Duke of Digital

033 - Why Employee and Personal Branding Matter with Cynthia Johnson

January 14, 2020
Duke of Digital
033 - Why Employee and Personal Branding Matter with Cynthia Johnson
Chapters
Duke of Digital
033 - Why Employee and Personal Branding Matter with Cynthia Johnson
Jan 14, 2020
Brian Meert
Show Notes Transcript
Speaker 1:
0:00
It takes years to build a personal reputation and only minutes to ruin it. Raise your pinkies because in this episode we're going to talk all about personal branding
Speaker 2:
0:10
presented by advertisement. The juke of digital will guide you through the rapidly changing landscape of digital marketing, social media, and how to grow your business online. To submit a question for the show, text (323) 821-2044 or visit Duke of digital.com if you need an expert to fix your ads, the friendly team at advertisement is ready to help visit advertisement. That's M I N t.com or call (844) 236-4686 to grow your business. Here's your host, Brian Mitt.
Speaker 1:
0:49
Okay. I'm excited because in the studio today we have Cynthia Johnson. Woo. Yay. Thank you so much for, for coming out to be on the show today. It's great. I'm glad I can make it down to Hollywood every night. Yeah, there are people that are, where do you live or where are you based in Santa Monica. Okay. Yeah, so this is a miles and miles away. What's, you're on the West side. That's where our office was. So we were in Santa Monica right down by third street, uh, which I loved. I loved being in Santa Monica. Uh, but as we started to do more with filming, we wanted to be closer to Hollywood, which is awesome cause we can get, you know, actors and influencers and people, it'd be like, Hey, we want to film today. And they're like, I will leave my job and come to you so we can film this, which is awesome. So I dig that a lot.
Speaker 3:
1:35
Yeah, no, it's, it's funny, it actually takes less time to fly to San Francisco than to drive here. Did you know that? It's just, it's an interesting just how separated we are in the city.
Speaker 1:
1:45
Yeah. We forget. So that's why I can't wait for like the Uber drones. We can start flying around and um, I'm just like, Oh, that's great. Just cut all the traffic out. Um, well I wanted to, to do a quick introduction. Uh, you know, you're the co founder and CEO of bell and Ivy. Is it bell and Ivy or just bell? Ivy. Ivy. Okay. Because I know you have that plus sign. I'm like, is it bell plus Ivy? But I imagined it was bell and Ivy. Um, you've been listed as a top personal branding expert by entrepreneur. You've worked with tech experts, healthcare professionals, fortune 500 executives. You're the author of platform, uh, the art and science of personal branding. So if anyone hasn't read that, go to Amazon, a download that is there anywhere else they can get it.
Speaker 3:
2:29
Yeah. So, uh, and they can get it anywhere. Books are sold. It's actually the best prices, the other Walmart, which I would just like, how did they get the best price even there, you know, with the books. Um, so, but you can buy Barnes, noble, audible, you know.
Speaker 1:
2:43
Oh, that's great. That's great. Okay, so make sure to check that out. Um, you're an avid hiker now. I was excited to hear this.
Speaker 3:
2:50
Oh no. So I'm actually more of an avid traveler that involved hiking a lot. Uh, uh, used to hike much more than I do now because hikes take time, right? So time is a, is it something you should value? Now, I heard that you went through Europe and Asia. What, you know, was that for a long period of time or were you hiking quick? No, no, it was a quarter life crisis is what I called it and I was seven months, about seven months and I went through Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Uh, I was in Singapore, Singapore, and before that I'd spent quite a bit of time in China and now I just travel, you know, for work mostly. But I've been quite a few places, but that seven month period, it was quite a bit of hiking going on. You love it. I love it.
Speaker 3:
3:39
Any favors like one to two of the places that you're like, I never would have expected to love this place as much as I did. Uh, New Zealand has some pretty amazing, amazing things going for it. You know, it's, it's, it's got, you know, we did this, this cave diving with glow, like glow worms and yeah, it's just everything about it is so interesting and it's the newest country. Uh, everything is not like the only thing from New Zealand naturally are bats. Like, it's just a weird, weird place. Do a New Zealand for anyone that hasn't been there has just so many cool, unique things that you can do that are incredible. There's a, a white, a waterfall that's like a 21 foot waterfall. Did you do that? I saw it. I didn't do it. I did it. Uh, and it was crazy that you go off this 25 foot waterfall and the raft bends in half.
