Personal Brand vs. Company Brand

Friends! We are going to have a conversation of Personal Brand vs Company Brand. Are they in conflict, are they synergistic. It’s a very important conversation that you do not want to miss!

In this edition of LiveTime with Alec…

  • What should a company brand do for you
  • What your personal brand should do
  • There are brands out there that are trying to make you obsolete
  • The importance of the synergy between you and your company

Episode Transcribe

– What’s up everybody, happy Tuesday! Welcome to another LiveTime with Alec, man, we’re gonna get real on this conversation today.I’ve already had so many sidebar conversations with people who are like, oh you’re going there, and I’m like, yeah, I’m going there. We’re talking about personal brand versus corporate brand. The big battle, everything that’s going on in that space, turn the jams down a little bit. This is a really important topic. And before we dive right into what’s more important, supporting your corporate brand or supporting your personal brand. And especially as we frame this up for me, like a commission, a salesperson perspective, my people, like local mortgage pros, man, it’s gonna be radical. I can’t wait to jam with you guys. So first, if you’re watching this in the future, hit me up, #bypassed. We are live on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, oh what’s up my man? Yeah, this is gonna be interesting. There’s gonna be a lot of tension in this conversation today, which is good. We need tension, we have to understand what’s going on. Join the text community, hit me up. Trying to give you guys value every single day. Alright, let’s rock. This is gonna be exciting. So what made me want to talk about this today? So let me frame up first what we’re gonna handle today. First, man, as a consumer don’t we love brands? Now, before you start getting all fired up, I see so many people talk about the power of personal branding, and it’s very powerful. And we’re gonna talk about that, but you can’t ignore for one second, the power of mega brands as it pertains to the head space of our consumers. So for example, right, every time I talk about new hire orientation to all the newbies, I bring up a couple of examples. Let’s talk about Amazon for a second. Amazon is a powerful consumer-centric brand, powerful. In fact, when I bring up Amazon, people smile. They get, they’re like, oh my gosh, all these good feelings, right? And I thought that this little corky thing was a smile because I’m dumb and they have everything from A to Z. Right, and think about it, if by the way, if you are getting an Amazon package today, drop a comment right now being like, yeah, me too. The dopamine hits real, right? You get it and you’re like, oh, it’s Christmas. And you know, it’s toilet paper, you know? It’s like, by the way, during the pandemic, when the toilet paper shortage was going down, guess what people weren’t buying? Industrial strength toilet paper, like the ones you find in factories, so I got boxes if you guys need some of that. But like, this is real, right? But here’s the point. There’s no human here that you know or have a personal brand connection to. None, zero humans here. And so, but, man you trust this company, don’t you? You trust it through their marketing, you trust it through the experiences they have delivered to you. You trust this brand, and there’s no person there that you can point to. This is a crazy example of the power of branding that people overlook. They’re like, oh, the personal brand is so much better than corporate brand, and I’m like, really, bro, really? Mom and Pop ACE Hardware Store down the street, you don’t really care anymore, do you? And this is a real thing, is real tension in this place. This has power. So let’s kind of pause for a second and kind of go back to this for a second. Well then what’s the power of the personal brand? You see these mega companies and we’re gonna talk about a lot of them in the real estate space. And in this, the consumer service space who have built mega brands, not tied to a person and that we like and trust and use to the detriment of the Mom and Pop Shop. I’ll use it again, the hardware store down the street that was run by the family that’s lived in your community for 30 years. You don’t care that they’re going out of business. This is the pause where you get mad and triggered. You don’t care! You don’t care, you know how I know you don’t care? ‘Cause you’re just buying everything on Amazon, and you’re not going down to the local store. That’s how I know you don’t care. And empirically, I know you don’t care because I’ve been watching the trend and everyone’s doing it and you’re all doing it and I’m doing it, and so we don’t care. So it’s really silly to say, “oh, the personal brand has so much power” when I’m like, really? But let’s break down what your personal brand does do. Let’s talk about it the same way we talked about these big corporate brands. What does the Amazon brand do? Establishes trust. Through consistency and through experience and through