Episode #184. You are probably familiar with the term personal branding, but now it’s time to dig deeper. Phil Pallen is an expert brand strategist who gets to the root of how you show up and what you crave most in your business. Ever thought about personal branding as a way to manifest your business goals? Listen now for loads of inspiration on bringing your vision to life through your ah-mazing personal brand.
In This Episode You’ll Learn:
- How personal branding digs deeper into your true self
- Why you can’t build your brand without knowing your goals
- The must-know tip to avoiding impulse branding mistakes
- Why visual branding is the core of your personal brand
- What most entrepreneurs miss when taking personal brand photos
“Personal branding is not about creating a superficial experience of you. It’s going deep, being self-aware and creating an experience online that’s consistent with how people experience you in real life.”
“It’s not actually an identity crisis. It’s a friendly reminder that we evolve as human beings. With that evolution that’s happening in real life, the same evolution has to happen online.”
“Branding helps us visualize and actually get to our business goals. Branding is how I’ve grown my career myself. I really believe that it’s our most powerful business tool, and it’s fun.”
Discussed on the Show:
More About Phil:
Phil Pallen is a personal branding expert and keynote speaker. His non-conventional approach to digital marketing and talent for social media has built him a global audience.
As a brand strategist, Phil has advised hundreds of brands from over 30 countries, including a Shark on Shark Tank, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, politicians, and some of the most important names in entertainment. A digital nomad and globetrotter, Phil has delivered speeches on five different continents and frequently appears as an expert contributor in media outlets around the world, including CNN, Access Hollywood, and The Daily Mail.
Welcome to Go-To Gal episode number 184. As always, I’m your host, Jaclyn Mellone, and I’m realizing that the way I do this intro is designed for me doing the intro the day before because I always do the intro the day before. We batch the episodes, but I just always catch myself doing the intro the day before which I can spin and say, oh, I get to keep it really relevant and timely, but I just do it the day before. I don’t know that’s how it goes, but I’m actually batching right now, a bunch of these intros and I haven’t decided yet which order or my team will decide on that.
The way I do this, I don’t know where I would like my intonation to be. It usually goes, as always, I’m your host, Jaclyn Mellone. And I typically start by saying something about the episode. Ah, I think I need to change that. I don’t even know where to begin. Okay. As always, I’m your host, Jaclyn Mellone. And today, I am joined by my dear, dear friend, Phil Pallen.
Phil and I have just become fast besties this year. He’s amazing. I think we met in February. So you may notice a lot of the guests that we have, I have met over the years, or they’re mentors of mine, or coaching clients of mine, or just friends, or I don’t know, maybe they are people who I don’t know personally. But a lot of the time, I do have some type of connection because the people who I’m connecting with are amazing, and I want them to share with you.
I vetted them. I know the good that they have to share. And so, I want to use this platform to help get the word out and to help share some of their insight and knowledge with you. Now, Phil actually, well, technically not, technically you may remember back in March, Phil kind of interviewed me.
We did an IG live together, and it was all about podcast guesting. He was the one leading that conversation, and I ended up downloading it and using it as a podcast episode. So it wasn’t really an episode, but it was an episode because we aired it. So I guess I shouldn’t qualify that. Today, I brought Phil on to share his expertise and for us to just jam on personal branding together.
I think I was going on to how Phil and I met. So we started in a peer-led mastermind together, back in February with Jenny Melrose. I think Jenny Melrose and Phil started the group, and Jenny had invited me. And she just knew that Phil and I were going to hit it off, and we did. He’s amazing, and we can just chat all day and yes, it’s amazing.
Either one of us got an award in edgewise and that we kept this to a reasonable length of time. So today’s episode is Phil and I are geeking out about all things and personal branding, and he gives me some tips and insight. I also asked him some hard-hitting questions to get beneath some of the strategies that he uses because he is a brand strategist.
This is what he does every single day, and he’s worked with some really high profile people, brands, all different levels, and his approach is something I really resonate with, and I really respect his insight and opinion. Clearly with a podcast called Go-To Gal. We’re branding ourselves as the Go-To authority on different topics.
Personal branding is something that we talk about around here. Most likely, you are not new to that conversation, but I’m excited for you to hear Phil’s take and how to really think about your personal brand. Maybe refine it a bit more, or take it to the next level. We’re talking from all different levels in this conversation.
So whether you’re just getting started, or you’re like me who is potentially having a brand crisis, I’m not really having a brand crisis, but I’m going through one of those. I think we’ve all evolved a lot. I’ve felt that the nice way of saying it is, I’ve aged a lot in the last year.
