Episode 090 : Corporate and Personal Branding Strategies 101 with Naomi Garrick

Naomi Garrick is an author, International Speaker and Personal Branding Coach that helps individuals, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and CEO’s to discover and develop their unique personal brand in order to effectively communicate their expertise and standout in their craft or industry.

She is also the founder of Garrick Communications – a boutique PR agency and a Certified Reputation Champion by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) with over 16 years of experience in Public Relations & Marketing, working with over 100 brands and individuals and Co-Founder of EMERGE personal development summit and workshops.

Naomi is passionate about helping people to see the greatness that sometimes they cannot see within themselves by helping individuals to identify or re-invent their unique personal brand in order to stand out in a noisy world.

Questions

  • Could you share with us a little bit about your journey, how it is that you got to where you are today?
  • What are maybe two or three things that you think a company can do to ensure that they maintain a strong brand especially in this time that we’re operating in?
  • In a case where let us say the story got ahead of you and you were not able to do any damage control, what are some of the things that you think an organization should do in order to recover their reputation? Because one of your R’s in your book is reputation. So how would you told you manage that reputation if you realize that it’s becoming tarnished and people are saying negative things?
  • Can you tell us how do you stay motivated everyday?
  • Could you share with us one online resource, tool, website or app that you absolutely cannot live without in your business?
  • Could you share with us maybe two or three books that have had the biggest impact on you?
  • What’s one thing that’s going on in your life right now that you’re really excited about – either something that you’re working on to develop yourself or your people?
  • Where can our listeners find you online?
  • What is one quote or saying that during times of adversity or stress or any form of obstacle that you maybe faced with, you tend to draw on this quote or saying because it kind of helps to keep you refocused or get you refocus so that you can achieve your goal or get your mind set to on what you need to achieve?

Highlights

Naomi’s Journey

You are the P.R. chief, personal branding coach, so many different titles and themes that go according to your name. Can you share with us a little bit about that? And then we’ll dive right into how we can dovetail locked into customer experience.

Naomi shared that it’s funny because a lot of people now know her as the PR chick, but she wasn’t always known as the PR chick, she actually studied Hotel and Tourism Management because she thought at the time that that’s what she really wanted to do.

And that’s also because at that age where you’re deciding what you want to do in University, she wasn’t quite sure. But her best friend was studying Tourism, she was going to study Tourism Management and people said that she (Naomi) had the personality for the hospitality industry, and that’s why she jumped into that space. But even after completing for year 3, she always ended up working in the marketing or sales side of the hospitality industry, but after being in that space for about two and a half years, she realized a couple of things about herself. One, she really missed being around her family. Two, working in the hospitality industry is really a 24-hour industry, especially if you live on property at the hotel, which she did in Negril.

And so, she came back to Kingston not really quite sure what she wanted to do next. And luckily, she had the opportunity to meet with a gentleman in Jamaica Kimani Robinson, who had just launched RETV, which was Reggae Entertainment Television, which was really like the B.E.T. of the Caribbean, she would say, or MTV.

And after speaking with her, he offered her an opportunity to be a Sales and Marketing Coordinator, which then led to Sales and Marketing Manager for almost 5 years. And it was during that stint with the company, someone else had approached her about doing some publicity work for an upcoming dancehall artist. And she was a little bit confused at the fact that he would ask her to do that because she really didn’t do a lot of PR for RETV, it was more of the marketing and sales side.

But he was so convinced that she was the person for this role. And so she said, “Okay, I’ll try.” And she remembered walking to the nearest bookstore and getting all the books that she could find about being a publicist, and public relations, because she knew some of the basics but she really didn’t know that much about the space.

And she realized when she started and she did her first press release, that because relationships is such a big driving force for her, she had really built these amazing relationships with the people behind the scenes, like the key decision makers in the media, the editors, the directors, the producers, the writers, the people that actually determine what we see, hear and read in the media.

