5 ways to dial up for LinkedIn profile
Episode 007

Episode 7: Personal Branding with Carlii Lyon

by Gillian Fox

Listen To The Full Episode:

So let me ask you…When you think about yourself professionally….

How would other people describe you? Would it be flattering? Inspiring? Would it make your day or ruin your day? It’s a provocative question…

We all have a reputation and today we are exploring your personal brand with the brilliant Carlii Lyon.

You are listening to Your Brilliant Career. I’m your host, Gillian Fox executive coach, women’s career expert, and entrepreneur. The podcast that teaches you how to get the most out of your career. We talk tactics, tools, and stories that all help incredible women like you achieve the success you deserve. If you want to learn more about how to create the brilliant career you’ve always wanted, I encourage you to check out the RISE Program. It’s my four-month career development program. Through a combination of individual executive coaching sessions and group workshops, you’ll discover how to overcome obstacles, create opportunities and reach new heights in your career.

Hello and welcome to the show. Can you believe we are already in March? What happened?

This is a big month for us as we launch our first RISE program for the year. Always so much fun. I love meeting the group of women in that first session and then really getting to know them in the coaching process.

We also have other things happening, such as launching corporate in-organisation programs this month, and I am speaking at several events. Mostly thanks to International Women’s Day – so lots of things happening. It’s a fantastic time for us – I hope it is for you too.

Now we all have a reputation. Like it or not. The very wealthy Jeff Bezos from Amazon famously said: Our brand is what other people say about us when we’re not in the room.

It’s an interesting statement, right? So here is my question to you: Do you know what people say about you?

Today, we have an extraordinary guest – Carlii Lyon, who will help you understand your personal brand and how you can evolve it to support future success.

This is Carlii’s passion, her expertise, and her gift.

Somehow, she makes this subject – personal branding – so exciting and achievable.

My goal is for you today is to take away some very practical tips and insights, so try new things and see how they impact your reputation, and the way people respond to you.

Gillian Fox:

Carlii, hello. It is wonderful to have you here. How are you?

Carlii Lyon:

I am very well, and it’s lovely to be here. Thank you for having me, Gillian.

Gillian Fox:

Carlii, I am delighted that you’re here because I want us to break down why personal branding is so important to women, particularly when it comes to their career. But I always sense that people don’t fully understand what a personal brand is and how it can help them. So, maybe we can start there, and you can explain that to us.

Carlii Lyon:

Yeah, I think you’ve touched on something that’s firstly so important. Well, there are two things you touched on. Definitely and stereotypically, women are not as good at putting themselves out there and allowing themselves to be seen and heard. That’s one thing that I’ve also identified now that I’m out in the marketplace speaking to professional women.

Carlii Lyon:

And then secondly, there is an element of confusion around what actually is a personal brand and what’s involved in shaping a personal brand, because it is really such a big topic.

Carlii Lyon:

Often, when I go into a room and I start saying, “Oh, I’m a personal branding coach.” Someone will say to me, “Oh, well, I’m not wearing my best outfit today. Or I should have had my hair done”. Whereas, yes, okay, your visual identity is a part of your personal brand, but it’s certainly not the whole picture when it comes to your personal brand. So, it is a really, really big topic.

Carlii Lyon:

Where do you start? I think the first and the most important step and idea to start with when it comes to personal branding is not just what you do, it’s who you are. So really, your personal brand is a reflection of who you are as an individual. And I often define it as being how you are recognised and remembered, but not just on the layer of what you look like and what you do, but also on the layer of how you make people feel when they’re in your space and when they encounter you.

Gillian Fox:

I often think about it as someone’s reputation. In cultivating a personal brand like, “What do we want to be known for? How do we want people to experience us in a professional business environment?” Where does one start, Carlii? In thinking about how to develop a personal brand, what can you do? Where do you start with all of this?