But I feel this whole pandemonium has aged me greatly, or maybe I’m just in need of a brand update. But whatever it is, I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on myself and the brand and where I want to take things, and what I’m including or not including. You might recall some of this in my interview with Sandy Waters recently.
So that said, I guess, if you’re like me, and you’re questioning everything in life, or if you were at a place where you go, okay, I’m really solid with my personal brand. It’s exactly how you want it to be. But how do I take that to the next level or photoshoot coming up?
Which I think about, we cover things for all of these places. All right. I’m going to stop the jibber-jabber. First, I’m going to formally introduce you to Phil, and then, we’ll dive in.
Phil Pallen is a personal branding expert and keynote speaker. His non-conventional approach to digital marketing and talent for social media has built him a global audience. As a brand strategist,
Phil has advised hundreds of brands from over 30 countries, including a shark on a Shark Tank. One of my favorite sharks on the Shark Tank, I will add. A Nobel Peace Prize winner, politicians, and some of the most important names and entertainment. He is a digital nomad and a globe-trotter. Phil has delivered speeches on five different continents and frequently appears as an expert contributor in media outlets around the world, including CNN, Access Hollywood, and the Daily Mail.
All right, let’s get to it. Here’s my conversation with Phil.
Phil, I am so excited to have you here today.
I’m here. I’m happy. If you’re looking at the video of this which you’ve probably not because it’s a podcast, but it doesn’t look how I want it to look. I’m in Tulum, Mexico right now, here technically for work. I bought an apartment that I want to eventually rent out here and live in for a few months.
But if you know where Tulum is, it’s in the middle of the jungle, and this is not quite my aesthetic, but we’re rocking with it or dealing with it. I wouldn’t choose these cabinets or the microwave hovering over my head, but that’s Thursday, and it’s going to be a great day because I’m starting it off with you, Jaclyn. That’s what’s happening.
It is. I’m trying to quiet laugh because I didn’t press mute. Oh, but as you are rocking it, and you are in Tulum, that’s amazing. And when you said you’re there for business, I’m like, well, yes, you’re working. And then with this whole real estate piece which we’re gonna come back to that, but that’s really interesting.
I said, oh, no, you’re actually there for work, not just working nomadically, but okay. Before we get into everything going on with you now, let’s go back to when you were growing up, what were you the go-to guy for back then?
Oh, what a good question. Growing up, what was I the go-to guy for? How far back do we have to go?
I mean, it can be when you were really little or even high school or something, or pre-college.
Pre-college. So, I’m thinking, high school. I was the go-to guy for… So interesting because my interest and my focus, my career have all built on each other, I would say. I’ve always enjoyed my social life a little more than I like academics, but I’ve done well in academics. I did well in school, but I loved anything social.
So in my last year of high school, I was head prefect like Harry Potter. Now, as my goal, I went to private schools, and all through high school that was my goal.
I don’t know what it means.
It’s like the student council. It’s a British term. I studied in Canada, so it was like the British system. To anyone listening if they’ve watched Harry Potter, Harry Potter has prefects, and I was the head prefect. I had to get the most votes of anyone in the graduating class to get it. And I got it, so I was social. I don’t know if I was popular, but I was friends with everyone.
I am the go-to guy for maybe what’s fun. I always like it when things are fun, and this is the reason why you and I get along because you are also driven by things that are fun. If something’s not fun, you’re not going to put energy into it. So that’s my answer.
That’s so true, and I literally have this on my desk, “Fun is my fuel” because it is, and it’s so easy to get in the business world to forget that, to come back to what actually fuels me. I’ve had to really stay conscious of that, and that it’s okay to own it. And so, I keep it right on my computer to remind me about it. But I think that is our connection point is that, yes, we are fueled by fun.
Please source a second sticker because I also need that visible at all times.
Alright. I’m on it. It’s just a post-it note that I wrote on, but I will.
Really? It looks so nice. I thought it was an actual sticker, but yeah, you have great handwriting.
I have my calligraphy markers, and that was my quarantine hobby. Those are my fancy calligraphy markers. I do calligraphy for fun. What can I say? Or what’s more, what is it? Brush lettering was probably what it’s called.
