Search:  Tell a friend Tell a Friend |  Print this page Print |  Site Map Site Map
    Facebook LinkedIn Twitter       
ACC Board of Advisors ACC Board Board CommitteesACC Staff ACC Strategic Plan ACC History ACC Past Presidents ACC Bylaws
Photos Video Committee
Beacon Awards® Beacon Award Finalist Summaries (members-only) Beacon Award Committee Cable Communications Achievement Awards ACC AwardsACC Community Bridges Awards
Professional Development Career ConnectionsFAQs About Social MediaKnowledge Center ACC Communications Institute Best Practices (members-only) ACC Videos Links
Headlines in Cable & Communications ACC CalendarEvents CPR Facts Press Releases ACCbriefs Annual Conference: FORUM
Transcript:Leveraging Your Brand to Achieve Personal & Career Success
An ACC Online Chat - September 26, 2013
Download PDF version of the transcript

Steve_Jones

Welcome to today's ACC's 2pm Chat: Leveraging Your Brand to Achieve Personal & Career Success. All are welcome to participate. We only ask that you remember that this is a professional forum and act accordingly.

Our presenters for today's topic are: Peggy Ballard, Communications Trainer & Consultant, Encore Performance Marketing Virginia A. Bradley, Founder and CEO, Global EXEC Women Shannon Cassidy, Founder, Bridge Between, Inc. & author The Five Degree Principle

Steve_Jones

For those of you who have joined the Chat, we will be starting in a few minutes....

Peggy_Ballard

Hi, it's great to be back with ACC. You may remember me from my years in the cable industry - when I led the marketing and corporate communications at Scientific-Atlanta / Cisco - and, when I was very active in ACC. Judging Beacon Awards was always a great time for me, being with many of you! I am now on my "encore career" - working as a communications consultant for small businesses and coaching individuals as they are on their career journey. Look forward to our discussion today!

Virginia_Bradley_

Hello! Thank you for the opportunity to join you today. I am the founder of Global EXEC Woman LLC a penalty free organization which connects female business leaders across industries with other women of influence who exercise billions of dollars of purchasing power. She also produces the only award-winning, multilingual, publication that is exclusive to female executives who conduct international business. Ms. Bradley created the International Council, which is comprised female Consuls General, trade commissioners, and country representatives. This council recognizes outstanding leaders via its International Women of Influence and Luminary Awards™. These awards have been presented in Atlanta, Beijing, Istanbul, San Francisco, and Toronto. For the second year, the awards were held in Cairo in partnership with eight other alliances and included executive women from over 30 countries.

Shannon_Cassidy

Shannon Cassidy - glad to be here! I'm the founder and CEO of bridge between inc., a specialized executive development firm. My main focus is on behavioral excellence and leadership effectiveness. My experience as an executive coach has a proven track record of creating targeted and sustainable growth for 100's of corporate leaders. An active community volunteer, I live in the Greater Philadelphia area with her husband and two children. My new book The 5 Degree Principle was released in January 2013. Check it out! http://www.5degreeprinciple.com Twitter: @shannoncassidy

Steve_Jones

Okay, great....Let me get things rolling with our first question. How do you go about defining what your own person brand is?

Peggy_Ballard

Since each of you is a communications professional, I suggest you use your marketing and PR skills as you define your personal brands. Defining your personal brand isn't really that different than what companies do to define their brand. It's all about what you stand for. What values? What makes you unique?

Peggy_Ballard

A strong brand: Delivers a clear, concise and consistent message Confirms credibility Connects emotionally Cements loyalty To be strong, a brand must be unique.

Virginia_Bradley_

Personal Branding is defined by both brand image and brand identity. Brand image is defined through the eyes of others. It is their perception of you. Brand identity, what you would like to stand for and what you'd prefer to project to others.

Shannon_Cassidy

Choose the descriptors and characteristics of your brand. Think about the behavior associated with it. Set new habits to align with those behaviors. Maintain consistency.

