No Brand is Your Brand

Let’s discuss the importance of personal branding efforts and the crucial role branding will play in this Digital Age. 

In this edition of LiveTime…

  • Brand doesn’t just stop with knowledge…
  • If you don’t create your brand, the digital world will do it for you.
  • A face to face meeting’s equivalent is a video of yourself.
  • Have fun with your brand. No need to be super serious… Be HUMAN!

Episode Transcribe

Hey, what’s up everybody?

 Alec Hanson coming at you live on a beautiful Thursday. Hope you’re having a great day.

For those of you that don’t know, or are not following what I’m playing with this year, man, a lot of fun stuff. Number one, I’m going live once a week, this is my weekly live. I have really cool political topics to talk to you guys about that I’m just thrilled to continue on my a hundred videos in a hundred days series in some more interactive way, where we can actually talk and field comments and kind of share dialogue, and hopefully inspire a bunch of you guys to push the record button and go nuts.So if you can hear me, can I get a like or a comment? I’m on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook right now. So I see a bunch of you guys. Hi Glenn, what’s up buddy? And so it’s really cool for me to kind of just have the back and forth and to hear what you guys are hearing. So if you can hear me, please give me a comment, drop in yes, hear you, audio is working great, and we’ll get ready to rock and roll.So I have a topic today that I’m pretty passionate about. And so I want to throw it up here on the screen as a banner here, and let everybody kind of just start to marinate on the fun stuff we’re going to be talking about today. Man, branding. Branding is so crucial. There is just… I’m getting some comments, thank you very much, guys. Appreciate it. Thanks Glenn.There are so many great, great mortgage professionals today that have no brand. And what I mean by that is they have no digital brand. Sure, they have some local reputation, they’re known people, you’re doing loans, all that fun stuff. But I mean, here’s the greatest story I know, there is a $200 million producer who I know in this industry who is a total bad-ass incredible person. And they got no digital brand. You Google them, and nothing shows up. Nothing. It’s like they’re invisible, which is crazy. Because here’s one of the biggest problems we’re facing in our industry today as mortgage professionals, or retail local people. And I’m oversimplifying, and I’m being generic, but hang with me.I was taught, and I know a lot of you were taught, that to get business we went and networked with referral partners, real estate professionals, and got their business, got their referrals, and it was amazing. Today though, I’m watching, and as a percentage, so many customers are coming through our referral partners already with a precall or a loan quote or mortgage information in hand, because they’re starting in a different sales cycle that we’re not in.And so when they engage us, when they finally engage us, they Google us. They look us up. They want to validate the person they’re in. Look at the popularity of third party validation tools like Yelp, Google Business, Zillow, all these things are third party validation tools, and consumers love them. We love them. We love to rate things, value things, it drives us. So my question for you guys is how do you show up? Because people are looking at you online, period. They are absolutely looking at you online. So how are you showing up? And unfortunately, no brand is your brand. Not good.So what do you do about that? Well, the great opportunity is that a brand is 100% in your power to curate. 100% in your power to control, to develop, and to display what you want to display. A really cool manager named Brenda, who works with me in Southern California, did her team a favor. And Glenn, I see you watching so kudos to you. Did her team a favor and sent all of her loan officer information, name, contact information, et cetera, over to somebody on the East coast that she knew in marketing and said, “Hey, I want you to Google my loan officers. And I want you to tell me what you see. Tell me what their brand is when you look it up online.”How cool is that? Because I’m telling you, not all of the answers… hey, what’s up Joe? Awesome, Veronica. Hi Leanne, hi Jimmy… not all the answers they got back were ones that they were excited to get back. Some loan officers were like, here’s five words that defined my brand, knowledgeable, trustworthy, professional, caring, et cetera. And they got back, couldn’t find them online, don’t have a clue, looked okay, didn’t like their haircut. Just the real stuff, right?So my encouragement for you guys, if you’re paying attention on this video, is to go out and audit your brand. Not with a friend, not with somebody who knows you, but get a friend to get somebody random, or use a manager to go across the country and get another person and just pull them in and say, “hey, look me up, tell me how I’m doing, and give me your opinion on my brand.” That audit, as hard as it can be for us to kind of put ourselves in a position of vulnerability, can help define where we need to go moving forward. You know what I’m saying?So you got to audit your brand. You got to have somebody independent tell you what they think your brand looks like, because if you don’t, man, I’m telling you, no brand is your brand. And that’s a bad place to be. Does that make sense? You feel me on this? Throw me a comment real quick if you understand what I’m talking about, because this is crucial stuff. This stuff is going to be definitive for the future