Speaker 3:
4:31
And did you bungee jump? Ah man. You, I am totally scared of Heights. I went to the place there, that was the highest one when I was there, was called the pipeline [inaudible] and we went there and I'm just, I'm so scared of Heights and I was like, I would do it if someone called me a chicken, but if no one's here, I'm just going to leave and say I saw it. Did you know I went skydiving and friends, Joseph? Uh, but something about seeing the ground. Oh yeah. And then jumping toward, it just seemed a little like not realist. It's just like why for sure. And I think they said that bungee jumping was invented in New Zealand. That's where they created one of the safest places to do it because they know it better than anyone. But it's also, they've taken it to an extreme where you can go in the middle of the Canyon or you can just call it sleeping between rocks.
Speaker 3:
5:22
We really do have quite a menu. Like they're like, we can dip you in the water, you can go over, you know, a big aerial thing from a tram or it's, it really is nuts what they have. And when we went skydiving, you know, of course we're scared. It's scary. And you're attached to someone who's laughing at you and then you go and you watch this video of yourself after and the intro video to the video or all of the skydivers you were with like free jumping. When do they call it? Um, base jump base, jumping off of cliffs in Norway. I'm like, they think we are like so weak, you know, they really hate us. It's just
Speaker 1:
5:58
incredible. There. There was a guy I met there and he said he went to work for a bungee company on the first day, they're like, you have to do it. So you know, to be able to talk with people about it. So they put them up there and they said, you know, it's customary to do a bat dive, which is where they hang you by your feet and then they let you go. So he's like, all right. Yeah, if that's what we do, if that's why I, this is my new job. So they got him down where he was hanging from the platform and then they were like, Oh my gosh, why didn't you didn't attach the harness? You didn't? And then they let him go. So the guys were talking, making him think that he wasn't hooked in, and then they let them go and they're like, that's your first day. And I'm like, man, that's raw. That's scary. Yeah, totally. Yeah.
Speaker 1:
6:37
Oh, for sure. Yeah. He said he wasn't happy about it at the time, but afterwards he's like, all right, who's the next new guy? And let's do it again. So I love that I checked out your, um, I was looking at your Instagram and you just went to Malibu winery with the giraffes, which is another thing that I lived in LA for probably 15 years before I found out that there was a draft that you can go and see. And it was one of my favorite things I think in LA, like a little hidden secret is the Malibu wine tour.
Speaker 3:
7:04
Well, it was a surprise. So I didn't even know I was going. And then if it was for my birthday, my sisters, they and my husband got up a party bus and then I didn't know where I was going and then we just arrived.
Speaker 1:
7:14
That's how all the best stories be.
Speaker 3:
7:16
Right. And it was a, it was very nice and you know, I loved it. The only thing is there's only giraffe I would like to, I feel like he needs a friend.
Speaker 1:
7:25
Ah, yeah, yeah, there is, there's one giraffe, but they have a bunch of other animals. It's in this cool little Valley in Malibu that you don't really see from the road. You wouldn't know it's at all. You go in this like this little hidden drastic part. I feel it'd be a good place to have some dinosaurs that they could.
Speaker 3:
7:39
Yeah. But I said it was like, let's get it, go fund me and get, get him a friend, you know, because, yeah, I dunno.
Speaker 1:
7:47
I think someone asked that when we went on the tour cause named Stanley, right? Stanley, the dragon or Hank and it was the one of those ads and they were saying that they wanted to, but there's like a process, I guess it's extremely difficult to get dressed. Yeah, that's what they were saying. You don't see them everywhere. But yeah. What a fun, fun things to do. All right, so did I miss anything, uh, with introductions or is there anything that I left out that's important to mention?
Speaker 3:
8:13
No, no, I was thinking, you know, you mentioned a bell and Ivy, you mentioned the book and uh, in my Instagram, so,
Speaker 1:
8:21
Oh yeah. How would people find you if they want to connect with you?
Speaker 3:
8:23
Oh, at Cynthia live. So cynthia@cynthialive.com. Cynthia, live.com and then at Cynthia live anywhere,
Speaker 1:
8:31
anywhere. I love it. Now. This is what's, what's important is you have like over 3 million followers across all these platforms, which is incredible. And that brings us kind of into the topic of what I wanted to talk about today, which is the element of personal branding, um, or even employee branding. If you're an employee at a company, uh, what you need to do and, and you know, as I was going through your book, one of the best stories examples that you mentioned was you're like, Brandon is like your credit score. And I was like, Oh, that's such a good example. Um, because it is like, that's how banks, they look at you and they, they say, are you reputable or are you not? Can we trust you? Yes or no based on that. So, you know, give us a little bit background about how you got into personal branding and why it's so important.
Speaker 3:
9:18
So I, I got into it sort of because of the travels a little bit. Uh, I went traveling and I would trade, you know, helping people set up websites and internet for free things. So I got a lot of free things and I realized I was like, this is something that everybody needs, uh, and I can go anywhere with just a computer and get paid. What is this? Well, do you know? Uh, and then I started, uh, I had a thousand Twitter followers and I got a free tour in New Zealand, refunded back to me in exchange that I would tweet. And I was like, so you're telling? So I looked at all, I was like, so this is currency. Great, let's figure it out. Uh, from there I sort of dived into what are my goals. And at the time it was, uh, to get further into digital marketing.
