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How to Grow Your Credibility outside of Just Doing the Work: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Mar 05, 2024

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

In this episode, we’re talking how to grow your credibility outside of just doing the work. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

  • Episode Summary & Player
  • Show Notes
  • Marketing Smarts Summary
  • Transcript

Marketing Smarts: How to Grow Your Credibility outside of Just Doing the Work

The misconception you can keep your head down, do work, and be noticed is simply not a thing. We’ve all heard it: “No one is going to manage your career for you.” And it’s so true! Growing your credibility comes down to building advocates at all levels, becoming a craftsman of your trade, becoming a student of strategy, and cultivating your personal brand. Let’s make that credibility blossom. This episode covers everything from credibility to strategy. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you grow your credibility outside of just doing the work?
  • Why should you build advocates?
  • How do you become a craftsman of your trade?
  • Where can you learn strategy?
  • How do you build your personal brand?
  • Why is thought leadership so important?
  • What are some lessons from Cal Newport?
  • Why is Hostess getting into beverages?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you missed anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it.

April Martini 0:30
Welcome to Marketing Smarts.

I am Anne Candido and I am April Martini. And today we’re going to talk about the professional career journey through the lens of how to continue to grow credibility outside of just doing the doing of the work. This is something we often talk about with our coaching clients, the misconception that you can just keep your head down, do the work and be noticed, it’s really simply not a thing. I can’t think of many clients I have not used this sentence with and that is no one is going to manage your career for you. And it’s so true. Our professional growth, development and ultimate success is based on a lot more than just the work we do. In other words, the work will not ever speak for itself. But don’t worry, all is not last, if this is how you’ve been managing your career thus far, this episode is meant to set you on the right path to achieving all you want to in your career. Yeah, and I think that statement about that the work will not speak for itself is a hard one for a lot of people to get around, especially since they feel like their credibility is all wrapped around that. Yep. And really what we want you to embrace here is that perceptions are reality. So the way others perceive you is the ultimate truth. So that’ll be one of the threads that’s woven through this episode. So you can really embrace that and figure out how else am I going to show up how I want people to perceive me that’s outside of just the work? I do. Yep,

exactly. And with that, we will get into how to grow your credibility outside of just doing the work. Number one build advocates at all levels, the expression, it isn’t what you know, but who you know, is fortunately, or unfortunately, 100% the truth. Honestly, as a side note, I wish I’d embraced this earlier in my career, it’s safe to say that I think I do this pretty well now. But this has to be done with the intention of building relationships with the right people. It’s not meant to be manipulative. It’s more about seeking out the right people at all levels to support you in your career journey. And we want to place special emphasis on this at all levels, it’s really not enough to just do it with people that are more senior than you or that you like you have to get buy in from all the levels to build that credibility we’re talking about today. And that means the people we just mentioned, but it also means things like demonstrating to those below you that you’re a good teacher, coach and mentor, their leadership will check with them to see if you’re an effective leader and vice versa. They’ll be on the lookout for what they’ve heard about you versus how you show up. And they actually on a positive note are helpful notice if it helps to look at it this way. They can be easy advocates, and also folks to practice on when it comes to building this advocacy because they naturally will have a lot to learn from you because you’re more senior than they are. Another thing we like to say here is you need to be your own PR person, which means you can’t just go ahead and ignore the dissenters. This may be an episode of April saying I wish I had embraced this earlier.

Anne Candido 3:32
So first off April, so we know dangerous. Yeah, you know how it really? Yes, yes,

April Martini 3:38
close to home, you have to manage the message track that’s being said about you. And people you don’t naturally like, while they can be a really hard pill to swallow. We don’t get to choose everyone that we work with. And this is especially true as we’re, you know, coming up through the ranks or working where you know, we’re getting to the leadership team. And there’s people that have really high weigh in on where we go from here, all of those different types of things. We also don’t get to choose those decision makers that I just reference. And this can really hold you back. Even if you’ve done the hard work to build relationships with folks that do have your back in the organization. So this is one I personally will offer my caution on. And I think I’ve probably talked about this in previous episodes. But what always comes to mind with me is I was working really hard to get to the director level and have the buy in of six of the seven on the executive team. But at that point in time, there was one that I just did not get along with and unfortunately, as I look back and that’s why I think it’s so important to talk about the lessons we’ve learned I probably could have gotten their hold at least six months if not more faster if I had taken the time to build that relationship and not resist it at every turn. So I was kind of doing too about things for myself at once in that instance, on the other side, once I realized what I was doing, and my awesome boss at the time was kind enough to point out to me the very clear reason why I was not getting a promotion, I did take the time. And it really wasn’t that much of an investment on my part, it was like a one on one, once a month, it required a very transparent conversation right off the bat about why we were in the situation we were in. And from there, it really became my job to manage up. And again, I don’t mean that in a manipulative way, but to see this person’s strengths, which were very different from mine, identify them, and then find ways to learn from them when it really wasn’t one of those clear instances for me. So I offer that as an example, in the context of the types of folks we’re talking about throughout this episode. And then the final one that I will say here is to think about expanding beyond just the people you interact with day to day, both inside and outside of your organization. Number one, when we talk about credibility, if you have outside insights to pull in, and we’ll talk about this more, so I don’t want to preempt the point too much. But that is a really good way to get those because we live inside the silo of who we work with every day for 4050 however many hours, but also, these relationships can give you an edge over someone who has no reputation in these other spheres. So if you’re, for example, looking for a job elsewhere, or you’re kind of, you know, doing the exploratory have I been in this current role for X amount of time, and maybe there isn’t a clear path at this organization, or you have to wait up for someone else to go to be able to go outside of that and see what else is out there. You know, sometimes we think the grass is greener, maybe it’s not, you want to have people that can give you that transparent perspective. And the same is true within the walls of your organization, if you’re thinking about trying out a new department or a role that would build your skills, but you need to learn more about the team involved there. Those are all reasons to build these relationships and these advocates with intention, so that you have them to pull from later, the thing you do not want to do and this is where the inauthenticity can come in is wait until you need something from someone and then try to go and build that relationship. That is what will come off as inauthentic every single time. So you need to be building the proper cadence the proper, I don’t know gates of what it takes to build relationships, and build that community. Because to Anne’s point at the beginning, you don’t want someone to form a bad opinion of you, because you didn’t take the time to really get to know them before asking them for something. Yeah,