Carlii Lyon:

Yeah. Look, the first and most important step is to start with the end in mind. I often will say that personal branding is not a short-term activity, it’s a long-term mindset. So, starting with the end in mind, what that means is really getting clear around where you ultimately want to go. What does that future self-look like?

Carlii Lyon:

Because what you want all of your personal branding activity and energy to be doing is to be leading you toward where you want to go. Really getting clarity around, what does your future-self look like in five years’ time? What is he or she doing? In this case, we’re talking to professional women. What is she doing? What does she look like? What does she sound like? Who’s in her network? What is she known for?

Carlii Lyon:

All of these things, getting clarity around that is the first step. And obviously, knowing that, that will evolve and change as you go along. But once you are really clear about where you want to go, that provides you with an opportunity to have a litmus test on, “Okay. Well, if that’s where I ultimately want to go, does it make sense that I’m out in the world showing up in this way? Am I talking about the things that are leading me to where I want to go? Am I spending time with the people that are going to help me and open doors to the path of where I want to go?” So, starting with the end in mind is the first step.

Gillian Fox:

Share with us how you landed in this space. Helping people build their brands and communicating their brands effectively. What made you realise why this is so important to people?

Carlii Lyon:

I started in PR at the young age of 22. I’m effectively unemployable. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel at heart and just knew I couldn’t work for someone, so went to college and decided to work for myself. I launched my PR consultancy at 22. What that looked like for the next decade was me traveling internationally and representing high profile individuals.

Carlii Lyon:

In that time, I represented a supermodel, an economist, a foot reader, lot different speakers, business leaders. I always specialised in individual branding, and I loved that. I was really the person that took an individual, looked at what they wanted to do in the world, looked at how they wanted to show up in the world and made it happen. I got them into the media, I got them on stages. I initiated their publishing deals, etcetera, etcetera.

Carlii Lyon:

Then it wasn’t until I went on extended maternity leave that I realised in all of that time, I hadn’t done anything to build my own personal brand.

Gillian Fox:

How interesting.

Carlii Lyon:

Being the person that was out in the world, building these personal brands and recognising the power of personal branding, I still hadn’t applied that to myself. And really, when I reflected on why that was the case, it came down to a lack of confidence and also fear of what other people would say or think about me if I had proactively shaped my personal brand.

Carlii Lyon:

Knowing that, that was something that I was going through and had been through, but yet I was armed with all of the knowledge around how to build a personal brand, I thought, “Well, I don’t want to go back to just being in PR and doing what I was doing. Perhaps I can package this all up and turn it into a service”.

Carlii Lyon:

Initially, I only worked with women because I really did see that there was more of a need. I have started to work with men as well, because really at the heart of what I’m doing is empowering people to be seen and heard. And whether you’re a male or female, it doesn’t really matter to me. What matters to me is that I believe everyone has something to say, everyone has something to contribute.

Carlii Lyon:

Because of the rise of social media, the idea of personal branding has become more and more part of what we have to do. As executives and as entrepreneurs, the marketplace demands that we have that level of transparency and that when somebody Googles you, they’ll be able to find you.

Carlii Lyon:

So, it’s forced people to think about, “Okay, who am I? And what do I stand for? And how can I sum that up in 140 characters or less?” As much as I didn’t like what social media stood for in the beginning, I’ve started to realise the power of it and the gift that it’s given to all of us, because it’s forced us to question. “Who am I? What do I stand for? And how am I showing up?” I think that these are really valuable lines of inquiry that we perhaps didn’t really consider before as much as we are now.

Gillian Fox:

Carlii, do you think you have to be an extrovert or daring to have a compelling personal brand? A lot of big personalities have memorable brands, but what about if you are more naturally introverted?

Carlii Lyon:

It’s such a great question, because firstly, I’m an introvert and I know that I’m an introvert. I think I’ve confided in you before. If I go out and do a talk, I’ll need to be in my polka dot pyjamas for a few hours afterwards recovering from that talk.