Speaker 3:
10:06
And, and it kind of happened by, uh, figuring out what I wanted to do, realizing what I needed to, to do to get there, which happened to be for me, that, that, um, and I'd really sincere interest. So yeah, it took off from there and then it kind of grew. And, and I actually started my career off. I worked in the platform side, so I worked for a social media site. Uh, it was the live streaming. Uh, it was that the first livestream website, uh, for teens. And we had about 10 million registered users. And I just kind of saw the disconnect between, uh, people and being online. They didn't really, like in the beginning it didn't feel real. It was almost like watching television, but there's other people on the other side. And so I really use like, man, you have to dive into figuring out like how do we convince people or help them to realize that this isn't a show, this is a real person over here.
Speaker 3:
11:06
And so that, that also helped, uh, and turns out people needed it. And so that's where, where it was going. And, uh, I took an interest in the, what I call personnel branding because I look at these budgets for, you know, marketing, especially when there is no budget. Um, and sometimes when there is an excess of budget and you're like, why are you spending so much on all these things that don't do not deliver? And then you have all of these employees that are so willing to help if you're, they're asked if they're trusted and they have their own audiences. In fact, people will trust you more if they trust you. And it just seemed like they weren't being utilized. And there was just places where we could cut budget in to, you know, help create a better environment for and workplace for people. Um, and, and you know, everyone always says, Oh, well if you, you do this there, people are going to quit.
Speaker 3:
12:04
They're just going to take it and leave. And I'm like, why would you want people to be stuck? Like you're, you're basically creating an environment where they're stuck creating an environment where people, if they leave, it's because it was time to go. Uh, and they're going to leave and they're going to carry your brand in the highest regard. And so, uh, people, especially in the internet, right? The S it's flooded with so much, um, evergreen content and copyright and content. And it's like why you have voices all over that are real and connected. And that's what the internet wants, right? They want that real connection, that real validation in order to empower and increase the value of, of content. So why not just utilize what you have? And, um, the first time I, I said this out loud to someone who says, a few years ago, they said, quit down. You know, no one will ever buy this from you. I was like, you're wrong. And four years later someone finally bought it.
Speaker 1:
13:00
No. I think what you touched on, which is the element of trust, and I think in the world of the internet where everything can, anything you get posted at any point in time, it's hard to be able to sift through that. There's tons and tons of ads to be able to have people that you trust or that you're like, I know what they stand for. I know what they believe. I know what they're doing. You can see multiple points of content for them and you're okay because you're like, I know about that person the same way that you would like friends or someone that you you're acquainted with in real life. Um, and I think that's so incredible because you can build that. You can not you, I mean one you can, uh, you know, put the work behind social media, you can pay to be able to help produce it. There's a lot of elements on what you have the ability to do right now versus what you did 10 years ago.
Speaker 3:
13:49
It is. And I think even without the spend part, people really don't recognize the value of re-engaging their, their own audience. The most useful people to you are going to be the people that already know you. It's true, right? So you want to show it's not just for everyone else. Stop looking outside, start looking inside because the more value, the more you value your network and the more that they value you because you value them back. It's, it's just humans, right? The more important you become to outsiders because everyone wants to see inside of something, they don't understand the truth. Uh, and so, uh, one of the things that I do, and I've wrote about this in the book, is if something really cool happens, say someone mentions me, I want people to see it. I always send it to my mom first and then my mom will share it. And then my mom shares it. Everyone will see it and it doesn't look like I shared it, you know? So, and it's things like that where it's, and people who I haven't spoken to in years, we'll reach out and say, Oh, I have a business. Oh, I have this, or whatever it is. And, um, and that's where it really starts. So don't underestimate the people you already know.
Speaker 1:
14:58
Yeah. Nice. Um, there's a quote from your book platform, uh, were you say, I have over 3 million followers and some people think it's because I'm lucky, but it all resulted from branding, focusing and maintaining my personal brand. Personal branding is for everyone, not just the privileged and well-networked. And I was like, Oh, I love that. Because you know, so many people would look and be like, Oh, you know, I've seen numerous interviews where they interviewed the Kardashians and they're like, I know everyone thinks that I'm just privileged, but they're like, I'm up at 4:30 AM on, I've got meeting after meeting after meeting. Like all those followers happen because we're hustling every day trying to fill up with how can we build collaborations? What else can we do to grow this? How do we grow our personal brand? Um, and I love that you had that right in there. It's, it's, and it's something that, you know, even if you aren't a cardiac Sheehan where you've got maybe a family that's all headed in the same direction, I still think it's important for anyone to kind of build their personal brand and personal voice. Um, you know, what are your thoughts on that?