Yes, I know. But can you imagine, so you introduced and fostered these skills during quarantine? If I were you, here we go at branding advice. We haven’t even been here for five minutes. Why couldn’t you introduce that as a typeface or a font as part of your brand? That’s a conversation starter. That could be your H1 or H2, headers one header two on your website. And when someone compliments you on it and you go, actually, that’s my handwriting. I made that. They’re never going to forget that. I love those little conversation starters in branding.
But that’s what I do for a living. I basically talk which I like to do, but I listen. And I think how can this instance of real-life exist online so that when someone experiences you online, it feels like how they would get if they had the privilege of meeting you in real life, or how they would get to experience you in real life. I’m always interested in it, I do it. I just do it without thinking. I said, how can we make online what real life is? Something I think about all the time.
Okay, well, that tease us up perfectly for you to tell us, what do you do, and who do you help?
I love that we’ve just flipped the conversation upside down. This is what happens when you and I are on the phone. So, I’m a brand strategist, and in short, I help people position, build, and promote their brands. I say people because at least 80% of the time I’m working in personal branding. Personal branding is my thing. People, that’s my thing more so than companies.
I still occasionally work for companies or startups, but it’s not really my thing. Don’t tell them. I like branding people, public speakers, coaches, consultants, media, personalities, bloggers, creators. I’ve worked on projects in 31 countries. Now, officially this month, it’s been ten years. I need to roll out some kind of party or celebration, ten years beyond just my gray hair, but this is what I’ve done.
I’ve never really, I had a few jobs growing up in university, et cetera, but I’ve never really worked for anyone. I graduated in 2011 in the U.S. from Canada, with my master’s in entertainment business then, moved out to L.A. and applied at agencies and stuff. I thought I had to go work for someone, and I’d need a job. So I thought, well, I still need to find a way to pay my rent for next month to stay in this expensive city on my own.
And I just started designing logos, making websites, and WordPress without really knowing what I was doing. But I learned, and I quickly found a niche in working primarily with women, small businesses. There was this thought that I have to go work at an agency and then I’m going to work on some automotive brand, et cetera, at an agency level, whatever.
That’s just never been my reality. I’ve never worked for anyone else. My first three clients were a jewelry designer, a real estate agent, and a makeup artist, all women, and that was how I started. I’ve grown fairly slowly, but constantly over the years. And I would say I’m the very definition of a lifestyle business.
So still, my primary work is employing an amazing team of freelancers that help us deliver on positioning, building, and promoting brands. Everything from the strategy around brand positioning to photography, brand identity development, and website creation, I still do it myself because I love it- designing and coding, et cetera. And then social media strategy, content strategy, I’m sure they’re going to come up in our conversation. But my work is totally entirely focused on personal branding, and that’s all I’ve ever done.
Okay, it’s so fascinating to hear about your journey and while maybe your growth over the last decade has been slow as you say, you have significantly scaled your business. What’s interesting to me is that you’re such a great example of how you can massively scale, but still have your primary revenue coming from the service-based side of the business. There’s so much talk in this industry about, oh, in order to scale, you need to have a course and, and all of this stuff.
And so to be able to see how you’ve successfully scaled, you have courses, but that’s not where the majority of the revenue coming from. It’s really interesting. Was that intentional? Give us a little peek behind the scenes of how that all works.
Yeah, it wasn’t until I was just answering your question a second ago where I did have this moment of looking back and going back to what I said, that the growth was slow, but actually, it wasn’t that slow.
I almost should retract that statement because it feels a little bit like a marathon, and I’m standing here reflecting on each mile of the marathon. And each mile has grown, grown, grown, new initiatives. Some have taken off that has stuck. Others were things I tried a membership group, et cetera. And it just wasn’t a fit for me. At the end of the day, I absolutely love my job. I love my work.
The reason the services side of my business is still the biggest is quite frankly, it’s what I enjoy the most. I can’t go and teach someone in a YouTube video or a course about personal branding unless I’m in the trenches personally branding someone. And I never, ever want to be out of touch. Ever.
I think it’s scary. Quite frankly, I think people like Amy Porterfield and these big thought leaders, I think a lot of them, yeah, they’re entertaining and that’s great, but I think they’re out of touch, and I never ever want to be that person. Not that I’m bad talking to people on your podcast, I guess I kind of am.
You’re just keeping it real.
I’m just keeping it real, how I feel. I never want to be out of touch. I can’t teach someone how to do something unless I’m actively doing it. I would say now, or I would say over the last two years, diversifying my income streams has been a particular interest to me, really prompted 2019 by something I didn’t even expect. I bought a house in Florida that I intended to use primarily as a rental since I’m always on the road, living in typically Latin America, but places all over the world.