empirical data that you’re living with. And all of a sudden you have this trust relationship and you like it. But the same power is there in the personal brand. If you’re looking for consultative services, you’re gonna probably lean more towards a person than a brand. If you’re looking for a transaction, you might look for a brand. But if you’re looking toward a consultative service, you’re gonna probably look towards a person. And this is the power of personal branding. If your image, if your likeness, if your content, if your message is clear and relevant to the humans you’re preaching to, then when they come to get a consultative service, they’re probably gonna go for a personal brand. Now here’s the conflict, in my industry in sales, it’s both. It’s brand and personal brand. For example, if a brand new loan officer comes into our industry, where do they end up? And look historically please, don’t just look over the last two seconds. Look historically. And by the way, there’s a bunch of you guys watching right now, where do they end up? Where do brand new professionals in our business go? Put it in the comments, I’m reading the comments, put it right there. Where do they go when they’re new to the business? They don’t have any personal brand. They don’t have any experience to talk about. They’ve never done really any loans before. They don’t have that part of the equation. So where do they go? They go to mega brands and banks, banks, right? They go to banks so that they can leverage the power of the corporate brand. Now, I’m gonna tell you a story. So when I left a big mega bank, right, I was involved in an acquisition in the crisis. I was at one of the biggest banks in the country and I was not in alignment with what their goals and strategies were, this is a really nice way of I hated them, but I decided that I needed to part ways. And I went to a small regional correspondent bank, mortgage bank, right? Really traditional mortgage bank called Imortgage. Now, when I started at Imortgage, nobody knew who Imortgage was. It had no corporate brand. The only thing it had was it hired local professionals who had community and personal brand, and they leveraged that personal brand to build brand over time. Over time, Imortgage became a more successful brand to the point that the realtor community and everybody else was like, “hey, I like Imortgage.” Now, they also like the loan professionals that were there, but they started to like the brand as well. This is one of the things where these things start to compliment, but the Imortgage brand, wasn’t doing anything really in the community to help me as a salesperson. Scott has a great comment. Yeah, man, absolutely. Amazon is very tactical, and what they did really, in my opinion, is they just built trust, man. They built trust through reviews, through experience, and that creates a powerful consumer connection. And back to the brands, what should a company brand do for a mortgage professional? Let’s get really mortgage-centric for a second. If you hire a 100% commission salespeople, as one of your avenues to gather customer leads, what should a company brand do? Well let me give you some examples. Number one, they should help build trust with the general public in their brand, so that when you walk in with your personal brand, you’re also walking in with an industry known brand where people know and like and trust it. Now there’s a thousand strategies for that, right? They can, I call it air support, like air coverage. Like they can run national commercials if they’re a national company. And be on radio and be on the internet and all of a sudden people get exposed to that brand and then when they hit my personal brand, who’s selling that service through that company, they automatically have some trust connected. Now, if you’re not a big national player, you can do that through a hyperlocal strategy. By having the company put lots of money into the community, to brand and position themselves so that you, as a professional loan officer can walk around and be like, hey, I’m proud to be part of this company, ’cause they’re doing the air support, they’re flying over, they’re giving me recognition. They’re helping my salespeople with more recognition. I believe that’s the company’s responsibility. Now there’s a lot of companies now, please. Now people get mad here because they’re like, my company doesn’t do any of that, or you’re telling me my company sucks. I’m like, no, I’m just saying your company’s not supporting you in this brand position the way other companies are, period. They might have the best leadership in the entire industry, and they’re personally mentoring you as a sales person and that’s priceless. But then when you go to their, does their brand do anything for me? The answer’s no. Okay, it’s fine I’m not just attacking companies that don’t do this, I’m just pointing out what I think a company should do to support me. Does that make sense? When I worked at Countrywide, there were national commercials that really helped me, I was brand new to the industry. I didn’t