Speaker 3:
16:04
No, absolutely. So it, they also do it fearlessly, right? So you have, there's a, there's an element of fearlessness that has, it comes with personal branding, especially because the only people you really care about their opinion are the people. You know, it's really an interesting dynamic. It's one person, you know, from high school reaches out and says that, you know, that was an overshare. I can't believe you did that. And all of a sudden you're, you're just stopping and you know, P you do things in life that people don't like and you're going to do things online that people don't like, so get that out of your head. The second thing is, uh, everyone, you know, human nature is to want a crutch. We want something we want to say we're not doing it because we're not famous or we're not, you know, this is the age of the internet.
Speaker 3:
16:48
And yes, there are some people have more hurdles and more obstacles to go through to get there. But the truth is we have all of the tools and resources at our fingertips more so than ever before. Yeah. And so I, fortunately, I'm not going to give you an excuse. Um, you do have to get up at four 30 and you do have to, uh, make travel and you have to be tired and you have to do things that you don't want to do. And sometimes you get feed back that you don't like and that, but that's part of life, right? That's sometimes, uh, you work hard and sometimes you work hard when you're tired, you know, and that's how you get things done. And as far as managing a personal brand goes, you just start, you just start pick one place and just start talking about it.
Speaker 3:
17:34
He's not going to help you. I'm asking people for feedback is not going to help you. Just starting is going to help you figure out what it is you're trying to do first and foremost. Uh, because a lot of people say, I want to build this brand. And I say, well, why? What do you, what do you want to do it? And they don't know. So you just, it just as you know, we need to understand why you're there. You need to understand why you're there. Because if it doesn't happen fast enough, you won't know how to change it cause you don't know what you're doing or why you're doing it. Or you start this, you start something and the audience doesn't understand what you're trying to tell them. And so it slows, slows things down, it causes frustration. So first and foremost is what I want to do.
Speaker 3:
18:19
I've built my Twitter audience basically on the, the fact that I wanted to connect with media because of a job I had, well, media is on, on Twitter. And so then I started Twitter chats and invited media and you know, it just grew from there. But I had such a very clear focus. Um, and it wasn't, it wasn't even really about elevating my brand in the way you would think it is. Right. So it's like have a goal that's attainable. It's like I want to get published in, in this, I want to write a story. I want to be on a podcast. Like make like go after those things. Yeah. I know what you're talking about. And uh, and lastly, be afraid to fail. Cause when you're getting up at four 30 or you're, you know, you're being on camera, sometimes you don't like the way you look.
Speaker 3:
19:04
And sometimes you're going to say the wrong thing and sometimes you're going to write the a typo. And the truth is it's okay. You know, um, you'd be surprised how many people don't listen or read your articles but tell you they saw it, you know, calm down a little bit. It's not all about you now. Uh, but in general I'd say say get past the excuses. Just start, don't be afraid of failing and ask yourself, what am I trying to achieve? And if you can, if you can answer that, then you can. You can get started tomorrow.
Speaker 1:
19:33
Oh, I love it. You know, I think most people have a deep core desire to connect with other humans and social ads. Kind of this new element cause it's through now phones or devices. It doesn't necessarily happen face to face. Um, the other thing I would say is I would think anyone on this planet has something in their life that other people would find extremely interesting. I, and it's so crazy that a lot of times people are like, well, I just, you know, I work at a pizza shop and I'm like, man, I go through tick tock and it can be a random dance. You know, where people are doing this one dance but in different scenarios. And there was a guy in a pizza shop do it and I'm like, that's really funny and I'll follow him or like him and be like, that's cool.
Speaker 1:
20:14
And you know, that's something that I think no matter where you are, there are creative things that you can do. Or you can use your own scenario to your advantage. Meaning maybe you don't live in Hollywood, maybe you live out in a a farm, but be like, that's it. I'm in a farm. Like own it, be proud of that. And people that are in a busy city where there's tons of traffic and be like, dude, I had zero. My commute this morning was 30 seconds from, you know, my bed to the office. That's it. I don't have to sit. And I would be like, man, that's awesome. Like, I wish I had that. I agree.
Speaker 3:
20:48
Yeah. No, it's, yeah, you're, you're, you're so right. There's, there's no story not worth telling.
Speaker 1:
20:54
Oh, that's great. That's a great point. Now can you explain kind of the difference between what would be personal and what would be employee branding?