Sometimes for speaking and sometimes just for fun and that now having worked on that and having a rental house, I want another one and maybe another one. And I just enjoy it. I love the hospitality of it but I’ve also got courses. I speak as a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world, not just to generate business, but actually to teach and educate.
And that’s been really fun, not only to get paid for it but to also travel to crazy places. I’ve been to five continents and had some incredible experiences. What else this year? I have a brand new income stream. I’ve been actively posting on YouTube once a week for the last year and a half of which started purely as an investment.
It costs me way more than the money I was making from it. But by again, this marathon theme that I think is going to keep coming up today. I’m now definitely making more than I’m spending on YouTube and doing a lot of sponsored content and balancing that while doing other things. It’s not my main job, but the money I’m making now in sponsored content is equivalent to a decent salary that a lot of people in the country are making.
And it’s fun. It’s really fun. I had the craziest campaign that I published recently which, made an AI version of my likeness. And I was at a party last night, and I saw an acquaintance, not even a friend. And the first thing they said to me, that thing you posted on Instagram was crazy. It came up at least five times in conversation that I didn’t expect. So I’m having fun with all of it. That’s also a thing.
Yes. You’re having fun with all of it. And by staying true to what you actually want to be doing, you’re having fun. And I think that there’s something to that. I think historically it was, well, if you’re just focused on fun, you’re not focused on growing, but I think there’s this magic that when you align the fun. When you do what you think is, there’s this extra energy to it that you really can’t fake that I think helps you grow more in these unexpected ways. So I don’t know the science behind that.
100% And we don’t even need the science behind it, and what you said is so true. And I think you and I are examples of people that have kept work fun. And isn’t it nice to look at your work, your career? Look at us right now. This is technically working. We’re having fun. Isn’t it nice to look at your brand, your work, your career, your reputation, and go, wow, I’m really proud of this? And I really enjoy this. I would say it’s my goal for everyone to look at their career, their work, their job, and say the same thing.
I have sympathy for people that have to spend their valuable life’s minutes every single day, doing something that they don’t enjoy doing. Trust me. There are moments, we all have moments when we are not gonna enjoy everything. You have to have the low moments to appreciate the high moments. But at the end of the day, for you to be able to look at your job or your brand or your career and go, I’m doing what I really love to do.
That’s very powerful, and we should never lose sight of that. We should not appreciate those of us that have that. And I would say those of you who don’t have it you need to spend some time. It’s never too late. I think my oldest client in the decade of doing this was 84, 85? And she had just published a book on interior design.
Color interior design and I thought that was the coolest thing. My youngest client was a finalist on Master Chef Junior. And there’s such a range, but again, regardless of age, location, demographics class, I mean, literally, regardless of all of it, if you can look at your life and your career and go, I love what I’m doing, then that’s something that needs to guide you, and that’s something that needs to lead you.
Exactly. Okay. So bringing this back to personal branding, our Go-To Gal listeners are hopefully familiar with the concept of personal branding by now, but I know that you go deeper with it. And we don’t need a Webster’s dictionary definition, but I’d love to know what’s your philosophy with personal branding? Why is this important? How does it tie in?
Sure. It’s completely tied to what we were just talking about, so I’ll explain two things here. I think personal branding is really the art of recreating. The in-person experience online. That’s really the one sentence, wrap it up in a bow philosophy, Phil-osophy.
Oh, I see what you did there. I love it.
That’s what drives me. So personal branding is not about creating an artificial experience, a superficial experience of you. It’s really going deep and being self-aware, and creating an experience online that’s consistent with how you show up or how people experience you in real life. Content- what you say. Personality- the unique way that you, and only you deliver that content.
I think the latter is often underrated. I think people focus a little bit too much on content, what you have to say, and not enough on the personality piece. That’s what keeps us coming back to you and only you for more or for a perspective on that topic. So then to take it a step further, and to give you a formula for the successful positioning of a personal brand, I would say that every successful brand is positioned the same way.
Something you love to do. Something you’re passionate about is exactly what we’re talking about, what feels fun, or what feels not work as we would define it traditionally. What’s something you love to do paired with something others need ideally and are willing to spend money on. I think that’s an important little asterisk or addition to the end.
My longest, longest project, my longest client is a shark on Shark Tank, and so I’ve watched every pitch over the last decade of episodes, and it’s something that rings true. You need to position yourself to satisfy a need in the marketplace. If it’s just that first portion of the formula, something you love to do, that on its own as a hobby. But the minute we pair something you love with something people need, that’s when it becomes the formula for successfully positioning your brand.
