Why the Focus/Obsession with Personal Branding? Richard Cardona

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Personal branding is red-hot.

Seemingly, everyone you turn, someone is offering personal branding advice and consulting.

Is the focus/obsession with personal branding due to the gig economy, the ubiquity of social marketing, or the reality that people will work for multiple employers so a personal brand is important, if not necessary?

On this episode of Marketing Spark, Rich Cardona and I dive into personal branding, why it matters, and how to build a personal brand. 

We also discuss the importance of content marketing and why, like many people, his time on Clubhouse has gone way down.

I'm Mark Evans and welcome to marketingspark podcast that delivers insight from marketers and entrepreneurs in the trenches in twenty fiveminutes or less. Personal branding is redhot. Everyone's looking to stand up from thecrowd challenge, of course, because there's a lot of competition for thespotlight. Rich Cardona is not only a personal branding and linkedin coach, butsomeone who talks the talk and watch the water on Linkedin to keep part ofriches brand is his personal life and family. It's what makes rich authentic, realand trustworthy. Before inviting rich to appear on the PODCAST, it feltlike a new one. I guess that's the power personal branding. Having tobe here, mark, I'm very excited to give any value I'd possibly Kendto your audience. Personal branding, as they set off the top, issomething that is red hot these days. Everybody's talking about it. On linkedinyou see post after post and video after video talking about the importance of personalbranding, why you have to do it, how you have to do it.And the question I have for you, as somebody who runs a personal brandingagency, is why the focus on personal branding where did it come from? Is it from the GIG economy? Is it due to Covid is itthe fact that everybody wants to be an entrepreneur these days, or even whenyou work for a company, you want to be an internal entrepreneur? What'sdriving this fascination with personal branding? Actually, I'm going to work a little bitbackwards on that, since you mentioned working out a company. I amsuch an enormous believer in that. A company WHO's trying to attack attract talentand WHO's trying to attack a attract a little bit more attention are the onesthat allow the the people in and on their teams to have a personal brandand rather rather than befen them, being fearful of them cultivating this personal brandonleaving, if Mark Jr is working at rich cardowna media and he's fantastic andhe's got a great personal brand, that's going to raise a couple eyebrows andbe like wow, what's going on over there? Are I really like theculture, I really like the way they may content and I could tell likethis wasn't passed down from above like hey, please share this corporative post of thecompany. So that's one aspect. The personal brand goes with you.If you're not going to be at a company forever, which a lot ofus are not, and you don't choose to be a business owner, that'swhat's going to go with you. If you are a business owner and you'vebeen a business owner for thirteen years, or at least round that company forthirteen years, and you have to pivot, your personal brand goes with you.It doesn't mean you fail, it means that you probably amassed some sortof loyalty and audience and community that is going to go with you because theyhave faith in you. Now fully, I certainly believe that the pandemic hascertainly played a large role and it because of the missed interactions that we have. There is, there are those moments that are when you're walking out ofa meeting and you're already talking about what was just discussed in the meeting withsomeone and you're going to walk to the count room and talk about it andyou're going to have that kind of feeling with them and that trust because you'regoing to have those kind of mini interactions between the meetings. Now it's justmeetings, okay. Now it's just meetings online. They're very scheduled. It'sone to two and we're going to cover this and that's so all those kindof mini interactions actually matter. So how do you get a how do youbuild that trust? It's probably by making content and being a little bit morevisible. And without that and without that, the lack of that kind of personalbrand, it's going to really extend the timeline for people to really knowwhat you're about, which is why, during the pandemic, all the peoplewho flourish in those kind of social environments realized, well, now I haveto get on Linkedin, or now I have to try out instagram, ornow gonna Dance and do something stupid on Tick Tock, because I have tobe able to kind of get out there. And they probably realize what a lotof us did is you are able to reach a lot more people.You and I met on Linkedin and you know, I would venture to saythat we know each other to an extent, but a virtual connection was certainly formedand that's not something that people should...