Speaker 3:
21:02
So the difference is when, so personal branding is your trying to achieve something on your own and you've, you go and you know, you're not supported by a company necessarily, um, that you're not, that you don't know. Okay. So with the personnel or employee branding, it's more about giving opportunity in a safe environment with clear boundaries and instructions to your employees so that they can help your brand grow. So for instance, this can be done in very small ways. Uh, one is never discouraged someone to update their LinkedIn. I've heard this a lot that, excuse me, that people, uh, want to, are afraid to update their LinkedIns because they're afraid that their job will think they're looking and see. And I'm like the opposite. I say no. Make them fear you, you know, like this is, this is if you work at a place where that if you feel that way, quit right now, just get up and walk out because your career, it becomes very difficult to catch up. Um, there's nothing wrong with maintaining and in fact you should. That's how we're going to elevate these companies to be better.
Speaker 1:
22:10
And by updating LinkedIn, you mean like I took another course, I learned something new. I've got new skills,
Speaker 3:
22:15
changing your profile picture or maybe putting some big wins on there from things you've done at the company.
Speaker 1:
22:20
See how that's kind of a touchy thing because the last thing they want is someone to come in and be like, Oh, so-and-so is updating all their stuff. So you would say do it no matter what. And which I think is good advice. Um, it does come with kind of that little, yeah, cause I would, I would wonder, and I've had several jobs in my career, there's some that I wouldn't have worried at all. There's others that I'd been like, eh, probably not. Cause I know they were watching that very closely,
Speaker 3:
22:47
right? Yes. So the short answer is, you know, we're exchanging time for money right now. That's the world his work works currently. And why are you going to spend your time somewhere or you're not valued? Why are you giving away the only real thing we have in this life that's worth anything and is your time? And we sit there in fear and then we waste time thinking about what they're thinking about, forget what they're thinking about. It's a relationship. When you went to an interview, you're interviewing them just as much as they're interviewing. You know, people forget that all the time don't. And the second thing is, unless they're paying you to keep your LinkedIn a certain way, they don't, they don't own it. Right? This is, we live in a world where our information is being used and sold by these companies. And we're like, well, we figured, right?
Speaker 3:
23:37
But we in the other hand, are, are limiting ourselves in our own growth opportunity because of the fear we have from the same companies. Yeah. Forget the companies there. They're nothing without us. They're platform. We've saw my space go away, we S you know, you, this is not, you know, they don't stick around forever. I worked for one that was that dissolved. So I'm telling you versus, and foremost, no, and then I know, so I interviewed someone who actually was a store manager at a, a store at Walmart story or blogged about this and he was blogging about what it was like to work at the store. And one of the executives at Walmart saw it and they actually hired him and moved his entire family to Arkansas and now he runs all of the local social media for Walmart. Wow. Wow. And it was, it was because he was blogging. So you know, the opportunities you're missing, you'll never know. And that's really the problem. Right. Uh, and as far as, you know, fear of job and I completely understand having a fear of, you know, losing your job because you need something. Right. Uh, so I, I guess the, the real question is what are you more fearful of the opportunities you're missing out on or your future if they let you go? Cause companies let people go all the time or the fact that they might get upset with you.
Speaker 1:
24:57
I mean, so I love that. That Walmart example, you know, we had someone, a guest on uh, I think a week ago and we were talking about a Panera bread. Uh, that a person that worked on Panera bread made a tic talk or a video they posted on Instagram stories where they're like, look, this is the soup that's supposed to be really good soup. I throw it in the microwave, I hit go. That's our freshly Bay. And they were doing it, trying to be funny. They got let go. So for someone that works at a company, you know what, I would, I would assume that if I work somewhere, I'm like, my job is to be their cheerleader, right. Not to try to, you know, make them look bad. You know, if they're looking bad is ultimately gonna make me look bad. Even though I might get some, you know, likes or comments or, you know, a lot of video views off something. I would think that generally you should support the companies that you would work for. Like if you stick on the on that lies, but what are your thoughts on kind of where to draw the line and what she people should be aware of or what they should be striving for?
Speaker 3:
25:53
Yeah, so this is where my frustration comes in is that the truth is the problem is always at the top. There's a clear problem there because they have a, can I say bullshit? There's an NPR episode called bullshit jobs, right? And bullshit jobs are middle. They're like the person in between the person in charge and the person under them so that either the person above it feels more important or so they don't have to communicate so much with the person down low. So it's a kind of buffer. This other person's job, it's been going on for a long time and there's companies that have tons of them and when things, when rash decisions are made without the proper, that's usually why is because there's no no one in control or they weren't given the safety and that's so important. It's like, what are my boundaries? Because people are asking their employees to do these things and then they're not telling them what they need to avoid. They're not even looking into it. Uh, they hand the keys of the car over to an entry level social media person making, you know, if $40,000 a year maybe at like, that's, that's best, you know what I'm saying? And then they, they give them complete access to their entire brand
Speaker 1:
27:04
to be the voice, the brand, everything. And so you're saying that that needs to come with some guidelines, some rail?
