Summit Podcast for Business Growth - Personal Branding

Your Personal Brand: You are what you say you are…


Whether you’re a small town farmer of a business and tech mogul, having a personal brand communicates your skills and problem solving abilities to the world. In the premiere episode of Summit, host Kyle Hamer sits down with Anna Schott, the Director of Marketing at the EcSell Institute to talk the benefits, how-tos, and real examples of personal branding.

With a passion and talent for helping individuals develop memorable brands, Anna has aided numerous clients in pinning down their unique qualities and forming a clear, cohesive brand. Here, she demystifies the topic of personal branding and shares what she’s learned along the way.



Kyle Hamer: (00:00)
Good morning. Welcome to marketing people and interesting things on the web with Kyle Hamer, today’s guest And first guest is Anna Schott, director of marketing at The Ecsell institute. Welcome this morning, Anna.

Anna Schott: (00:17)
Well thank you. I’m very honored to be the first guest, so thanks for having me

Kyle Hamer: (00:24)
We’re excited to have you here today. Tell us a little bit about personal branding and what that means to you as well as your, your, some of the things that you’re doing at the EcSell institute. So with that I’ll turn it over to you and have you educated us a little bit on personal branding and why that’s a passion of yours.

Anna Schott: (00:41)
Oh, I love it. All right, well just cut me off if I go a little too long. But, uh, yes, I am the director of marketing at a company called Ecsell Institute. We do leadership coaching. Uh, I’ve been with the company for about four years now, uh, started kind of at the ground level and worked my way up. Um, I really enjoy kind of the, the freedom I have there and my colleagues are so wonderful for me to be able to expand into spaces like personal branding and learn and grow and develop in those areas. I, I think personal branding for me became kind of a passion when I was watching the Gary V’s, the Brenae Brown’s the Lewis Houses of the world, just grow these impressive businesses just from people knowing who they are. Uh, and so I get to kind of use my colleague and my boss, Bill Ekstrom, uh, as the Guinea pig. And he thankfully goes along with it, but it’s been fun to watch just how a personal brand and how someone’s face and personality and thought leadership can drive business growth on the other end of things. So, uh, I’ve really enjoyed kind of this, this new kind of little side Gig of mine and, uh, yeah. Feel free to ask me any more about any of that.

Kyle Hamer: (02:00)
So you, you, uh, you said your day job by day, you’re a, uh, you’re director of marketing for excel is to helping them grow their business and the organization is encouraged you to follow your passions. What, what led you to become passionate about personal branding? You touched on Gary v but, but why personal brand? Okay.

Anna Schott: (02:20)
Yeah. So I think the fun part for me is figuring out how each personal brand brand is so different. Like it’s not something that you can just kind of copy and repeat someone else’s personal brand. It just doesn’t work like that and consumers are smart enough and can sniff out when you are being something that you’re not. So, um, that kind of is a passion thing for me because I like having those conversations with people about like what is their brilliance? Like what makes them different. And Kyla, you see this a lot on just my linkedin posts. Like I’m a big, like I’m a big supporter of people figuring out what makes them different. And that is again, very different for every single person. But what makes them different is also very memorable. A, it solves different needs for other people. And that again, is really exciting for me, is to just figure out how people solve other people’s issues.

Anna Schott: (03:20)
And a lot of that just comes in, you know what you’re already good at that maybe you don’t even realize because you’re just too close to it. So I really enjoy having those conversations with whether they’re my colleagues or executive leaders, some of our clients, uh, my friends who take me out to coffee and just want me to talk with them about what their personal brands are. So I think that has kind of definitely evolved and helped me kind of just figure out that this is something I, I love to do and that I’m passionate about.

Kyle Hamer: (03:55)
So when you, when you, when you start on this passion type project and you start talking to the world about personal branding and branding as a, as a whole, it’s Kinda kind of the creative industry is as a way to make arts and crafts or to position your company as something, uh, aspirational. Right. And for many people, I think there may be a disconnect between, well there’s a company brand. I understand what Nike does and when Adidas doesn’t like, um, the Nebraska Cornhuskers are, why do I need a personal brand? I don’t understand how that would directly impact me. Can you, can you, um, highlight maybe some of the things that most people have as misconceptions about personal brands?

Anna Schott: (04:39)
Yeah, so, so I hear a lot of, you know, feedback about like, well, I feel like that’s just kind of selfish or I feel like it’s just kind of self promotional or like who am I? Like I’m part of this bigger brand. Like why would I need to create my own? How is that going to drive business? Yada, Yada, Yada. So there’s a lot of of that talk around why someone would want to have a personal brand, especially if you’re underneath, you know, a company. But I like to think of it in terms of like, we, any of us could get fired from our jobs tomorrow, you know, hopefully not that, hopefully that would not happen, but you still have to be your own advocate. And showcase the knowledge and experience that you have that isn’t attached even to a company name. Because even when you start doing that and you start sharing your expertise and your thought leadership, especially online people then are like, who is this Kyle Guy?