Anne Candido 7:39
I think the name of the game here is to remember that you need other people in order to achieve your goals and dreams. And that’s sometimes it’s not an easy pill to swallow. Because you are like, Hey, why isn’t my work to speak for itself, I can just put my head down and I can just do my work and I do good work. And it shows up well, and I get results. And why is that just not enough? And really, in today’s day and age, there is no really good answer for that, except for it’s just not enough. And we see it time and time again. And it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’re could be in a corporate world in you’re trying to move up, you could be having your own business and you’re trying to build efficacy in that way. I mean, all of these situations require some element of having a support network that is there for you in order to help you achieve whatever that goal or that dream is. And so I love the thought about being your own PR person. We’ve talked about that before. And you know, I come from the PR world. And I think that’s a really good context to put this all in because it keeps it in a little bit more of a third party sense. So a lot of the things that kind of come around with this in come along with it. Like the God I don’t want to talk to any more people or like you said, I really don’t like that person. Why do I need to be friends with that person, you start to see more of the strategy associated with it versus the personal emotional pain, pain or angst or anxiety you might be feeling as a result of having to do it. And so I’ll give a couple of examples to of where this has worked for me and where this has not has not worked for me. So as I said, Kim from the PR world PR was so it was not a really appreciated function. I’m just gonna say that there are some things that people did value about it, but otherwise we’re kind of like, dare I say like the redheaded stepchild of branding and marketing okay. Now I could sit there and wallow in the fact that nobody appreciated me I did amazing work and it still wasn’t valued as much as I thought it should be all of those things. But what I had to do in order to build the advocacy I needed to get the budgets I wanted to get the support I needed to make sure my work was integrated to make sure people I was kept in the loop with I had to go meet with all those people now was from everywhere from sales to our traditional branders to Ark We’d have agencies everybody, I made my presence known whether I was invited to or not. And sometimes, that was a little annoying for folks. But you got to grow your reputation, your credibility by being able to add value. And so after a while, they came to understand that I was there to support them as much as I was there to support me. And that was always the context by which I went in with it, which is, how can I help you do your job better? How can my function help you do your job better? And oh, by the way, in the process, let me explain what I do and how I can help. Right? And then it becomes a conversation of collaboration opportunity, not like, what is this PR person doing her? What the hell are they even gonna do for me. So that’s one way that it actually worked well, for me. And this goes back to what April was saying to you about being a teacher, when you’re not sure about your way in, be a teacher, if you’re feeling like so and so is doing something that I don’t like, and they’re in the way of me being able to get my work done, go be a teacher, help them understand where you’re coming from, it breaks down those barriers, and it helps you get out of your head about this little space I’m in and how everybody else is against me, okay? Now, the way that it doesn’t work for some people is that they arbitrarily try to build relationships with people that they think are gonna help them leapfrog other people that might be quote, unquote, getting in their way. Right? So they, Oh, can you coach me? Can you mentor me and you know, you’re just naturally become friends with the CEO or in some other executive leader, and you expect them you know, to kind of pull you up in everywhere. That is always nice to have an advocate. I am not saying that if you expect them to make the work easier for you, and you want them just to pick you up on plucky wherever you want, without you having to do this work to build a relationships. That is a bad idea. And I can say from it from firsthand experience that this is what happened to me is my boss picked me up, plucked me up, took me with them to another function, or sorry, another group within p&g dropped me down. Everybody was like, Who the hell is she? And why is she here, and she just here because our new bosses here. So not only that, he had to build his advocacy and his credibility, I was trying to do that with him. And it was very, very painful. And so when I asked him to go, and like, can you just make these people like me? Can you just make these people listen to me? Can you just like, why can’t you just make this happen? He’s like, I can’t you have to build those inroads for yourself. Because you’ll never get the respect the credibility you need to function in this organization, or in this group, if you do not do the hard work. So I give you those two. Yeah, I

April Martini 12:39
mean, I think it’s totally true. And one thing you’re always good about saying is that if you can find ways to help prop the other person up, whether it’s teaching them or helping them, it’s a way of ingratiating, yourself to them, that is helpful in their journey. So it almost gives them no reason to say no. So I feel like that’s such a great lens to look through. And then I also feel like the part about the boss giving it back to you and saying I can’t make that happen speaks to the authenticity that’s needed as well. Because if you’re not going to take the time to do it yourself, he can tell them all day long. But the minute he turns his back, you can imagine what conversation is going

Anne Candido 13:19
yeah, it’s not pretty. It’s not pretty at all. Yeah, it doesn’t help you then do good work. Yes. Because nobody wants to support you in doing good work. And that’s where a lot of times I was looking around, I’m like, Hey, where is everybody? And everybody’s like, you know, pieced out, you know, yeah. And they’re just like, Well, you got, you know, the bosses or wherever it’s going like, you can handle this all by yourself, what do you need me for, you know, and yep, if it gets to be very tense, and a lot of different ways. Great.