And they saw her as a very credible source of information, and she had really good writing skills. She actually thinks that if she didn’t study hospitality, she would have become a literature teacher.

And so, that’s where she started doing PR work really for entertainers, the artists, upcoming artists, established artists. And she did that for a period of maybe about a year and a half while she was still at RETV. And then she became pregnant with her son in 2005. And at that point, it’s like her brain does this shift. And she was just like, “I actually don’t think this is the right space for me right now,” because being in the entertainment space, it required being out a lot at different types of events, at different types of hours, in the morning and in the night.

And she still went back to that original thought of wanting stability and flexibility to spend real quality time with her family and being in that position, she wouldn’t be able to do that. And so, again, she started trying to figure out what’s next for her.

And even doing the PR work was great, but working with entertainers would put her in that space of entertainment, which wasn’t very stable for her at the time. And so another opportunity came up where a new hotel was opening in Kingston, a boutique hotel.

And as much as she thought she didn’t want to go back into hospitality, there was an opportunity for the role of Corporate Communications Manager. And she didn’t have corporate communications experience, but she had hospitality experience and she had PR and media experience. And so, she went ahead and she did the interview and she got the interview on the spot. But very quickly, after about three months, again, she realized that hospitality really is not for her.

She actually really loves this PR thing, especially because now, she had the opportunity to work in the lifestyle side of PR, which she really, really loves.

And so, she made a very hard decision to just start her own company, Garrick Communications and to just go headfirst into entrepreneurship without the savings, without a plan, really. But she knew that she didn’t want to work for anyone ever again. And so, she started her company really with just her, her BlackBerry, a camera and a laptop, no office.

And luckily, again, because of relationships, one of the media houses in Jamaica heard that she had started this journey on her own and offered to do a feature or story about her, which ended up being the cover story for that publication and that’s what led to her first client. They celebrated their 10th anniversary last year and they’ve never advertised their business. It has really just been through referrals, recommendations. And of course, their results as well and relationships, which is as she said before, is a massive driving force.

Three years ago, she started this new journey into personal branding and personal brand coaching, and that came out of being a part of an accelerator program for entrepreneurs. And one of the things that their coach had suggested was finding a way to make this nocturnal revenue or revenue in your sleep by putting in the effort one time. And the example she gave was a book.

She first start writing about PR and PR storytelling, but it just wasn’t grabbing her and she couldn’t get past chapter one, and then literally, she remembers watching something about using your experience and your skills to offer value and to serve others.

And she woke up the following morning like at about 3:00 am and she just had this idea that she had to write about personal branding, which is her personal journey to this point, because even without the degree, it was the other skill set or the other not so tangible things that really helped to propel her career over the last 15 to17 years.

And so, she just started thinking about some of the steps that she took and she created a workbook. And now 3 years after that, she has 3 books, she’s a speaker, she’s a coach, she does workshops. She just launched an online course and she’s really stepping into this role of personal branding coach because as much as she loves PR and she loves her agents and she loves her clients, she gets so much fulfillment from what she does right now by really helping individuals to see the greatness within themselves that sometimes they just don’t see and then how best to communicate it to their ideal audience.

Me: Awesome. Brilliant. So really, really an amazing, a fantastic journey. And you touched on something that basically dovetails into what we’re all about in this program. And it was actually highlighted in a webinar that I did this morning with some customer service experts globally. One of the things one of the speakers said was people who are hired for social channels must have certain skill sets that may not have existed before. And you touched them both.

They must be good writers and they must have public relation training. They are the voice of the company. So writing and PR training and I mean, you said it. You said it not in the template of a training that you would have gone to or something you learned in school. But basically because these are skills that you would have had naturally, as well as develop through the different experiences that you had that now materialized into a way that you can give back and help others.

Me: Branding is a great buzzword. I see it on the internet all the time. And you can look at branding from different aspects. You have a corporate brand and you have personal brand. Now, a client’s experience with a brand is very, very important. And it can make or break your business. We’ve seen a lot of negative news floating around recently, both locally and internationally when companies are not responsive, when they delete comments off of their social media pages, when they don’t try to do things in a way that helps to enhance the customer’s experience.

