Ashley T Brundage on Building a Personal Brand: Unleashing the Power of Authenticity
Ashley T Brundage is the President & CEO of Empowering Differences and took some time out to speak with Rob Barratt from The Industry Leaders about the power and importance of building a personal brand.
Firstly, many people fear the words 'personal brand' as it means going public with your thoughts. I want to know if you have always found it easy to 'put yourself out there'?
I haven't always found it easy until about 14 years ago when I started living my life with authenticity. It wasn't really until I went to a networking event and then saw that there was no one from my social identity group present, that I realized I needed to be more vocal and out every day for who I am and what I do.
When it comes to building an authentic personal brand, what advice would you give professionals starting out?
You need to do your research on what is important to you. I created a 21 question empowerment self assessment ( https://empoweringdifferences.com/empowerment-assessment/ ) to aide in this process. This is why Step 1 in the Empowerment Process is Know Yourself. This will help you to find what is important to you, about you, and drive you to understand what impacts you want to make.
Do you think personal branding and reputation go hand in hand, and what can people do to maintain a positive reputation while brand-building?
Brand building is highly linked to reputation but that is not all of it, in our learning framework we recommend leveraging your influences when attempting to do this. In our current world with quick access to information you can ask people lots of questions in a short period of time. We recommend to execute research like a 360 review panel to gain insights on what people think of your brand.
Can you share a success story of how you or someone you follow used their personal brand to build business or career?
I personally built an entire brand on empowerment while working in an industry that has a not very good past in relation to empowerment of people. I was able to do this by being true to myself and leveraging research and data to measure empowerment of people.
Which platforms do you find most effective for establishing thought leadership and growing professional presence?
I think every platform has its own merit and audience worth connecting with in some relevant way. I have been enjoying having a podcast that launched earlier this year and now I am able to work with branding partners on that platform. My favorite social media site that has the most followers and connections in LinkedIn, I also have contributed to LinkedIn News. The best way that I have connected to grow my brand has been volunteering for non profit organizations through the years. These types of organizations give you a chance to really show what is important to your brand and allow your potential clients to see your passion.
How do you ensure your personal brand stays true to who you are and your evolving goals?
I think you have to look at this each and every month. People who are enrolled in our leadership course are prompted to revaluate their 10 differences in relation to empowerment or disempowerment each month. This rating scale connects to our research on which leadership actions you should be doing to impact change and it allows you to be recognize that most things are ever changing.
What are some practical strategies or tactics professionals can use to expand their network and build meaningful connections?
Leverage LinkedIn! Even just the free version allows you to connect with 400 people every month and then invite 4000 people every month as well to anything you have coming up in the future.
Along your personal branding journey, have you encountered any common obstacles that readers of this interview should be aware of?
YES! The harassment, discrimination, and homelessness that I faced when attempting to find work at the beginning of my search for my second career. Everyone should know that we are all different as humans on this planet and it is up to us on how we frame negative items that may happen along our journey.
Imagine you have a time machine that can transport you to the future. What impact do you envision your personal brand having on the world?
I would be looking forward to a world where so many more people understand empowerment foundationally better and that people are leveraging my technology assessment to measure how they feel about empowerment.
Close your eyes and imagine you're a bestselling author. What captivating book would you write to share your personal brand journey and insights?
I sold over 25k copies of Empowering Differences in a little more than a year from self publishing! I highly recommend you check out the book and the 4 Empowerment Steps that we can do to leverage our differences to impact change.