando. So she reached out and she the reason she was sending me the LinkedIn message is she wanted to connect me with another woman who’s an event organizer to have me potentially speak at the conference that this other woman was hosting. And the woman who I know said in the message, you know, check out Carole. I think she would be a great speaker for your event. She’s like a legend in Orlando. I’m like, oh, don’t. I don’t want to go quite that far. But okay, thanks. And because of how much Carole. His mission is about amplifying women’s voices and supporting women. So even though, like, I don’t have this tattooed on me when I go to networking events, this is what I do. But clearly everything that I put out from this podcast to the programs that we offer to the speaking topics, to the LinkedIn posts, to podcast interviews that I do and I know it’s the same for you. Diane consistently conveys this message, so people can’t help but pick up on it, right?

Diane Diaz:
And that demonstrates very clearly the power of a personal brand that you’re intentional about. Right? You’re intentional about how you show up, what you speak about, what you share on social media, other people that you connect to, groups that you go to and groups that you join, places that you speak, you’re consistent about those. And it obviously made an impression on her. That is what she was saying about you when you weren’t in the room. Right. And so it’s a testament to the power that your personal brand has when you take control of it and build it in a way that aligns with what you want your goals to be. And then those opportunities come to you because they see it and they pick up on that.

Carol Cox:
And this is why personal branding is such an important aspect of thought leadership. Because thought leadership is about being recognized as an authority in your industry, as an authority in the topic or in the in the community that you’re in. And as a thought leader, you are kind of you are you do have a mission. You are conveying a bigger mission that is more than just the business that you’re running or the company that you work for. It is about the change that you want to see in the world. And so I feel like for your when you think about your personal brand, it is about your skill set, your areas of expertise, what it is that you do in your business. But it’s also more than that. I really feel like this idea, the values and mission part and your story, what brought you to the work that you do are also really essential components of your personal brand.

Diane Diaz:
Absolutely. And your your own unique personality, Right. I’m as you know, I am known as somebody with a solid sense of humor. And so that does come through in everything that I do. And it is part of my personal brand. So even those little subtle things, you know, if you’re someone who sends handwritten thank you notes or if you’re someone who connects people to other people that they should know, that’s part of your personal brand. All those little things that we do are part of our personal brand.

Carol Cox:
And I we just we mentioned consistency about being consistent in the type of content, the messaging, what it is that you’re talking about is an important aspect of your personal brand, as are two other C’s clarity and credibility. So we have our three C’s consistency, clarity and credibility. And and I want and I think sometimes when people hear about being consistent, they feel like they have to be the same person or talk about the same thing over and over again all the time. And I would just say that, yes, we we talk about the importance of women’s voices and women’s stories and women’s experiences and women having a space on the stage and a seat at the table and making sure that our ideas and our experiences and our stories are being heard and that we’re making change as well. But yet the way that we talk about it can shift over time and it doesn’t have to be exactly the same thing. So we talk a lot about public speaking and thought leadership, but I’m also talking about AI and the impact AI is going to have on all of us and how as women we need to make sure we’re having a seat at those tables where important decisions are being made. And so that’s why consistency is important, but it can show up in a variety of ways. It doesn’t just have to be the same thing over and over again for years on end.

Diane Diaz:
No, that’s a really great point. So it’s almost like for you, Carol, for using you as an example, your topics of women’s empowerment and women having a voice informs how you speak about AI, Right. And so they play together and and it’s, you know, all the things that we do across our whole careers, we are constantly sort of re reinventing our brands in a way that is fresh and relevant. But everything we did in the past in. Informs what we’re doing now. I used to work in market research and I worked in land development and I don’t do those things anymore. So how does that why is that relevant to my personal brand now? Well, it informs what I speak about now. It informs the things that I share about things that I talk to people about, how I connect people to each other, how I lift other women up. It informs all of that. So it is part of my personal brand. Yet my personal brand has changed over time. Oh yeah, that’s a.

Carol Cox:
Really great point. But you have this foundation in marketing and branding, which you bring to all of the different things that you do that you’ve done over your career and in marketing and branding are kind of like the degrees or the skill sets. But I, I feel like for you, Diane, it’s helping whoever it is that you’re working with, it’s helping them understand themselves better and then show up in the world how they want to show up.

Diane Diaz:
I would say that is spot on. A great example is I was recently having a conversation with a young woman who’s the friend of my boyfriend’s daughter, and they both just graduated from college and I was giving her some advice, hoping that she’s young, just out of college, hoping that maybe she could avoid some of the pitfalls of being a new college graduate that we all kind of fall into. And I told her one of the tips I gave her was to be sure to build your personal brand aside from whatever it is you do for your job, because it is truly the only thing that you own. So if you work for if you don’t have your own company, if you work for a corporation, you still have a personal brand, but you can’t let it just be all about that company. You you have to still stand for things. So we have these personal brands that we build that stand for something and we get known for. So even if you’re in a corporate role, you want to be building your personal brand so that when you maybe change, jobs get laid off, which is what happened to me, you have now built something that you stand for and it is the thing that you own about yourself.