Ellen Cooper

I think you need to be authentically yourself and consistent in all your relationships

Steve_Jones

How do you go about putting in place what Peggy, Virginia & Shannon have outlined?

Shannon_Cassidy

Ellen, I agree. Authenticity is essential.

Peggy_Ballard

Ellen, absolutely. It is about authenticity. It is about what makes you unique. Being YOURSELF!

Virginia_Bradley_

I agree with Shannon! Personal congruency is critical.

Shannon_Cassidy

"Know thyself." - Socrates It requires quiet reflection and awareness to really know who you are.

Steve_Jones

So, how does an individual stay true to their self and be authentic? What is the formula?

 

gene.regan@suddenlink.com joined.

Anthony Surratt

For all of you: I understand authenticity and being yourself. But if I think back to the early part of my career, just out of college, I'm not sure I knew who I was -- at least not professionally speaking. Any advice for people at the start of their careers?

Peggy_Ballard

You should also "test" how you think you are perceived with reality. Everyone on the chat should take a few moments to describe three brand attributes... If you were asked what your brand stood for, what would those three words be? Then... go ask others how they perceive you. If they don't match, you are not living what you perceive your brand to be.

Leigh_Woisard

I think that consistency plays such an important role in delivering a brand image that resonates - you have to be purposeful. Any tips on how to dleiver that brand with purpose and consistency?

Virginia_Bradley_

Do not try to be someone you are not. It is exhausting and you will dislike yourself. Many people may not like the real you, yet that is better than having people admire, a fake you.

Shannon_Cassidy

Find someone you trust to provide you with feedback about your brand. Early in your career or anytime. What's working? What isn't? Make adjustments as needed.

Virginia_Bradley_

To create consistency, make sure what you say, how you act and who you are at your core are the same.

Steve_Jones

Would having a mentor to provide feedback to you early in your career be helpful as you develop or to help you develop your brand?

Shannon_Cassidy

Like any brand you're loyal to - you want to provide a consistent message and value proposition. What's unique about you? What are your strengths? How does that enable you to standout?

Peggy_Ballard

Anthony, for people starting out in the careers, they should think more about what they WANT their brand to be... and what they WANT TO BE ... more than what they want to do in life. Do you want to be someone who is respected? someone who is a great communicator? who is a relationship-builder? then, look at what it takes...

Peggy_Ballard

As Shannon said, finding someone you trust is important. That is where a mentor comes in...

Shannon_Cassidy

Yes, Mentors are wonderful IF you trust them AND they are willing to be candid with you.

Anthony Surratt

What about instances where your "personal" brand and the culture of your organization seem at odds? How do you reconciling competing (and even incompatible) brands? (Not that any of us has experienced this personally :-)

Steve_Jones

For those of you just entering the Chat, today's ACC's 2pm Chat: Leveraging Your Brand to Achieve Personal & Career Success. Our presenters for today's topic are: Peggy Ballard, Communications Trainer & Consultant, Encore Performance Marketing Virginia A. Bradley, Founder and CEO, Global EXEC Women Shannon Cassidy, Founder, Bridge Between, Inc. & author The Five Degree Principle

Peggy_Ballard

In 1997 Tom Peters wrote an article in FAST Company on personal brands... what he said then still applies... good suggested reading...http://www.fastcompany.com/28905/brand-called-you

Shannon_Cassidy

Mentors can be formal and informal. Formal mentors meet regularly and have clear goals and objectives. Informal mentors can be professionals from a distance, people you admire (for whatever reason) and others.

Virginia_Bradley_

@Anthony. When one is starting out in their career and perhaps unclear as to the personal brand they would like to create, they can select different people who they admire in different categories and mirror their actions. Soon, they will see what resonates with them. Evaluate each persons behavior and decide is that person an example or a warning in that particular area.

Ellen Cooper

I agree about mentorship. It can be extremely useful and more valued now than in the past. Then again, some of the most important and deeply resonating lessons that I have learned in my career came from making some mistakes and dealing with the fallout. THOSE mistakes were never repeated and serve me to this day.