You could be already successful. You might’ve built your career, your business on your own, and at this point, you might be calling me. That’s my client. My client is I’ve done this all on my own for a decade and reached a certain point. And now, I need some help. Help Phil, help, and I will. Or you could be starting from scratch, and I think we all need to revisit that positioning. I revisit that positioning at least once, twice, three times a year. I almost do it seasonally, and I think, okay, how has this changed? Now I’m doing this and this and this.
I wasn’t doing this last year, but how am I fulfilling my own happiness doing something I love to do paired with something others need? Those are the two variables in the formula that you need to the plugin. It’s every brand that I’ve worked in. The joy of my job is I get to have an excuse to interact intimately with fascinating people to position their businesses and change their lives. And regardless of industry, I feel that at this point I’ve worked in almost every industry, at least once that is the through-line between everyone that’s succeeded. They have that successful positioning. So that’s the formula.
Okay. Can you give an example or two? Because I’m trying to think of this as, what would that be for me? Or what would that be for some of the people I’m thinking of? And I don’t know, it’s easy to get stuck on the ‘something you love’ piece. So what does that look like for some businesses?
Okay, well, let’s use you as an example. Why don’t we use you as an example? We’re doing it!
I’m going through an identity crisis, so this is probably needed.
We all are. We all are, and it’s good. It’s not actually a crisis. It’s a friendly reminder that we evolve as human beings. And so, with that evolution that’s happening in real life, the same evolution has to happen online. It’s really super important. So it’s not a crisis. It’s a friendly little shakeup that says, hey, the experience of you in person is not quite consistent with how you’re showing up online.
How do we make those things parallel? How do we make them symbiotic so they’re working in tandem? So let’s take you, for example, which I’ve gotten, we’re in a mastermind together, and I’ve gotten to learn about you this year, and we’ve become great friends. So some of the things you love to do are: you love to talk, you love to have an intimate conversation, you love to learn about people, you love to listen and engage. So let’s take that piece. So even doing what we’re doing right now, podcasting is the thing that I associate with you. You’ve built a really successful podcast, and you have spawned all kinds of business opportunities and income streams from this.
So I’m going to pair your passion with a need. I think people need to learn from you how podcasting or similar forms of content creation can actually play an active role in your business. I now think about you almost every time the topic of affiliate marketing comes up. Because when you were on our podcast brand therapy, I was like, my mouth jaw open when you were talking about affiliate marketing, ConvertKit, bringing in five-figure monthly income. That’s fascinating and necessary and needed for people to learn. And so that was immediately how I filled in the variables of your formula. Something you love to do- podcasting, talking, content creation with something people need a clear framework and understanding around how this stuff can actually play a role in your business.
Okay. All right. I see how you’re pulling this together, so it doesn’t necessarily need to be a neat little sentence necessarily because we’re not sure.
I don’t think so. That’s the wrapping paper, but first, we need to figure out the gift. It’s easy to wrap the gift and make it splashy and beautiful and visual, cute little patterns and ribbons, but that’s not the most important thing. At the end of the day, the wrapping paper is just to entice us to arrive at the gift. The gift is where you need to spend time.
Okay. I love that visual. So when people come to you and they’ve been in business for five, 10 years, and you’re helping them now really think about their personal brand and they’ve done it themselves and all of this, what are some of the mistakes you see, or what are some of the things that they leave out that maybe don’t easily translate from the real-life version of us to the online version of us?
That’s a good question. I am very careful not to rush the process because I don’t think you can do this overnight. So if someone comes to me and says, I’m launching my book in a month, and I need help promoting it on social media, can I hire you?
Honestly, the answer is no. And I would decline a project based on that because I need to be involved in the process of positioning and building. So to just stick a for sale, sign out front of the house that hasn’t been properly staged or built, or is missing a roof, we’re only going to get a fraction of the value that you really deserve when you go to sell.
For me, I’m potential unique to my process. I need to be in the trenches. I need time. Typically, when I’m working on a branding project, it takes three, four, or five months. Clients always want it done in three, and I will tell them that it can be done. But trust me in the trenches. Branding is our excuse to engage creating a new website is often the output, but there’s so much in this process.
It kind of feels like therapy. That’s where we got the name for our podcast. You’ve got to dig in and become self-aware and think about what you want. What are your business goals? When I ask those questions, I don’t necessarily want an answer right now, but I want you marinating on them and that’s all part of this.