Anna Schott: (05:39)
Or who is this Anna girl or who is this CEO of Xyz company? And then they start putting the dots together of, Oh, she works at Xcel Institute. I’m going to check out what that company does. So it’s kind of a way for people to see a face, um, instead of just a of a company because the logo of a company isn’t very, it’s not, I don’t know, you can’t attach to that as much as you can to a face. It’s why a lot of people who do ab testing on images of faces versus, you know, landscape or anything else. The ones with faces get way more engagement because people trust people. They like that human interaction type of feel. Um, and so that is just kind of, to me, a way that I can explain it to people that they’re like, oh, hot. Like, oh, okay, that makes sense. That’s why I need to put my face out there. And I mean, you look at a lot of examples. I mean, you look at Richard Branson, you look at Arianna Huffington, um, even our CEO of our company, uh, who is the guy from Tesla? What’s his name? Uh,

Kyle Hamer: (06:46)

Anna Schott: (06:46)
Yes. Elon Musk. Sorry, I don’t know why that was slipping my mind. Uh, they all have larger followings to their personal social media sites, whether it’s maybe linkedin, Twitter, whenever, um, Instagram, they have larger followings to their personal profiles versus the companies that they own, lead and manage. So that’s kind of an interesting insight to showcase that like CEOs who put this into action, I mean, that’s just, that’s just great marketing for them.

Kyle Hamer: (07:17)
So, okay, let’s say I’m a person and you’ve convinced me, or maybe I do need a personal brand. Maybe it’s not selfish. Maybe it is something I should do. I’m not Ilan mouse. I’m not Richard Branson. I’m not bill extra. I don’t have a team of people to help me promote myself. Where do I start? Like, what, what is, what does it even mean now that I want to build a person? Right.

Anna Schott: (07:39)
I love this question so much. I got this question asked of me a couple months ago. We have an annual summit and I did a breakout on this and a lot of them were, you know, senior level leaders, probably 45, 50 and above. And that was an exact question from someone in the audience was like, I completely agree with everything you’re saying. I understand that it’s important. I get that there’s ROI, but like you just asked, he was like, I don’t even know where to start. Um, and you know, that’s sometimes the best place to start because you have a clean canvas. You haven’t really messed anything up at this point yet. Uh, but quite honestly it’s just kind of like an introspective thing of being able to answer the question. Um, what problem do you solve for others? And don’t use the company that you’re at. Like don’t use any company name or even your title because that could change tomorrow, like I talked about earlier.

Anna Schott: (08:42)
So really figure out deep down, okay, what problem do I solve and who do I solve it for? I mean, that’s the first step that I would start. Um, and then, you know, what do you want to do with that? Is, is this something that you feel comfortable doing online? Do you want to talk about it out in the public space? Do you want to get on a stage? Do you want to start a blog? Do you want to, there’s so many different things like that that don’t boil the ocean. That’s the biggest thing too, is like don’t try to do everything because you’ll do nothing. Well, I’m really stick to one thing and really get a handle over that and then move to the next thing and, and so on and so on. So that would be my recommendation.

Kyle Hamer: (09:24)
So if, I mean, if I were to summarize or paraphrase back, I heard somebody say once, uh, don’t get it perfect. Just get it going. And it sounds like that, that would summarize up what you’re trying to say is, is that you pick something and do it. Um, but don’t sit around thinking about it.

Anna Schott: (09:41)
Exactly. Just start it. Just like you’re starting this Kyle, you know, like this first time around, you know, you may listen back to this or whatever or you may have things that you’re like, oh, I know I’m going to do something a little bit different the next time and it’s going to start, you’re going to tweak it and tweak it and tweak it. And it’s just like when you look at old episodes of Seinfeld or other, you know, TV shows, you see that first, that first season and you’re like, Whoa, I didn’t realize the quality of this wasn’t as good like as it was back then, but we didn’t know any better. Um, and so I feel like that’s what it is too for anything else we do in life, especially when it comes to figuring out and expressing your personal brand.

Kyle Hamer: (10:22)
Yeah, that’s it. That’s really great advice. Uh, in thinking about going back, you know, I, there was somebody who was watching there, a post on youtube, not youtube leaks in. And they said, look, perfection looks easy when you’re looking at an influencer. But here’s what it really looks like. And they actually had showed the whole 15 minutes of their retakes and they’re swearing and the things that they were as they were just trying to get this two minute little piece, uh, cut or, or even put together. And what they were talking about saying, look, it took me 15 minutes in front of the camera. It took me an hour of editing and this is what it really looks like to make this clip. And, and I just thought that was really, um, authentic. So, and then for people that are out here and going, Oh man, I have to look a certain way. I have to act a certain way. I have to be a certain way. It’s awesome to hear folks who like you and people out here promoting to just get us started. Don’t make it perfect.