Steve_Jones

In addition to a mentor, would co-workers or even a supervisor be individuals who can help you develop your brand?

Shannon_Cassidy

Absolutely. Some inspire how you want your brand to be. Some inspire the opposite.

Steve_Jones

Yes, I can see you can observe the brands you don't "want to be"

Virginia_Bradley_

It is also important to be clear on the difference between mentors and sponsors. A mentor teaches a sponsor is a personal advocate for you whose objective is about promoting you and sharing opportunities. How many people have at least three sponsors?

Peggy_Ballard

Certainly co-workers and a supervisor can be people who can help you develop your brand. They can give you feedback... and they can also encourage you. Once again, it is about building relationships on trust! And, knowing that you are getting feedback that you can trust.

Virginia_Bradley_

One simple exercise is to ask bosses, colleagues and those you supervise, to describe you using one adjective.

Peggy_Ballard

I also think you need to think about brand as being who you are... and marketing as what you do. You have to be able to "market" yourself to see your career go forward. And, marketing goes back to what Virginia said about brand image. What are you projecting?

Shannon_Cassidy

Interestingly, most of our behavior is habitual. Building a new habit -- consistent with your brand -- is essential for lasting change and brand evolution. Keep it fresh and congruent.

Leigh_Woisard

Yes, asking people for feedback is a great point. Not sure that generally speaking we do that enough.

Virginia_Bradley_

Another action item is to develop your own personal tag line. You can decide to share it, or not share it, yet once you create it, you can start to live it!

Ceanne-Cox

What if the brand you currently have has been successful for you in previous or existing roles, but in order to move forward or continue developing, your current brand may need to be "updated" (without losing your authentic self). What should you consider before rebranding or tweaking your brand?

Peggy_Ballard

Love the idea of a tag line. Most companies' brands can be own word... Volvo = safety. Nordstrom = service.

Shannon_Cassidy

Great exercise, Virginia. Another one is to put a piece of paper on the backs of everyone in the room (team meeting or networking event) and write either your first impression or words you associate with the person. Very interesting to see the difference between how you see yourself vs. how other see you.

Peggy_Ballard

If we were to ask you to tell us who you are in 140 characters, could you do that?

Leigh_Woisard

Someone once told me that a good way to think about the "tagline" that others have for you is to ask yourself what is the first thing people think when you enter a meeting.

Anthony Surratt

Peggy: Good question. I think if we communicators can't answer a question in 140 characters, we're in trouble.

Peggy_Ballard

Another source is the book "Strength Finders." It talks about focusing on your strengths to get ahead... and you can take a "quiz" to determine your strengths.

Virginia_Bradley_

Every day I ask. I even ask people who I have only had a short interaction with as it gives me great insight. I tell them I am doing a self-improvement survey. I even asked Steve when we were discussing this topic prior to my being selected.

Shannon_Cassidy

@Ceanne - consideration before rebranding: Are you changing WHO you are or HOW you come across. Never change who you are. (not possible)

Anthony Surratt

Do any of you advocate "style makeovers" as a way to change how you come across to others?

Peggy_Ballard

Hi, Anthony, will you share with everyone what you think your brand stands for?

Ellen Cooper

It is not only what you say and your tagline, but how you carry yourself, what you wear, your style defines how people perceive you as well.

Steve_Jones

Ellen, do you think that style of what you wear is harder now with many offices dressing casual?

Peggy_Ballard

Ellen.. .you're right... that is part of the marketing and packaging. It is making sure that how you carry yourself and how people "see you" does not get in the way of your communications. Studies who that when you meet someone, you have 7 seconds to make an impression.

Virginia_Bradley_

@Ellen. Absolutely. First it starts with your facial expression. Have you ever met someone whose face looks unemployed?!

Anthony Surratt

Peggy: Wow, thanks for putting me on the spot! :-) I'd like to think my brand is about honesty, integrity, generosity.

