Cascading Leadership - The Show

Why Wearing Your Hat Backwards is Key to Building a Brand as an Effective Marketer - Nick Bennett

December 09, 2022 Jim Season 2 Episode 44
Cascading Leadership - The Show
Why Wearing Your Hat Backwards is Key to Building a Brand as an Effective Marketer - Nick Bennett
Show Notes Transcript


In this episode, Dr. Jim and Nick Bennett discuss how to build an effective community, how to build authentic relationships, and how to execute a level of consistency in order to establish a cohesive, personal, professional brand.

In March of 2020, Kyle Coleman, then-boss of LinkedIn user and field marketer Nick  challenged him and a few other of his direct reports to start posting on LinkedIn and see what would happen. Nick, being a competitive person, took him up on the offer.

Nick began posting about his experiences in field marketing, and found that his posts began to gain traction. He never imagined that his posting on LinkedIn would take him  where it has today, but he is grateful to have started on the journey.

In this conversation, the value of LinkedIn is discussed in terms of its ability to help build relationships and credibility. It is noted that LinkedIn can be leveraged in different ways depending on one's industry and the specific pain points they are looking to address. It is also mentioned that LinkedIn can be helpful for introverts in terms of building relationships and getting to know people on a deeper level.

Nick talks about how he has built up his career over the last few years, and how he is now in a position where he can be selective about where he works. He talks about how his responsibility as a leader is to help his team members grow in their careers.



Building Your Personal Brand with TikTok Famous Nick Bennett


The Journey to Becoming a Top LinkedIn Influencer


The Power of LinkedIn for Building Relationships and Sharing Your Expertise


The Benefits of Building a Strong Professional Network


The Importance of Building a Personal Brand


The Power of Personal Branding with Nick Bennett

Music Credit: Maarten Schellekens - Riviera 

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 Nick Bennett - Repping Your Brand - Part 1 

Nick Bennett - Repping Your Brand - Part 1 

[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: welcome to today's episode of Cascading Leadership. I am your friendly neighborhood talent strategy nerd, Dr. Jim. And as per usual, we have an action packed episode today on the topic of building your personal brand. So in this episode, we are going to talk through how you build an effective community, how you build authentic relationships, and how you can execute a level of consistency, which all leads to helping you establish a more cohesive, personal, professional brand.

[00:00:33] Dr. Jim: And with us to take us through that journey and discussion is TikTok famous Nick Bennett being brand consistent with his backwards hat. So Nick, welcome to the. 

[00:00:45] Nick Bennett: Appreciate you having me. Super excited to be. 

[00:00:48] Dr. Jim: Yeah, it's it's gonna be a phenomenal conversation and you and I go back and forth on LinkedIn a lot of times, and I'm disappointed that you're not doing this from your riding lawnmower.

[00:00:59] Dr. Jim: That's, a [00:01:00] bummer. But hey, you're here and we're gonna talk about some interesting things. So thanks thanks for hopping on. I think to kick off the conversation I want you to tell the audience a little bit about your story and how you became to be one of the foremost voices in terms of community building and brand building out in the world of work. 

[00:01:19] Nick Bennett: Yeah, absolutely. It was interesting. I was always one of those people on LinkedIn that whenever my company shared a post, I would literally hit share.

[00:01:29] Nick Bennett: And write nothing else with it. And I would say 95% of what I would post as a field marketer, which is what my background is for the last 10 years with tech companies, like I would share these posts with no real insights, no CTAs. I was basically just another person that was trying to amplify a brand page.

[00:01:49] Nick Bennett: it was probably getting no traction anyways, and when the pandemic happened, I remember I was working for a company called Clarie at the time, and we were actually in Laguna Beach. [00:02:00] And we were at our revenue kickoff and my boss at the time, Kyle Coleman, who's very well known on LinkedIn from the sales and s d r space he was like, Hey why don't you talk about field marketing?

[00:02:12] Nick Bennett: Like that's your background. No one talks about it on LinkedIn. And he actually put out a contest to his team. There was a, few of his direct reports that. Hey, why don't you start posting on LinkedIn, see what happens for the next 90 days. And so I love contests. I'm a very competitive person. I was like, I'm all in on this.

[00:02:30] Nick Bennett: And honestly it it was March of 2020 and I just started posting about field marketing. Just started talking about my experiences and things like that, and it's just kicked off from there. I never knew the journey would take me to where it has today. But if it wasn't for Kyle and me being a competitive person, I probably would never have began on that journey in the first place.