know anything. I was learning as fast as I could, and there’s big national commercials, it was a big company and so when I walked into a real estate office, it wasn’t just Alec my personal brand which wasn’t very strong, it was Alec with Countrywide. And before the crisis, that meant something in our industry. And it did, it helped me build credibility. My man Chris, you get it. This is the power. So the other thing a company brand should do besides get trust through the consumer for me, is they should generate business for me. Now I know that sounds weird, but in the mortgage industry, a lot of great mortgage companies are literally just fulfillment houses with a flyer bank, stop it. Okay, and maybe great leadership. Great leadership, a flyer bank, and they close loans for you. Okay. That may be all well and good, but what are they doing in other ways to support your business? How do they generate business for you specifically? And again, they can do that through hyperlocal or national efforts. I’ll give you an example, and this is empirical from my experience at loanDepot, but loanDepot generates tons of consumer attention through digital marketing. They have a contact center in Lake Forest down here who makes about a million calls a day to customers that push buttons on the internet. and they reach out to those customers, they introduce them to loanDepot, they explain the benefits of our process, they vet that customer to see if they’re really a customer. And then they live transfer that to my retail loan officers in the streets. Now, thank you. Thank you! You’re coming to the game was something that dude, this is it, but this is true. And this is what a lot of them have done. And so they play the game of I’m gonna put a bunch of money at you and I’ll give you a good fulfillment company. I’m gonna give you a flyer bank online, and go get me loans. And it’s like, okay, maybe that worked in the ’90s but what are you doing now to brand and support me? Which is why I see a lot of local mortgage professionals diving in on personal brand. And we’re not there yet, that’s segment two. By the way get the Spy vs. Spy theme here, this is my jam. I couldn’t get, anyway, whatever. So in my opinion, again, if you’re gonna check the boxes, does my company help me with brand? That means are they building consumer sentiment? Are they building trust with my consumer that I’m gonna go bump into? Are they helping me generate business in addition to being a kick-ass fulfillment partner and great branding and great flyers and blah, blah, blah. I think this is important. But let’s talk about the personal brand. Because when you offer consultative services and you really lean into you, what do you bring to the table? Then this part starts to really shine, because this part matters. Now, check this out. Sorry Chris, I bumped that up. Check this out, I’m gonna put a couple of brands on the screen. I put these brands on the screen as talking points to dive into this topic. We kinda hit Amazon for a second, right? There’s no human you know at Amazon, but it’s a very tactical experience. I mean, transactional experience. You’re not going to Amazon to get advice on your 401k or your retirement plan, or to build your will. You’re getting a hammer and toilet paper, okay. But let’s talk about Starbucks for a second, because coffee is a thing and people are really big into coffee. So there’s a human that’s gonna make that coffee for you, right, and they could screw it up, they can make it incredibly good, there’s baristas, there’s a level of talent now involved at Starbucks. Now you can argue with not a huge level of talent, fine, making a coffee, fine, but if you talk to some coffee snobs, man, they’ll correct you right there. They’ll be like, you are wrong, sir, talent matters in this game. And so what does Starbucks try to do? Unify an experience at every single location that’s replicatable and systematic, so that if you go into any Starbucks anywhere, you’re gonna get the same experience and exact same coffee drink. That’s the game they’re playing. And they have removed the talent of the barista to a degree, they’ve systematized it to a degree where you don’t care, you follow the brand. Because you know whatever brand you go to whatever store Starbucks you walk in to you’re going to get the same drink. Let’s talk about Uber. Do you remember when you heard first heard about Uber? How did you hear about Uber? Andrew’s tagging some peeps, I love you brother. Thank you. How did you hear about Uber? Do you remember? Do you remember? There was no billboard, was there? There was no internet ad, there was no Superbowl commercial. How’d you hear about Uber? You heard about it through word of mouth. Now, what did Uber do? Create an app and an experience where you’d actually don’t care who’s picking you up. Think about that for a second, like it’s a wild thought. You’re out drinking, hopefully making good decisions, you call an Uber to come drive you home, you have no idea who’s gonna be picking you up. No clue, no clue. There’s a face and some ratings, and