In this increasingly noisy world, how do you stand out from the crowd and showcase your value? In today’s episode, Kat Ramirez, the CEO of adBidtise, talks about personal branding and how it helps you elevate your brand. People buy from people, so building that credibility is essential. adBidtise is a woman-owned, veteran-owned, and minority-owned business. Tune in and learn how to create a personal brand that makes you stand out and grow.
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Elevate Yourself With Your Personal Branding With Kat Ramirez
Within your Organization AND in your Industry
Before I get into my very interesting guest, I would like to invite you to see where your presentation skills are by taking our free four-minute assessment at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. That’s where you can see where your presentation skills are strong and where perhaps a little bit of support could get you the results you need and the recognition that you deserve.
My guest is Katherine Ramirez, known as Kat. This is the end of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month or Latinx Heritage Month. Kat is the Founder and CEO of adBidtise. With decades of career and entrepreneurial experience focused on marketing, advertising and sales management, Kat Ramirez offers expertise as a sought-after consultant, mentor, sales trainer, podcaster, speaker, and community leader.
She worked with thousands of businesses all over the world to help them grow and also with individuals to help them with their personal brands. Previously, Kat’s advertising sales experience has covered five major markets with high-profile broadcast television companies. Her previous sales management stops included WDJT, CBS, WYTU Telemundo Wisconsin, ABC, New Mexico, and Tennessee. She launched her career as an Account Manager with Roberts & Russell Advertising Agency, working alongside Leo Burnett and McCann Erickson.
Kat’s company is a woman-owned, veteran-owned, and minority-owned business. She’s known as a leader in the advertising and marketing marketplace. With many years of experience, Kat has also proudly served our country with the United States Air Force. She’s a warm and delightful person. Kat Ramirez, I am happy to have you here. Thank you so much for jumping in to be our guest.
Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
You have a very exciting business. I go through your website and dig. I want every single one of your services. Let’s talk about what you can do for women in corporate. Before we even get to that, I would like to ask you who would be your dream interview. You’ve had all these years in television. You must have thought about it.
It doesn’t even have to be on television. If I think about the momentum that we are a part of, women standing up, having a voice, and equality. There’s so much going on, and layer that with Hispanic Heritage Month. I thought about it with a lot of oomphs into it. The person I would probably love to have lunch with is Sylvia Rivera. If no one knows who she is. She is Hispanic transgender who was one of the first women to stand up and have a voice.
It is appropriate for what I stand for, a lot of the things that I do, and what I’m going to teach people because you’ve got to speak up and be okay with who you are. It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are an expert, a novice, a beginner female, male Hispanic, Black, White or whatever the case may be. Having lunch with her and learning about how she was not afraid to stand up and voice herself.
The reason I wanted to ask you here is for your expertise. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month but I would have you for your expertise anyway. We both work on helping people be seen. You are good at a lot of the visual aspects as well. For women not being seen or recognized, I know you’ve got a story where you hit a glass ceiling. You were in a very visible business. What happened to you when you hit a glass ceiling?
I love telling this story because every time I tell a story when I meet new entrepreneurs, I always have someone else that says, “I have a story like that.” Mine is very relatable because I went into broadcasting, ABC, NBC, CBS, and Telemundo at a very young age. I haphazardly did it. Right out of college, I went into an ad agency, then I went into broadcasting, and I loved it. I drank the Kool-Aid. I was corporate.
For our international readers, Telemundo, if you are not in a country that broadcasts TV and Spanish, it is a major Spanish channel.
Telemundo is everywhere. In that environment, in the US, it is very much a man, and I will even dig a little deeper, a good old boy system in the traditional older White guy world. Regardless, I fell in love with the role. I grew in that role. I was very fortunate early in my career that I joined a company that nurtured me, held my hand, and helped me grow the ranks. They went out of their way to grow with me. They saw value in who I was and invested in me.
At some point, I exhausted my efforts at that company. I went and stretched myself. I said, “I’m going to go with this blue chip company, a way bigger company and a lot more exposure.” They hired me. In that company, I’m probably at the highest rank that I could be, except for the two more positions above me for my career. Many years into this, it came a time when I said, “I’m ready to go pitch myself to the next rank.” I had the support of one of my managers. I did it 5 times and got rejected 5 times.