Three Things Companies | Brands Need to Do to Ensure a Fantastic Customer Experience

So could you give us maybe two or three things that companies need to be doing if they’re not doing it already?

Naomi shared that the first thing she would say is that “Every single member or employee of a company is actually the brand manager for that company.”

“Every single person plays a role because every contact point that we have with a member of an organization or a company or a brand, can actually make or break our relationship or our experience or our views about that company or brand.”

Naomi Garrick

So, she would tell her clients that even the first person that you meet which sometimes is the Security Guard at an establishment, especially here in Jamaica. Sometimes just the way they greet you can throw off your entire mood as you are getting prepared for a meeting with someone in that organization, or it can completely lift your spirits.

And you end up having a super successful meeting just because your energy levels have changed just because of a very short one to two minute interaction and engagement, your employees actually become the spokespeople for your company, because when there is a crisis, a lot of times they are going to say, “Hey, let me pick up the phone and speak to my friend or this person that I know works at this organization.” And so, Communication to her would be also extremely key.

And you start as a company first with your internal customers, which are your employees, because a lot of times when there’s a crisis, sometimes your employees are hearing about it for the first time in the news or on Twitter.

That should not be the case, because if someone asks them, they should be able to have some kind of response that has been discussed with the company. So, they also know what to say if they are approached by just a friend, by an individual or by a client or by the media, because we all become these media/brand managers for that company as well.

Another thing that she would say, because you said two to three, is Transparency because now we live in this digital world where we can find information about everybody and information is shared so quickly. So, you want to ensure that if there is some kind of crisis, that one, you are ahead of that story, even if you don’t have a complete response yet, it’s important to just acknowledge, use the same channels that the story came out.

So, if something came out about your brand or company on Twitter, that’s where you need to respond first and then you can use your other channels to respond. And that’s why so many companies now post press releases through their social media channels first before even sharing with the media so that individuals know that this is what we had to say about this particular incident, this is our stance and we will continue to update you as we get more information. So it’s very important to lead the story instead of you trying to play catch up now.

And to address things that may not even have been real or related but it’s just because you’ve allowed the media or you’ve allowed individuals to create the story because you’re not being a part of the storytelling process.

And so, timeliness, she thinks would be the last thing. Have to respond in a timely manner, we can’t be taking 24 hours or two days or a week to respond to something, even if it’s not a crisis. And as she said, if you don’t have the full answer yet, say that, say…..

“This is a situation; this is what we know right now, we are addressing this and we will have an update for you within 24 hours or in the next two hours or continue to follow us on our social media platforms for the latest updates on this situation.”

Naomi Garrick

And she thinks that’s where we go wrong a lot of the times is we don’t respond immediately. And then we end up with that “No comment” thing, which she thinks is like the worst thing ever. So when you say no comment, it’s kind of like people feel that you’re hiding something or like you are actually in the wrong. And then they create their own stories, which is not what you want.

Me: So your first was Communication. Second was Transparency and third was Timeliness.

Branding 101

Naomi reiterated that the first one is really just acknowledging that we’re all managers for whatever company or brand that we work for. We all have a responsibility to carry the correct message, which would lead then to communication.

Me: So it’s very important for us to focus on all these areas to ensure that our customer experience is one in which is positive. Everybody’s looking for the same thing, customer loyalty, customer retention, positive word of mouth advertising, testimonials. And unfortunately, even though there are opportunities for you to pay for some of these things, if it’s done organically and it’s being done from a place of authenticity, your customers are really your best marketing tool.

Reputation Matters

Naomi shared that one; she would say that personal branding is really your reputation. But they use this new buzzword. But it’s not. It is your reputation. And as you said your reputation matters so much more so even now. She likes to quote……

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and only 5 minutes to ruin it.” And if we think about that, we do things differently.”