...kind of you know, you know, look at as as something that's unusual. It's very usual and I think personalbranding has a large part in that. There's a lot of people who builda personal brand without thinking about it. They write a lot of content,they speak at conferences, they do videos, they naturally meet people indifferent situations and they're building their brand unintentionally. On the other hand, there arepeople who have a plan of attack. They recognize that a key to successpersonally and professionally is establishing a strong personal brand. So they will puttogether all the pieces and have almost a program by which they'll follow to buildthat personal brand. And what I'm wondering about is whether one path, unintentionalor the other path, intentional, are the way to go? Are theymutually exclusive? How do you view the different ways that you can build apersonal brand? And some people think about it and some people not so much. Here's what I really, really feel, and it is if you are intentionalabout it, it usually makes you veer off the path the kind ofspirit of having a good, cohesive, sought after personal brand or persona,and the reason is you start to tailor what you put out, and itdoesn't need to be video and it doesn't need to be a podcast and itdoesn't need to be a book. Could just be literally the way you showup. You know, the entire fake until you make it mentality. Ifsomething's getting you some of this visibility that you like and it's feeling good,then you might kind of go off to the you know, in another directiona little bit while you're still being intentional about it, and I think itdeviates. So at the same time, and this is such a good questionfor this, because you if you're unintentional about it, then maybe you're goingto put you know, I make post about my family on Sunday, butmaybe I would just be like, instead of a podcast post today, onWednesday, I'm or Thursday, I'm going to go ahead and put out afamily post and then I'm going to be a little bit sporadics. So nowthere's no method to the madness. So, while it's unintentional and while it wasa creative outlet, I actually might confuse people, especially if I'm abusiness owner. If you confuse, you lose. So if you are confusingyour potential audience, then you're probably losing some of the people that would wantto work with you the most. And I'm not even going to really probablyfully answer that because it's so hard. You should be intentional, but notto the point where you are trying to exaggerate anything about you. You wantto show up exactly as you are. If you and I ever meet inperson, I will be superbly disappointed if you're anything different than you are rightnow, and that's the risk. That's the risk when you go to allin and you have that plan of attack. I agree that authenticity is a keyelement of personal branding. You know, it's almost like what you see iswhat you get, and I think that's the the best way to approachpersonal branding. The question that I have for you, given that you showyour wife and your daughter in your linkedin videos, is balancing personal and professionalwhen you're doing personal branding, especially on a platform like linked in, whichis supposed to be professional as opposed to personal. I it I feel likeI'm chasing my tail when I ask this question, but what's your approach andand how do people marry their personal life and who they are and what they'repassionate about with what they do for a living? I use this very simplephrase one of my superiors in the Marine Corps once told me, and heused to say, if you have to look left and right before you doit, you probably shouldn't do it. Well, I think the same thingkind of goes when it comes to content. And again, like this is anymedium of your choice, if you're not sure that's something you want toput out there, then you probably shouldn't. Okay, I'm talking about in termsof too much information, the kind of to personal. However, ifyou had a victory in in, you...

...know, you know, a personalvictory, or you had a amazing family moment and you are able to tiethat into business, especially on a platform like Linkedin, then that's fascinating topeople. But, more importantly, I think what you really have to examineis you said and you said you know you're supposed to be. Like peoplethink we're supposed to be a certain something on a platform or at a certainevent or at a networking event, or whatever it is. We think we'resupposed to be something. I'm not going to say you should be anything youwant to. I'm not. I'm not that up there. There are guardrail, so to speak. However, supposed to be anything on Linkedin is. It's limiting, because our whole selves matter when it comes to a personalbreath. Okay, like it's important for me to put out linkedin stories orvideos of time to time of my wife and I how much we run together, because it's like mental health. Why does that matter? Because I reallybelieve that that helps give me the clarity and the energy to wake up anddo this every day. And you, as a business owner, no betterthan anyone. If you wake up on those days where you're like, Idon't feel like playing today, then it's probably a bad, bad sign.So that's how I keep it related to business. If my daughter is ona pull up bar and trying to do this flip and she's four years oldand she's trying over and over and over and I put music to it andthere's a business lesson attached to that, then that's pretty good contents. Sothat, to answer your question fully, is is you. We are allwhole people and I think you can pick and choose and I think instinctually you'regoing to understand like, does this make a point or is this kind ofsomething I would expect to see on another platform, like if am I goingto give an update on my grandmother's health on Linkedin? Maybe, maybe not, but I would say probably not. So that the balance is delicate andyou could always test things out. You could always test things out. There'snothing that says you can't delete a post and be like, you know what, that's not really in my lane. Over the last year we spent alot of a lot of us has spent a lot of time building personal brandson platforms like Linkedin and ticktock and our own blogs for that matter, andpodcast but how do you see the balance between digital personal branding and in personpersonal branding when we're allowed to do that again? What I mean by thatis a lot of personal branding in the past has been done through networking,getting on stage, going to meet UPS, having dinners with people, meeting upwith people for coffee, and that's been very physical, time consuming workand you can't scale that kind of activity. But now we get this completely othermedium that we're all leveraging and we're all seeing, I think we're seeingtremendous are align it because it's just so efficient. As we move forward,how do you marry them together? How do you make them work well,still driving efficiencies, which I think is an important element of it? Thisis you. You. You got a voice message from me recently letting youknow that I was coming out with the newsletter and it is. It iscompletely an unbelievably inefficient for me to do that two hours a day. Topeople who've engaged with my content. However, the people who have enthusiastically said yes, rich year upcoming newsletter I'm in has been probably ninety nine percent.So I believe the value is in the inefficiencies. But how do you balancesomething that kind of customized at some yeah, I think you have to have kindof a goal and that goal has to be very meticulous in terms ofhow you're going to divide your time. So how do you divide your timewhen it comes to us being able to interact with each other facetoface, whenwe both know and admit that it's not entirely scalable? You scale it byhaving what I like to call a high do say ratio. If, ifthere's consistency and what I'm posting, how I'm posting about it, if I'meducating people, if I start all of a sudden posting very click baity things, you're going to excuse me, you're going to lose trust. Same thinggoes for in person meetups or in person in person conversations. To do sayratio do you say where you're going to...