Shannon_Cassidy

@Anthony: Yes, a makeover or getting style-support is wonderful. I've hired image consultants who have helped significantly. The goal is that I'm congruent and represent my true self.

Leigh_Woisard

How hard is it to change your brand if you feel you need to?

Ellen Cooper

That's pretty funny, but of course you want to look good and match good clothes with depth of intelligence. Yes, styles have evolved in the business world, but you can still have panache in a business setting. Then again, you could all be wearing your pajamas right now and I would respect you!

Peggy_Ballard

Anthony, knowing you as I do, I agree. That you do respect those brand attributes! I also think that part of your "generosity" is in your friendliness. You never meet a stranger and are always welcoming to people in the cable community.

Ellen Cooper

I was replying to the unemployed face remark of Virginia

Shannon_Cassidy

It's as hard as you make it. If we associate PAIN to the process, it's so hard we won't do anything, we'll complain, blame others ("why should it matter?") or procrastinate. If we associate PLEASURE: new/ fresh/current/ polish it become fun.

Virginia_Bradley_

@Steve and Anthony. We all know that how you look does make a difference. Also, being aware of different cultures. If you are going to a Latin event, a little color goes along way, a European event you might want to pull out your nicest, conservative suit depending on the audience.

Virginia_Bradley_

While image is important, so often I meet people who do not value their own talents.

Anthony Surratt

Thanks Peggy! Check's in the mail.

Sabrina Heins

In a virtual workplace, how do I effectively represent and express my brand to new co-workers or people who I have never met before?

Peggy_Ballard

Leigh, I think "changing" a brand can be done...it is more about what aspirations do you have. If you want to be known for your generosity, then you need to think more about what do you need to change in order to live that value.

Shannon_Cassidy

And....the culture color of NYC is black. :-)

Anthony Surratt

I love sh's question about projecting a brand in a virtual work environment!

Ellen Cooper

If you are virtual, responsiveness is key. No lag time. Helps people respect you and depend on you.

Peggy_Ballard

The virtual workplace is more difficult... however, it is all about tone in your voice, responsiveness in e-mails, and being interested in the other person... rather than trying to be interesting.

Ellen Cooper

In virtual - phone time is also important

Shannon_Cassidy

In call centers I work with they have signs that say: They can hear your smile. The same is true for remote work locations. Your polished professionalism will come across. Feel good about yourself and deliver.

Sabrina Heins

Thank you for the advice.

Virginia_Bradley_

@Leigh. It is easy to change you want to. It is all about starting. I think it is important to understand no one NEEDS to do anything. Each person is perfect the way they are. Need may give an image that one is lacking vs. when one WANTS something, then you can go forth easier.

Anthony Surratt

"They can hear your smile" -- I like that!

Peggy_Ballard

Technology also helps the virtual world. With many of my clients, I use Skype.

Steve_Jones

How did the three of you succeed in your careers and what was the path(s) you took?

Peggy_Ballard

One last comment on the virtual world... don't multitask when you are on conference calls. Focus on what the discuss is about.. and call people by name.

Virginia_Bradley_

Ellen, Yes. I have started doing more SKYPE calls with people locally, so we can see each other.

Virginia_Bradley_

It is also important to ask yourself, how much of your personal brand did you create and how much has been given to you by others. Also, what is their motivation?

Sabrina Heins

Also, to add to Steve's question...do you feel mid-level professional and young professionals can still take the same path(s) or do we need to modify the path to reach executive levels?

Peggy_Ballard

I think that no matter what your path is, it is about the relationships that you build along the path.

Ellen Cooper

Your brand also evolves, refines and matures over time. Younger folks need to be open to change

Shannon_Cassidy

Like my book title - five degrees. small shifts. tweaks. adjustments to make improvements. Think of ONE thing you can do to polish your brand. The Five Degree Principle www.5degreeprinciple.com

Virginia_Bradley_

Showing up is a lot of it and remember when you go to networking events, you are not there for the chicken!