Warren Buffet

But in this digital world, you can ruin a reputation in seconds with a tweet, a screenshot, a voice note, a video, it can go viral. But the great thing is that that viral-ness can also help us to correct a situation. So, we have a great opportunity with social media platforms to really get our message out there in a very quick way.

So, yes, maybe we missed the original mark and we were behind with responding to a crisis or there really was something that we were involved with that left a not such a pleasant taste with our loyal fans or our customers.

Leaderships Role in Branding

And that’s why it goes back to those tips that she had recommended earlier, that timeliness of response and being authentic and genuine with your audience and your customers. And so, she would recommend, and even not just doing a static press release, but doing a video, letting them see you, feel your emotions to show that you care and you actually took the time to sit down and do this, you the CEO and owner of the company, not your corporate communications manager, not your director of public relations, but you the person, because she honestly believe with leadership, when things go right for the company, it’s the leader of the company, when things go wrong with the company, it’s the leader of the company.

And so, that’s a time when a leader really needs to step up to the plate and get in front of those cameras and really share what is really happening. Show empathy and show that you care especially if you are in the wrong and you know you are in the wrong. Apologize, acknowledge the situation. Apologize for it; these are the steps we’re taking to make sure this never happens again. And this is what we’re doing with our team to ensure that we have things in place to mitigate a situation like this in the future.

So it’s almost like you let them in to become a part of the process and you can even open it up to say, “If you have any ideas that you believe would be helpful to us during this time, please don’t hesitate to email me directly.”

And you give them your personal email address so that they can contact, they can reach out to you and you respond to them.

That’s how you retain that loyalty from those customers, those raving fans that you had that were your ideal audience, because they are the ones now that will speak to this new experience you know, “I’m starting to have second thoughts about this company because this happened. But then when I got this email with this letter from the owner of the company and he asked for our opinion and our help. It made me feel good and it felt like this was a brand that I still want to support.”

Me: Agreed. Brilliant. Excellent answer, Naomi. And I think many of our listeners that listen to the podcast have small businesses. Some of them are part of large entities as well, play very significant roles. And so reputation is very important, especially during this time. As you said, empathy is so, so critical. And I like the fact that you said that they put themselves out there and put their own e-mail or contact number so that the client can actually reach in touch with them.

It shows that they’re making themselves a part of the solution. So it’s not them trying to fix it, the team trying to fix it. But I am a part of the solution as well, and I’m committed to it. And I’m here to hold your hand and walk you through it to make sure that we both come out on the positive end of this. So I really, really love that response.

Naomi shared that at the end of the day, we just want to connect. We’re all human beings and we crave connection, significance. And she speaks about this all the time that…..

“People are not in the business of buying goods and services, they’re in the business of feeling and connection and emotion.”

Tony Robbins

 And so that’s what draws us to our brand or company more than the actual product or the cost of the product or even the service that you provide.

But it’s the experience that you create with different people when they meet with you or they engage with your product or they engage with your team.

Me: And they buy you before they buy a product or service. So it’s important for you to ensure that you are being very genuine about whatever you’re doing because people can pick up if you’re being fake. It comes over in a tone of voice, your body language, how you respond, as you said, you send somebody a message and you say to yourself, “But I know they got the message. I know they saw the message. They’ve been in this application for quite a few times after I’ve sent a message and they haven’t even acknowledged that they got the message to give a response.”People pay attention to those things.

Naomi shared that of course, because she celebrated Brand Day last week on her birthday. She has gotten so many emails, messages, everything. And so like she’s just using this week to start going through. And she noticed that a colleague of hers had sent her an email probably on Saturday, today’s Friday. She had not responded yet because she’s still going through but what she did was let me (Naomi) send her a quick WhatsApp just to let her know that she sees her email, and she will respond by end of day to day. And she responded right away saying, “I was starting to wonder what was happening. So I really appreciate the fact that you sent me this message.” So sometimes it’s as simple as that.