success of a loan officer, is their ability to understand and have a pragmatic brand that people can identify with. And again, you get to control it. That’s amazing, because if you don’t like something about it, fix it.So after you audit your brand, the next step is to spend some thought work kind of understanding what you want your brand to be. And by the way, I keep looking this way because that’s where your comments are. I know the camera’s here, I know this, but I’m looking here because I want to read your comments. Yeah, Jeff, no brand is your brand. And that’s tough because diminishes you in the eyes of the consumer. And I know some people who are bad-ass 30 year, 20 year professionals, know products back and forth, live in their local community. And then they get Googled and they’re nothing there.So what does the customer see or feel when they see nothing? They commodify you. They’re like, this guy’s an interest rate. I don’t care. What’s your rate? What’s your rate. They don’t care. They don’t know if you’re a professional or not, they don’t care, because you didn’t show up. So you got to show up in big ways.So let’s go one step further and break this down. The way I coach it is, put down five adjectives you want to be known as. Put down five adjectives you want to be known as, write those out. And I’ll just pick one like knowledgeable. I get that all the time. Loan officers say, “I want to be knowledgeable. I want to be known. I want my brand to be knowledgeable.” I go “great, let me Google you and let me find out what I see that proves or shows me that you’re knowledgeable.” Know what I’m saying? Let me see what’s knowledgeable. So what kind of information would you expect to see on somebody who you would define as a knowledgeable professional?I’ll give you a hand. Education, right? If somebody is knowledgeable, then they better be showing and showcasing their knowledge. So how do you do this? Well, a million different ways. Okay, let’s just dumb it down, right. If you’re knowledgeable, I need to see a blog series or a LinkedIn education series of articles from you, by you, showcasing your knowledge and educating me. You get it?So I coach all the time. First time home buyers. I’m a first time home buyer, educate me. Can you write 12 articles to educate a first time home buyer on the tips and tricks and traps that they need to look out for? A hundred percent. You’ve got to be able to do 12. Come on, 12. You can do 12. I believe in you. 12 articles, first time home buyer. So then just go a step further. So now can you be bold? And can you do an educational series on YouTube for first time home buyers? Can you take those 12 articles and make 12 videos that educates?I know it’s scary, super scary, to put this thing on your face, because you don’t like how you look and sound, but no one cares except for you, so just turn the camera on and read the article. Don’t read the article, be more spontaneous. Talk to somebody like you’re actually in the room with them. But please, film 12 videos for first time home buyers, and look, can we go deeper? Can you do 12 articles on FHA financing? Can you do 12 articles on renovation loans? Can you do 12 articles for veterans? Guys, how many articles are we getting up to? Can you turn around, do the same thing and do a video series on all those topics.If you want to be knowledgeable as your brand, then show me your knowledge. Show it off. Does this make sense? Are you with me on this? Can I get an amen in the comments? Can you feel what I’m putting down? This is not rocket science, and before I get the excuses of, I don’t have time, yeah you do. You got all the time. There’s 24 hours, you have them and I have them, all the time. It’s all time, and it’s in your hands, and so just do something with it. I don’t know what to do with my hands. You feel me? You have plenty of time. In between all of your prospecting calls that you’re making, record a video. So much time.So we just picked apart education for a minute, because knowledge as a brand, but that’s not where it has to stop… thanks, I got my amen in the comments. If you want to be known as a professional, how do you… oh, okay. So Emmanuel, let’s talk about overcoming fear. Yeah, just for a second. Because if you’re going to lean into creating your own brand, you have to get over yourself and put yourself out there, or else the world is creating your brand for you. I want to say that again. If you don’t decide to go all in to create your brand image, the world is creating it for you.Meaning somebody on Yelp noticed, or got mad, because that’s where people go when they get mad, that you don’t have a personal Yelp page, so they create one for you. That’s what people can do on Yelp, right? If they don’t see the business, you can create one for somebody, and then just one-star them. So now you exist as a one-star on Yelp and you don’t even know it. Thanks Veronica, yeah, it does make sense, except we don’t do anything about it because, to Emmanuel’s comment over here, we’re afraid.And so I’ll kind of unpack that a little bit, only to just encourage you guys, because I wanted to keep this on brand, but you can’t talk about brand and building videos without diving into fear. Man, Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this all the time. We are afraid of so much garbage. I’ll give you a story. Okay, this is fun. So I put out a podcast. My first episode went out live yesterday. Please, Modern Lending podcast, give me a love, but check this out. I’m so excited, I’m putting all this effort into it, I have all these podcasts filmed, they’re going to be coming out every two weeks, basically. Because I want to show