Do you remember any of the reasons why?
I always tell people it wasn’t a red flag. It was fireworks happening. I had to go to corporate every time in New York. The last time I pitched, the corporate was very candid with me because they had seen me five times. They said, “Do you realize that your boss is not going to recommend you to go to the next level?” To hear that in front of people’s superiors above you in corporate, and you are sitting there at lunch with them, it’s like somebody kicked me in the gut, and I couldn’t speak. It took the wind out of me. All I could do was sit there.
My head was spinning, and I was thinking, “How do you recover? How do you stay strong, poised, and professional and finish this lunch?” I had to finish it with these two people that I was sitting there with. I did. I didn’t cry or fall apart. I kept my composure. When I left there, I was mad and angry. I thought to myself, “I will never ever going to allow anyone to hold me back again.” The person that was my superior, unfortunately, was a female. Later I found out when I quit that role because I got back, waited, and knew I had a strategy and a plan. I wasn’t just going to quit out of the blue. When I did quit, I found out that she even told me, “You make me feel like Pollyanna.”
The silly happy person who doesn’t matter. She is threatened by you.
What I got from it is, “That’s not my problem because you are going to run into it again.” We parted ways, and I then sought out my next venture. I knew it was going to be my last one. In my head, I said, “No more controlling me. I’m going to control my destiny and find the role that’s right for me.” I was in a good disposition because I did have a contract, so I was given a severance. I was very fortunate. A lot of people aren’t so fortunate. I took my time, found the next role, and knew I had a timeframe. I planned out becoming an entrepreneur so I could control my destiny. The next role I loved was at a small TV station in Milwaukee. I was there for almost five years but I did know it was going to end into it.
That’s such a familiar story. Hopefully, we are getting better but every situation is unique, which brings me to the next thing I want to ask you about, which is if being blocked and having people moving against you, especially if there’s a glass ceiling, how do you stand out? How do you become visible? You were mentioning the words personal brand.
This is a great question because I wish I had me as a mentor if I look back. When I talk to people, and we talk about strategy and things they can do to elevate themselves, whether that’s for another role, their business, speaking or whatever the case may be, you are your brand. You need to do what you can with that because that’s never going to go away. Companies and opportunities will come and go but you, your personal brand, and what you have to offer are always going to be there. If you showcase your strengths to the world on a social platform, whatever the case may be or however you are going to showcase it, then you are going to showcase it with your pride.You are your personal brand. You need to do what you can with that because that will never go away. Click To Tweet
You are going to have your toolkit of these things that you are collecting so that you have a very good brand. If you think about businesses and salespeople or any of those things, people buy from people. It has a major effect. If you think about your personal brand, it is more than just you at your corporation. It’s you whenever you are positioning yourself for a director’s role, being a volunteer or having someone reach out to you as a mentor.
Speaking at an industry event.
There are many things. People love seeing people who can captivate an audience, carry themselves with authority, and have confidence in what they speak and in all the things that they are knowledgeable in. This is all part of your brand. You pick and choose the one that you are going to capitalize on because there are many things that you can do with a personal brand.
A personal brand is a term it has been around for a while. Can you give us an example? Give us a story of someone who has done that, even you.
I can use myself as a great point of reference. I can also use a few people out there that are great points of reference but it depends on if people know them. One great example is Gary Vee. Gary Vaynerchuk is an influencer in marketing. He started out working for his father at his vineyard, marketing the wine, the vineyard, and he did such a great job that he created his own ad agency. His ad agency then took off.
He started promoting himself as a brand. That’s what you hear more of, Gary Vanderchuck. You don’t hear about his agency, more so. You hear about him. If you are going to do some marketing, you are reaching out to Gary, not the company. That’s a great example of somebody who used the personal brand to overpower his business and anything else. People know Gary as the marketing guru.
