Ep. 69: AJ Vaden on Why Personal Branding Is The Future Of Marketing

In this episode, David sits down with AJ Vaden, Co-founder and CEO of Brand Builders Group, Speaker, Producer, and Podcast Host, to discuss the research behind why personal branding is the future of marketing.

Buy David’s NEWEST Book “Trusted Leader”: https://amzn.to/3luyqf1

AJ’s Bio:
AJ Vaden is Co-founder and CEO of Brand Builders Group, an international speaker, million-dollar producer and cohost of The Influential Personal Brand podcast. As a personal brand strategist, she challenges and inspires people to reinvent themselves as part of building and monetizing their personal brand. AJ has personally worked with thousands of individuals to help them focus their expertise, expand their reach, build their reputation and brand the one thing no one else has, their name.

Over the last 10 years she has been a part of founding, launching and building a very successful 8- figure coaching business, a multi million-dollar consulting business, and a 7-figure speaking business. Along with her company Brand Builders Group, AJ was featured in a 3-page spread in Success Magazine on the impacts of personal branding as well as recently being named as one of the Top 5 Personal Branding Speakers of 2019. Her client roster includes working with top level executives from organizations such as Bridgestone, Verizon Cellular Sales, Home Franchise Concepts and DIRECTV as well as working with well known speakers, best selling authors, entrepreneurs and online influencers such as mega podcast host Lewis Howes and original “shark”, creator of the infomercial and serial entrepreneur Kevin Harrington.

AJ has taken 25 years of setbacks, successes, tragedies and overcoming and distilled them into simple yet powerful lessons that will help anyone become better than ever.

AJ’s Links:
Website: https://brandbuildersgroup.com/
FREE Download of AJ’s “Trends In Personal Branding” Research: http://david.freebrandstudy.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ajvaden
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aj_vaden/?hl=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buildyourbrandwithajvaden
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aj_vaden?lang=en

Key Quotes:
1. “My worth has nothing to do with my work.”
2. “What I do does not define who I am.”
3. “Personal branding truly is the future of marketing.”
4. “In order for someone to trust you they have to be able to see you, get to know you, and be able to learn from you.”
5. “Personal branding is all about really accelerating trust.”
6. “If people don’t know you then they cannot trust you.”
7. “Let people get to know you, and create a forum in which they can do that.”
8. “A personal brand is just the extension of your reputation.”
9. “You only have to be an expert if you know more than the audience in which you’re speaking to.”
10. “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.”

Links Mentioned In The Episode:
FREE Download of AJ’s “Trends In Personal Branding” Research: http://david.freebrandstudy.com/
Center For Generational Kinetics: https://genhq.com/

Buy David’s NEWEST Book “Trusted Leader”: https://amzn.to/3luyqf1

David’s Links:
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Show Transcript

[david_horsager]: Welcome to the trusted leader Show. it’s David Horasger and I have a special

[david_horsager]: guest, a brilliant woman entrepreneur. She’s helped build an eight figure

[david_horsager]: consulting business, a seven figure coaching business in short order. and

[david_horsager]: uh, she has gone from kind of sleeping on the couch, Uh, doing sales door to

[david_horsager]: door a decade or maybe more ago, to two beautiful kids. Her husband is a

[david_horsager]: dear friend of mine, Also their family friends. They reside in Nashville.

[david_horsager]: Please welcome the CEO, co founder of Brand Builders Group AJ Vaden,

[david_horsager]: thanks for being on AJ.

[aj_vaden]: Oh, thank you. that makes me sound so fancy. so

[david_horsager]: Oh man, clients from Bridgetone to Verizon Cellular to Uh, Direct T V. I.

[david_horsager]: I’m really glad to have you young, because you know we know each other as

[david_horsager]: friends also, but I know you also. I mean, just watching and being alongside

[david_horsager]: both of you building your businesses and making a huge impact along the way.

