Make Your Brands Consistently You

5 min read

Brand building never takes a holiday. Like it or not, someone always watches what you do professionally or personally. Your brand mic is always hot no matter where you venture or build relationships.

A trio of outgoing experts — David Rhodes, Scott Eddy and Chelsea Krost — took on the highs, lows and pitfalls of brand building that never goes on vacation.

Krost is a Top 20 millennial marketing strategist, coach, LinkedIn instructor and global speaker. An award-nominated storyteller, speaker and consultant, Rhodes stays busy with video as a travel vlogger. Eddy is the host of the TV travel show, Video Globetrotter.

Brand building, travel and relationships all require you to learn and observe,” Krost said.

Indeed, travel lets you reach out to create friendships that reinforce the breadth and depth of your brand.

“Traveling gave me a global perspective,” Eddy said. “It taught me how to build brands across different cultures, to different demographics. As for relationships, the people you meet along the way on your travels are usually like-minded. Those relationships last a lifetime.”

The combination of brand building, travel and relationships mandate public imaging.

“Be willing to put yourself out there,” Rhodes said. “You can’t be afraid to make that call, send that message or try something new. Otherwise, you’re only holding yourself back.

“Travel lets you break out of your comfort zone and puts you in position to meet people you usually wouldn’t meet,” he said. “Use this to your advantage.”

Travel lets you spread the word about your brand — corporately and personally.

“All of these things will help you to not only build your people skills, but will help you better understand others,” Rhodes said. “That is so important when building meaningful relationships.”

Unplug and reboot

Varied mixes will produce different results.

“It depends on what you’re building,” Eddy said. “Traveling definitely gives you a new perspective, a fresh outlook. Sometimes it’s nice to travel to a place where you will be completely disconnected. Then when you come back, your outlook will be completely reset.”

Going from place to place has immediate benefits.

“Brand building, traveling and meeting new people helps you grow as a person,” Krost said. “With each new experience, you learn valuable lessons and open doors to more opportunities. Exposure, experience and relationships are the ultimate trifecta for brand building.

“Travel is a great way to connect with your online audience in person,” she said. “When heading to a destination or conference, plan a meetup to connect with your network. Having true face time is the best way to further establish the relationships that could lead to collaborations.”

When traveling or feeding the inner travel junkie, capturing content is crucial.

“Many new places provide great photo opportunities,” Krost said. “Look for eye-catching murals, beautiful landscapes and unique attractions to capture. Make it a moment, and capture a visual feast. These pictures are the ones that will perform best on visual platforms such as Instagram.”

Eddy also chases the photo bug.

“I love that perfect shot, that perfect angle,” he said. “Social media is just a tool to showcase it. I look at destinations through my eyes, not the eyes of the media.

“My favorite is going to a place that CNN is throwing under the bus, to show the world how amazing it is,” he said.

Great cuisine spices up pictorials.

“I love food, landscapes, culture, people, everything, anything,” Rhodes said. “When traveling, there is endless content to capture.”

Capitalize on professional and personal brands by combining business with pleasure. Knowing that the brand mic is always hot helps keep everything in sync.

You are your personal brand,” Krost said. “Organically, your adventures are relevant to who you are, what you do and what you can share with your audience.

“Every professional benefits from sharing purely personal experiences, milestones and interests to attract like-minded people,” she said.

Draw the line

Fully incorporated, travel becomes a marketing tool.

“You can always find ways to make travel part of your brand,” Rhodes said. “Focus on what interests you most about traveling — whether it be food, activities and so on — and reach out to places to connect those dots.

“Only you can determine what your personal and professional brands are, but why not make them one in the same,” he said. “Be consistently you.”

Eddy readily finds the perfect blend.

“There isn’t a wall between my personal and business life,” he said. “I have made my brand very personal. It’s all about developing new relationships — connecting those dots — while on adventures. I try hard to grow my brand and meet new people when I’m traveling.”

Traveling and gaining new experiences can inspire personally and professionally.

“I’m inspired most by creating and sharing adventures and experiences,” Rhodes said. “My focus is to create content. That drives me to want to try new things and create stories that help people experience it with me.

“Experiencing new cultures is always exciting as well,” he said. “Immersing yourself in something completely different and new really opens your mind to things even if you have seen them before.”

That is especially true when immersed in the culture.