[00:02:52] Nick Bennett: And I'd still be that person that's sharing a work post with no other context around it. 

[00:02:57] Dr. Jim: It's interesting that you mentioned [00:03:00] that even back then you were at least. Sharing company content. I know so many people that are just basically like landing pages with nothing going on.

[00:03:09] Dr. Jim: And I, think that misses a pretty big opportunity in terms of the value of LinkedIn. So I guess before we get into the brand building component of the conversation tell me a little bit. How you see the value of LinkedIn and how it can be leveraged in any number of ways that's being missed out in the world of work?

[00:03:30] Nick Bennett: I think there's a few different pieces of it and it, I think it depends on the industry and I c P that you're selling to, or marketing to, but it's for me, we're a MarTech company and we sell and market to other marketers, so I'm just creating content to people. I know their pain points because I've been looking to solve those pain points for the last 10 years.

[00:03:50] Nick Bennett: And so creating content around field marketing and actually today I just put one out about my thoughts of the Forester Conference, where I was at for the last of days, and [00:04:00] how people are somewhat awkward in in real life when they haven't done it for the last two plus years. And I it was very interesting to interact with people again, and you could tell who has been interact.

[00:04:13] Nick Bennett: and who hasn't been interacting. And I think LinkedIn has helped me come out of my shell a little bit. You wouldn't believe this, but I'm actually an introvert. I, am very shy when I meet new people and I am a lot better with text words than I am with video or anything to do. That's why like TikTok is so weird for me cuz I hate videos of myself.

[00:04:36] Nick Bennett: But I've been trying to put myself out there more and I think. Especially on LinkedIn, when you can get people to understand who you are as an actual person versus me just being another marketer. I think that's when you start to connect to people on a deeper level. 

[00:04:52] Dr. Jim: Man, you just hit on something that that really caught my interest.

[00:04:56] Dr. Jim: I would've never guessed that one. You were an introvert, but I'm, [00:05:00] getting less and less surprised by that because there's so many people that are vocal with a point of view. And are advancing not necessarily the thought leadership, but subject matter expertise in the areas that they feel strongly in that happen to be introverts, like, I think Mason CROs Cosby is one.

[00:05:18] Dr. Jim: And, there's several others in the communities that we we, run in who are introverts. So with that being said I, want to link this back to a couple of things that you just mentioned. One was, Hey, LinkedIn, your ability to leverage it is gonna depend on your I C P and specifically how you leverage your pain points.

[00:05:38] Dr. Jim: And then the value of LinkedIn as a relationship building component. And I don't wanna let that go because if you have a clear handle on the problems that you solve for your customers, or more importantly, the pain that your customers are going through, that gives you any number of ways to, go out in the world and say, Hey, here's something that we encountered.

[00:05:58] Dr. Jim: Here's how we're overcoming it [00:06:00] through some of the relationships that we have. And that automatically starts the process of building credibility for you as a person and as a professional. I don't want people to walk away with from the conversation thinking that this is only something that MarTech people can do with other MarTech people.

[00:06:16] Dr. Jim: Anybody can do this if you're in a client facing role. , you should have a fair understanding of what, pain your customers are dealing with and that gives you a platform to speak from it. But the other thing that you mentioned that really was interesting to me is how this allows you to build relationships in an authentic way.

[00:06:34] Dr. Jim: And you specifically mentioned it gave people a sense of who I am as a person. So when you're looking at doing what you do on linked. and you, don't know who's listening out there. What are the key things that you're trying to solve? You're obviously trying to give people an idea of who you are, but what else are you trying to put out in the world so people understand you at a personal 

[00:06:55] Dr. Jim: level?

[00:06:55] Nick Bennett: I'm, trying to get people to ho see how I think as a marketer, , like I think a [00:07:00] lot of people use LinkedIn in a way to scroll and consume, but they're not using LinkedIn in a way to never have to apply to a job again. But if you think about it, you're building in public, like you see all these companies that you know, CEOs and founders, they're building in public, and so creating content on LinkedIn of how you think as a marketer.

[00:07:21] Nick Bennett: How you approach different projects, things like that, is really just you building your brand in public so that your future employer, for whoever that may be, knows, Hey, I don't even need to interview Nick. I know exactly what he cares about, what he's passionate about, his strengths, his weaknesses. I know where he can add value to this team.