And people don’t know what you’re going through, so they just can’t assume that, it’s because she’s trying to respond to everybody’s email. They may think that she just doesn’t have the time to respond to them or you don’t care. And she cares about everybody because everybody that she interacts with, she wants to create a positive experience with them, even if it’s not to buy a product or service because it’s her.

And so when she responded, she knew she was doing the right thing, your gut tells you something. She flags things in her email that she hasn’t read yet. And she saw the purple flag, and she’s like, she’s going to message her right now so that she knows that she didn’t just see her email and not respond.

Me: It really goes a very far way and it’s always the little things. It’s always the little thing that goes a far way.

How Does Naomi Stay Motivated?

Naomi shared that she doesn’t stay motivated every day that would absolutely be the most honest answer, especially during right, right now. There are some days where she still doesn’t have the energy to do anything. She thanks God that she has a child and that’s what actually gets her out of bed some mornings.

So, he is a big motivator for her. But also she leans into a couple of things when she needs motivation. So, her morning routine, it helps a lot with that because she starts off using intention cards to just set her intention for the morning.

She gets up early every morning and she just needs the quiet time to really sit down and not really do any work. But she’ll listen to a podcast like maybe this (Navigating the Customer Experience) podcast. She listens to a podcast or listens to a positive meditation or something just to start the day right with a great cup of coffee. That’s very important to her to set the tone but also her tribe is very, very important to her.

And she has different types of tribes. She has tribe of girlfriends where it’s just her close friends from high school. But she also has a tribe of entrepreneurial women. Women in business who she would lean to during a time like this, because we are going through a similar experience together and just sitting down and talking to each other. We get to share ideas, share experiences, you know it’s not you alone and we’re always motivating and encouraging each other.

So that is very, very important to her. And her colleagues and her, Rochelle and Catherine, they talk about your circle of genius all the time. Who do you let into that space? One of the things that she also do for her motivation is, she’s not on social media very often, so she’s on it very purposefully because she don’t want to come across maybe a post or something that’s shared that maybe gives her a sense of anxiety, because sometimes she’ll go online and she’ll see other people in her field of knowledge sharing and doing the most.

They’re doing all these amazing things every single day. And for her, she gets a little bit anxious because then she starts thinking, “Am I not doing enough? Why am I not doing all these things?”

And so, actually, one of the purposeful things she started doing was actually muting some of her friends, some of the people that she follows so that she’s not bombarded with that as she gets up in the morning. And so, she really goes online when she’s ready to share or to respond to queries or questions that are on her pages.

And so she has had to create those social media boundaries for herself to keep her own motivation up. And the last thing is that she reads a lot. So, she’s always reading and learning from other people’s experiences. So that really helps to keep her motivation up for sure.

App or Tool that Impacts Naomi Greatly

When asked about an online resource that she cannot live without in her business, Naomi shared that that’s Canva. So she doesn’t have graphic design skills. She comes from a very creative family but that gene skipped her. Canva allows her to be a graphic designer. So she uses Canva for everything, for her social media posts, for her e-books, for her on boarding emails to her coaching clients, for her proposals, for her backdrops.

She just saw today that you can customize your Zoom backdrops using Canva, they have a template for that now. So, it is what she uses to do all of her branding. So, she usually has someone create a really great piece of branding for her in the form of a logo and then she just utilizes the brand colours to now use Canva to create her own content, that she can use on all her digital media pages, her website, YouTube channels. And just for promotional material for her business or just basic information and creating content. Canva is her go to, it’s free and if you pay for the pro version, she believes it’s like US $12.00 a month, it’s worth it.

Books that Naomi Recommends

When asked about books that have had the biggest impact, Naomi shared that there’s so many. But her two favorite, favorite, favorite books are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. And that’s really just about tapping into your purpose and really just understanding that your journey makes you who you are. And that’s how you develop your personal legend by just starting with you. So, she loves that and she listens to Audibles as well. And she read the physical book, but she also listen to the audible sometimes when she needs just a little bit of motivation.