Anna Schott: (11:17)
Yeah, and I, and I love that too, that there was that transparency of like, here’s what it actually looks like to have this beautifully filtered, edited video posts. What have you. Like, we can’t compare ourselves to that because as that person shared, like, look at everything that went on behind the scenes of that. And that can be really intimidating. But thankfully we’re kind of moving in a direction where people aren’t really enjoying that much. Like, you know, picture perfect photos and editing. Sometimes we like to see some of those imperfections because it’s easier us to relate to those people because we’re like, oh, like I deal with that too. Or Oh, that’s something that I would have done. So, you know, I feel like people stick around for your personality and our personalities aren’t perfect. So, um, it’s okay to not look like the influencers out there who have a team of 12 behind them.

Kyle Hamer: (12:15)
So, um, random question, man. I know that you, and I’ve discussed this before, but I think for people listening, this might be of interest. Is there anybody out there that doesn’t need a personal brand

Anna Schott: (12:25)
that doesn’t, he said does not,

Kyle Hamer: (12:28)
does not. You know,

Anna Schott: (12:32)
I talked to you about this. My, uh, uh, dad is a farmer. I grew up in a really, really small town and in rural Nebraska. And if you ask him, you know, like, do you need a personal brand? He’d be like, well, gosh, no, like I’m not really on social media blahdy Blah, but you know, a small town, you know, everybody knows everybody. You have a personal brand, whether you like it or not. A personal brand is essentially just what you know, others perceive you as, um, what they think of you as. And so, you know, you have full control over the reputation that you have. Uh, so there’s, you know, we’re always, we’re always doing business with people face to face, um, or you know, making connections or networking. So whether you are a janitor or a CEO or something, I mean, you’re still solving problems at the end of the day, so you can still get clear about the problems that you saw and then go about it in the way that you want people to remember you as, um, whether that just be in real life or maybe on social media or online. Um, that’s completely up to you. But, um, I think urging people to just figure out, you know, what makes them brilliant and who they help is by all means helpful in creating your own personal brand.

Kyle Hamer: (13:51)
No one thing, there’s a couple of, of, uh, nuggets I think here that I’ve picked up along the way. Just listening to you over the last, the last couple of conversations we had and then even today, what are the critical elements to making a successful brand? As you would summarize, I mean, you, you talked about your dad and he has a personal brand and in his local community. What is it about that that makes it successful? What is it that makes Gary v successful? Uh, what is it that makes Anna Sean or bill Ekstrom successful in their own personal branding stories?

Anna Schott: (14:26)
Yeah, absolutely. I like that question. So I think a lot of it comes down to consistency. Um, or even just kind of following through with what you said you were going to do. Um, I think there’s a lot of value that you can be providing during, during that too, when, especially when you’re showing up each time. A, that’s why I like, you know, when you do every Wednesday you do something and every Tuesday so people know what to expect. Uh, that just gives people kind of like, oh, I know she’s going to do this or that. It just gives the consistency if you’re like, I’m going to post every day or I want to do this every day or something. Um, it gives you a fighting chance to kind of show up. And I think in terms of like, if you’re not doing something on, in know online or on social media, like following through with what you’re going to do, um, or helping others when there’s really no, I don’t know, something for you to get out of it or benefiting you.

Anna Schott: (15:26)
I think just kind of showing up in those ways and being consistent and providing value is really where I think people end up thriving because sometimes people will just kind of do it a few times and be like, well, I’ve been really work so I’m just not gonna keep going with it. But that’s not the, that’s not the point of it. Like you gotta just keep showing up, keeps providing value. Um, and I think that helps a ton and I mean the, the higher you get, whether you’re an executive or whatever, you’re going to be able to have more help to help with that consistency. But from the beginning, I think people appreciate you just doing the best that you can.

Kyle Hamer: (16:05)
So to summarize again, be consistent, be authentic and don’t do anything that’s out of character.

Anna Schott: (16:12)

Kyle Hamer: (16:14)
So as you are, um, managing your own personal brand and executing your day to day job, I’m sure there are technologies and softwares and things that you use. What are, what are the, some of the technologies that you use on a regular basis and things that, uh, people should, should think about incorporating into their life that they’ll take a ton of effort or Tom?

Anna Schott: (16:37)
Yeah, I love that question. So a lot of times I will set up a Google alerts for different keywords. So if you just like Google Google alerts, it’ll come up with a little what’s tight link that you can go to and set up alerts for things that you’re interested in. For instance, I do it for our company name. I do it for my name, my CEO’s name, personal branding. So I’ll get pushed articles specifically around personal branding. Uh, so that kind of keeps me up today and in all of that. But then also whenever I see different content or articles, I’ll save it to a, uh, it’s called pocket and you share it kind of like holds all of your articles in one place. So again, back to that consistency thing, then I’m able to grab and drop some of those articles on different days to kind of continue to show up I value and all of that.