...say you're going to do? Areyou going to be on time? I mean that's one right there, likethat's the simplest thing. But the higher the do say ratio is, thebetter it's going to be, because when your name starts to travel around becausethat interaction you had, whether it's digital or whether it's in person, that'sgoing to be something that is part of your brand and you want it.You alweys. I always like to imagine as if someone's like watching what I'mdoing, not to influence my behavior in a in in a fabricated way,but to and sure I'm thinking of doing the right things for the right reasons. Quick question about Linkedin, because it's been a clear obsession of mine,probably probably more than obsession, over the last year. To get your thoughtson how the platform has evolved and how your own personal use of Linkedin haschanged over the last twelve months and, as important, how do you seeit moving forward, because a lot of us are going to get back towork, or many of us are going to go back to the office,where we won't have two or three hours a day to spend scrolling through Linkedinand creating content. So provide some perspective. I'm where you've come from and wheredo you think you're going? Linkedin is so interesting. From the timeI started really using it, when I was just connecting with people out ofmy company, which I never recommend. I mean you have to reach outto now it has evolved in so many ways, obviously in large part dueto the kind of increase beef in activity with other social media platforms. Rightwhat when you have tick Tock, when you have clubhouse, all of asudden everyone, every social media platforms kind of scrambling to get a kind ofaudio version. or how are we going to I mean linkedin just came outwith the Creator profile, the the Creator Boniker, whatever you want to callit, because maybe they're going to pay creators at some point. So anyway. So the point is this. It's evolving rapidly and it's actually distasteful fora lot of people. It's like, wait a second, I thought itwas this, but now you're this, like make up your mind Linkedin,and then all of a sudden you see all kinds of different content that you'renot used to seeing, and you and I are going to see very differentcontent in two months and six months and if we talk a year from now, work like wow have things changed. So how do you how do youbecome adaptable to it, especially when you are invested in your personal brand?There's nothing different that you should do, except you can look at some ofthe other features of a platform like Linkedin, like linkedin stories, and just continueon. I really do believe consistency is what's most attractive. If,all of a sudden, you know there's new features on Linkedin or new waysto use it, are new ways to just really kind of hack engagement,and those are the that's a lowhanging fruit you go after because you want tobe a first adopt but you're doing it for the wrong reasons. It's justnever going to work. So I think consistency is going to be key.Where do I see it going? It's really, really interesting, especially youand I've spend some time on clubhouse. It's kind of like, you know, people on Linkedin or trying to go to clubhouse, or people on clubhousetrying to get people on the Linkedin and you know, how much time canyou possibly invest on social media? There has to be there has to be, I would say, a very defined limit as the amount of time you'regoing to spend and and I kind of looking at the quantitative Arrow. Whyor quality of Arrow? Why they you get from it? So my advicewould simply to be this. Just stay persistent and consistent with your personal brandand the type of content that you choose, and I think you're going to outlasteveryone chasing for the shining new object because you and I both know,especially as entrepreneurs, those things are always usually lead shortcuts, always lead toa longer way. Quick question about clubhouse. I jumped down, like a lotof people a couple of months ago and I spent too many hours downrabbit holes listening to conversations and then gradually you get busy, you don't havethe time. I certainly can't multitask, I can't listen to a clubhouse conversationin the background and I just spent less than last time on the platform.Maybe it's a mistake, given the fact that met that's where the audience couldbe, where my audience could be just wondering a boy, your own experiences. It's it's funny we're aligned. I...

