Episode 22 – David McNally | Building a personal brand
In this episode, David McNally, author of the “Be Your Own Brand”, discusses how we can distinguish and make our own branding that can influence our own reputations. He also involved the discussion of how to establish success and the workarounds of being successful.
Ravi (Host): Hi, this is Ravi Guadlapali, founder and CEO of Mentorcloud. I’m honored to have Mr. David McNally with me, author of the “Be Your Own Brand”, “Even Eagles Need a Push”, and the “Mark of an Eagle” and much more. David, welcome to our podcast, spontaneous conversations.
David McNally (Guest): Thank you, Ravi. Thank you.
Ravi (Host): So, David, you mentioned the brand, quite a bit. So let’s use that as the as a point of conversation. What does brand mean to you? I mean, why did you write a book about building your brand?
David McNally (Guest): Well, brand is a perception that others have of a product or service. So people think a brand is a logo, often they think it’s the name of the product. But, when you’re talking about being branded, is how people see you, or how they see that product or service or how they see that company. So if you have a strong brand, then people have a highly positive experience with the company. If they if you have a strong personal brand, for example, a lot of the work that we do, it means that you have a strong reputation and that people have a very high opinion of you. So that’s what a brand is, to us. It’s not your logo is not anything artificial is very genuine and authentic.
Ravi (Host): Fantastic. I think two words that stuck with me, is the experience when it comes to product is not the logo. And it’s not your resume, but your reputation
David McNally (Guest): It’s exactly right.
Ravi (Host): Beautiful experience or reputation. You mentioned something at an individual level. How does the brand mean? I mean, what does an individual’s brand? How do how would somebody build a brand? Is it a conscious process? Or is it an unconscious process?
David McNally (Guest): Well, it can be both, right? It’s better if it’s conscious, you avoid making a lot of mistakes. And there’s a tremendous amount of intelligence around right now about how companies build strong brands. And I think it would be delightful if people and companies realized that you can go about this in a very structured way to build the brand that you envision. And, when you think about brands, and why it’s important to build a brand, a strong brand is it’s about customer loyalty. It’s about having customers coming back time and time again. The measurement of how successful you are as a company is the strength of your brand. Are people coming back? Because of the experience that they’ve had? Or are they now seeking to go somewhere else and do business within another company? I believe the statistics are the data suggests that it costs you six times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain a one that you have. So why would you not be consistently working towards having that customer come back time and time again?
Ravi (Host): Hmm, that’s an interesting fact. So companies should focus on the customers they have, and sort of, you know, reiterate and sort of, you know, rebuild that brand that they already have or use the connection that they have, because it’s expensive to go find a new customer.
David McNally (Guest): Well think about it this way, Ravi, if you don’t have a customer, you don’t have a company. People forget that. You know, we’ll talk about that, you know, some people think that the purpose of a business is to make a profit. No, that’s the goal of the business. That’s the objective of business, it may be why the entrepreneur went into business because they wanted to be financially successful. But the only way they can be successful, ironically, is by serving others, by contributing in a way that helps a person get what they want. So businesses all about solving problems meeting needs. And when you take your eye off of that bowl, you’re going to find that your companies are going to start to go backward. But all the great companies, the ones that sustained customers over and over again, and sustained profits and increase profits are the companies that are focused number one on the customer. And all of the decisions they make are based around that customer experience.
Ravi (Host): Extremely well said, I want to go back to this individual personal brand. So how does the person because people don’t think of an individual brand unless you’re an author or a keynote speaker. But hearing you speak, every employee of a company is almost like they’re carrying the brand of themselves, as well as the brand of their company. So tell me more about the brand of themselves? How would they build something like that?
David McNally (Guest): Well, we all have a brand, you know, some people have a resistance to the word brand. But we always we all have been branding at branding. In other words, people have a perception of us, they have judged us in some way. And I don’t mean negatively judging us. But they say, You know what? A friend of mine says she can work, walk through her office, and she can look at people and she can say you make my life easy, you make my life difficult. So it’s interesting, so. So understanding personal brand is to understand that people have made decisions about us. And those decisions affect our career. And therefore, if we want to build a strong brand, how do we go about that? Well, number one, is you have to understand that people cannot see inside of us. Right? They cannot see our intention, you said something like,
Ravi (Host): They only see what we do.