you’re like, get in the car! But this is the power of brand. All of a sudden, you’ve gone through some experience with Uber, haven’t you? And then you trust it. This is fascinating to me, there’s no person there, but there is somebody who you’re putting your life in somebody’s hands. I want to be really honest about this, right? You’re intoxicated, you don’t know what’s going on, you’re getting in a car with a total stranger because the app told you to get in. Wild. And then I threw on Zillow and Quicken, these other two companies that are in the mortgage space playing around. And it’s fascinating when you look at what they’re trying to do. Now, there’s more consultative experience now in both of these books, there is, oh there is. And let’s talk about Zillow in the real estate game, right? Like the Zestimate, all the things they’re doing. They’re trying to remove the consultative experience, aren’t they, they’re trying to own it. Which does what? Which diminishes the local professionals, which diminishes one of the local professionals. Man, Josh Pitts, you’ve been hitting this conversation for years, bro, I’m piggybacking on your greatness. Yes, this is crazy when you think about it, I’m imagining my daughter in the future, hopefully drinking responsibly in college and then getting in the car with some random dude, because you pushed a button, in a 1990 Prius. Anyway, what Zillow is doing for real estate is very interesting, they’re trying to take the consultative process out. We have the data, we’ll provide you with the right stuff. And of course, everyone mocks Zestimates and mocks Zestimates. Do you know how many consumers I know that look at Zestimates all day long? All day long, you’re in the industry, so you can mock it all you want, but this is actually making an impact, it’s creating a human connection. They’re trying to remove the consultative process out. In fact, they’re trying to do what Amazon did and what Starbucks did and what Uber did. They’re trying to create such brand connection with the consumer that the consumer no longer really cares about the personal brand aspect of it, the consultant in it. They trust the brand more than the local pro. This is real. Quicken does an extremely good job of this. You can talk trash about them all you want, but they’re kicking your butt in the street and they do an extremely good job, they’re creating connection to a national brand and not to a person. Through marketing and through execution. Do you think if Quicken was closing every single one of their loans late and every single one of their loans with a terrible, terrible price, they would exist in this world of absolute online transparency? Like, are you nuts? Don’t be so ignorant that you would think that if they close terribly every single time, every single time, and they had the most terrible price in the street, every single time. In this world of absolute digital transparency, do you think they wouldn’t be called out for that stuff? Now, I know a bunch of local pros are like, oh, I’ve seen the Quicken quotes and they’re terrible. And I’m like, sure, okay, maybe that one was, but their scale is so much bigger than what you think. So, where does this all kind of lie? See, I think it’s a one-two punch. I do, I really do. In fact, I think it’s anecdotally, I’m experiencing the one-two punch and now I know the power of it. Because there’s super important value in what a company brand brings to the table. In fact, how many of you guys recall when company brands actually were a detriment to their sales force? Wells Fargo! Remember, by the way, I laugh at Wells ’cause you know, it’s fine. Number one subprime lender in the country deserves some pain. I was at Countrywide. I was at Countrywide doing a great job, I wasn’t in the subprime company that was a different sister company, I wrote loans. And I was private and I was local and I worked hard for my people. And yet all of a sudden now Countrywise started being dragged through the mud for this crisis that was happening. That clearly they had a role in, so please, no keyboard warrior start like But I didn’t have that role. And yet all of a sudden, I was connected to that brand. So company brands can actually be an actual detriment. My argument is they should be a benefit. They should be a benefit to support the originator by building trust with the consumer, by helping generate business for the local professional, work and establish strong national brand to overcome objections, I think that’s their job. And then on the personal brand side, I think this is our job, which is incredibly fun, which is to show up in incredible ways to our community through online and local branding even with COVID there’s still local stuff we can do to build a great trust relationship. Look, this is a game about trust. Do you feel me on that one? This is a game about trust. These brands on the screen are doing everything they can to build trust with their customer base, everything they can. So should you, and so should your company. Because when, I mean, Josh, I love, by the way, you’ve