We have clients that will apologize to us. I’m sorry, I changed my mind on this visual in the brand. Listen, we’ve heard it. We’ve been around for a decade. We know the process and sometimes it’s uncomfortable and it’s uncertain. And yes, by the end of this, you’ll have a beautiful brand, and a website, but in the process, you will uncover and discover so many things.
So I’d say you just have to account for all of that. That’s coming down, the pipeline. Mistakes? People are too quick to stick the “For Sale” sign out front of a house that hasn’t been staged or built. And I will avoid the project if we can’t reframe that slightly. I don’t want someone to fling their poo at my head and all of a sudden make it my problem.
That’s not how this works. I’m not a monkey, but if someone is flexible to go through that process, I think, and branding is our engine. It’s our means of going through this exercise, and I think it’s cool because different businesses maybe focus on something different for me.
Visuals are the tools that we have available to us to essentially manifest your business goals. I really believe branding is the most powerful business tool that we have available to us because we can set some goals, and we can brand. Not necessarily who we are today, but where this train is going, let’s actually visualize that.
Let’s think about the business you want one year from now, and photograph that and consider your sub-brands or projects and podcasts and books, and create a visual presence for that within your brand identity. So that it’s ready to go on your website, and we’ve selected colors and typography, and we mock up a book cover, et cetera.
I want to use branding because it helps us visualize and actually get to those business goals. It’s how I’ve grown my career and myself is through branding. And I think that that is our most powerful business tool, and it’s fun.
Okay, my wheels are turning. You’re making me think about this. I think there is something that can easily get lost in translation with content, especially in this, as you’re talking, I’m thinking of all of the templates that are out there and all of those stock photography. And when we’re building a whole brand, based on that, it’s missing us, or it’s missing at least a piece of us really easily. I would imagine. I think I like audio especially with the dynamic of somebody else being there because I feel like I don’t even have to try. I’m just showing up like me and over the years I’ve gotten more comfortable sharing stories or different maybe parts of my personality that I wouldn’t have felt comfortable sharing out of the gate, but it feels the most authentic way to show up or it doesn’t have to feel curated or, or whatnot.
I’ve struggled with having that consistent content outside of the podcast, and maybe that’s why I think I’m having this realization as we were talking because that feels like something that has to be made separately and isn’t just me showing up to create. Do you see this? I see you nodding. Where do you think people struggle with the content?
I think it’s a balance between building systems and a framework to help you show up in a way that’s also time-efficient. There are only so many hours in the day, and we’re all busy. How can you create a framework or a system, but then not get stuck in the same-sy zone of stock photography that everyone is sourcing from unsplash.com, and Canva templates that we’ve all seen 5,000 times by now? It’s that in-between zone of, how do we create something really unique and special that’s true to us, ourselves, our brands, but then also have those systems? I, for one, am a huge fan of Canva and have actually, my designers resent me for this a little bit, but I insist that anything that’s a client deliverable gets created in Canva rather than Photoshop because it’s not my job to create something beautiful.
It’s my job to create something beautiful that my client can maintain the beauty of moving forward. And so every image on a client website that I deliver is cropped and created in Canva for them to be able to easily update moving forward.
It’s like training wheels, my diamond training wheels. When someone’s learning how to ride the bikes, but they keep riding. I don’t keep riding. I’m working on the next biker at a launch. And so I think it’s a balance between feeling confident in how you’re showing up and feeling proud of how you’re showing up online. That’s why visual branding brand identity is one of the core pieces of the process for us to create really beautiful visual brands that are elegant and timeless. I want my clients to be able to have a logo or an identity that they’re not going to have to update for a decade. Honestly, that’s my goal.
But then you also need to set yourself up to be able to create efficiently. And we dig into content marketing and content strategy in that kind of way. So how can you create, for example, templates for yourself? I love the templates you use to promote your podcast episodes on your Instagram stories. I think they’re one of the best. They’re so good. And that’s an example of creating a system for yourself where you’ve got that framework you can show up, create it and move on with your day.
Yes. And we actually started with templates. So if that encourages anyone of, we were able to buy some templates and because we have a really set brand identity with colors, and we were able to update that and fonts and everything to ours, and then I think what you’re talking about which is the video piece that we use to promote that is actually, I think I don’t even know what apps she uses. But, I haven’t seen a member who does that in a more, what’s the adult, is it a the Premiere? She does that in Premiere to get the text, to look like that in terms of the closed captioning.