Carol Cox:
And it’s an excellent point. And that goes even for for those of us who are entrepreneurs and own our own businesses, we still have personal brands that may be aligned and connected to our business brand, but they’re still separate from the business itself. And no, that’s also tend to people tend to get a little bit confused about, well, I have I have a business, so I have a business brand. Do I really need a personal brand? But as Diane mentioned at the top, we have personal brands, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we all have them. And even though, like obviously speaking, your brand, our mission is about women’s empowerment and women’s voices and women’s visibility, so very much aligned with my personal brand. Yet I still have aspects of my personal brand that may not always show up in speaking your brand or just or may show up in different ways or may shift over time. And I know for Diane, since, you know, you you work here for speaking your brand and you also work at the university where we teach and I know that. But for you, I feel like this even this idea of concept, of personal branding is very much connected to you. Because I know people reach out to you all the time for speaking engagements and for trainings around personal branding. So you’ve kind of established yourself as a thought leader in that space.

Diane Diaz:
Part of it is because, well, I have talked about the fact that I have rebranded myself personally in my career multiple times due to, you know, job changes, moving layoffs and all sorts of life events. But also because I do, you know, looking back on my career, I see the benefit of having clarity. You know, back back when I was in corporate, I did not understand that is what I was doing was personal branding. But now when I look back on it, it was really about having clarity of what I stand for, right? And what is important to me and what resonates with me and making sure that I’m clear about that when I’m talking to anybody for anybody, like you said, even for entrepreneurs, your audience wants to know you. They want to hear from you. They your personal brand helps to build trust. So even if you’re a company that’s selling, you know, a service or a product and you never see the client, you are still the personal brand within that business. So just like for me, I was working for a corporation. I was still the person that was face to face. They do you do business with a human being, not a faceless company.

Diane Diaz:
So it’s important to think about your personal brand and all that you do. And I, I think I, I don’t know if I just kind of innately knew that or I just did it because it was out of necessity and we just didn’t call it personal branding. But, you know, it has become kind of the thing I’ve been known for. And I’ve done a lot of talks on personal branding to a lot of groups. And I think it sometimes is almost a little bit of a revelation to people because, you know, it feels like we get in this job, we work our way up, we, you know, change jobs, then we maybe we start our own company, but we don’t often think about like, well, what is my brand? Never mind what I’m selling, never mind what I’m pitching, never mind who I work for, but what is my brand? And so I think many of the people who hear me speak about that are like, Oh, right, I need to be thinking about that and how I’m coming across and how I want to come across. Well, let’s.

Carol Cox:
Talk about that. How do we figure out what our personal brand is, how it is that we’re coming across? How? Other people are receiving us. What people say about us when we’re not in the room because we don’t know what they’re saying, because we’re not in the room, how can we go about helping to figure this out? Yeah, that’s.

Diane Diaz:
A good question. So I would say first do sort of a self-assessment and decide how you want to come across, you know, what are do you want to be seen as someone who is knowledgeable in an area X, Y, Z, who is warm and friendly, You know, whatever you want your personality to come across as, decide how you want to be perceived, what are the visions that you have for your own personal brand in whatever space that you operate in? That’s great. That’s a good start. But then also ask other people, Ask your audience. And when I say your audience, I’m talking about you might ask some clients if you if you work with clients, you might ask colleagues, people you’re connected to in networking organizations, people you’ve worked for and with friends, family. If you if you want to go down the family route, sometimes you might not get answers that you want to hear. But I think it’s important to understand, you know, if you’re trying to come across as someone who is friendly and fun and you’re coming across a sort of a little too serious, that’s not a horrible thing, but maybe that’s not what you’re intending to convey. So it’s good to know that from the audience, because we can’t I don’t know who said this expression, but I wish I did so I could give them the right credit for it. But they said, you can’t see the label from inside the jar. And so it’s hard to see how we’re coming across unless we ask our audience. You know, it’s like a joke that lands badly. Well, maybe you didn’t intend that, but it’s good to know, right?

Carol Cox:
And thinking about, you know, as we think about our personal brands and how we’re coming across and how we want to come across and there is no right or wrong way if you are a serious person, like I kind of consider myself a serious person yet, you know, obviously we laugh and joke around, but that’s okay because I’m also not going to try to be someone that I’m not because that’s going to people are going to pick up on that because it’s not going to feel genuine. And as humans like we pick up on subtleties, even if even if it’s not conscious to us, our subconscious picks up on it. So a couple of women came to mind as you were talking, and I’m thinking about their personal brands and how different they are. The first is Sara Blakely, the founder of the company Spanx. You know, that makes the undergarments. And from looking at her LinkedIn post, she is very approachable. She’s very fun. She’s kind of quirky. She thinks she has four kids. So she’s very family oriented. They do all these like, crazy things at their house with like play things and festivals. And, I don’t know, like, that’s her personality. She’s fun, she’s quirky. She’s obviously very hard working and very smart. Then I think of another woman who came to mind, and I’m thinking about this, Diane, because of the conversation you had with Selita that’s coming up around styling. Is Anna Wintour, the very famous editor of Vogue magazine. She is not like Sara Blakely at all. She is. I would not consider her approachable. I would not consider her the type of woman you would just go up to and be like, hey, how’s it going? You know, she because but that’s her demeanor. It works for her in the fashion world, whether that’s her true personality or not, I don’t know. But they are very different from each other. And that’s okay.