been preaching this forever. When you get the one-two punch. And by the way, these things aren’t in congruence. I hate when companies are like, yup, we’re not gonna let you build your personal brand. And I’m like, what are you doing? First of all, don’t be insecure. ‘Cause whenever I hear that, I hear about it’s you got, your company is insecure. Don’t be insecure. When you empower this and the local pro, it magnifies your marketing. It magnifies your impact in the community. And I’ll give a really selfish story, let’s say company A over here hires a really great producer into a new market where this company has no branding and they don’t do any national marketing or hyperlocal marketing. They don’t do any lead generation for their loan officer, they just are a fulfillment house and they hire me, they hire Alec, and I go out there and I work for three years in that market and I crush it. I do a ton of business. All of a sudden, I leave that company or I decided to become a realtor or I leave the industry or whatever it is. I built that company’s brand in that market for them. Because as much as they were associated to Alec, they were associated to the company I worked for that closed the loans. So I built good will, I built brand. This is why supporting personal branding is so self evident to me. Every time you help somebody close a loan, you’re helping your own brand show up in the community like a reliable company, it’s mind blowing. But these things should live in partnership, in partnership. And I kind of pointed that out. Michael, this is a great comment. Uber is a great example, offer a service gather the data that proves its safety, use the reviews and the data. And you become more reliable than a personal relationship. That’s what every single one of these companies is trying to do, 100%. It’s so obvious to me, I hope it’s obvious to you! So, my encouragement, play this game big. Play this game real big, because this game you take with you forever. This game is your digital reputation, your trust with the consumer. This is your piece of the pie, own it, kill it, just thrive in that space. And that’s video, that’s all the stuff we talk about all the time. And at the same time, look back at the corporation you work with and say, are they helping me out on their side? I hope they are. And there’s a lot of great companies that are, and it’s awesome, and they should. That’s the job, this is where this is synergistic. This is where these things play on each other. And again, I’m not talking about the leadership of company XYZ. They could have tremendous leadership and great fulfillment and great flyers and pay you a lot of basis points. Great, they’re checking off boxes all over the place, wonderful to work for. I’m talking about, do they push their company brand forward to help gain trust with you and that shared customer. That’s a box too that they need to check, in my opinion. And so when they do though, you start realizing you’re in it together. You’re on the same street, you’re pulling on the same side of the rope. You’re rowing together in the same canoe in the same direction. That’s where it’s powerful, that’s where you create real change. Brian, who’s just a genius at this stuff. People align with brands, but they align even more with the experience and connection with the people they work with, build your personal brand. It’s a journey. No doubt, it’s a journey. And if a company can come next to you and help you in that process and introduce you to local customers and have hyperlocal or national commercials or air cover so that as you’re out there building your business, the community, the referral partners, the customers are like, you know what? I know that company, I don’t know you yet Alec, but I know what they stand for, I’ve seen some of their stuff. Realtors I’ve closed loans with them before. This is where the power comes to play. Now, I set all that up. I set all that up to land on one final point. Oh, what’s up Shilo. Yes, to land on one final point that I want you to just really burn in your mind. I did a social audit last week on LiveTime. I pulled up a bunch of people’s social media. There was one universal theme, and these were all local pros working for large non-banks. There was one major theme. They didn’t have any of this showing up. They had all of this. They had all company brand on everything and they had none of this. My friends you’re not leveraging the one-two punch. The company brand is great, it should support you, it should enhance you, it should give consumer confidence in you, but you are so much deeper and more powerful when you start to let your own self out at the same time. I saw a lot of corporate banners of just the brands of the company. And I’m like, that’s fine if that’s adding value to you, but where are you in this conversation? Because you matter in this experience, you know what these companies are doing? Can you see what they’re doing? You don’t matter in this world as a local consultative mortgage professional, you don’t matter in this world. But if you show up and you