Carlii Lyon:

Yes, that was always my excuse. “Oh, I don’t want to be the centre of attention. I don’t want to be putting myself out there because I’m an introvert”. And I believe it’s Susan Cain who wrote the incredible book, Quiet, who said that introverts are capable of putting themselves out there when they are doing work that’s of value. And I’m paraphrasing, but that was the essence of the quote.

Carlii Lyon:

I think you certainly don’t need to be an extrovert to have a big personal brand. In fact, I did write an article about this and I’m just trying to remember the high-profile individuals that I listed as being introverted, because I know Bill Gates was one of them. There were a few others. These are people that will go on record saying, “I’m introverted”. But yet, when they’re on stage or when they’re doing what they’re doing, they’re capable of coming out of their shell to do the work that they want to do and to make the contribution impact that they want to make. But they know that ultimately, they’ll still prefer being in their own company as opposed to being at a party and doing lots of small talk. In answer to your question, no, you don’t need to be extroverted to shape and cultivate a powerful personal brand.

Gillian Fox:

Carlii, does personal style and dress help women to build stronger brands? You always look absolutely fantastic. But how important is it for most women, particularly in thinking about cultivating a good career?

Carlii Lyon:

Look, I think it’s important for men and women. And at the end of the day, even if we were really honest with ourselves and we took a backseat. When we’re meeting people, we took a backseat in our own minds and really looked at how we judge other people. And if we’re really honest with ourselves, we are summing people up on appearances. That’s just part and parcel. I think the stat is when you meet someone in person, Gillian, you might know this. The first impression, is it seven seconds in person?

Gillian Fox:

I think it’s 11 assumptions about them in the first seven seconds. There’s nothing judgmental about us. Yeah.

Carlii Lyon:

Yeah, exactly. You’ve got even a smaller window online in terms of when someone looks at your profile image, I think it’s 2.8 seconds. That appearance factor, whether we like to admit it or not, and for men and women, it applies, it is important. And you do need, as they say, dress for the job that you want.

Carlii Lyon:

It does play a part. It’s actually part of owning your story. If you look at yourself as though you’re a vehicle for the message that you want to deliver and for the value you want to offer, if you just see yourself as a vehicle, then how you dress and package that vehicle up is part of the picture of owning your story. What do you want your outfit to say about you? It is absolutely part of the personal branding process.

Carlii Lyon:

There’s also some interesting research around what we wear has a direct impact on our psychological processes. There’s an idea around enclothed cognition. And there was a really interesting research study done around that, whereas the symbolic meaning we give to the clothing that we’re wearing, how that impacts how we feel and not only how we feel, but also how we think.

Carlii Lyon:

So, not only looking at what you’re wearing on the visual identity front, and like I said, what story is that outfit telling the outside world, but also looking at from the perspective of what is this outfit, how is it making you feel? What story is it telling yourself about who you are? I think it is very important.

Carlii Lyon:

Research also suggests from a personal profile shot that it has a dramatic impact on your perceived levels of likability, influence, and credibility. When it comes to influence, the one marker that they saw in terms of what is shaping that perception of influence is actually the styling. The more formal your outfit is, the more influence you’re perceived to have.

Carlii Lyon:

So, whether that’s right or wrong, good or bad, especially in the world that we’re living in now where there’s this whole narrative of being more authentic, showing up as yourself and changing the face of what professional means. I still think formal doesn’t necessarily have to be stiff and corporate. Formal is just about putting something together in a really nice way that suits your body, suits your colouring and suits your energy.

Gillian Fox:

What sort of tips or insights can you share with us when it comes to LinkedIn?

Carlii Lyon:

It’s so interesting, because I always say, “if you want to see a really super talented and smart executive get scared, just tell them they have to post something personal on LinkedIn”. It’s so true, and this applies to my clients who’re at the top of their games, they’ve got the role, title. They’ve got everything going for them, but the idea of posting on LinkedIn is just terrifying to them.