First of all, he was also very smart, and no one ever spells his name right, especially in the beginning when he wasn’t such a big force. Calling himself Gary Vee, using the initial makes perfect sense. I wonder if he has trademarked that. Probably, he has. What if you’ve got someone who says, “That’s right but I don’t want to be a superstar. I don’t want to be that big a brand. How would this make sense to me as someone who wants to do a good job?”
The dynamics are that everyday people like you and I are not going to have the audience he has. Maybe he allowed and was obnoxious sometimes. Some people will gravitate to that. He has nuances that attract the audience that he attracts. It’s how you position yourself when you do your own brand marketing. I’m more of a laid-back person. Here’s another great story of my personal branding and how you put it out there. I use the social platforms that I’m most comfortable with.
I use LinkedIn and Facebook. Those are my favorites. I’m comfortable with it. I had a friend one time, reach out to me. This is a great story because this might happen to somebody. She goes, “I love your marketing minutes. They are awesome. I love all the things you are teaching us. You need to be a little more professional. I don’t like the way you come across. People are not going to take you seriously.”
I took it with a grain of salt. I thought about it and chewed on it because she emailed me this. I messaged her back and thanked her for reaching out, tuning in, and listening to me. I apologetically said, “I left Corporate America because I was told what to do and how to do it. I had an image and a brand that I had to maintain and keep. Now I’m an entrepreneur, and I have my own personal brand. I feel most comfortable doing that because I feel authentic and real. I feel like this is me. I don’t want to put on a show because it won’t be the real me.”Be authentic, and don't put on a show because it won't be the real you. Click To Tweet
It’s a balancing act. I remember back in the early ‘90s watching some of the male directors. I was one of the early female directors in operas of regional opera. Watching the guys who were becoming big stars by losing their tempers. People used to say, “You should be loud more. Look at him. He loses his temper. He yells and screams. Everybody loves that.” I tried it a couple of times. It was absolute acting.
It was not who I was. I finally said, “That’s not my nature,” plus, people will accept a man losing his temper and shouting but they won’t take it from a woman, certainly not in the early ‘90s. It wasn’t what I Was good at. I do remember trying a few times, and that backfired. It turned around and hit me back. You’ve got to live enough to know who you are.
Let’s talk a little bit about corporate because people who create a personal brand do have to be careful to the sense of, “Can you be too crazy?” You can’t. You have to have some boundaries. It doesn’t mean you have to be fake or that you have to put on errors. It just means that you got to be careful about your Ps and Qs. Corporate is not going to care if you are voicing and shouting on the rooftops the whole regime of what they are about. Let’s say HR.You've got to be okay with who you are. Click To Tweet
If you work in HR and you are trying to make a stand for yourself, stand out in HR, get those speaking gigs, and things like that, if you come on social media, you did a video or a podcast, and you are very emphatic about HR. As long as you know your Ps and Qs and being the expert that you are, you are right on target for creating that personal brand. It doesn’t mean you must be a Gary Vee and do crazy things. There are a lot of crazy people that put content out there. You don’t have to do those things. It doesn’t have to be a show. It can be very confined and professional.
It still needs to be something that you care about because if you are going to build a personal brand, you’ve got to be able to live with it.
Here’s the thing about it. I will always say, “People can sniff that out. They can tell when you are passionate about someone.” Whenever I talk about marketing people always, I circle back around and say, “I can tell you love what you do because I can feel and see it. I can feel that energy spark in your eyes when you talk about it and your elevated voice.” Those are all senses that people get, especially if it’s an audio or video form. If you write a blog or write about your expertise, the same thing. People can feel it and know that although the senses are better.
What you see and hear is good. Let’s talk a little bit about developing your material. There’s someone who says, “I’m invisible.” The other thing about building a personal brand is that that’s how you stand out from the crowd. You are just not one of those faceless workers, the worker B, who looks like all the other worker Bs and mostly who gets taken for granted. I work with a lot of people who are problem solvers and are completely ignored by their company because of the department where things do not go wrong. How can we develop material to talk about?
This is a great question because this is a problem a lot of people have. I think back to the old days when I used to email my clients if I came across an article it was very compelling about a new marketing strategy or something. I would email that article to all my clients and say, “Here’s a great article that I want to share with you because.” I was building my credibility via email. Had I used social media as people use it nowadays? I would use that content and find the article, post it on my social media and say, “Here’s a great article that I found that is beneficial, and here are some three takeaways.”