Speaker 3:
27:10
Yes. Firing that employee is absolutely wrong. Uh, and the absolute, they were there. Was there guidelines, was there an actual social media or are they taking their phones? I mean, you can't pretend like people don't walk into work every day with a camera. They do. So be better, try harder, you know, and uh, and wherever this Pinera employee is, he should reach out to me because yeah, I just, I, I really find it frustrating when, uh, the, when instead of seeing the problem as an opportunity for change, which is an opportunity to cut out a single individual. And that's just not,
Speaker 1:
27:48
yeah. I think too that companies should be aware that the world is changing. Meaning every employee has a camera which can now go live at any point in time. Like they have access to share information, which just, you know, wasn't available 10 years ago,
Speaker 3:
28:04
which, and stop looking at it as a risk first. Look at it as an opportunity and then assess the risks because you're hiring people all over to fly places and videotape things and you're hiring actors to pretend to be an employee. Now you actually have them with these amazing cameras and their own audience and their own influence. And instead of saying, Oh, this is an opportunity, why don't we see if we can't make this beneficial for everyone? They look at it as a risk first. And that's scared thinking and scared thinking is the beginning of the end for companies.
Speaker 1:
28:39
Yeah. Uh, I, I could see it for sure. Um, you know what, uh, you know, well, how do you as a business owner encourage employee, um, you know, branding and employees being out there kind of being advocates for the company. Is it something you just go on and be like, Hey team all hands meeting and here's a couple of rules. One, two, three, you know, go for it and let them go and run wild. Uh, is it something that there should be someone that's overseeing it and monitoring it? You know, I imagine if you let people with, uh, you know, wide open on social media, you could go nuts pretty quickly. So what, what's your advice there?
Speaker 3:
29:16
So that's the, the risk assessment part. So with anything you're going to see an opportunity, you do the risk assessment. That's what any like major company will do. Um, so our company is not the size of, you know, a major corporation. So it's much easier to maintain at this current level. But the system that we see as being the future and most beneficial, uh, are to create the guidelines for what not to do. So that is having a social media policy that is very clear. Right. Uh, the second thing is having a questionnaire style, like entry for people so you know what they're okay with and what they're not okay with. Is this something you're into? Is it not fine? It doesn't matter. Right? We know not to bother you. Um, the third is having oversight as in almost like, instead of if you see large companies, they have, you know, our regional managers and regional lists will train those people to be brand managers.
Speaker 3:
30:12
They're managing in your region anyway. They should understand the brand enough to know what's working, what's not, and then have them be brought in in campaign style so that if it's a fit, it's a fit. If it's not, they go to the next campaign. So there's direction around it. And then if they have an idea, give them a place to take it so that they're not just guessing. Um, because now you're, you're in a, in a situation where the communication flow is from the ground level where let's be real in this, you are, you know, an internet based company. That's where the real juicy meat of it is. Um, and again, just, just the, the ability to say, okay, here's your person. This is how you get information through and that's it. Those are pretty easy steps. Pretty clear.
Speaker 1:
30:56
Nice. And when you said, you know, like create a document that you know, your guidelines, you know, is that something that you know, for, I imagine a lot of people listening are like, we have no idea where to begin. Or you had to start like, are you creating long 10 page or 50 page documents or is it one page? It's like, here's three rules. Stay within those. And you guys are good to go. W w how would you set those up?
Speaker 3:
31:19
Yeah, so it's uh, I keep it very simple. It's really bullets. So you have a public facing one that says, Hey, public, our employees do have, are, are given the ability to post on our behalf. Here are things that we do not endorse, X, Y, and Z. If we see that we will have a removed, if you see it, you can let us know. But please know that because we've given them the freedom to do X, Y, and Z. You may see things like this, time to time, we appreciate your support and help to manage our [inaudible].
Speaker 1:
31:43
Yeah. And you put that on your website.
Speaker 3:
31:44
Yeah. Okay, great. And then you put the employees ran in there, 10 bullets. It's, it's, you know, you know, if, uh, if you're going to represent the store in your bio, you cannot use X language. You know, just very simple things. Like here's something you don't post. For instance, um, you know, if you're working in a hospital, it'd be maybe reiterate the fact that you know, anything with a name on it is not a good, good, good, right. Um, or if you work at a store, just the things that they should avoid, give them clear. If you have a question about whether or not this is okay, here's where you can take it. That's it. You just keep it. Just give people some guidance.