“I like enjoying it with locals,” Eddy said, thinking of return on investment. “If I can engage with locals, it’s a win-win. The R in ROI stands for relationships. The more you make — especially when traveling — the more you win.”

Overall, getting about is an entrepreneurial plus.

“Traveling has given me exposure, experience, motivation, gratitude and inspiration in absolutely every facet of my business,” Krost said. “Each new location — whether it was Africa, Peru, Malaysia or Greece — has stayed with me forever and shaped me along the way.”

Conference insights

Her travel inspirations include the food, people, nature and landscape, activities and entertainment. Krost’s professional inspirations come from conferences, workshops, networking opportunities, brand collaborations, content to be captured and new learning insights.

“For those who can’t travel a lot due to a busy lifestyle and heavy workload, I highly suggest looking into what we like to call a staycation,” she said. “Sometimes going to a local hotel or resort is just what you need for a little relaxation.”

Often, the mere exposure to travel can enhance a brand. Seeing how people live in less fortunate parts of the world and yet are seemingly happy brings new appreciation for what you have, making your personal brand more valuable.

“Traveling has enhanced my brand because it allows for so much more content creation,” Rhodes said. “I’m always most creative when traveling. Mainly it’s because I feel like if I’m sitting around doing nothing I’m wasting my time there.

“Traveling can also enhance your brand because it puts you in a position to have face-to-face meetings with people you may have only spoken to online,” he said. “Once you meet someone in person, it strengthens and builds the relationship so much more.”

A radical, unexpected change of scenery has startling results.

“After being in investment banking for 10 years, the best thing that happened was the owners coming out of the office one day saying they sold the firm,” Eddy said. “I went on a trip overseas that changed my life. Boom! I lived in six countries for 17 years. I just came back a few years ago.”

Risk-taking revelations

Permanent personal and professional changes sprout from unexpected sources.

“While hosting my first radio show, I organized a mission trip to Africa in 2009 on behalf of feminine hygiene care,” Krost said. “The documentary created from this trip is what led to my ‘Millennial Spokesperson’ agreement with U by Kotex. This trip changed my life and brand forever.

“Sometimes the most beautiful results, impact or relationships happen from passion projects, thinking outside the box and taking risks personally and professionally,” she said.

In many instances, social media lets people form and maintain new relationships throughout their travels.

“I try to meet new people and local people everywhere I go,” Eddy said. “I stay active engaging on local hashtags on a daily basis.”

Online exchanges regularly transcend traditional contacts.

“Social media is the ultimate communication tool nowadays,” Rhodes said. “It connects you to people all over the world. One of the best experiences is when you finally get to meet that online friend you’ve known for years. It really strengthens the relationship.

“On the flip side, sometimes you meet people while traveling and then start following them,” he said. “The next thing you know you’re keeping up with their adventures, too. It keeps you connected.”

That has helped greatly during Krost’s latest travels.

“Within the past 10 years I lived in three different states plus did all tons of travel for work engagements,” she said. “It never feels like goodbye when you meet new people or move because you now have social media to help stay connected and involved in each others’ lives.”

Fend off burnout

Amid travel, weighing work and life can be a challenge. Work-life balance is more than a catchphrase. You need to keep both in perspective to fend off burnout and enjoy the only life you’ll have on and off the job.

“Try to make time for yourself,” Rhodes said. “I often feel guilty if I’m not doing something, but over time I’ve allowed myself to take those brief downtime moments. It’s easy to burn out. Your mental health is more important than anything else.”

One prescription for success boils down to focus.

“When traveling, I get so much done because we can really shut ourselves out from the world and just zone in the task,” Krost said. “I find writing content and copy and catching up on emails and scheduling are great to tackle when on a long plane ride.”

Jim Katzaman Jim Katzaman is a manager at Largo Financial Services. A writer by trade, he graduated from Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He enlisted in the Air Force and served for 25 years in public affairs – better known in the civilian world as public relations. He also earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Public Affairs. Since retiring, he has been a consultant and in the federal General Service as a public affairs specialist. He also acquired life and health insurance licenses, which resulted in his present affiliation with Largo Financial Services. In addition to expertise in financial affairs, he gathers the majority of his story content from Twitter chats. This has led him to publish about a wide range of topics such as social media, marketing, sexual harassment, workplace trends, productivity and financial management. Medium has named him a top writer in social media.

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