April Martini 13:49
Alright, so our second one here, second point about how to grow your credibility outside of just doing the work is to become a craftsman of your trade. And, and, and I talk about this a lot on the show. We’ve talked about it a lot with our clients, both on the forthright people in the forthright women side. The crux of this is that you have to continue to learn along your career journey, stagnation is your enemy. And if you’re not working to expand your knowledge and experience you’re gonna fall behind just naturally, that’s what’s gonna happen. So becoming a craftsman of your trade is about continuing this learning, and also doing it with a lot of intention. And for me, it was always ticking off different things like identifying things that I needed to go and learn, and then figuring out what I needed to do to go and learn that. So some examples of these things might be and these, again, are topics that come up all the time across our client base. One is becoming a better presenter. And this is a very, very hard thing for most human beings to do is to stand up in front of people in any capacity. It’s also a hard one to then Go and master because to the point of learning, as you move up in your career and you become more senior, the expectations of your presentation skills get bigger. And in some ways that’s, you know, greater amounts of people that you’re in front of, in other ways. It’s just the seniority, the level you’re at, and then who your peer group is and how you’re able to do this versus others to compel people to do some of the things we talked about, follow along, get on board, want to be part of your team, those types of things. And so some of the things that we talk about with folks here is how can you tick off pieces at a time. So when I say about, thinking about what your goal is, and what you’re trying to achieve, then backing into what are the steps are going to get you there, because you’re not going to present once and then overnight, be a fantastic speaker, right. So one of the first things around this is a step. And this is admittedly a more junior thing to do. But I still do this actually, myself, if I feel nervous about a presentation is to present to yourself in the mirror, watch your facial expressions, watch your mannerisms. Watch for what I would think of as like the hiccups where you’re clearly you don’t know that material just yet, or you’re a little bit uncomfortable talking about this and work to iron those things out, then you just present in front of on people, then it’s a small group, then it’s a large group, and so on. And then once you master a particular size, in general, what you will find is that size is no longer an issue issue for you. So that’s a natural then step to go bigger. That’s one lens of what I was talking about. Right? The other pieces are the nuances that come as you rise through the ranks. So that’s where I think it can require some more hard work to do things like I just said about watching yourself in the mirror or asking for more specific feedback from people or saying, I now have to go in front of the board. And it’s my first time I want to show up like X, Y, and Z is how you’re perceiving me, it gets a little bit grayer. But this is one of those things that you really have to think about becoming a craftsman. And the one pushback I feel like we get a lot is we’ll get people that say, Well, I’m never gonna have to present because next, I sit behind a computer all day, I work in a factory, I think you can think about presenting quote unquote, in different ways too, because this is all around being able to speak for yourself and show up the way you want to. And that is a version of presenting. Another one here is stretching your skills by raising your hand, this is maybe joining a project team where you know little about what they do and becoming an active participant or signing up for something you haven’t done before and offering to, you know, be hands if it’s not a place where you have expertise, finding ways to do those things, and then be the leader of those teams, the next time around joining an organization outside of your direct company to some of the points made earlier to get further insight. And then bringing those learnings back to the team. Those are really good ways to