what we’re doing and blah, blah.I got a one star. I got a one star. I’m like bro, episode one, give me a break. Where’s your podcast? My one star. I got it. But that’s life. You put yourself out there, you’re going to get judged, and there’s going to be haters. And you can’t let the fear of a one star… I know I did a good job, I’m proud of the effort I put into that thing. One star.I just share that because you can not be afraid of Joe Blow random online internet comment. That doesn’t matter. They don’t change your life forever, they’re just trolls. Your real friends tell you the truth, they’re like, “Hey dude, focus on your videos and bring more energy” or whatever it is. But you can not be afraid of putting yourself out there. And let me give you this story, and I’ll kind of close down with this, and if you have a question by the way, you can throw it in there and I will answer it to the best of my ability.A lot of local mortgage professionals, when I ask them, “Hey, do you like face to face appointments,” man, they all say “Yes. Yes, I love face to face appointments.” Why do we love face-to-face appointments? Because we get to share our authentic self with a human being as we explain our value proposition, rates and fees, programs, et cetera. Are you with me? Do you like face to face appointments? Let me hear you. Yes, I love face to face appointments. Put it in the comment, right there.Because the reality is, if you’re like me, and a bunch of other local professionals, we love getting face to face. It’s not always reasonable. It’s not always possible, I get it, customers are different. But we can’t deny, when you get face to face, man, people can feel your energy, they can see your eyes, your body language, they can feel your intent. We love it. So why aren’t you turning the camera on and getting face to face with thousands and thousands of people every day? The same experience that you can deliver to somebody face to face, you can deliver this to thousands of people right here.It’s amazing. Yes, they can hide behind anonymity, they can be anonymous, and then troll you. But the reality is, the impact you’re going to make is far deeper and greater than you would ever imagine. So when you build your brand, leverage articles, leverage video, showcase who you want your brand to be after you’ve spent some of the time on the mountaintop or at the beach defining what you want your brand to stand for.And by the way, please bring humanity into your brand. Oh my God, please. I saw up here a little bit ago, and I don’t know if he’s still watching, but Joe Hancock was commenting earlier. This guy is on TikTok and putting his TikTok videos on LinkedIn, and all the other channels. And they’re hysterical, right? They’re just making fun of the average mortgage experience, and they’re making fun of how we do our jobs and the craziness we deal with as loan professionals. And part of Joe’s brand to me is humor. I love that. That is absolutely okay. You can be a human and have fun and do your job, and that can be part of your brand. Look at Geico, look at Geicos brand. Do they have fun? Yeah. I have fun watching their videos.So don’t just get caught up on, my brand has to be super serious, knowledgeable professional, dot, dot, dot. No, it can also be fun. Humans like fun. We like fun. We like to laugh, and that can be part of your life too. So I kind of share that as just a side comment as you’re looking at brand, because it should be all the things you are, all the things you want to be known as. And I’ll end with one more piece of this that I think is just the most important. Thank you for guys that have stayed in so long here.Man, your story, your personal background and story matter insanely. Let me say it again. Your background and your personal story matters. There are so many people that have an insecurity and fear that their background, their story, whatever makes them, them… I don’t speak English great, I’m an immigrant, I came to this country and had to learn English and worked my way up. I’m poor, I came from a poor background. Whatever this limiting belief is that your story sucks and is holding you back or you don’t want to share that part or you want to hide that part, that part will hold you back. Thanks Pat, appreciate you, buddy.Unleash your story on the world, and you will watch… it’s like putting rocket fuel on your brand. If you unleash your personal story around your brand, it will put rocket fuel on your brand. I am dead serious. It is a strength, whatever hurdles, hardships, roadblocks you had to overcome in your life to be who you are, to do what you’re doing now, those things are absolute fuel for your brand.Please use them. Please share your story. Please tell your personal story in everything that you’re doing today. It matters. It humanizes you. I always joke nobody connects to a billboard personally. We don’t. Don’t be a billboard. Be an amazing human being. Showcase all your skills, your knowledge, education, but man, shine a light on your story, on who you are and who you’re becoming, because I’m telling you right now, that’s how you change the world, man. You share who you are, and that’s how you put rocket fuel to your brand and to your business.I hope that’s helpful. I hope you’re hearing me. I hope we turn the camera around and showcase your brand, because if you’re not, no brand is your brand. There it is.All right, we’ve hit our 20 minute mark. I appreciate you guys, appreciate all 34 of you watching right now. Have a wonderful day. Go kick some butt. See you later.I don’t know why you’re waiting. I’m not going to say anything else. Nothing else. Have a wonderful day. See you guys.