Carlii Lyon:

What happens in that process is when someone goes to post on LinkedIn, or to start to have more of a presence on LinkedIn, they somehow think that they’ve got to be someone else in order to come across as professional and as really put together. As a result, what they end up posting and what they end up putting out there, it’s just so vanilla. Their ‘about’ section is just full of corporate jargon. The way they post is just so dry and top line. There’s no storytelling. There’s no conversation. There’s no personalisation.

Carlii Lyon:

My biggest tip for LinkedIn is to not go on there and get into the mindset of resume like it was 10 years ago. It’s not your online resume anymore. That’s gone. It has had its renaissance. It’s changed. The world has changed. It really is about allowing someone to connect with who you are as an individual.

Carlii Lyon:

What you want to be doing is to really show up as yourself. Let people gain some insight into what is your conversational tone. Are you more serious and deeper, meaningful? Or are you more playful, and fun, and outgoing? Let people get a taste of who you are.

Carlii Lyon:

I just remembered as I was saying that I had a client of mine who she really recognised that she had to start putting herself out there more proactively on LinkedIn. When I started coaching her, she said, “I just get so nervous because ultimately I’m reaching out. I want to reach out to CEOs. I want to attract CEOs, and I want to make sure that the material that I put out there is really intelligent, and it has that formal tone to it”. And I said, “Is that because you are trying to reach CEO?” And she said yes. And I said, “Okay, let’s just work on this for a second”. I said, “How many CEOs do you know and work with currently?” And she said, “Oh, I’ve got a really good relationship with about six or seven, and I work really closely with them”.

Carlii Lyon:

And I said, “Okay, great. How many of those CEO are very corporate and formal, and your relationship is very top line?” And she’s like, “None”. And I said, “So why is it that you automatically assume, because someone has the role of CEO that, that’s the kind of vibe that they’re going to be attracted to?”

Carlii Lyon:

And that is one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they project what they think that person in that role is going to be like, and it’s most of the time not like that at all. So, then they shape shift themselves and that they don’t show up as themselves, and then they’re not attracting the right people if that makes sense. The biggest piece of advice is really, yes, of course, you can still be professional. Yes, you can still show up as your best self, but show up as yourself on LinkedIn.

Gillian Fox:

Yeah. Brilliant, Carlii. What a wonderful brief – show up as yourself. The other points that have struck me today are back yourself and put yourself out there. And this requires dialling up the bravery. Also, and I found this very interesting, personal branding is a long-term game. It is not exclusively available to the extraverts.  Love this. We introverts Carlii can cultivate powerful brands too. And dress and style is hugely important but our personal brand is more far reaching than that. It is communicated through everything we do from social to the way we make people feel. Cultivating a great professional brand is clearly an investment in ourselves.

Carlii Lyon:

Yep. Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s a quote I read that said, “If you can work for someone else for eight hours, you can work two hours for yourself”. Your personal brand is about being in the business of being yourself. And like you would approach your professional role; you do need to approach your personal branding professionally and start to recognise that it’s all about being in the business of being yourself.

Gillian Fox:

Carlii, it has been a pleasure and a delight to have you here today. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insights.

Carlii Lyon:

Thank you much.

Gillian Fox:

And we’ll see you very soon.

Carlii Lyon:

Absolutely. Thank you so much, Gillian.

Gillian Fox:

Okay, well that’s a wrap today. I’m excited to see what you will do with your personal brand. Have a great few weeks. And I’ll see you in the next episode

Thanks so much for listening to today’s podcast. If you’re enjoying what you’re learning on the podcast, sign up for our free training session on how to land your next promotion. This course is going to give you a close look at the three reasons why people don’t land their next promotion and what you can do differently to ensure you succeed. I think you’ll love it. Head over to yourbrilliantcareer.com.au/land-your-promotion. If you want some inspiration and tips during the week, join us on Instagram, Gillian Fox Group. I look forward to seeing you there.

Share This

Related Posts

Menu