[david_horsager]: We love that and I think you know

[david_horsager]: you’ve got these two beautiful sons. I’ve been to your home and stay there,

[david_horsager]: Um in Nashville, with an amazing place, but Jasper and leam, Let’s start

[david_horsager]: with just a little bit of who you are and actually even back to how you got

[david_horsager]: your start in sales. Because I think that’s interesting, and then we’re

[david_horsager]: going to jump to and spend most of our time on your newest national study, A

[david_horsager]: trends in personal branding. Because I think everybody can learn something

[david_horsager]: and take away something from that. We’re going to give away uh, uh, access

[david_horsager]: to that special access. but before just you know what, a ▁j, Give us a

[david_horsager]: start. A little background. who you are?

[aj_vaden]: okay, Well, I would say the most important job I have is the job of mom to Jasper

[aj_vaden]: and Liam. I’ve got a two year old and a four year old and

[aj_vaden]: I think they were both born um, old souls. And it’s so funny because my oldest is

[aj_vaden]: four and a half, which he will very distinctively remind you every single time you

[aj_vaden]: say that he’s four, but he’s in this little home school hybrid and I work from

[aj_vaden]: home, and so he gets to be home a lot. But he goes to this home school hybrid

[aj_vaden]: three days a week, and his facilitator name is Miss Feather, and she’s very uh,

[aj_vaden]: encouraging of just letting their natural personalities flourish and not to

[aj_vaden]: dismantle any sort of irregular behavior, like when he’s bossing us around, or you

[aj_vaden]: know, Bosston’s little brother around, but just teaching them how to channel that

[aj_vaden]: right. So I’ve been trying to work on that and he comes, and he works in my office

[aj_vaden]: on occasion and he helps my husband with his podcast. So anyways, he’s at school

[aj_vaden]: one day, and uh, he’s literally bossing all the kids around telling him what to do

[aj_vaden]: and how to do it. And and so it gets to the point that all these other little kids

[aj_vaden]: are like telling their mom. like Jasper’s really mean to us. Dresser’s really

[aj_vaden]: bossy. Jasper is always telling us what to do. And so I approach his teacher one

[aj_vaden]: day and I’m like Okay, you haven’t brought this up, and now I’m concerned that my

[aj_vaden]: kid is a bully and she goes. No, No, no, he’s not a bully. He just has really

[aj_vaden]: great leadership potential.

[david_horsager]: there you go.

[david_horsager]: Oh,

[aj_vaden]: Ah, it’s one of my favorite

[david_horsager]: that’s fun.

[aj_vaden]: stories of like the last year. Uh, we always talk about Jasper’s leadership

[aj_vaden]: potential. Uh are just a little boss.

[david_horsager]: We’ve I’ve got some strong kiddos too, and I’ve got. I do see know one of

[david_horsager]: mine. think of a lot. I think they all have some unique leadership gifts in

[david_horsager]: different ways. They’ all very different, but one of them is very strong and

[david_horsager]: man. But she is

[david_horsager]: amazing now and you can see she’s growing up and

[david_horsager]: some of those things have softened in her and some of that strength and

[david_horsager]: passion. It just it’s so cool to see how she who she’s becoming, you know as

[david_horsager]: a leader. So

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, I know it’s It’s one of my biggest fears. It’s not just a parent but as a

[aj_vaden]: human is that I would diminish the light of someone around me by not just letting

[david_horsager]: Mhm.

[aj_vaden]: home be who they are And it’s been such a great, Uh. test of restraint To just go

[aj_vaden]: right.

[david_horsager]: Yeah,

[aj_vaden]: I’m going to channel this. I’m going to put it in a positive direction. Um, but

[david_horsager]: well, a discipline. I would. I would argue, discipline correction in the

[david_horsager]: right way. In love is uh, healthy as well, and we all need it, and and in

[david_horsager]: fact, we all are held accountable every day, whether it’s to our bottom line

[david_horsager]: or our people. And so um, learning some restraint. I’m not. It’s not all

[david_horsager]: bad. For sure. Um,

[aj_vaden]: no, definitely not definitely not.

[david_horsager]: so I. I. I want to get into the study, but before I do, I do think it’s

[david_horsager]: interesting. you know when we first met, hearing your story of basically

[david_horsager]: kind of sleep on couches wherever selling door to door, and you become one

[david_horsager]: of the you know, if you go way back, one of the top sales people

[david_horsager]: back when people sold, I want to say B books of some kind, And so, and

[david_horsager]: that’s bigger than that. I believe in the south. I don’t. I think they used

[david_horsager]: to do it up here, but I don’t know. for sure.