Speaker 1:
32:22
Yeah. Now, do you have any, you know, I guess I'd ask for your advice or your thoughts on when it comes to what can be a hot topic or, you know, I know there's political issues, there are social issues and there's a lot of times companies will jump right on them and be like, we this. Um, there's other times that maybe it may be an issue that everyone at the company doesn't support. Like the people may, you know, is that something that can alienate people? Like what, as a company would you advise to for them to be able to promote? Or is it okay to let your employees go out and to disagree on social media over a topic? Or at least I say you have a conversation, which is usually where it starts and then it gets into craziness after that when people are like, no, you're wrong. And like, what would be your thoughts on that?
Speaker 3:
33:13
Oh, you have my opinion, thoughts first and then I'll be realistic. So, uh, we fight so hard in this country on no matter which side of the fence you sit, right. Uh, to not be part of a dictatorship. And then we allow ourselves to be employed by one. And it's crazy. You know, 40, 60 hours a week, someone is telling you what to do and you're just like, I guess that's what I'm doing. Stop. So I would say open for discussion and the first brand who really does this is going to, is going to blow it out of the water because people want to know it's, they want to see real. They don't want to see your, your decision from the top flooded down. And people being forced like, it's okay to have an opinion. It doesn't mean your job, you're doing your job any less or you know, any better or worse.
Speaker 3:
33:57
Uh, realistically, you know, the best thing that you can do is to inform your teams of what is happening and to let them know, you know, if you have a disagreement, here's where you can send it to us. Please, you know, refrain from making any comments on X, Y and Z. In the media. I mean, those are, you know, that at least gives them an outlet and somewhere they can talk. It really just comes down to trusting the, you have employees that are going to do, uh, do what's right. And also, it's very rare where companies are taking a stand in a way that really makes sense for their brand. So for instance, you look at Nike, uh, they, when they make a decision, they know it's the right decision because not just because of, uh, some moral standing or their belief system. They know from a research perspective perspective that it's the right decision and they never waiver. Then you look at Gillette and Gillette didn't know that. They didn't make a choice. They just made a commercial. And when they had the backlash, they wavered and it's the wavering that upsets people. It's not the fact that you picked a side, because at least there's a debate in discussion. But when you're wavering, you just look like a confused brand that just trying to sell them on something they don't understand themselves.
Speaker 1:
35:19
There's someone at the company that's like, Oh shoot, I gotta protect my job cause we went, we went down this road and now there's a big issue. And again, I would say from that it comes from not being on the same page, which I mean I imagine can be tricky with with large brands is that you've got to, but you say the example and you're 100% right it they've, when they've gone after social causes, it's, that's it. The line, we've drawn it and we're on this side and they just, they write it out. They get a lot of press from it. A lot of people may disagree with it,
Speaker 3:
35:52
I'm upset, but they move forward and because now it doesn't look like they're trying to sell shoes. Yeah. It looks like they're trying to make a statement and be empowered. Empower a certain you know, side or they've, they've decided this is the right thing to do and people can get behind that. Even if they disagree, we can't get behind is when you accidentally, or sort of touch aside, you get the backlash and you start apologizing, which means we know now that you were just trying to use a cause that is very sensitive to people to sell something. And I don't think we immediately go there in our brains and go, that's what is frustrating about it. But that is exactly what it is. Don't use the, I care about
Speaker 1:
36:37
anything at the beginning because then it's exposed kind of your true colors and people that are coming back to, to attack you for, for, I wouldn't say wishy washy, but just not, not being firmer. Right?
Speaker 3:
36:51
There's a million ways to sell something and you decided to take a sensitive subject that people are actively discussing and use it to benefit or to profit off of. And uh, and when the backlash happens and you, it's in you waver, it's like, okay, so we is exactly what we were doing. And now both sides don't want your products.
Speaker 1:
37:14
Are there any, um, you know, people that you think are doing it really well, either companies or individuals that you're like, you know, you should follow these people and just watch what they do, how consistently they are, um, with their content or with their voice about what they talk about?
Speaker 3:
37:32
Uh, yeah, sure. So a big fan of Nike, I think they're, I mean they're very smart and I used to think, well, they're Nike. They should be, but their company is much bigger doing, making way more money than, or not as smart. So kudos to Nike. I would say that, uh, pop tarts does a really good job. I think they're, they've stayed, they're fun. They're interesting. They're not just for kids anymore that they really done a nice job. I would say, uh, from an executive perspective, uh, you know, I've really, I haven't been enjoying some of the stuff that, that Walmart has been doing. Um, mostly because their, their CEO came from, he started, I think unloading trucks at the company. I read it in like a, in a wired magazine yet. And so he comes from the inside and starting to show over the past few years.