Ellen Cooper

@Peggy...BINGO! on the relationships. That is how I would define mine more than anything. Especially in PR, but in other careers as well

Anthony Surratt

Apologies for re-asking a question, but I think it got buried above. Of course, if you'd rather not answer it, that's okay too. What advice do you have when your "personal" brand is at odds with or even incompatible with the brand or culture of your work organization, or perhaps a client organization if you're in a consulting role?

Peggy_Ballard

I also think that no matter what your brand is, you need to make sure that you understand your company's business.. and the financial side of the business. Too many young people don't look at the financial side of their company. They don't understand the bottom line. I always encourage young people to list to their company's investor calls, read earnings reports, etc. Marketing and PR people are often to into the "words" of business rather than the numbers.

Steve_Jones

@Ellen...To follow up, more seasoned folks need to be open to change as well or they may "miss the bus" as it passes by.

Shannon_Cassidy

@Virginia - We can only control ourselves. What we choose to: say, wear, do, how we respond and project ourselves. We can influence how others see us, but can't control it. They can influence how we see ourselves...and don't control it. We are in the driver seat about how we see ourselves.

Peggy_Ballard

When your personal brand is at odds with your company's brand... and it is consistently at odds, then I think you have to make a decision as to what is right for you. It may be time to change.

Ellen Cooper

Either "play the game" or, unfortunately, sometimes you have to leave and find a more compatible environment. IT steals too much from you to fake it.

Shannon_Cassidy

@Anthony. Thanks for reposting. Missed that one. It's wonderful when your brand and organizations brand are a fit. When they aren't - you must choose: are you going to change, suffer or leave?

Ellen Cooper

@Steve - that's a very good point. We are always evolving

Virginia_Bradley_

@Anthony If the inconsistency is with your team, or boss, then take a look at the companies culture and values. If the conflict is there, work on your resume and find a company that is aligned with your brand. If it is with a client, look a little deeper to see if you can find common ground. If you do not, then maybe their is another person on your team who might be a better choice.

Anthony Surratt

Thanks Virginia. Great advice.

Shannon_Cassidy

Change is like breathing. You either get comfortable doing it or you....you know, die.

Steve_Jones

Many companies still use the traditional annual review. How can folks use the appraisal for developing their brand?

Peggy_Ballard

The other aspect of brands at odds is determining how you might affect the change or if you are truly at odds with the company's brand. Studies show that most people leave a job not because of a company... but because of their manager. You may be able to stay with the company ... but find a new position that suits you better.

Shannon_Cassidy

@Steve: Use review time as a great opportunity for feedback. Understand how you're being perceived, the perception of your capability and correct any misinterpretations about your intent or style. Ask questions and be willing to receive the gift of feedback.

Peggy_Ballard

I think that most people look at a performance appraisal as something that is "not fun." To me it should be a great opportunity to market yourself to your managers and others. As you go through the year, you should be keeping up with your accomplishments ... and for marketing and PR people a portfolio.

Ellen Cooper

RE: review. Don't be resistant to criticism. learn from it and grow. Use the review as a chance to reiterate your successes. Just as PR people always reiterate their company's successes. But be honest. That is always appreciated. None of us is perfect

Virginia_Bradley_

I believe one of the big mistakes people make is waiting until their annual review to have this conversation. Suggestion-create informal quarterly reviews. Ask your boss, what they would like for your personal brand to be, and begin the conversation to make sure it is aligned who where you are going.

Steve_Jones

@ Peggy, so should they be used not only for "how I'm doing at my job" but for the style of my work and how that impacts others?

Peggy_Ballard

You should also ask your manager for feedback. This is just another great way to see how your brand is being perceived. I know that ACC members have much to be proud of.

Peggy_Ballard

Yes, as Virginia said, ask your manager for feedback. Your job is to "manage" your career... and to manage your manager. And, I always believe... make your manager look good!