...don't know. I know we usedto us about moderate on the linkedin room every morning, Monday to Friday,for almost two hours and I was I convinced myself, and I could bewrong and I will say that without issue, but I convinced myself like this isgoing to be big. But I'm a personal branding agency, I'm nota linkedin agency. So what I was doing was offering up my time tohelp because I enjoyed doing that and while it might be all truistic, soto speak, that's not an income producing activity. Of course, there's betterthings I can be doing than answering a lot of the same questions, likehow do you think I should start using linkedin? Like, if you wantto, that's that's a that's actually a podcast. I have to make theeasy to help. But when it comes to the clubhouse, yes, youraudience may be there and yes, they just got, I believe, afour billion dollar valuation and yes, it's very hip and you could spend hoursthere. But you know what, if you're a business owner or you're aprofessional, you shouldn't look back. You shouldn't look back. I saw Iscaled back. I am now no longer doing that. It's been two weekssince I've done it, and you know what, I've been tracking my time. This is kind of crazy to admit. I've been tracking my time as ifthey were Billa bill hours and I'm looking at all the time I'm spendingdoing marketing activities, branding activities, sales activities, all of it to seeand I'm like wow, I got a haircut yesterday in the middle of theday mark, and I'm like, why did I do that? That actuallytook an hour and a half out of my day when I could have beendoing this, this and this. Clubhouse is the same thing. Okay,if you're not careful, you're just going to go to her room and justgo listen. If you're not able to ask a question to get a realtime answer without having to wait an hour or forty five minutes or whatever itmay be, even you're probably wasting your time. And if you think you'regoing to help the world, especially as one moderator out of or thirty ona stage, then you're not. So it's really a brand play that Ithink is going to fizzle out for a lot of people. Yeah, andI think that twitter and Linkedin and facebook will all have audio platforms and theiraudiences will gravitate to those platforms because you've got a following there already. clubhouse. We'll see, we'll see what happens. Shifting gears a little bit. Wantedto get your take on advised life advice for entrepreneurs, because you andI both know that running a business as a seven activity, when you've gotyoung kids, like you do your you've got obligations, you got responsibilities andyou need to be there. You need to be present at the important timesin your daughter's life. You know, I have three kids and my wifeand I are very involved in lots of different activities and I understand that it'salways a balancing act. Any advice, not only as a business owner butas somebody who advises entrepreneurs on building a personal brand and probably in the processrunning a business, about how we can make sure that the pendulum isn't allwill work all the time, because it's so easy, especially now, tobe working twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. It's hardto turn it off. Yeah, I think, and I'm not trying toname drop here, but I the last time I interviewed Gary Vanard Chuck,we we talked about this a little bit and he says what he always saysabout you know, you're worried about what other people think. There is somethingin our mind that that influences some of the guilt that we might feel whenwe're very, very invested in our business. Here's how I look at it now, and the reason I brought that up is because I had to haveit in the beginning of being prety judgmental about people who are all in theall in on their business or all in on work, and I'm like,when did they sleep or when did they spend time with their families? Well, you know what, that's actually none of my concern, because my wifeis unbelievably and authentically supportive of everything I'm trying to do, and what I'mtrying to do is build something very, very special so we could be completelyand utterly independently wealthy where we rely on no one except ourselves, off ofsomething I built to put my daughters through school, to go on a tripevery quarter as a family and provide life experiences that they wouldn't have got otherwise. I'm not interested in an enormous, crazy house or some of the materialthings that people think about when they think...