So that is probably the least automated part of our process that she’s doing that in there, but because of everything else, it’s easy to have it look like that. By her doing it in there, we’re able to have the close captioning show up the way we wanted and pull it all together with everything else. I appreciate you saying that because as you’re talking, I go, oh my goodness, are we reflecting that you can always improve? But I don’t know. Your compliment means a lot to me.
I love it. I think you’re doing a great job and it’s, I mentioned it because it’s a really good example that people should look at and follow.
It took some time though, for me to realize, I don’t feel like I was very self-aware. I’m still, probably not very self-aware. It’s something I work actively at. It’s probably why I am fascinated with all of these personality assessments and things like that, to be able to take something and then reflect back and dig deeper and use those prompts to be more aware of how people perceive me or how I am and just don’t realize. Because how I was perceiving myself early, especially early on in the business was very different than other people do.
At one point, I was going through a branding process, and I had picked out an exclamation point, and it was something about being bold. And I had some friends that say, no, it’s not you at all. I just was so not aware for some reason that that was not me.
Well, sometimes it’s subjective. I could probably take an exclamation mark and rocket, and make it look awesome. But it’s not going to be me alone. It’s going to be you. It’s going to be me. It’s going to be my designer. It’s going to be Lauren, my colleague, who really heads the creative process for the development of those types of things.
So a lot of this is subjective, and as much as we want it to be right or wrong, it just isn’t. I think the thing that is, is that awareness piece, the clarity around your business goals. No one should begin the process of building a brand until they’ve really positioned it around their business goals. So nothing matters, nothing else matters until you know exactly what it is you want to achieve.
You don’t necessarily need to have a step-by-step roadmap because there are going to be all kinds of detours and distractions. And we welcome those, but I don’t think you can build a brand unless you’re really clear on where you’re driving this bus. But I also get really excited about those kinds of quizzes and questionnaires that help people build their self-awareness.
I have a-rockin’ freebies section on my website. Some people might come on this podcast and promote one freebie. Honey, I have at least 12. My freebies section, I’m sorry, but it’s impressive. It’s impressive. And I’d like you to know I didn’t delegate any of those. I designed all of those myself in the keynote.
I spent way too long making those PDFs adorable and useful, but I send people over there, philpallen.co/freebies, and I have all kinds of fun stuff over here: a hundred words to describe your brand, a hundred evergreen content ideas you could post today, discover your brand archetype. That’s a fun approach to becoming aware of different types, almost like a personality quiz.
I have a branding checklist for your new business. Identify your target market worksheet. That’s one of my favorites, and it’s one page with five questions. There are more on there, and I’m going to read them all, but that gives you a little sample and they’re all free. Those are things that I’ve created that I think are useful for people. I’ve liked printed them out before and said, here, go and do this, or emailed it to someone and said, here, go do this exercise.
And tell me what you discover, where we can… there’s always more to learn about ourselves and our business and those, I try to design to help people discover those little tidbits of gold that help them become self-aware of themselves, of their goals so that they can build a brand based on substance.
Build a brand based on substance. I think that really hits home because it’s that depth that creates the connection. It’s not just the surface level, and there’s more to it than just anything that you’re seeing.
Branding is not making something look pretty. It is not, branding is not. That is so the wrong way to approach it. People would try hard to create a beautiful brand, but a brand is not beautiful unless it’s based on substance.
Okay. So you said something earlier about the visuals being almost like a way to manifest this version of your business or brand. And when we were talking about this, the stock photography, I was even thinking of a lot of people who have had photography died, and it all looks the same.
Even if it’s not stock, you have a photographer, but a lot of photographers don’t know personal branding. And if you’re not, and maybe some people are, I mean, for a while, I was working in the corner of my living room. And so he may not have a place in your home that would make sense for you to be photographing and going to that studio with the white desk and the very bare. That can kind of block that substance maybe, or look very similar to other people. So where does this whole manifestation thing come in? And how do we add in that substance if maybe it’s hard to connect that?
Yep. So everything’s rooted and based on business goals, what is it you’re wanting to achieve? Who do you want to be a year from now? Five years from now? That’s a question that we ask when we’re doing a brand audit. And we make sure there’s a really good answer. And especially for the five-year visualization, we want a little bit of dreaming there. Let’s really hit the pedal. I don’t drive. What’s it called a speed pedal? What’s that thing called? That’s the one thing I don’t… Speed?