step into this credibility in a different way than I think people always internalize. And some of this I think goes back to that lens of like, well, if I do the work that’s asked of me, I’ll be able to get to fill in the blank, the next level, more money, it’s seniority, a seat at the table, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But a lot of your credibility comes from being able to bring things that other people aren’t doing. And that’s often well outside of the job description that you have in paper of what you’re supposed to be doing each day. And another one I’ll give here is back to my point about figuring out your next thing, one of the things that helped me honestly, throughout my career is making a list of skills you need to acquire and then the plan to tackle them. And the way that I would do this is whatever thing I was running up against, where I wasn’t comfortable talking about it, or I didn’t feel like I could speak to the client about it from the agency perspective, or I heard other people talk about it better. And I knew that I didn’t have my talk track, or I’d never done that type of project before. That’s where I would make the list and then prioritize that list. And for me, on the agency side, brand strategy is where I decided I wanted to land right there are many tools that you have to learn to be able to create and then be able to show up and present about which both are tied to your credibility, right. So once I had the quote unquote toolkit of things like being able to create a brand story and you know, Brand Character and tone of voice and some messaging work once I had that, it was honestly learning how to mind for the insights. So when I was learning to to develop those tools, a lot of times I either had other people working around me to provide the insights. Or I was working with a senior person who had just a better per view on how to do that. But once I started getting my own projects, I started to realize there was this whole other list of stuff that I needed to learn to go and do. And those included things like competitive audits, who are you directly competing Dealing with then it was stuff like category audits, you know, you don’t live in, especially in our digital world in a silo anymore. You know, if you’re selling a alcoholic beverage, you’re not just competing against alcoholic beverages, you’re competing against beverages in total, right? Then there were things like qualitative research, and how do I learn to first interpret the data that comes back, and then it was about facilitating to get those insights. And then the one that really gave me a lot of trouble, because I’m not a math expert was the quantitative side of things. And so again, learning to read the quantitative research, but then, very quickly, I realized that I needed the insight into how you write a study. And if I never have to define another skip pattern in my entire life, I will be happy. But it really was important to me that I learned kind of the infrastructure of the way to not only ask questions, but then put the questions together in a way that people could answer a survey. And oh, by the way, I wasn’t great at the tech aspect of programming that and I’ve like I said, I’m not great with what the numbers mean. So those are some of the things now I didn’t go and take a run at learning all those things at once, the order I just gave you is pretty much the order that I learned them in. And so it became a matter of making the list so that I didn’t get overwhelmed about not knowing all the things and then taking one and saying, I’m gonna go and tackle this. And I’m ultimately trying to get to that craftsman aspect. But I know that I need to learn how to do the work, and then do the work several times before it’s really going to become ingrained in me. Now, we all have our toolkits we take along with us, but if you’re building to our credibility, you want to stay interesting to yourself and others. And so this toolkit, this tradesmen like quality is a really good way to do that. And then the final thing I will say is that, if you are someone that is always learning, you will naturally start to draw the right people to you. And you can offer things to each other. So that was the other piece about learning those tools. I didn’t go and do those things in a silo. In some cases, it was a trade, I’ll teach you this, you know, I’ll go to this office. And I’ll teach them brand strategy. And they’re going to take me teach me quantitative research, or it’s finding a buddy on the team where it’s like, you clearly have the ability to facilitate down but you say you don’t know how to build the string brand strategy tools. So let me help you there. And I’ll help you here. It’s not a science, I will say, honestly, as you’re you’re hearing me say, but I think the importance of this cannot be minimized. Because it’s just so invaluable to continue to build our skills, again, both so that we stay sharp, but then people continue to see us add value in new and different ways. Yeah, I

Anne Candido 22:38
echo all that. And I love this concept of becoming a craftsman of your trade. It’s a concept that we’re going to give credit where credit is due really comes from a couple of different places. One industry in general is the construction energy industry where they talk a lot about craftsmanship, and how important that is, but also a book not by Adam Grant, oh, I’m shocked Cal Newport, which I just read. And I know a lot of people have too, which is So Good They Can’t Ignore You, when he talks about this as being a key of really finding work that you love versus being driven by passion. So another conversation for a different day. But I love this, this concept of it because it gives in a ability to provide your own personal development plan that’s oriented around a very important question, which is how do I create more impact? And of course, that impact is tied to whatever that goal or dream Do you want to achieve? And the broader context of what that looks like for you versus what is the work that I’m doing? And how do I get the work done? So the nuance of how do I create more impact versus how do I do that work better means that you’re gonna be looking at those things that April has mentioned, which is not only just getting skills, like April did when in the context of brand building and marketing, but also those other things that could get in the way of not being able to translate that credibility. Others like their presentation skills, like being able to write a good one pager, like being able to express your thoughts in a cohesive manner. Like all these things that are more what people would traditionally call, quote, unquote, softer skills, but are important in order to be able to elevate what you do or the impact you’re creating to an element of thought leadership, which is really what credibility is all about. It’s about building thought leadership. So not only do people see you for the Craftsman you are in the fact that you’re really good at the work, but they see that you are there to create impact beyond what you are just trying to do with regards to just doing the work and that’s what this is about, like how do I grow credibility outside of just the work I do? The work doesn’t speak for itself. This means that you have to speak for the work. And so all those things April mentioned are critical in order to be a proficient and productive speaker of your work. Now, this can be very hard for people to talk about themselves, to be able to express why they’re important and what they’ve done. And so again, a different episode for a different day, we probably have multiples on that. These are skills that you acquire in this whole context of being a craftsman. And this is if you can look at it and say, How do I create more impact, these things start to merge, and they start to arise as opportunities for being better. And that’s really what we want you guys to get to is that it’s beyond just how do I do the work? How do I do the work better? That is very, very important, but it’s how do I express the impact of this work? How do I express my involvement, and what my role was in this work? Because those are the keys to being able to build more credibility, more thought leadership, and and ultimately, the reputation you need in order to do whatever your next thing is?

April Martini 26:05
Well, one thing I will pick on a little bit, and I know and you and I both feel the same way is like

Anne Candido 26:10
you can’t pick on Adam Grant.

April Martini 26:12
No, I’m not picking on. Sorry, Adam, I’m not picking on you. I’m not talking about you either, for that matter. But you know, another topic for another day. I think this term soft skills has to go away.

Anne Candido 26:24
And I don’t know what other word to use for it, though, because that’s what everybody refers to it as right. But it is, but you’re right. It’s critical. It’s necessary skills. Yes,

April Martini 26:34
yes, exactly. I think in a lot of ways. And the reason I say that, and I’m you know, I don’t know that we’re going to redefine that. Definitely not in this episode. But also not sure I want to add that to my list. But really, it’s like it almost needs to be flipped on its head to the fact that these things that we just talked about, and the whole idea of becoming a craftsman of your trade. Those are really the more important things and for the longevity of your career and

Anne Candido 26:57
your credibility. Those are the pieces that you must have in order to continue to succeed. It’s not about the hard skills of the things you do at your job each day. Yeah, it’s definitely the and I’m now I’m intrigued about what I would call it if I didn’t call it soft skills. But I’ve. But I think it’s the enablers to what success looks like from in most people’s definition of the word. And when people are getting stuck. It’s not usually because they’re not doing good work. It’s because they can’t actually evangelize the work in a way that people understand they get it. And they see the importance of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And all of those things needed to build that credibility in order to get you to the next level or gets you in a new role. Or if you’re outside of a corporate agency environment. It’s like building advocacy for your business. And maybe that’s investors. And maybe that’s building a board. I mean, it can look like a multiple different things. But these are the things that really keep people from achieving what they really want to achieve at the end of the day.