...about entrepreneurship and what it'll be liketo make it. But I can tell you in order for that to happen, if you are one of those people that want those things, it's goingto require far more time than you could possibly imagine, and that's something that'san individual decision. If you don't go all in the way you want andthe way that you are able to, then you'll regret it. But oneof my most influential mentors always said to me the time you have is thetime you need and and I believe work life harmony, I think, isthe way Jeff Bezos used to put it, is is your is your work sogood that your life is harmonic with it and vice versa. Yes,so if that means, you know, the two hours I get a daywith my children is enough, which may sound nuts to some people, andI'm not saying that's what it is for me all the time, then andI'm working in the kind of heads down the rest of the time, thenmaybe that's okay. If I like it to be a little bit fifty andI want to go to all the soccer games and all that other stuff whenit starts, and that's okay, but it's an individual decision. And Ithink when I said, you know, I judge other people, I realizeI was judging myself. I was thinking about if I put this much timeinto it, what does that say about me? But I now know andmy daughter, my older one, now knows. She knows what I'm tryingto do and and that makes me feel completely confident in my decision, inthe amount of time ile lot to the business and to her. It's interestingthat you mentioned Gary V, because he's a very polarizing figure in this entirework life balance conversation. The Guy Arguably works like a maniac because he wantsto own the New York jets at some point in time and that's an awesomelife goal. But when you look at the time that he spends versus thefamily, that is God a lot. It's easy for a lot of usto say that's crazy, there's no way I'm working that that number of hours. And but to your point, if that's what he wants to do,not your socks off. But that's not me and and arguably that's not you, and I think maybe that's the point of Gary V. He's he's unapologeticabout how he wants to live his life. And I guess the lesson for allof us is that we should embrace the same attitude, is that weare who we are, we live how we work, we work like wework, and so be right. Yeah, and I think. I think onelast thing I want to mention on that is he's extremely diligent about makingsure his family's never involved in anything that you see. So if that's allyou see, it's almost hard to imagine that even has a family. Likewhen does he go home? When does he do this? But we don'tknow, and that's okay. But here's one thing I will say, andI've interviewed a lot of you know, like very you know, influencing CEOSis that they've all had that kind of conversation on the Front End, youknow, with their family or their significant other, and be like I willnever stop working this hard because my goal is not to retire early and siton a beach that I'm going to get bored of in three days. Andand that that makes complete sense. So if you are able, you haveno idea that that conversation happened or not. So that's what I would at that. I just saw. It was an interesting perspective because you know thatyou never see him, so it's almost like does he even have a family? But yeah, a couple of final questions. One is, once you'reable to travel outside of North America, where would you like to go?The second question would be a good book that you've read recently. Yes,both great questions. The first I would probably say Cephaloo, which is abeach town in Sicily, and my daughter's name is Sicily, because my mywife and I fell in love with this, this place. We never we neverbeen to Sicily, but we had been Italy numerous times. I wouldwant to go there immediately and relax and eat some ridiculous pasta that are notAmerican sized meals much more and does enjoy...

...the sun sign and get my oliveskin back and just just go that. I mean I can just see itin my head of how amazing it would be to just have that time again, especially just the two of us, because you know, it's it's hard. So that's one second. I actually I'm reading it right now. It'scalled the attributes by rich Di Vinny, and there's he is a former navyseal, but he works closely with Simon Sink and I'm interviewing him, asa matter of fact, in person next week. And it is a fantasticbook about, you know, twenty five drivers to optimal performance and it isI'm not really into scientific things and that's not even a good explanation, butit breaks down perseverance and courage and kind of the way the brain interacts andyou know, the fighter flight or freeze, like all of these things, andhow peak performance is meant. For a certain peak there is a significantdrop off. So how can you perform optimally at a regular on a regularbasis? So I was fascinated. So I'm reading that right now, butit's certainly engaging and and I'm not like a war I'm not like a specialopts, you know, military everything guy. Not Not even close. But heties in the stories pretty well to kind of apply it to business andboth, you know, personal. One final question. Where can people learnabout you and what you do? Yeah, Linkedin for sure, Rich Cardona.You could find me there, and then rich Cardona Mediacom. So weare just about done revamping. So hopefully by the time this comes out itwill be complete. But we are here for your personal branding need. Soplease feel free to reach out to me with any question and obviously I'm obsessedwith it and I've had a fantastic time here on the show. Hey,we've covered a lot of ground in the last twenty seven minutes, so Iappreciate your insight. It's it's great to talk to you in person after allthe interactions on linked in, all the comments, all the videos that we'vewatched of each other, and it's funny. It does feel like I already knewyou before and obviously know you better now. So thanks for coming onthe show. Thank you. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review and subscribed by itunes,spotify or favorite podcast out for show notes of today's conversation and information about richis a marketing spark dot com blog. If you'd like to learn more abouthow I help phoebe SASS companies as a fractional CMO teaching provisor and coach,send an email to mark and Mark Evans Dots A. I'll talk to younext time.

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