Diane Diaz:
Really good observation. And a good point to understand is I think sometimes I think especially maybe when we’re younger, we try to fit into a mold of how we think people want us to be, and then it doesn’t feel comfortable for us. And honestly, your audience can pick up on that. So, you know, I’ve never been someone who can get into the whole like, Boss babe stuff. I see women do that and they do it genuinely and it comes across great. I just could never do it because it is not my personality. So we don’t need to try to be whatever is trendy at the moment or popular at the moment. If it suits you, do it. But if it doesn’t suit you, don’t force it, just let your own natural personal brand come through. And I think sometimes we try to fit ourselves into those molds because we think, Oh, then we’ll get the right audience, we’ll get the people who like us. But the problem with that is that there is there is a lid for every pot. Your audience is out there, so you don’t have to try to be something that you’re not. You just need to be yourself. And then the right people that are aligned with your message will come to you. If you try to be someone else. You can only keep that up for so long before it becomes pretty obvious that that is not your personality and not your personal brand.

Carol Cox:
And Diana, think about the women who we get to work with in the Thought Leader Academy or the standalone VIP days that we do. And I know we always chat when we have our one on one meetings with each other, how fortunate we feel to be able to work with these women because when they show up to work with us, they are so open hearted, open minded, they’re supportive of each other. They want to have an impact with their message and their story, even when they have self-doubts, even when they have insecurities, even when they’re not sure how it’s going to be received or what exactly it is that they want to say and how they say it. But they still show up willing to do that. And I know that’s a reflection of the work that we put out on this podcast and in LinkedIn, and it’s a reflection of our own personal brands because we’re attracting the women who we know. We’re going to be able to help the most.

Diane Diaz:
Actually, as you were saying that a person came to mind for me. Amber Hawley, because she is a shout out to you, Amber, if you’re listening to this. She has this really fun and quirky, lively, bubbly, but kind of like a little sarcastic but with humor. And her personality is just so engaging, so much so that we asked her to be the emcee for one of our actually for both of our online virtual retreats, because she has the type of personality that can help a group get excited about something. And that just goes to show like she is very genuine. And if you see any content she puts out, yes, she has a business, she is a therapist and she does work in that area. So of course that’s serious. But her personality still comes through and everything that she does. And so naturally we us as speaking your brand and she are attracted to one another because we like that genuineness that she has. Yes.

Carol Cox:
Even though we we all three of us have different personalities, we’re definitely not the same. But but we know who we are at our core and we show up as who we are and then it melds together. What a great example. Yeah. Shout out to Amber. She has a podcast called The Easily Distracted Entrepreneur. So check that out if you like. Find some new podcasts to listen to. All right. Dan So so we chatted about obviously the importance of having a personal brand, how much a personal brand is an essential element to be a thought leader. And and for those of you listening, if you are not sure exactly what your personal brand is saying about you, as Diane suggested, talk to some colleagues, some clients, some coworkers, some friends, and kind of get a sense of how would they describe you? How would they describe the mission that you have, how you show up in the world, and then take that and then do your also your own self-assessment as far as what matters matters to you, your values, your passions, your strengths and your interests, and kind of start putting those those together and your personal brand is going to evolve over time. It’s not static. You don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out and perfect and everything you know, all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed before you can show up in the world. Show up as yourself. See how see who responds to that, who’s attracted to that, and then keep developing that and working on that as you go. And this is why I love podcast interviews and we recommend to our clients who we’re working with to go find podcasts to be interviewed on and to do speaking engagements, because those are the best ways for you to understand who’s resonating with your message. That is such.

Diane Diaz:
A great point. I love that idea of doing podcast interviews because I think it also gives you an opportunity to practice your personal brand messaging and then get feedback to see how it lands with an audience. And the more you say it, the more comfortable you get with communicating what it is that you stand for.

Carol Cox:
And if you would like to find out what your speaker archetype is, which is another great way to identify how you’re showing up as far as your natural communication strengths. We have a fun ten question free quiz that you can take at speaking your brand.com/quiz. Again, that’s speaking your brand.com/quiz. So you’ll answer those ten multiple choice questions and then you’ll get your result right away. As far as which of those four speaker archetypes you are and then you’ll get recommendations as far as what to do to, to add to them even more to enhance your communication and your speaking. So definitely go and take that that quiz as speaking your brand.com/quiz. The next episode, Diane and I are going to dig into building your personal brand so specific strategies you can start using to establish your thought leadership both online and offline. So make sure to hit, subscribe or follow in your podcast app so you don’t miss these future episodes that we’re doing on personal branding. Also share this episode with a friend who is also looking to amplify their public speaking to tap into thought leadership, and they also want to to find out more about personal branding, make sure to share it with them. Diane, thanks as always for coming on the podcast.

Diane Diaz:
My pleasure, Carol.

Carol Cox:
Until next time, thanks for listening.

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