April Martini 28:03
Yes, and I think that particular comment ties nicely to the next one, because points two and three, tie very closely together, and there is some overlap in them. But this one, number three, and growing your credibility outside of doing the work is to become a student of the strategy. And anyone that knows me knows that this word like I could just geek out about strategy all day long. I mean, I could have many episodes on this topic, for sure. But the reason I’m so passionate is because I feel like it is a key foundational element to any career journey. But especially when you’re focused on growing in making a difference, however you define that to yourself. And that changes to as you move throughout your career. But the reason that I think this is so important is that, and I said this before, we spend a lot of time in our day to day jobs, we spend a lot of time doing the doing of the work. It can be really hard when we get in the grind of that and the routine of that to think bigger picture. It’s a myopic experience just in and of itself. So being a strategic thinker, I believe really anyone can do it. And I know there’s varying opinions to this because there’s comments all the time about that person’s strategic and that person isn’t, but I think it’s more a symptom of have you taken the time to learn how to do it. And what I think it comes down to is learning to question things not in an annoying way. We’re not asking you to ruin your career by always asking why for everything you’re asked to do. But starting to ask why. And then thinking critically about what that way looks like and engaging folks in the conversation and all of those things and the things we’ve talked about so far and building your soft skills that ultimately helps you start to see the bigger picture of the world. Why that everything from your role plays, why the company is doing, what it’s doing, why the company sits, where it sits versus the competition, why the company strategy for next year is x, all of those types of things. It allows you and I’ll use the expression of not being able to see the forest from the trees, it allows you to see the forest and the trees, you can really elevate above and start to understand bigger picture thinking. And the reason it’s tied to the previous one about being a craftsman is that I believe that anyone that achieves the role of being a craftsman is a highly strategic thinker in everything and that they understand those soft things we were talking about in the previous one, too, they get into the practice of asking the why. And they’re able to start to see the patterns that emerge at that higher level. And I mean, I distinctly remember, and it’s one of the reasons that I find strategy just so enthralling. When I was doing some of those things that I mentioned before of ticking the box, learning these different skills in my career, but also simultaneously asking the bigger picture questions like that’s interesting that this client does it this way, versus this one does it this way? And why is that? And what does that mean? And you know, tying the brand of the business and all those types of things. But there was like a series of lightbulb moments where it was like, all of a sudden, I could see the pattern, and how all the questions I’ve been asking and all the departments and all the various roles on the team, why they all existed it all like, I mean, I can’t even think of the right visual other than like, yeah, just all lit up. It was like, Oh, now everything makes sense to me about the business that I’m in. And I think that that is so important, both for the business that you’re in, but also the businesses that you work with and on depending on what your roles are. If I have to break it down and asked me to break it down, I really think it comes down to starting to ask why really early on, and getting into conversations that are bigger than your role, because that’s how you start to build to that bigger picture. And it’s a simultaneous thing, you have to learn the skills we talked about, do the actual work all of those pieces, in addition to start asking these questions, because you need both things in order to achieve credibility outside of the work that you do. And the final thing I will say and then I will let and talk is that it’s not easy to build credibility as a strategic thinker. So you have to then again, manage it as such. And one of the lenses I will give you about why is I very early in my career, was asking the why question. But I had worked with these people early in my career, when we came back around to each other later in my career, I had to establish myself again in my strategic chops, because their experience of me was eight years younger, when I was in my early 20s learning. And so it’s that whole idea of making sure that whatever level you’re at, like we talk with the presentation skills, that your strategic abilities continue to mature and grow. And that you show up as whatever level you are trying to achieve in the various roles that you play throughout your career.

Anne Candido 33:13
Well, let me try to use an analogy. Oh, geez.

April Martini 33:18
And fix us all with an analogy when April gets rambling. Okay, here we go. No, I

Anne Candido 33:22
mean, I think everything you said right on it. Here’s my analogy. And this is why strategy is important. If you have aspirations for going beyond something that it’s just to doing. Now, a lot of people say, I like my doing, and I’m fine doing just doing Oh, that’s fine. And that’s totally fine. So I’m talking to the people who are like I am doing to doing and I liked to do something more than to doing Yes, or I’m in a business and I’m having trouble figuring out how to work on my business. And in my business at the same time. These are reasons why strategy is so critically important. Him here’s my analogy, and April will hold me is if this works or not. Okay.

April Martini 33:58
Oh, God. So I’m tired. I don’t know.