And then the second one is the Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes, because that book literally changed her life in 2017 and that’s really a book about starting to say yes to everything. The things that scare you the most because they lead to so many opportunities for your life. And so Shonda shares her story about how one Thanksgiving her sister was saying that she doesn’t say yes to anything.

And for example, at that time she hired a publicist and his job was to tell people that she can’t attend an event or she can’t speak at an event because she just would not do those things. And then, so her first real big speaking event was a graduation ceremony, that clip is still on YouTube because it’s her most powerful thing to date. And speaking engagement and that just led her to so many opportunities to speak, to lose weight, to do all the things she was scared to do really.

And it has transformed her life. And so for her (Naomi), 2017 became her year of yes and that’s when her life also changed in a very positive way. And then she would also say any book by Tim Ferriss, if you’re a business person, is great. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich is amazing, now is a great time actually to be reading that book because we’re all kind of living in this four hour workweek life right now with this pandemic. And he shows you how to do it the right way.

But he also has these two big books, Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss, that’s amazing and he has another one – Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. They are two massive books and what it is, is a collection of tips, tools, books, all kinds of information from hundreds of people, whether it’s authors, celebrities, cooks, athletes, all kinds of individuals just sharing tips on their morning routine, lessons learnt, favourite book to give away and it’s just like this massive book of awesomeness.

Me: Great resources, some parts of it must resonate with you and helped to advance you in some ways.

Naomi stated that somethings you never thought about until you read it, so it’s really great.

Naomi’s Current and Future Projects that She is Really Excited About!

Naomi stated that she will share two things, one, during this time she has discovered that she is an expert banana bread baker. She started baking banana bread literally on a weekly basis and she just bakes them to give away to people actually. So, she has been on Amazon a little bit too much during this time but she bought these little mini baking tins so now when she does a batch, she can actually do 5 small mini banana breads and she keeps 1 for her house and then give away the rest to her friends or her neighbours.

And it just makes her feel good, her son is annoyed with her because he thinks she should sell them but that’s not why she bakes them. It’s actually one of her coping mechanisms during this time, it just puts her in a different place and she just loves when people calls her back to say how delicious the banana bread was. Banana bread chronicles.

And then also, she finally launched her online course on Building a Personal Brand and it’s something she should have done 2 years ago but she never had the time. And so, she has taken this time to finally sit down and build the courses, it’s 18 modules with coaching videos and work sheets and she’s really excited about it and the feedback she has been getting from individuals that signed up for the course last week has been so great.

And she loves that she can actually see their progress in the course and the respond to them in real time if they have any challenges. So, she really proud of that, it’s 2 years in the making and COVID forced her to buckle down and launch it and she is really excited about it.

Where Can You Find Naomi Online

  • Naomi shared listeners can find her at –

www.iamnaomigarrick.com

LinkedIn – Naomi Garrick

Instagram – @naomigarrick

                     @theprchick

Quote or Saying that Keeps Naomi Motivated and Committed During Times of Adversity

Naomi shared that her favourite quote and she speaks about it all the time is, “The journey is the reward.”  It’s a Chinese proverb and really it just reminds us that everything that has happened in our lives, the good things and the bad things, the things that we don’t like, the things that we don’t want to acknowledge and accept, are actually the things that makes us this person that we are today.

And without those experiences, we wouldn’t be who we are in this moment. And so, a lot of times, we get very flustered thinking about the future and we get anxiety and we don’t know what’s next or we haven’t achieved the goals that we wanted in our lives right now without remembering to look back at all the things that got us to this point.

And yes, COVID-19 is one big challenge and we’re in a pandemic, but you can think back, every individual must have had something in their life that happened, some kind of challenge that they were able to overcome.

And so, it just reminds you that we will get over this, when, she’s not sure but there are lessons to be learned during this time, find the lessons in the journey and then accept that this is just making you the person you are meant to become.

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