Today we have the huge privilege of having Joe Escobedo, the Director of Digital Marketing at Happy Marketer and FutureMarketer. Joe is a true PR and brand expert who has created and led successful marketing and PR campaigns for everyone from startups to Fortune 500 firms. We are thrilled to have him on board.
In this feature, we revisit the definition of personal branding. Enjoy the interview!
WW: Hello Joe, thank you for accepting our interview! You are known as “the brand builder” in the industry. Can you tell us more about your story, and how this nickname/title came about?
Joe: Great question! I was working on my company’s creds deck and instead of generic titles like CEO, I wanted to give everyone nicknames that sounded like superheroes.
I came up with titles like “Digital Transformer” but when it came to me, I went blank.
A colleague peaking over my shoulder said, “How about the ‘Brand Builder’?” I thought, “Sure. Sounds good.”
I added the nickname to my LinkedIn profile and ever since countless people have either complimented me on the name or asked me for advice on building their personal and professional brands.
WW: How would you define personal branding?
Joe: Personal branding isn’t how you’d describe yourself, it’s how others would describe you (in a personal or business context.)
WW: What would you say are some of the key differences in product branding and personal branding?
Joe: There is no difference.
Both product branding and personal branding should tell a compelling story that the audience can relate to and articulate how you or your product can benefit your target audience.
WW: There are ways to measure ROIs of brands. What do you think are some of the practical ways to measure the ROI of personal branding?
Joe: This is a tough one! You shouldn’t start your personal branding efforts if you expect a specific ROI by a certain date.
Instead, you should focus on what you’re really good at and provide as much value as possible to others by sharing your expertise or experience with them.
I’ve been very fortunate that this approach has helped me land clients, secure top-notch speaking opportunities and write for some of the world’s most prestigious publications.
Is it easy? No.
Does it take time? Yes.
Is it worth it? Absolutely!
WW: We know that you are a great storyteller! What is the one tip for compelling storytelling you would give to entrepreneurs who are interested in personal branding?
Joe: I was lucky enough to present on a similar topic at Innovfest Unbound recently.
I told the audience that every good story should either educate or entertain. But the truly great and memorable stories are able to combine both.
By sharing your personal experience, i.e. the highs and the lows. And what you’ve learned, i.e. your practical tips for the audience. I try to incorporate those principles into every Forbes article I write.
I’ve also found that becoming a parent has made me a much better storyteller as I’m constantly sharing stories to entertain my daughter. One such story I told her, I later turned into a book on Amazon.
WW: “In today’s world, image is becoming more and more important than substance”. Would you agree with this statement, and why?
Joe: I’m a living testament to the contrary.
I’m not the best looking guy on the speaker’s circuit (far from it!).
I’m not the best writer (not even among my friends.)
What I try to do (and what people remember me for) is trying to wring out as much value or substance as possible and share it with others.
So remember, you may have the snazziest PowerPoint deck or a designer suit but after the shine wears off, the only thing people remember is whether or not you were able to help them.
WW: On a parting note, do you have anything else to add?
Joe: If you’re just building your brand, ask yourself “What do I want people to remember about me?” (Sounds tough, I know!)
Start with two or three words (like “The Brand Builder”) to simplify the process.
After that you can start planning all of the ways you can demonstrate this to them, i.e. publishing, speaking and so on.
Photo Credits: Joe Escobedo.