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How Corporate Executives Are Building Personal Brands and Why It’s Working

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Reality television captivated audiences back in 2009, with shows like Jersey Shore and Mob Wives, it was the golden age of trashy television drama and we couldn’t get enough of it. Fast forward to 2019, entrepreneurs, influencers, and most recently c-level executives, are using those same tactics (minus the trash) to build large followings, and grow their personal brands.

Technology has given every small and large business owner, employee, or student the ability to make a name for themselves across media platforms. It has only been within the last five years, that we have really seen a growth in entrepreneurs hiring a single individual to follow them around with a camera, and create content specifically for their brand.

According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Overall employment of film and video editors and camera operators is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. The number of Internet only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase, along with the number of shows produced by these platforms. By now we all know that creating content in the form of word, audio, video and picture is a necessary part of doing business. The phrase “content is king” still rings true. What’s so different then about corporate executives getting in on the action, and why do we love it so much?

Reality television and why we love it so much

Psychology Today reportedly conducted a detailed study of 239 people to find out exactly why Americans seemed to be hooked on reality television. The largest contributing factor between someone just watching a show once, and someone who watched the show religiously, was that they fantasized about being famous, successful, or having large amounts of attention.

Entrepreneurship and business had been a top contender for audience attention as early as 2001 when the reality show Dragon’s Den first started, followed by its successor, Shark Tank in 2009.  The Apprentice, Undercover Boss, The Profit, and Hotel Hell, are just a few others that prove business deals and a successful journey to the top are something people also fantasize about and want for themselves.

Now, we have reality television 2.0. We are able to see real people, running real businesses, operating on a daily basis, in real time. We actively watch startups document each sacrificial moment, each failure, each glorious victory and cheer them on as we witness the birth of another amazing company.

Executives used to be just the faceless individual behind the business, making plans and implementing ideas from the top while the employees on the front lines were the one’s really engaging with the consumer. Today, executives are realizing they are more than just indoor leaders. They have a unique message that is truly embedded in the company culture, and it’s one that consumers love to see.

I interviewed Claude Silver, the Chief Heart Officer of VaynerMedia to talk about her content, values, and vision. As the CHO she oversees anything that involves people such as: recruiting, culture, talent management and employee experience. Her role offers her many opportunities for speaking engagements, HR forum appearances, and genuine blurbs of wisdom, which all contribute to her growing content and following.

She recently started working with Rich Cardona, a retired Marine Corps aviator turned interviewer/video editor, to create content for her personal brand, an overall reflection of VaynerMedia. Rich didn’t have formal education in videography, but he came with leadership development, kindness, true grit and used those skills to teach himself.

Finding and nurturing exceptional talent is something that has given Claude much of her success. When asked why she chose to work with Rich she said “Because I think Rich is untapped talent and he is a veteran, there is so much courage in that, he risked his life for our country and I trust him…I can trust to record my video’s with him.”

VaynerMedia’s Co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk started building his personal brand the exact same way, hiring a videographer named David Rock to document his entrepreneurial journey, which has now spun off into multiple shows like DailyVee and Trash Talk, a show about flipping merchandise for cash.

VaynerMedia isn’t the only company recycling the tactics from reality television. Sue Ellen Watts, founder of an HR company called Wattnexts, documents her business life in a vlog titled The Unconventional Life. So, What can executives, managers and small business owners expect to see if they adopt the same method? See below!

1. Turn your consumers into die-hard fans

When Steve Jobs appeared on stage to launch the first iphone in 2007, he had already created an army of adoring Apple fans that couldn’t wait to buy it. Jobs had built a brand around both the products and himself. Much in the same way that I first consumed Claude Silver’s content to become a fan of her, business owners can expect the same reward if they are consistent and honest about the video’s they share across platforms.

Reality television had drama, today we see it represented through celebrations and failures when a leader is brave enough to share them. Claude Silver recently posted a video of her newborn child on Instagram and fans celebrated along with her. “I had been posting a lot on Facebook, sharing my thoughts on it, and Gary is one of the biggest influencers out there, there’s no better person to take example from, so when I started at VaynerMedia naturally my content increased.” said Silver after being asked why she started documenting.

2. Create an open-door policy with the world

A recent Gallup survey reported that only 41% of employees strongly agree that they know what their company stands for. If more than half of your employees aren’t sure what the company’s values are, how can your customers? By documenting your values and process as a leader, your employees can watch and learn, whether they are in the same office or in another country.

It also gives consumers a chance to offer feedback and make requests on a product or service almost immediately. In the same way, it produces a more positive work culture. If employees can see a leader that keeps their values consistent between their professional and personal life they will be encouraged to do the same.

3. Find talent by reverse engineering

By documenting the daily life of your business, your consumers become fans, and fans share their gratitude by showing you their talents. If your business is looking for the next customer service star, videographer, social media expert or sales rep, there’s no better place to look than within the group of people that are already invested in your mission and already committed to your brand.

They’ll be able to watch what’s happening with the managers, executives and front line workers in real time by watching a vlog or piece of content on social media and understand the culture, even before they step through the door. Reverse the role and top talent will be knocking on your door asking to work with your business.

Taking consumers and fans behind the scenes is an approach we can expect to see continuing to rise in popularity. For executives or owners that have yet to begin documenting, it might be beneficial to note that branding at it’s core means connecting with your target audience on an emotional level.

Hiring a videographer to film ‘a day in the life of’ will create deeper connection, brand longevity and increased revenue if done correctly. No-one wanted to be Angelina on Jersey Shore but everyone wanted to be Pauly D. Keep your content real, relatable and genuine. Rich Cardona said it best “no one cares about the company anymore, everyone cares about the people behind the company.”

Carlee Lloyd is the creator of The Self-Care Enthusiast, a brand and blog that inspires everyone to be unapologetically themselves in life and business. Self-Care For Your Business Monday is a show airing on LinkedIn each and every Monday to help small and large businesses grow and thrive. Find her on LinkedIn or check out the blog for in-depth articles and real time updates from her life.

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Why Your Confidence Needs to Match Your Competence

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Even if you produce amazing results at your job or in other areas of your life, others may still not see you as being competent if you lack the confidence to back it up. If you are good at your job, exuding confidence will ensure others also recognize your competence in your area of expertise. And research backs this up. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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Prepare Yourself for Prosperity With These 6 Success Habits

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Success stories don’t come from naturally successful people. They come from ordinary people with starry eyes and big dreams who stayed true to their end goal and consistently put in the work. They are just like you and me. What sets them apart is their mindset — a success mindset. (more…)

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How to Overcome the Emotional Rollercoaster of Success

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If you’re reading this, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you’re a human being. You have feelings, emotions, beliefs, complexity, and a mind that’s always racing. Your feelings at any given moment in your life have the power to affect what you do and how consistently you do it. (more…)

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