It’s a great example of why and how you would share content because you want to educate. You want to offer something of value. When you can educate your audience and offer that value, you elevated yourself, and you are gaining respect. That’s what you want. You want that exchange rate. You don’t want to just post to post because that’s not going to do anything to anybody. If you are posting generic content that doesn’t do any value to you, it doesn’t help you. You have to be very strategic.When you can educate your audience and offer that value, you elevate yourself and gain respect. Click To Tweet
Strategic means you come up with a content calendar. You figure out on Mondays, “What am I going to post on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays?” You have to have a strategy. Now that you have created these themes for these days, you are able to sit at your desk and come up with content. It doesn’t take you hours and hours. Sometimes it still will but it doesn’t take you hours. You have a theme, a rhythm, and a cadence.
People are creatures of habit. If you are going to create this cadence, this theme, it is going to benefit you because, at the end of the day, what you are doing is you are grooming your audience and letting them know, “Every Monday, I’m going to motivate you. Every Tuesday, I will give you one tip on how you can elevate your business or yourself every week. Wednesdays, I’m going to talk about this article or a blog, something that I found that’s going to be beneficial to you to help you out in your business, your role or whatever you are doing. Thursday, I’m going to find somebody credible or influential that you should follow. I’m going to talk about them and share their voice with you. Fridays, I’m going to go look for some workshops that you should attend, and I’m going to advise you.”
How you have to see it is if your social media and any place that you are putting yourself out there, and I like to use LinkedIn as a great form of reference because that is the business baby. You have to think about that if you are talking to someone every day and offering them these little nuggets so that they gravitate to you, start to respect you, and follow you because, let’s say that someone loves the little free workshops that you are sharing, that you are like, “Thanks for sharing that one. I attended it, and it was great. It’s a virtual way of building this tribe that you want.”
One of the things that I often do with my clients is to help them develop the content. If you want a 92nd video or content, and you talk about it, the first question is, how do I figure out what I want to talk about? Secondly, how do I find the time if I’m in a full-time job where I’m in meetings from 8:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night, 6 days a week?
Let’s answer the first question, “How do you figure out the content that you want to talk about? What is it that you want to position yourself as? What is it that you want to compel people with?” Let’s say that you are in the HR arena. You love it, and you want to speak more publicly. You want to be in a lot more conferences, workshops, and all of these types of events where they hire you as a speaker or an expert. You are going to focus on HR and make the content calendar and different facets every day of HR. You are going to build on that. If you do a video, you will parlay that in your content calendar.
One of those elements will be your video. Let’s say your video will be the tips. That will be yours. You are going to give one fact, maybe. There are lots of HR facts that you can find out there. You can talk about that and relate that to people. You can make a quick video, talk about the tip, and then relate it to people because you got to relate it for people to understand it. If you are exhausting yourself on tips for those 92nd videos, another thing you could do is you can talk about case studies. Video is great for you to ingest some information, and then you are going to summarize it, deliver it and give it to somebody so that you educate them and teach them about something.
One of the things that I often have my clients do is, if you don’t know where to start, get together with a couple of friends in a bottle of wine and complain. What are the problems that you see in your organization or industry that annoy you? You do it for each other and then say, “What can we do about it?” That’s like the grain of sand that will create the pearl. You are allowed to have one night of complaining and as many bottles of wine as you want and then go back and say, “What should we do instead? How do we fix it?”
A strategy I use that’s similar to yours when I create my personal content for my social brand is, I listen to the challenges in every one of my discovery calls with clients. I pick those off. That’s the laundry list of my content for the future because anybody is not alone. If 1 person or 2 people are having that challenge, I promise you hundreds of others are.Everybody’s not alone. If one or two people are having a challenge, hundreds of others are, too. Click To Tweet
That’s what I do with my Wednesday broadcast. You have to train your brain but after a while, you begin to say, “That would be a good broadcast. It will take me a little bit. Now I’m going to talk about that for five minutes on Wednesday.” How do you find the time to do this? It sounds like a lot of effort.