The gas pedal. That’s like go-carts at a theme park. Hit the speed pedal. Let’sreally dream of who you want to be in, who you want to become. So then when it comes to photography, I’ll give you a few examples. I agree.
There tends to be this “same-sy” look of a lot of brand photography right now. Headshots, and I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand everything looking the same. I don’t follow color psychology. I flip everything upside-down and I don’t follow any of that. I don’t follow any of the rules. Are we shocked, Jaclyn? No, we’re not, but I think of photography like this, we don’t want a portrait of you promoting yourself like a real estate agent does on a park bench. That’s so lame. Instead, what I want is if you were going to be in Vogue magazine tomorrow, what visuals would they use to tell the story about you? So I want you for client photoshoots. I want you to envision your own magazine spread.
This magazine is going to tell your story. They’re not just going to shoot your photo against a boring white background. They’re going to get you in your office with crumples of paper and stuff everywhere. If that’s true to you, they’re going to photograph you laughing. That’s going to be a part of your, that’s what I want. I want the story of you to be told through visuals.
And honestly, not to brag, but we are really good at this, and I have over 65 examples on my website of cohesive branding projects. And if anyone goes there and looks at the photography, the brand photography, we are really, really specific about how photography should look within a brand. I think there’s even a certain style that you’ll identify within my projects even though I work with photographers literally all over the world, literally 31 countries where we’ve had projects, so it’s kind of interesting, but I think that’s a good place to start.
I just wrote a blog post recently on props must-have props for your personal brand. Photoshoots and props are a great way to incorporate those storytelling moments. I want to see it in your photoshoot. I want to see that little post-it note you drew of the fund, see how we bookend this? Bring it all back.
I want to see that in your photoshoot because that little moment, that little piece of gold that we identify in the photo, it’s like a little treasure map, and I see it, and I said, oh cool. She’s fun. That’s important to her. And then there’s a whole story around that. I’m really big on props. And I give a lot of examples in that blog post.
What else? I think for photographers to hire, I often find those wedding photographers are the best because they work well under pressure. They work well with natural light. So when you’re searching for our photographer, do not, mark my words, do not hire a headshot photographer, hire someone with editorial experience. Personal branding is not even a keyword that I want you to look for, I want you to look for editorial lifestyle, wedding photographers. Those are the people. Those are the goal. That’s what you want to capture in your element.
And I completely second that. It’s not that I have any expertise in it, but I am lucky enough that my best friend in second grade who lives locally to me is one of the best in the world of being a lifestyle, editorial photographer for weddings. But she does my photos which is funny because I’ve always thought of that as being out of the box of, well, she’s not a personal branding or traditional, she typically does weddings and families, but I think that’s because she thinks like that, and she gets it in the natural lighting and the moments and, and all of that.
Your brand photography is fantastic.
Well, thank you. And I am overdue for photos, so you are inspiring me to get some updates where they’re ready for some updates. Oh, all right. I could clearly chat with you all day, but we have got to wrap up. This has been amazing. Thank you for sharing your brain with us. How can we stay in touch?
Sure. I mean, people are listening to your podcasts which means they like podcasts which means they could check out ours. In fact, we have a recent episode where we talk about podcasting, and about everything, affiliate marketing, et cetera. We learned so much from you. My colleague Lauren and I host a podcast called, Brand Therapy.
And we have fun with that. We launch a new episode every week. What else do we have? Well, philpallen.co is a good place to start. As I mentioned, I have over 65, soon-to-be 70 projects on there that I’ve done over the years, cohesive branding projects where you can see how we sum up personal brand in a sentence, brand photography, visuals, print, and web execution. There are so many great inspiring examples there. I think we have nine categories on our side from motivational speakers to food and beverage coaches and consultants, health and lifestyle, media, and entertainment. It’s really kind of fun to go in there and get some ideas. I also mentioned our freebie section philpallen.co/freebies.
I have over 12 freebies listed there. I have three courses, content mastery, Instagram mastery, and email mastery, my three kinds of favorite platforms for promoting personal brands. What else? I mean, that’s a lot to sink your teeth into. Well, on Instagram, I would say if people took the time to listen to this, then just say hello.
I’d love to hear from you. If you listen to this, and you learn something, then hop over to my DMs @philpallen on all social media platforms, including Instagram. That’s where you’ll find me.
Perfect. Amazing. Thank you so, so much.
Can I just say, thank you so much for listening? I don’t think I can say it enough, but I love that you are here.
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