Anne Candido 34:03
All right, April. So if I gave you a basketball and a basketball hoop, you could stand out there and just learn it and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat. Somebody can sit there even coach you on the skills about how do you shoot a good free throw? How do you shoot a good three point shot, how to make all those shots? And you could just practice them and practice them and practice them and get really, really good at that. Right? Well, a lot of people do that. Yeah. And that is a really great skill to learn if you could be a basketball player. But the problem is, is that’s not the only thing that’s important in order to play the game of basketball. Right? So even though learning all those skills and learning how to shoot a shot from all of those different aspects of like three point free throw, whatever you’re talking about is a great thing. If you want to play like a game a horse. If everybody else is playing basketball. You didn’t want to shoot doesn’t matter. Yeah, it doesn’t matter, right. So you have To learn how to play basketball, which is bigger than just being able to shoot the ball, then all of a sudden you need to shoot the ball with somebody in front of you with the hand in front of your face. You have to shoot a basketball, when there’s two seconds left on the clock, and you still have to make that shot. You have to do it when you’re not feeling that great. If you might have an injury, it’s a different, totally different sport, then they say I’m going to be able to just like nail my skill. And that’s all that’s important. Yeah, so strategy is like playing the game of basketball. Where a lot of people are just like just let me shoot free throws and Tom really, really good at shooting free throws. That’s all I want to go do. I want to go a bit they’re asking you to play the game of basketball. So that’s what this is like all about. So I don’t know did that that work kind

of? Well, it’s it’s very ironic and funny because we’re having this conversation right now because Sam’s in third grade and and recently was at a basketball game. So I can’t help to think that he may have inspired this, but I bring it up because in third grade, the ability to strategically play the game of basketball is woefully lacking. And all they want to do is shoot a freakin basket. Well, I know ironically, funny, and they can’t tell between offense and defense, not cheap, and how to guard and all those sorts of things. So they’re learning strategy in the midst of learning the skills right what I think is a real another really good built in analogy, but no, actually, it came to mind because the Dayton fires are number 16 in the country. But

April Martini 36:21
okay, that’s okay. But no, but But to answer your question, I do think it works as a good analogy, because it’s taking all the pieces and parts and things you learn and being able to play the game, like you said, at a very different level, utilizing all of your skills and experiences. But there are plenty of people who have tons of skills and experiences and can’t package them up to understand how to play that game at the highest level. Right?

Anne Candido 36:45
So you have to learn the rules. Yeah, you have to learn the players, you have to learn. Why do you play man to man versus zone? And what’s the difference between playing the either one of those? And why would you do it? Because your competition, obviously, it’s going to play a certain game. So you have to learn how to play a certain game. So it’s about becoming a student of the game, versus just a practitioner of the skill. Yes. And so that is the fundamental thing that everybody is always looking at, from above, when you want to move up when you want to switch roles when you want to go to another company that you know, in a higher position or a different capacity, that if you want to grow your business, if you want to start your own business they’re going to be looking for not only are you good at the skill, but Are you a player and a student of the game. Yep. I think it’s a very good point, I’ll take it Wow. Score one for N T. So if I was a three point shot to be three, or I found maybe three possible Oh,

April Martini 37:48
so that’s we’re gonna have to have an episode on basketball too. Okay. The fourth and final point on how to grow your credibility outside of just doing the work is to cultivate your personal brand. This should be absolutely no surprise coming for us. And if it is, you should go immediately after this episode. And check out all the various podcast episodes and tools and discussions and blogs and all the things we have addressing the reasons why you need to manage your personal brand, how to do it, what the results are, if you do it, what you can accomplish, and yes, what it means to grow your credibility through it as a refresher, or for those of you who are not as entrenched with us on this topic. The definition of personal brand revolves around four things, your characteristics, which are neither good nor bad, they’re just inherently who you are, and you cannot change them. But you have to learn to manage through them. Your appearance, which is how you show up, which is very closely tied to people’s perceptions of you, which we have talked about throughout this episode. And then in your behaviors and actions. And these are the things that you can manage and change in order to ladder up to the appearance that you want. And the perception you want people to have a view but those are the day to day things that you do. So reminder there, I’m not going to go any deeper, because like I said, we have plenty of materials on that. But the important thing is that you take the time to identify and define your personal brand and then manage it on an ongoing basis. It really, really is critical in order to build your credibility in the way you want because it puts you in the driver’s seat because you understand who you are. And then you can decide how you want to show up and then navigate from there. This also ties into my earlier point about stagnation. If you’re proactively managing your personal brand, you won’t stagnate. And as you grow and grow up in your career, for example, how I showed up in my 20s as a hard charger if I had not morphed that into bringing other people along along the way I can tell you I would still probably be sitting in that role at the first agency or not have a job. So just as an example, these are the things that you have to again, be aware of learn to manage and then continue to evaluate. We talk about so many of the soft skills, TBD on what that’s called in the future. But when I think about how do you continue to manage through, I’ll give you the example for myself, I am super stubborn at heart. And this goes to that hard charger versus bringing people okay and and laughing because she does know this about me well, but what I have learned is how to soften that and manage that part of my personality. So I don’t alienate other people. And so compromise has become a huge thing for me. And I still hate that word, because it makes me feel like I’m giving in which goes back to the stubbornness. But both personally and professionally, I am working on this. But I would say that one of the big steps forward for me in letting go of some of this is when Anna and I were, I don’t know, maybe a year or so into the business. And we were having a discussion about what types of clients we wanted to take and what to do about the ones that maybe weren’t doing things exactly how we wanted. Or we would give advice, and maybe it wasn’t executed the way we thought it should be, you know, all these various things that happen, especially when you’re, you know, newly working together, redefining your book of business, all of those types of things, the thing we came to is that we would take projects and clients if we believed that we from the forthright people lens could make a difference and make things better. And for someone who is very, very stubborn, that’s a very hard place to settle. And not think of it as a compromise. And what I think it has done and why I think this is an important point is that one, it allows me to relax, when it’s taking longer to get to outcomes, or we’re having to teach more along the way, or things aren’t hitting, like I said exactly how we would do it. All of those are those soft skills that I have learned. But what it allows us to do it for three people is manage things according to what we believe has that positive impact, not toward perfection. And I think in the past, a lot of my stubbornness goes with another characteristic of mine, which is perfectionist. And those two things would run up against each other. And it would just be not good for me or anyone else. And so I take it as a sense of personal pride and success, especially on the days when my husband would tell you otherwise about my stubbornness, that at least when it comes to the forthright people clients, I am doing a much better job in this area. But it is only because I am so hyper aware of my personal brand, I’m really aware of my characteristics, I know how I can show up versus how I should show up. And I’m constantly nuancing That and honestly, every time we meet a new client, I was thinking about this for this episode last night, every single time we meet another client, I realized that I think about what I say and especially in those early meetings through the lens of my personal brand characteristics and what the right tone is for them to be able to hear what I have to say. And I realize it’s a constant exercise for me. And it comes to life in very different places. But the stubbornness, the perfectionism and then even the outgoing nature. I know like I tend to talk a lot if other people aren’t speaking I sense like their nervous energy, then I get nervous energy. And then I’m like, well

