In your speeches you always claim that the best investment is in yourself. Could you please elaborate on that?
We live in uncertain times – that is the simple truth. The evolution of technology together with globalization has greatly impacted how we perceive our job and status in our current society. Living in the digital era is like nothing human beings have done before. Everything is changing rapidly around us and all of us must co-create our future in order to not only survive but thrive in these uncertain times. When uncertainty strikes, it is only the creative and adaptable people who will survive. These people will know to invest in themselves (in their education and in their image) and will be eager to work closely with technology. The futurist Thomas Frey predicted that 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 and freelancing will be the most profitable profession in the world. And our children will be technologically native to the point that they will not know how to survive without the internet. In such a context it is only natural that the ideas of the businesses of the future to receive a lot of heat. But the truth is, no matter how many people will like to call themselves futurist prophets, most have no idea what the future holds. Thus, your best asset is you and your best investment is in yourself.
Karina, you are a Brand Master. What does a personal brand represent for you?
Andy Warhol predicted correctly that in the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame. Andy's “future” is our “now”. And with the help of the internet, we can now (if we know how to) sell our products and services and share our message with anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. Did it seem to you that investing in yourselves, brand and image is too big investment? You think you cannot afford it? You cannot afford not having it. Because not having a well crafted online presence is equivalent of being “dead”. You cannot expect to market and promote as you did 7 years ago and wonder why it is not working. And the business of the future is called personal branding. A personal brand is an ensemble of elements (logo, motto, graphic elements, storyline, image and so on) well crafted in order to create a perception in the mind of your target customer with the intention of selling your products and services and becoming a status symbol.
Why would anyone need a personal brand?
Because people buy people. Just think about it. People buy products and services from someone they like and whom they trust. If Doctor Oz would suddenly move to your neighborhood, everybody will have an appointment. Why? Because people know him and feel that they can trust him. That is the power of a well constructed brand.
Because people do not know what you do until you tell them. Doctors for example, have no shame in showcasing their title in front of their name every time they have the chance. Why should not you do it if you are really good at something?
Because you have a brand even if you do not know it. It might not be a well crafted brand but it is there. Because as you form an opinion about with whom you interact with in real life, so do people form an opinion about you when they interact with your website (or lack of a website) or with any picture of any cousin or any interesting meal you post.
Creating your image as a celebrity expert in your field is crucial if you want to have a secure position as a professional in the future, because a secure image is something no company, no robot, no competitor can take away. And if you construct this brand well enough whether you are a coach, a consultant, entrepreneur, business person, writer, nutritionist, artist, singer or even a manager or a freelancer, you will reach a wider audience, you will be paid more than someone without a well constructed image. Being the CEO and Brand Master at KO by Karina Ochis, the next generation branding and marketing agency, as well as a best-selling author for the book „Cracking the Code to Success”, co-authored with Bryan Tracy (Chairman of Bryan Tracy International and world – renowned development authority), in which I elaborate my formula on elite branding, I dedicated my life to studying these subjects and the people who became celebrity experts in their field.
Can you tell us a few tips and tricks that anyone can implement in their personal branding strategy?
1. Be authentic but do not over share
Telling your story and highlighting the struggles you overtake is one thing and constantly exposing your misfortune is another thing. It can take 20 years to build a reputation and only one wrong photo to ruin it. It can be easy in the internet age to get carried away by the moment to post something that seems like it benefits you short term, and in the long term would be completely disastrous. In my case, I would have gained a much bigger audience quicker, if I would have posted humoristic videos. But because I am a professional who builds a long lasting career and thinks about the long term consequences of the implications of my decisions, I will not do so.
2. Fact sells but story tells
In writing your story you need to be authentic, consistent and keep the story grounded in facts. Sure, you can write your story in a manner to best showcase your abilities, your philosophies and your achievements. However, the internet world is very transparent. Thus writing a fallacy will always be in your detriment for the long run.
3. Have a brand book
A brand book comprises Brand Consultation, Brand Strategy and Visual Identity Handbook. Whatever the situation, you and your team should be able to refer to this brand book at any time to have a clear framework for your brand design and its implementation.
4. Do not have a static website?
When having a website became a trend, individuals as well as companies, had a tendency towards creating a website, uploading it on the internet and leaving it there. But merely having a website on the internet does not guarantee that you will sell more products and services, nor than people will know more about you. You grow as your business grows and implicitly, your website needs to grow together with you. A website is not something of a static nature that you upload once and then just leave it on the internet. It is your main branding and marketing vehicle and you have to upload it constantly with news, information, as well as with expert advice and your expert opinion on your field. Depending on your brand and on your field of activity you should post either every week or on a monthly basis. When you share your opinions and advices on a topic with your audience, when you are naturally perceived as the expert of your domain, and when you give actual real life advice to individuals, they will be more likely to contact you rather than your competition. For example on my blog, I regularly write about branding, entrepreneurship, leadership and lifestyle design, since I am both a coach and a speaker in these subjects.
How should one communicate their personal brand on social media?
You do not behave in the same manner at a football game as you do at the opera. In consequence you should not communicate on Facebook in the same manner you would communicate on Twitter. Every social media platform has its own style of communication and its own framework in which you have to share your story. It is up to each personal brand to figure out how to communicate with their target audience on each platform. Instagram for example is appropriate for showcasing a more personal side of yourself, in contrast to LinkedIn where you want to focus on your CV and on your professional activities. Facebook should play the role of “you” newspaper, where you aggregate all the main information about you: what you stand for, what your mission is, as well as your latest news. You need to familiarize yourself with the language and abbreviation of every platform, because you cannot speak in an impropriate manner on a platform and expect great results.
What is trending right now when it comes to personal branding?
Documenting is the new marketing. When you build an authentic brand, one that is true to you and to who you are, you can be transparent with your journey. The time of overly creating content is slowly and gradually fading away. Personal branding and marketing is going to be all about documenting your journey and your professional activities.
What do you wish everyone would know about personal branding before they start the branding process?
Firstly, DIY is not always the best option. Not all personal brands are created equal. I am always baffled by how people are willing to invest enormous amounts of money on universities, but when is time to pay for a logo that represents themselves, they try to find the cheapest option. Remember - your brand book, logo and your brand pictures, reflect who you are in the digital world. If you think about it, your website is like your office and your social media is like your car. Sure, there are things you can do yourself and there are things that you should not try to do yourself. That is why, when you build a house, you call an architect.
Secondly, your time will come. Strong personal brands are built in time. Don’t expect to be an overnight success. You need to build a strong foundation that you can easily expand. If you are good enough, your time to shine will come. When they invented the saying “Everyone is replaceable”, they clearly did not count people with a strong brand. Because when you have a strong brand, you become irreplaceable.
About Karina Ochis
Karina Ochis is the CEO and Brand Master at KO by Karina Ochis (next generation branding company), founder of Ana Karina Luxury Concept (company dedicated to the implementation of the businesses of the future), Best Selling Author (for the book she co-wrote with Brian Tracy, „Cracking the Code to Success”), International Speaker, Life and Brand Coach (accredited by Tony Robbins) and host of the YouTube shows Branding Biz. Club and Weekly K.
Find Karina on:
Karina’s Website: www.karinaochis.com
Karina’s company website: www.kobykarinaochis.com
Branding Biz. Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIZHYyS9CwE