start to lean into your digital community, hang out with them, communicate with them, share your stories, share your messaging. Then all of a sudden you start to bump those brands to the side because now they not only trust maybe the company, but they trust you. That’s the game. It’s a one-two punch. It’s a knockout. It’s not just the brand, the brand, the brand, the brand, the company brand. And it’s not just myself, myself, myself, both those things have to be in congruency, in alignment for it to really be unleashed. I love this comment Scott, they don’t buy brands, they join them, they become them. I used to ask people what do you like about, what do you feel when you see the Amazon logo? And the emotional connection they have to that brand is physically obvious. So you’re right, they become Amazon people. This is my whole point, this is my whole point. If you become, oh Michael’s crushing it too. If you become just the billboard for the corporate brand, you’re missing out on the second punch, the second punch is the value you bring. And you bring incredible value. And if you, for one second, think that your value isn’t there or that you’re new, and you don’t know what your value is. Here’s my favorite part. I’m new, so I don’t have a lot of confidence or I don’t know a lot yet, so I’m just gonna use the corporate branding stuff. Fine, good, well-intentioned, but you know what you else can share? What makes you, you in this business, not your knowledge, but your conviction to serve your customers the best way possible. Conviction sells just as much as product knowledge. So share who you are, share what makes you tick, your heart while you’re in the game. And then as you build knowledge, you can start sharing that part too. But again, the personal brand is personal! You! And don’t ever forget it. Don’t ever forget that you matter and in these companies, you don’t. I’m not, look, that might piss somebody off with those companies, but I’m just saying, I want to leverage your personality in your local community to generate business. And then I’m gonna compliment that from a company perspective, I’m gonna put national commercials on. I’m gonna call every customer in your geography that pushes the button on the internet, and doesn’t call you first. And I’m gonna route them back to you. I’m gonna be in the game with you. That’s the power of this whole thing. So my encouragement for you right now at the end of this little LiveTime, my encouragement for you is when you go look at your own stuff, when you look at your content, when you look at what your messaging out, are you even showing up, do you even exist? If you don’t as a person change that immediately, show the world how amazing you are. Show them your conviction, show them your heart, your personality, show them what you’re about. And then at the same time, don’t ignore the power that this can provide as air coverage. There’s real power here, we just saw it. How many customers are all about these brands? Absolutely, there’s power in brand. And there’s also power in your personal brand and all comes down to trust. And if you’re firing on the same line, if you’re pulling on the same side of the rope, you can do incredible things with your career. If there’s alignment, go out, put the camera on. You guys, this was fun today. Alright so, you can kick out now, but here’s what’s coming on next month, I put a ton of time and effort into next month. We’re gonna be talking about a month long LiveTime series, four part series starting in the first week of September called “Dig In”. And I hear a ton of questions for me personally today about where do I start? Okay, I’m in it, I got you, girl. I got you, I’m coming in. And so I have a series called “Dig In”, which is digital influence the beginning, dig in, get it? Yeah, yeah you got it. You got it. And we’re literally gonna be walked through the playbook on where to start, what platforms to be on, how to grow there. What should I post, when should I post, how should I post? Literally tactical, tactical, tactical for you, a guidebook to help you build digital influence. Dig in with me in September, all month. We’re gonna be rocking through it. And of course, of course, I know that we’re all extremely busy. For all of you guys that have been rocking with me today, I’m so blessed, this is so fun. But for those of you watching this in the future, trust me, it’s okay, I don’t care. I don’t care if you tuned in live with me, I just care that there’s something you learn and act on. And I’m seeing it everywhere, ’cause there’s a lot of great people like Brian Coby and Michael and Josh Pitts who are out there making content to push our industry forward. But we got to show up, because the enemies here, guys, wake up. The enemy has a play that doesn’t involve you, alright? But I think, I think you deserve a seat at the table. Join me in September for Dig In, I hope you guys appreciate it. Peace out everybody! You’ve been amazing today, this has been a blast. I will see you guys on the internet. Have a wonderful, wonderful rest of your week.