Jamila is a personal branding strategist and coach from Trinidad and Tobago. She works with entrepreneurs who want to market their businesses by leading from the front with thought leadership and personal branding. She focuses on helping people create strong personal brands by improving three big C's. They are shifting mindsets and creating a strategy so they can be more confident about their next move.
I'm curious about your three big C's, can you talk about that a bit?
So my three big C's in terms of personal branding. It's confidence, content, and communication. The reason I narrowed down to these three C's is that personal branding, first of all, is so broad. I find it important to focus on these three areas because the people I work with tend to lack these three things the most. So the first thing is people feeling more confident to declare themselves as the expert that they are. So they may be doing their thing, they may have been serving their clients or selling or whatever the case may be. But now they've gone to a space where they have to be a lot more open and out there with that message. So it's helping them do the things prepare themselves in such a way so that they can actually be more confident about stepping out into the market and owning their position. The second thing is having people being smarter with content, and leveraging the things that they would have learned already foresee, which would include more strategic thoughts and direction, etc. to inform the content that they're putting out there so that they can use it to position themselves as the expert, like the goto person in the industry. The third is helping people become better communicators. So if you don't understand things like inbox etiquette, you know, how do you actually engage people with direct messaging in a way that is not creepy or gross? How to look for potential partners because of course, with personal branding, a huge part of that is networking and expanding your work or your quote-unquote Rolodex. But expanding that as much as possible, not just with people who you can sell to, but people with who you can partner with. So I help people and I also help them leverage media to be able to get themselves onto shows like this. So podcasts and web shows on any other form of media. The main thing is to be able to increase their credibility and put them in a position to be seen as the go-to person in their field so they can own a space and own that position in the market.
Do you think branding is more valuable now than it was 20 years ago before social media?
Yes, I think it is more valuable. I think it's just as valuable as it used to be, but I just think that more people are catching on though I do recognize that. Technology has in a sense flattened the media landscape. So before where there were like a lot of gatekeepers to be the ones to decide who would get on TV, who would get coverage in a newspaper or in a magazine or get on a radio show. Now we don't have to rely on media anymore to give us a chance we can't actually create our own space. So it has now become more imperative for individuals or people or companies to know who they are and how they stand out in the market. It's no longer enough to rely on just word of mouth because you're dealing with so many amazing people who are now coming out onto the market and stepping into this space. Even if you are great where you are, being where you are only is not enough. So recognizing the need for branding and personal branding has become supercritical in our very flattened media landscape.
What type of person is typically more successful at using personal branding as a marketing strategy for their business?
So the type of person who is committed to the cause, the type of person who is ready to step off into the audience and understand the power of influence, so they believe, and they understand the power of already engaging people and they know the power of relationships. So there are some people who may be less inclined to do things like that, and they're more quick kind of want to be in and out, or there are some people who may be more of the introverted type and they may not necessarily want to leverage something like personal branding in the traditional way. But the person who would really enjoy this type of marketing, because I don't want anybody to necessarily do something that they don't like, right. So the person who would enjoy it is somebody who understands the power of influence, somebody who is ready to step out and find somebody who is about service because this type of marketing strategy really is rooted in you understanding the need to serve others first, and then being able to reap the benefits of it on your business. Second, so you're ready, but they have to put in your time. It's almost like you're planting seeds and we're given that those seeds time to mature into trees, and then they give you the fruit. So those are the type of people who would really benefit from that. You've got to be willing to put in the work, you've got to be willing to serve first, you have to be willing to go out there and meet people and you really must understand the power of influence and how it can actually create momentum and a very long-standing and solid foundation for your brand.
Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking stories or experiences that you've had?
I think some of my favorites definitely are the ones prior to COVID when I would actually go out and leave my house. Those things tend to make conversations a lot more easily because people would have met me, or they would have come across my content somewhere maybe on social media or maybe on the TV. One of the things that happened recently is last year, I wrote a book, and one of the local newspapers here did a story on me and I was on the cover of the magazine. They used my picture, or the cover the issue I was on to advertise for the newspaper. Every time at a certain time of day, they would run this particular ad. I didn't have a TV at the time so I never actually saw the ad. Then I would go to places and people look at me like "You were in this ad!" and I would be like, "What are these people talking about?" This guy actually messaged me on LinkedIn and he said, "I felt I had a divine moment," I was like, "What do you mean?" And he said, "Well, I saw your picture come up on LinkedIn, and other suggested contact and I thought you looked interesting so I added you and then I go and sit in for my TV and I see you on my TV and same exact dress and I felt like it was a divine sign from above to add and talk to you on LinkedIn." So I wound up agreeing to talk and so that's actually one of my favorite stories.
How do you best nurture these relationships that you've created?
Most of my nurturing kind of happens online now. Before I when I go to events where people would be so practical. We had LinkedIn Local which was very active here in Trinidad and Tobago. But now that we are basically digital, I mentioned, I engage with people's content online, I reach out every so often and send them private messages. Just like if I have friends, or if I have close contact, I would definitely reach out to them from time to time. For those I really want to be able to engage with I might send them a personalized email, maybe give them a call, or send them a WhatsApp message, or I definitely like to send voice notes as well. So I think it's important to personalize messages and to connect with people from time to time to let them know that you remember them, particularly if you see that they have achieved something significant. So we have these congratulatory notes that you could actually send the people when they would have gotten a promotion and so on. But instead of sending a generic note, I will actually call them or I will send them a personalized video congratulating them or something like that. That tends to be almost like a surprise to them so that's when I keep my relationships alive. I also partner with people as much as possible for them to create different pieces of content.
What advice would you have for that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?
I'd say be open-minded. Be open to meeting people from all walks of life as you will meet people from all walks of life. I'd also say to be proactive. Don't wait for somebody to reach out to you or think that your content may be quote-unquote selling itself or speaking for itself. Your job is always to take the bull by the horns, and be proactive in seeking out people. So every day making sure to do something to engage with new people and show up in a personable way. Don't try to shortcut the process. Don't try to automate things. Please don't try to automate relationships, it doesn't work like that. Put in the effort, be proactive and I guarantee you you have seen the fruits of your labor come before you.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your personal career?
I'd tell myself to manage your money better so that you can do more things in the future. You don't have to buy every new pair of shoes you see. I'd tell myself in terms of my personal brand, just be more proud and be more brave. I think I tell myself that too because I think in our 20s a lot of us second guess ourselves. I would say be more brave and, pursue more opportunities. Talk to people that you want to talk to, don't assume that they may not want to speak to you or don't assume that it may be an unpleasant experience. Be less afraid and be more brave and score your opportunities.
So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
There's a guy called Paul Carrack Brunson who was somebody who worked with Oprah. I really love her style of content, I love the things that he advocates for. I know he's not very far away in terms of degrees of separation, but I don't know what it is. I probably need to be more aggressive and take my own advice to be more brave in order to connect with him.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I'd say as I said before, just be proactive and take it one day at a time. Plant your seeds, allow them to bear fruit, don't be that person who's constantly staring at the dirt, hoping that some sort of food comes out. Other than that, look for ways and if you can come up with new ways to establish a relationship because after all, it is about building relationships. Everything wouldn't start in the same way, but the better you are at initiating that contact, and the more times you do it, the better you become, the more you'd find that your network expands and you'll be connected with people who are not just valuable from the point of view, who can buy from you but really good people who are just great people to know and potentially partner with and you may even find yourself with a few new friends as well. So I'd say go for it, just keep at it and you'll definitely see the fruits of your labor!
Connect with Jamila
Jamila’s website: https://jbannisterbranding.com/