[00:07:41] Nick Bennett: I'm gonna go try to get Nick to work on my team. And I think I'm at a point where I'm fortunate enough where if I was to get laid off today and post something on LinkedIn saying, Hey, I'm on the market. I've built this up over the last two plus years. I'm hopeful now that Karma's gonna come back around and provide me with another [00:08:00] opportunity.

[00:08:01] Nick Bennett: Hopefully enough people would DM me that I could basically be selective of who, where I want to go next. Not just say, I need to take this next job because I need to put food on the table. 

[00:08:11] Dr. Jim: That is a phenomenal observation and it ties right into one of the things that, that I consistently talk about with my teams, and I speak about it in a specific way and, I'm in a leadership position.

[00:08:23] Dr. Jim: So it's strange when I say it, but I firmly believe that you are the c e o of your own desk and that. That doesn't mean I'll, tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that you're working like a crazy person to serve my interests. My expectation is that you are a c e O of your own desk in a mutual interest.

[00:08:43] Dr. Jim: Number one is serving your own career goals and career objectives with the understanding that you might not be in this seat forever. So my responsibility as a leader is to help you grow as much as you can in pursuit of the vision that's most important to you. And [00:09:00] by doing that, you're gonna help me pursue the vision of the organization or, whatever I'm trying to do.

[00:09:06] Dr. Jim: So that, that whole building a personal brand and pursuit of your own vision for yourself that's, a critical point that I think a lot of people aren't tying together because you're, you have to take agency in your career and brand building as a way to do it. 

[00:09:21] Nick Bennett: I was just gonna add one thing to that really quickly.

[00:09:23] Nick Bennett: I think that you, nailed it. And I don't think people, I don't wanna say they don't take it serious enough, but like there's so much opportunity whether you're going to go work for someone else, whether you're just starting out in your career, like the, you have to, and I, don't like to say this.

[00:09:41] Nick Bennett: You're never gonna work for the company that you work for unless you own it. Which you may still not even work for them forever, but like, you're never gonna work for that company forever. Like my mom, she's worked for Raytheon for like 43 or 44 years now. It's like been her only job ever. And she's just like, I don't understand how you've had like seven or eight jobs and you're 35.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Nick Bennett: and I was just like, mom, like times have changed. Like I don't stay at jobs for years, like a couple years, but like then it's at a point where, you know, maybe you're, you've grown out of the role or there's just, there's a million other reasons why you could change, but it's just not the same mentality that it used to be.

[00:10:19] Nick Bennett: And so you have to look out for yourself at the end of the day cuz no one else will. 

[00:10:22] Dr. Jim: I'm, resisting the urge to soapbox, which I'm guilty of doing on like, at least one episode every single time. One of the things that I really appreciate about millennials and Generation Z and I'm a Gen Xer, so I'm, from a completely different gen generation.

[00:10:37] Dr. Jim: The one of the things that I appreciate. Is how they've shown the rest of the world that you have to take agency for your career. Because that old social contract, and this is a generational difference, where the expectation was you join a company, you get a paycheck, it's consistent, and you work there until you d retire.

[00:10:53] Dr. Jim: And at some point after retirement you die. And. That's the mentality that exists. And, actually Gen [00:11:00] Xers are victim to that, to a certain degree because we've had that mentality which hasn't served us well because the reality of it is, and this is something that a lot of the, younger generations offer often point out, if you drop dead in your job tomorrow, they'll have you replaced in two weeks.

[00:11:18] Dr. Jim: . What, sense does it make to have like an exceedingly high level of loyalty to an organization? And I'm, not saying be, a complete like mercenary, but you're, exactly right. You have to take your career seriously and drive your own mission because nobody else is gonna do it for you.

[00:11:38] Dr. Jim: So if you're not doing it for yourself, you're gonna get left behind. And, I'm very passionate about communicating that because I feel like sometimes people get stuck in roles longer than they need to be in there. So that's, a fantastic call out on your point. I wanna shift gears a little bit and focus the conversation around early career folks and why and how they can build their brands.[00:12:00]

[00:12:00] Dr. Jim: So let's, talk about some of the basics things that you need to do on whatever platform you choose to do it on. What's fundamental to starting the process of building your brand

[00:12:10] Ethan: Tune in next time to cascaading leadership for more of this conversation with Nick Bennett.