David McNally (Guest): Exactly. So we could be very well-intentioned people, but they see our actions. So what actions on a day to day basis, really determine whether we’ve got a strong brand or a weak brand. Right. And those actions can be clarified in my book to “Be Your Own Brand”. We talked about that. And, and that’s about, First of all, you know, do you live according to your values, that’s being distinctive, right, having clear values and living those values, right? The second one is being relevant. People care about you interact with you want to be with you do business with you, when what you who you are, and what you do is relevant to them, right, you make their life in some way better, right. And the third characteristic that is so important is being consistent, that you are a consistent person that the person who shows up every day is the person they want to interact with. And, and that’s the so if you look at that on an individual basis, then you understand that we got those characteristics, also from how the company builds strong brands. So if you have a favorite restaurant, you go to, you know, you go there, because the consistency of the food, and the consistency of the of this customer service, or the consistency of the environment, you go in there, and you go back because you love that and you fall in love with that. So it’s it takes you from people liking your brand, to loving your brand. And I’ll give you a classic example in our brand. A leader, senior executive of company we do deal with, whenever he has been transferred through the company. People are heartbroken because I love him so much. He’s such a great leader, he gets exceptional performance from these people. But they know he cares about them deeply. So that’s someone who has a strong personal brand.
Ravi (Host): That’s amazing. And so it is basically what you do, how do you live by your values and how consistent you are? in everything you do. And everything you say sort of builds the perception of who you are, which is pretty much your brand. Like I said,
David McNally (Guest): Well, every day, Ravi, we’re making impressions, right? You know, we’re making any impressions, our actions, make impressions. You know, after a while all of those impressions build-ups, and the result of all those impressions are your brand. So you’ve got the intention that you make, transfer them into action, intense action that that goes to impression the action makes an impression. And the total of the impressions is the brand, your brand or your corporate brand.
Ravi (Host): That’s amazing, you know, Today’s the first time probably I mean, outside of, you know, authors and keynote speakers, the importance of an individual brand, for the individual himself or herself to advance in their carrier. And the importance of that individual actions. And it’s how it’s connected to the company’s brand is just unbelievable, I only heard brand means no, like, your logo, your colors, your taglines, your, you know, like Coca Cola, for example. They are a great brand. But their brand doesn’t come just from the logo or the coke, I’m sure that is a lot more behind that
David McNally (Guest): Was all strong corporate brands, were built by people with strong personal brands. Right, the two go together, there’s that you cannot differentiate them. So if you have a great company, with strong leadership, those leaders have strong personal brands. In other words, when you look at it, yeah, a leader is defined by does he or she have followers? Right? And so if you’re looking at why is your leadership brand, for example, important? It is because you have to ask yourself, “Why would people want to follow me?”, “What is it about me that people would say?”, I’m behind this person, I’m committed to the vision that he or she has for our department, our company, whatever it might be because that person acts in a way that I, that I feel is very important. And I connect with those persons. In other words, relevant to me, that’s a very relevant leader to me.
Ravi (Host): That’s, that’s amazing. In fact, this, you know, teaching people how to be conscious of their brand, the you should teach them to early college graduates, you know, the fact that they have to be consistent, the fact that they have to, you know, sort of, you know, live by certain values, and the experience that they give to other people is pretty much their brand. It’s not the code that they write, it’s not that or the work that they do. But these are all the softer side of who they are.
David McNally (Guest): And you’re in the kind of technology industry, Ravi. So it’s pretty hard to do anything with hardware without the right software.
Ravi (Host): So the human being is the hardware, the software is how what you do.
David McNally (Guest): What drives this is, is absolutely what that is, and the younger people understand the impact of their actions, and the impressions that they’re making, and how that determines what career success. Because of the bottom line, so much, unless you’re, if you’re a genius, I mean, a truly a genius. And therefore, you don’t have to interact with other people. You, you need to have strong relationships, right? relationships determine success so often, right? So if you can build strong relationships, and that doesn’t mean that you have to be an extrovert, right? Or a big conversationalist, but because of who you are, people have a very high opinion of you, then you go far. And that’s why a personal brand is critical today.
Ravi (Host): Absolutely. I think that was an extremely out, say, in brilliant insights that you have shared in this conversation that we spontaneously recorded. And other key points that I don’t want to sort of miss reiterating, is how every employee brand that, by the way, you described is so strongly tied to the company’s brand also.