just talk until everybody’s laughing. And everyone thinks this is fun and shiny thing over here. And I’ll be the Golden Retriever puppy. And that always goes well, yeah, it doesn’t always go well. So to the point, that’s one of the things too is, I try really hard to listen to the way that they speak, and then respond in kind, not masking that I’m an outgoing person, I’m

not really sure that I can do that effectively, but just modulating the way that I respond so that they can hear my message. So anyway, I’ll stop talking. But that was those are just some recent things I was thinking about, especially when it comes to continuing to grow and change and learn and be craftsman and continue to move things forward through personal brand. Yeah, I

Anne Candido 44:05
think those are really great examples. Because I think personal brand is all about cultivating presence. And that’s that presence is the key to your credibility. And so we talked about those things can get in the way of you being able to show up in the way that matters in order to grow your credibility. Not being mindful of your presence is one of those because there’s things that we all possess that naturally occur when we’re triggered, that either work help us work ourselves towards our goals or away from our goals. And when April mentioned about characteristics, do you see what are not things that can be changed? They are who you are. So you know we all get a little get a little frustrated when we see other people who seemed it seems to be easier for people naturally like them or they’re naturally charismatic and then we say, Oh, I’m not that. So therefore I’m not going to be as successful as those people now, that is to say in certain environments, some of these characterised sticks can play a whole lot easier for other people. But that doesn’t mean that they haven’t intentionally cultivated that either. Right? So what you’re seeing is the impact of presence, whether or not they’re intentional or cultivating about that you don’t know. But what you do know is whether or not you were doing it, right. And so cultivate your personal brand is really a practice of becoming more aware of what you get triggered by what are your tendencies? And so you can define is this going to be helpful for me in this situation? So going back to the early example, if you have a, you know, that you’re somewhat of a humble person, and getting up and speaking about yourself in front of a bunch of people is something that you don’t feel very comfortable doing? That there’s nothing wrong with that. The thing is, is that you have to decide, is this moving me towards my goals or not? If it’s not moving me towards my goals, then I have to understand what triggers me in those situations? Is everybody looking at me if the fact that I am afraid what somebody is going to ask me, I’m not gonna be able to answer it, is it that everybody’s staring at me all these things, these are things that once you can understand, remember, I said these things emerge, when you start to actually become a craftsman, you can go and address them, you can get a coach, you can do practice, you can do the mirror thing that April was talking about, you could do all these things, to help you get over some of these natural tendencies that happen when you’re faced with certain situations. That is about cultivating a personal brand, that is about cultivating a specific presence. This is not saying as April said, that all of a sudden, if you’re very humble person, you can figure out how not to be humble. It will never, ever change, no, you’re gonna have to learn skills, you’re gonna have to learn experiences, you’re gonna have to learn mindset shifts that are gonna allow you to be able to be more proficient in those situations where this particular thing holds you back. And then the other side of it, too, is that you might be really good at something, maybe you’re a really good teacher, like we talked about, you’re gonna want to figure out how can I leverage that to my benefit? In order to cultivate my presence in order to cultivate my credibility? What can I do? Can I put together a workshop? Can I put together a LinkedIn live, what can I do in order to leverage the fact that I am a teacher that I like to teach in order to build my credibility, so it works on both sides. But the important thing to know and we say this all the time, is that if you want to do big things, you need to cultivate your personal brand. It’s just that simple. And if you choose to ignore it, then people are going to define it for you. And that might not get you to as your goals and dreams.

April Martini 47:31
Yep. Well, and I think back to credibility, to me, this is the surest way to show up and quickly build credibility. Like, I think you can do set a different way, you can do all the things that we said on this episode. But if you do not identify and manage your personal brand, you’re going to always continue to struggle. And I think it continues to be a little bit of a moving target, because you don’t have an innate understanding of who you are at your core. And like you said, and how that shows up, which then leads to your presence, which then builds right into how credible you are or not. Yeah, I

Anne Candido 48:09
mean, because it’s all about consistency. So people see you showing up in a in a consistent way, good or bad, that starts becoming their truth about you. Yeah. And so if it’s not working, you need to fix that be your own PR person, like we said. Exactly.