Virginia_Bradley_

Another idea is to let your boss and team know what you want your personal brand to be, then ask them to share their insights on how you can improve as well as what are you doing to dilute your personal brand. This can be a very insightful conversation.

Leigh_Woisard

Speaking of feedback, just had a 360 feedback tool completed. Very helpful. Some validating info; some things to work on too. Better to know that not know I guess.

Shannon_Cassidy

Feedback is a gift. Even when it's in a brown paper bag and not a white box with red ribbons. :-)

Virginia_Bradley_

It goes back to brand image and developing a scorecard showing how well your positioning strategy is working (Jerry S. Wilson - Managing Brand You)

Steve_Jones

And as follow up, how should folks be self promoting their brand within their office settings?

Leigh_Woisard

Prefer a little blue box, but I get your point!

Peggy_Ballard

Another great book is Fierce Conversations. In it the author talks about 365 feedback... rather than waiting for a 360 feedback, people should have open, straightforward conversations 365 days a year.

Shannon_Cassidy

360 Feedback is wonderful. The quote: Ignorance is bliss is totally not true. It's pain! Comb through your feedback. Pick ONE thing you're going to improve. Then, go through it again and pick another. (yes, blue boxes = true affection.)

Peggy_Ballard

I think that the best way to promote a brand is to LIVE it... every day. Be consistent in what you stand for...

Virginia_Bradley_

Sharing your brand. Mind reading is overrated.

Shannon_Cassidy

So true, Peggy! Brand YOU. Live it and love it.

Steve_Jones

It seems that you need to be aware of this at all times, not just the annual review.

Peggy_Ballard

Consistency just communicates your brand over and over and over again. Gets your message across again and again. Each of you are great communicators. Just think of yourself as a product and how would you 'market that brand."

Shannon_Cassidy

365

Virginia_Bradley_

@Peggy. I agree. Live your life as an exclamation not an explanation.

Steve_Jones

Our three presenters are accomplished executives. How did the three of you succeed in your careers and what was the path(s) you took?

Shannon_Cassidy

The definition of success is a subjective. At the moment I define it as being fulfilled in my roles and, what I believe is my purpose. My formula for fulfillment adapts and changes daily/weekly. I try. What matters is are you doing the most with the gifts you've been given. That, to me, is success.

Peggy_Ballard

Knowledge and relationships...and participation were all key to my career success. Knowledge of what is important to me; knowledge of my company goals, technologies, services, products, bottom line; knowledge of my customers. Building relationships all along the way. And participating fully... whether in organizations like ACC or in teams within my company... and, the "showing up" everyday at work.

Virginia_Bradley_

Proximity is power. In evaluating the executives that attend our Global EXEC Women events the most common personal brand that I see is that they know, and own their power. Not in a pompous way, more so is this is what I am the trusted expert in and if you need advice or insight let me know.

Peggy_Ballard

Also... participating means giving back. My greatest success was always in the success of the people within my team or the people within the company. Others people success can be my success.

Steve_Jones

Any final questions, we have about 1 minute left in the chat?

Sabrina Heins

Thank you for the advice and great resources.

Steve_Jones

Okay, this concludes today's chat. Thanks to our three presenters, Peggy Ballard, Virginia Bradley and Shannon Cassidy!

Shannon_Cassidy

Thank you!

Allison

thank you

Ellen Cooper

excellent chat. thanks to all!

Peggy_Ballard

Thank you for this opportunity.

Virginia_Bradley_

@Steve Know that your talents and skills can cross industries. If you have a complaint then take a leadership role and change it. You have what it takes. If you don't believe me, just look at how many people who you might think are not qualified have those roles. Someday is today, Make it happen!

Virginia_Bradley_

It has been my pleasure to participate. Thank you and feel free to reach out to me at vbradley@globalexecwomen.com or 404.488.8400. Happy to answer any questions!

Mailing Address: 9259 Old Keene Mill Road, Suite #202   Burke, VA 22015
Phone: 800.210.3396 / 703.372.2215
Fax: 703.782.0153
services@cablecommunicators.org