Time is a major thing.
Can we get help?
Time is a big factor here. Here are some things that you have to think about when you think about time, and then what are your options? Time is valuable. If you are in a corporate position and already working 10 or 12-hour days, time is valuable to you, especially if you have a family. You don’t want to give that up. You can try it on your own for a while. If you feel like you’ve exhausted yourself and spent the wheels, don’t do it anymore. Now it’s time to hire someone. There are many opportunities or ways to hire someone. You could hire a VA or Virtual Assistant that you are going to be expected to train because a virtual assistant is not necessarily going to know your business or what to pose, so you are going to have to train them.
You can hire an independent social media manager, somebody that’s all they do, and have maybe a handful of clients, and that’s it. That’s all they do. You can hire an agency that does it. An agency is going to have a little more opportunity to have tools and be well-versed because they’ve worked with lots of different businesses in different categories.
The other thing that you will have to evaluate is pricing. Don’t assume that the independent is cheaper because, a lot of times, agencies that do it for multiple businesses buy all the tools and are able to price it a little more efficiently. Whereas the one-man person has to buy their own tools and has to supply them to their handful of clients. Be very careful. The one thing that you have to understand when you hire someone is that you have to like them and get to know each other.
It’s a partnership.
They are in it with you. They are holding your hand, letting you know, and guiding you. They are directing you on what they need to facilitate. You should not have to do very much because they are doing all the heavy lifting.
They are there to make you look good. You’ve got to get used to each other and figure out what will work. I have three virtual assistants. One of them does nothing but create images for my social media. If you go to my LinkedIn, you will see all these wonderful little images. She’s the one who says, “We are getting a little tired but what else could we talk about?” She does the graphics for me, which is great because I hate to make graphics.
To review, create your personal brand, and work with someone else because no one should ever have to try to tell their own story. You are going to be too close to it. Work with a partner. One of the things we do in the visible and valued masterminds is have living mirrors. People who can reflect back to you and maybe if you are discounting yourself, say, “That’s good what you did.”
Invest in getting help. At the very beginning of my business, when I was doing it on a shoestring, I thought, “Why should I be paying someone else for this?” When I consider how much faster people like you are than I am, especially since I told you I hate graphics, if I can get someone else to do the graphics for me, hooray. At my hourly rate, the hours I would spend trying to do it myself are so much more. If I were paying myself to do it, it could be more than paying someone else who does it for a living and loves it.
The one thing that you said is that a lot of people have a problem talking about themselves on social media. I love that you pointed that out because when you hire someone, they are going to do the best job of pointing out all the great things that you do and putting you on a pedestal to show that you are this shining light. I always tell people when we do that for them, don’t read your social media every day because I get people who say, “Stop talking about me.” I’m like, “You got to stop looking at your post because that is how you brand yourself.”
There is so much more to talk about. We never said the name of your company.
It’s adBidtise and #SocialBuzz.
Katherine “Kat” Ramirez at adBidtise, Thank you so much for being a guest on the show.
Thank you, Elizabeth. This was fun.
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About Katherine Ramirez
Katherine Ramirez, Founder and CEO of adBidtise,With nearly three decades of career and entrepreneurial experience focused on Marketing, Advertising, and Sales Management, Kat Ramirez offers expertise as a sought-after Consultant, Mentor, Sales Trainer, Podcaster, Speaker, and Community Leader. Kat has worked with thousands of businesses all over the world to help them grow.
Previously, Kat’s advertising sales experience has covered five major markets with high-profile broadcast television companies. Her previous Sales Management stops included: WDJT CBS, WYTU Telemundo WI, KETV ABC, WBUW WI, KWBQ/KASY New Mexico, and WBXX-TV TN. She launched her career as an Account Manager with Roberts and Russell, Inc. Advertising Agency, working along-side Leo Burnett and McCann Erickson.
Kat is a woman-owned, veteran-owned, and minority-owned business leader in the advertising and marketing marketplace. With over 30 years of experience – Kat has proudly served our country with the United States Air Force.