April Martini 48:25
Alright, and our final segment is where we highlight companies or brands that may or may not be using their Marketing Smarts, and may or may not have anything to do with today’s episode. And I know and loves to tie things back. So all this I’m tired. Like I said earlier, I’m just gonna let her do that, if that’s what she really wants to do. But I’ll figure out so this, this really has, my intention was not for this to have anything to do. I mean, that’s I’m not using just I’m way up back to my other basketball analogy, which would be two points.

Oh my god. Okay. So my example for today is a brand that I don’t believe is using their marketing smarts. And having spent so many years in CPG, I feel like using brand effectively, and honoring who you are as a brand, and who your customer is, at the end of the day, and where you live in your competitive set versus the whole category is a really interesting and important discussion. And so as we all know, I mean, we shot the grocery store all the time, and I have worked on many, many beverage brands over the years. I mean, you can’t turn around without seeing a beverage right. What I will say about this example is it feels like a little bit of a knee jerk innovation that I just am curious about and I don’t feel like fits with the portfolio of the brand. So without further ado, I’m in the coffee aisle getting my Dunkin’ Donuts and I look to the left and there’s a bin of freestanding iced latte which is interesting because they’re not iced beverages next to me on the left and the right. They’re both Hostess one is Twinkie flavored. And one is Ding Dong flavored. And so many thoughts went through my head on this one. But where I ultimately landed is I totally understand host as being more of a legacy brand and that they probably have a lot of trouble keeping and holding share in a whole variety of ways being relevant, I could argue in some ways that they could play into the retro but I’m not trying to solve the challenge here. What I just wanted to say is, as a brand person and a person who can just geek out on products all day, this felt like such a misfit for what they typically present as a company, what I would guess their brand positioning is. And one of the hardest categories to enter, especially right now is beverages. There are so many options, so many occasions, so many different brands out there in the space that I left scratching my head of why entering that category was the solve to whatever they were going for. So there you go. Well,

Anne Candido 51:03
it is an interesting discussion, right? Because it feels a lot like chasing SKUs, right. Yeah. I mean, we see this a lot with people who are trying to find just a little bit incremental boost. I mean, never did that at P&G. So I don’t know, who would actually do

April Martini 51:21
this strategy, actually choosing words, as I said, I didn’t want to offend anyone, but

Anne Candido 51:24
but it’s a brand architecture. I mean, I feel like people who are very clear on their brand architecture, which is for all of those who may not understand what that term means is like really understanding your skews and how they all ladder up into your overall business proposition. Why do you exist, who you serving, and sometimes each SKU could serve somebody different. So this might be trying to serve a younger skew I get or a younger customer. So I get that. Except for why. Yeah, right. And so I can see your confusion with that. Because you’re right. I mean, the beverage categories are hard category to win in, it takes a lot of intentionality to make sure that you make good choices there. Because it’s hugely capital intensive, even with co-packing. And it’s hard to win, frankly, because it is a very commoditized industry. So I would guess that maybe by them doing this, that they could be ruining their credibility. Back. Yeah. But I also think it kind of it just doesn’t feel along the same brand character. Yeah, some of the other things. Like if I saw, like, a whole marketing campaign behind it, maybe that would change my mind. Maybe there isn’t, we just haven’t seen it. Maybe I haven’t seen anything. Because I mean, like, Oreo does it all the time. They change our flavors, but they do it within there were Oreo. Yeah. Right. And so now is our Oreo flavored other things. Sure. But their innovation is within their core product. So um, yeah, it is very, very interesting. But it definitely feels like a stretch. One as you’re talking, I

April Martini 53:00
think the other piece because the Oreo comparison, and this is the final thing I’ll say, and we can put this to bed, but Oreo always takes its Oreo flavor into other categories. So there’s like cookies and cream ice cream with Oreos in it, right? Or when they go flavor wise, it’s a new flavor of icing in Oreo. But if they’re leaving, if they’re going into another product, they’ve always led with that. And again, I can’t speak to the whole Oreo portfolio, but they’ve done it more intentionally, to your point about architecture. I think here, Twinkies and Ding Dongs and things are a product in and of themselves that hasn’t really cross categorized. And so when I saw it, and when I thought about after I was like, well, maybe they’re thinking like occasion of the day, like breakfast is something that traditionally people might eat these things. But it didn’t compute in my head.

So there you go, I hear you. Alright, so just to recap how to grow your credibility outside of just doing the work first build advocates at all levels, not just in your immediate purview or with people you like you need the buy in of the right people at the right times. And this means looking beyond those that you like and are comfortable to you. Number two, become a craftsman of your trade learning is the key to avoiding stagnation but it’s important to do so with intention it is often going and learning the next thing to build your toolkit number three, become a student of strategy asking why is the starting point for this and then making it a practice throughout your career and path to credibility. It goes far beyond doing the day to day of the job and allows for bigger picture thinking and solutions. And finally, cultivate your personal brand. This should not be a surprise coming from us your personal brand unlocks so many things when it comes to growing your credibility. It allows you to know who you are and then be able to elevate yourself and your presence through that lens. And with that, we will say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts! Still need help in growing your Marketing Smarts? Contact us through our website:

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