Anna Schott: (17:33)
So I use that a ton. Buffer, uh, will help schedule out a lot of social media content. And, uh, I think there is a free version so you can use the free version. Uh, I think I used that for a while and really liked it. We also use hubspot, which is kind of a CRM system and houses, a lot of our contacts and emails, but it’ll do some scheduling in that. So some people could check out their CRM systems. Maybe that’s an offering that they use. Um, what else do I do? I like, I have a content calendar. I usually do that in like a, I think it’s called to do it. T o Deo ist maybe to do this. And that is kind of easy for me to just month by month look down the line and see what’s coming up. It just provides a lot of clarity when I am able to see what’s coming up in the future, what should I be preparing for now, what should I be doing, editing, all of that stuff. So I like that. Um, I know I’m missing a ton others, but those are the ones probably that come to mind first.

Kyle Hamer: (18:35)
So you’d probably use those amounts would be my guess.

Anna Schott: (18:38)
I do, I was even looking at like my desktop, trying to figure out what else is at the top of my, uh, of chrome. But uh, yeah, those stand out the most to me.

Kyle Hamer: (18:49)
Uh, last question, uh, for today and mostly cause it’s, it’s selfish related to a lot of stuff that we do. Uh, with the Hubspot CRM that you’re using, what, what are you using to compliment that for outbound email communication and automating your interaction with, with prospects and leads for the Excel Institute or even engagements for your personal brand and the story with Ana in a shot.

Anna Schott: (19:14)
Yeah. So, so you’re asking kind of like what other outbound efforts we’re doing other than just doing them through, you know, your old, old school CRM system. Is that where you’re asking?

Kyle Hamer: (19:25)
Yeah. So there’s, um, there are, there are tools out there that will automate, um, everything before somebody becomes a lead where or everything before somebody becomes a sale. So before they register for an event, are there tools that you use that are outside of hubspot or do you just use the built in capability for outbound marketing, e a SMS email, those sort of things through the hubspot CRM?

Anna Schott: (19:51)
Yeah, we do a lot of stuff through linkedin. Linkedin is a great place for us to, to sprout prospect. Um, you can do a lot of paid advertising through that, whether it be, you know, direct mail within linkedin. Um, I think the engagement rate on that is, is decently high, sometimes more so than just regular emails. Uh, so there’s ways you can capabilities that you can do that within linkedin. Um, there’s ways that you can approach different influencers in your space or affiliates, uh, and have them share what you’re doing with their networks. Uh, that’s another, another great way of doing it. Um, but yeah, our sales guy definitely kind of has all of the ins and outs in those, but I know for sure that he uses a lot of linkedin just because that’s where our audience hangs out. Uh, it’s really dependent on where your audiences were, where their eyeballs are at.

Kyle Hamer: (20:47)
Sure. That makes perfect sense. Um, so final thoughts on personally with Randy, uh, any, any last golden nuggets of insight you’d like to leave us with?

Anna Schott: (20:59)
Oh Gosh. Um, you know, I think for me one of the biggest things that I want people to take away from this is to just think about what you are brilliant at or what people come to you for answers about. And that’s your core, what you need to share outward, especially with your personal brand. Um, I think we get so attached to the names of our companies and the titles that we are, that the roles that we have, and you know, maybe you’re a mom or a dad or whatever, but like you just attach yourself to these titles, but you’re so much even more than that. I mean, those are, those are amazing titles and I don’t want anyone to feel like they’re not, but you are definitely so much more than that and you can provide so much more value and outwards to people if you just kind of think about what you, what the problem that you solve at the end of the day. So again, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Um, it can be as simple as just figuring out that statement and then, you know, sharing that with people who, you know, your friends or family so that they can even get another layer of who you are. So that’s Kinda my biggest takeaway.

Speaker 3: (22:15)

Kyle Hamer: (22:16)
Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing and thank you for being our first Guinea pig guest. Um, we’re excited to, to, to try further, but today’s, uh, today’s time has been really enlightening and has been great for folks that probably don’t think about personal branding or don’t even know where to start. And so I want to thank you, Hannah, for, for coming on and helping us get started as well as sharing what you’re passionate about with our listeners. So thank you.

Anna Schott: (22:44)
Well, thank you. It was an honor to be on here, and if anyone has any questions or comments or whatever, connect with me on linkedin. Um, direct message me. I’d love to chat with anyone about this, but I’m just really thankful I got to be on. And it was great chatting with you, Kyle. I always enjoy, enjoy our chats and

Speaker 3: (23:10)[inaudible].