David McNally (Guest): While it is the employee who is building the brand. So, you know, if you, if you think of what it takes for a company to develop a brand, they, they need to have, of course, a good product or great product, they need to have it priced. Well, they need to have it in a place where people can access it, whether that’s being a store or on the internet, right, and they need to promote well, but when you put all of those four things together, all of that is meticulously planned, when you as a potential customer interact with an employee of that company, and that interaction is negative, or at least not as living up to the promises that that company has made to you, it absolutely diminishes the impact of all the work that has been done before. So having your employees believe in the brand, you know, understand the brand, understanding their impact, and that they are the ambassador of the brand is so important.
Ravi (Host): And is that what you teach companies, because I see companies doing the first four extremely well, but they got the logo, correct the products correctly, rightly priced, they are sort of rightly placed, but you are introducing a fifth element almost, is making sure this knowledge is also sort of in a lived and experienced and sort of delivered, even by your frontline employees. So is this something that you or your team are sorts of teachers, companies?
David McNally (Guest): Exactly. I mean, first of all, it is probably the biggest omission, if you like when a company develops a brand strategy is that a mission is where they do not drive it through all of the employees, we see that time and time again, millions of dollars spent on a brand strategy. And then all of that work is not understood by the employee and then implemented by the employee. So our goal is to help a company take the brand strategy, right and then to the curriculum. And the work that we do is then help the employee understand why they deliver the brand, why they deliver on the promises. But at the same time, we call it our secret sauce, if you like is the fact that we help employees understand that their commitment to delivering on the brand helps their brand. So because they get to stand out, and they get to be talked about when they are really very committed and provide exceptional customer service, there is a very important piece of this equation, or if I can tell you, Ravi, it is the fact that that it is the leaders, first of all, and this is a lot of the work we do in creating the kind of culture that makes that possible. So if you look at a person who is a fabulous brand ambassador, you’ll find out two things. Number one, and they believe in their product or service, I believe they believe it’s a fantastic product or service. But secondly, they believe in a company, they believe in a company. And the reason they believe in their company is that their company believes in them. And as usual thing and so the actions of the leaders, the actions of them, creating environments, creating, nurturing their employees, nourishing their employees, inspiring, empowering all of these components, tremendously important in that culture, that then you have the employee who then says, yes, you know, I understand what my role is. And I am going to implement that role to the best of my ability.
Ravi (Host): I mean, you’re I think most companies probably think that a CEO or a CMO can deliver a talk. And everybody understands that, and boom, it goes. But what you’re saying is it’s not as simple as that it has to be implemented very deliberately, the employees have to be educated on why these elements represent our brand. And I’m so glad you are teaching cause a lot of companies, at least companies that want their brand to be sort of, you know, lived and breathed by every one of their employees. Yeah.
David McNally (Guest): As human beings, no matter what goes on, and when we’re asked to do something or asked to commit ourselves, right. So commitment again, going back is a function of belief. We don’t commit ourselves to that, which we don’t believe in, right. So when I am asked to commit myself to something, we have a human natural question. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for me? Yeah. So it’s a natural thing? And that question deserves to be answered. And so when you can answer that question for the employee, right, you know, whether that’s through some form of compensation, which is not the best motivator in the world is a good motivator. But there are a lot of other things that that motivate and inspire people. But when you can help them understand that, that they as a human being, will enjoy their work more. They’ll show up looking forward to going to work right then and then they will be noticed and observed. And their reputation is being built. So their career is enhanced and the possibilities for their future. But you must answer the question. What’s in it for me?
Ravi (Host): Very, very important. David, that was a fantastic and very insightful conversation. How can people learn more about you and your company and your books?
David McNally (Guest): Yes. Well, thank you. That’s two things. 800-228-1218, and transformcorp.com
Ravi (Host): TransformCorp.com. And you are David McNally, author of “Be your own Brand”, “Even Eagles Need a Push”, and also your latest book is “Mark of an ego”, as I know truly blessed to be featured in the book. David, thank you so much. And thank you all to our listeners. This is another episode of spontaneous conversations with Mr. David McNally here in the beautiful Minneapolis. Thank you all for listening. Stay tuned for the next episode.
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