Speaker 3:
38:28
I think. I'm trying to, let me see people. Yeah, there's quite a few people. Um, the former executive, um, Sara O'Hagan, Brian showed, you know who that is. Oh, okay. So she was the, she became the COO of, I was thinking it was Gatorade at like 27. Yeah. And then she launched flywheel and she was at Nike before that. She's crazy. Like her career. She's from New Zealand. She's an extreme sports person. I think she's great. Someone to really pay attention to. Uh, and also just, you know, if you follow her career, you kind of know where to, where to look a little bit. Okay. Uh, people I think could use a helping hand. Tim cook, he needs to, he needs to figure out sometimes like, do you agree? Do you not agree? I don't know. Uh, he's a great one. And then, you know, uh, up and coming, which I've, I've seen, this is actually a presidential one just from a purely brand perspective. Uh, Andrew Yang has made an insane turnaround. Uh, like first time I saw him on camera, I was like, Ooh, okay.
Speaker 1:
39:33
Yeah, I agree 100%. He's fun. He laughs. He's funny. He's got jokes. He's a, he doesn't take stuff too seriously, like people. And I love that. He's like, yeah, that's funny. Yeah, they said that about me. Yeah. Just, that's good. Um, but no, I agree with him. He is, is risen very well, um, with, in terms of on camera and social media, connecting with people, uh, the conversations that I've seen that have shown up, I'm like, man, he's, he's on it.
Speaker 3:
40:00
You totally recognize. He, I did not see him having the ability to communicate in media. Right. Um, which of course the first time you're on stage in front of everyone in the world is kind of scary, but it would assume. And uh, but then I saw, uh, I was watching, he was interviewed on bill Maher and he goes, he said, yeah, well, somebody told me that, you know, an Asian could never be president. And bill Maher had said that. And then he goes and it was my parents and I'm like, man, he just recognized the elephant in the room. And from a purely brand perspective that, that happened fast. So pay attention cause you know, it, it's just there's an art to it for some of the things you find difficult, you know? And uh, yeah, he's, he's come around and uh, at first, you know, it just trial and error. He just did it.
Speaker 1:
40:50
Yeah. No, I've been really impressed with, with him. Um, and what he's been doing. Um, let's do this as we're, as we're wrapping up today's episode, you know, is there any final words of advice you would give to other companies or employees you know, about, things that they could do to really help begin their, or to establish a powerful personal brand?
Speaker 3:
41:11
Yeah. The first thing is, and this goes for employees or people. So for people you want to run, you want to run an audit on yourself. You want to Google, Google yourself, search yourself a search your phone number, search your email address and search it. Different platforms. See what, what does it look like? Right? Because you need to know and for and brands get it, go in and figure out who works for you. Not just the job they do, but what else did they do? Because you're talking about storytelling. There's so many animals opportunities with the first thing is to figure out where is the story, where does it live. And then the second thing is to decide, okay what am I trying to do and then is it I want to get a better job in within my own company. I want to get a new job.
Speaker 3:
41:57
You know, cause sometimes people are making, you know these lateral moves because the people they work with, I actually don't know that they're capable of something else cause they're just doing the one job. So thinking about, you know, is it, I'm trying to show them I can do something else, figure that out. And then third is pick one place. Start in one place, get really good at that one place on the one subject with the one goal. And once you've, once you've gotten that down, then move on to the next one. Because if you try to be everywhere, you will be nowhere. It is. It is a job is
Speaker 1:
42:28
that is such good advice. I've seen so many people be like, I need to go beyond social media and they'll just get exhausted and they're like, I don't have all the time I need. Um, and, and the truth is most companies are people that are doing this a lot of times have help. They've got people who are helping them be able to pose, to be able to get content up. Um, and people think that it's just one person and it can become daunting. I agree 100% with that advice of, uh, start with one platform and really go all in on it and try to have conversations and, and connect with the other people out there about topics that you know and love, uh, or that you could have conversations about.
Speaker 3:
43:05
Yeah. And stop watching what everyone else is doing. Oh, that's a good, that's a great tip too. I, yeah, because all right. Do you remember when Gary V put out his own quotes on his face and then all of a sudden everybody had their quotes on their face and there was this whole thing, but they became less valuable because everyone was doing it. So sometimes you have to look at what everyone's doing and do it differently. Yeah, because it does, it gets you get a little flooded, you get caught up in, in, you know, you don't want to be more of the same. Uh, so find your uniqueness and highlight that. Don't, don't feel like you need to be doing what the person next to you is doing.
Speaker 1:
43:41
I love it. Such wonderful. Wise. Thank you so much Cynthia for being on the show today. Um, and everyone will catch you on the next episode.
Speaker 2:
43:49
Thank you for listening to the Duke of digital podcast with Brian Mitt, one to network with other business owners. Join our exclusive group at facebook.com/groups/duke of digital fancy the Duke. Leave a five star review on your favorite podcast app. And you can be mentioned on the show. The Duke of digital was produced by advertisement and recorded in Hollywood, California.
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