[david_horsager]: Uh, uh, hopefully we still read as much in the north because I’m a big big

[david_horsager]: into reading. But but tell us just about a quick glimpse of that journey to

[david_horsager]: becoming the leader that you are. E. especially in that I think this grit

[david_horsager]: story. You know.

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, no, that’s so good and honestly, Sales was not something I ever thought I

[aj_vaden]: would be doing. I don’t think most people go to school. I, or at least not when I

[aj_vaden]: was in college or high school. Said I’m going to grow up and I’m going to be in

[aj_vaden]: sales. I think maybe people say that today, but they did not hunt. Uh, when I was

[aj_vaden]: in college and I was an art major, Little known

[david_horsager]: Wow,

[aj_vaden]: fact, and

[aj_vaden]: it was my senior year of college and my dad, Uh, so not so kindly suggested, But I

[aj_vaden]: get a real job and a real career, And so I swapped it to the last minute to

[aj_vaden]: advertising, and I spent about six weeks in my first job before I realized. Oh,

[aj_vaden]: no, like this, corporate life is not for me like I, This is not going to go well,

[aj_vaden]: I have to like, be here eight o’clock. I have to stay heretil five. Oh, my gosh,

[aj_vaden]: they’re going to tell me when I can take vacation. What? Like the real world did

[aj_vaden]: not sink in until I was in it. Um, and I really quickly realized I don’t know if I

[aj_vaden]: would ever be a really good employee. and uh, I. That assumption was correct very

[aj_vaden]: early on, And so I started in this a journey of entrepreneurialism

[david_horsager]: so you swap for working fourteen hour days instead of eight hour days

[aj_vaden]: Eighty like that, eighty hour

[david_horsager]: Exactly.

[aj_vaden]: weeks. It like really smart man, but really smart.

[david_horsager]: I know I know you. I know your work ethic over there, so I’m pretty sure

[david_horsager]: that was not a good swap if you were going for hours and a day.

[aj_vaden]: No, it was definitely not because I think my first year in sales, I made twenty

[aj_vaden]: four thousand dollars the entire year Like that was my first year

[david_horsager]: Yeah,

[aj_vaden]: and I was legitimately working twelve fifteen hour days. Um, literally, like

[aj_vaden]: sharing cars. Like did everything I owned fit in a car Like it was. It was no joke

[aj_vaden]: and I think a huge part of why I love that about, Um. our business kind of

[aj_vaden]: foundation. As we started our first business and starting a. My business was

[aj_vaden]: really the first job I had out of college and it was in two thousand and five so.

[aj_vaden]: Like Take it back fifteen years, And that was like right at the beginning of the

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: recession, And it was a really beautiful gift because I didn’t know business any

[aj_vaden]: other way and I remember talking to these people and working with these different

[aj_vaden]: companies. And and they would always talk about. Well, it’s just not the same and

[aj_vaden]: to me the naiveity of what’s a recession.

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: What are they talking about? Was such a blessing and such a gift. And uh, it was a

[aj_vaden]: very long. Uh, trial and error life of hard knocks experienced. I had no formal

[aj_vaden]: sales training, no formal leadership training. A hundred percent of it was Just

[aj_vaden]: learn it on the job and that you keep doing it until you finally figure it out And

[aj_vaden]: that is how it started.

[david_horsager]: before they before we jump into the study, which we’ve got to get to,

[david_horsager]: because I’m telling for those that are watching, and most of your listening.

[david_horsager]: this is all printed out the study. It’s significant. but what’s the and

[david_horsager]: takeaways? We need to jump into a spec, especially as trust is concerned.

[david_horsager]: But Um, what’s at a top takeaway from your first ten years in sales and

[david_horsager]: leadership,

[aj_vaden]: Oh, that’s so good. I would say my biggest takeaway is that I thought that working

[aj_vaden]: more hours meant more success and wrong

[aj_vaden]: it,

[aj_vaden]: and I was conditioned for a really long time that your worth is in your sales

[aj_vaden]: results, and that the more you work, the more important you are. And I think the

[aj_vaden]: biggest takeaway is stepping back. going. My work has nothing to do with my

[david_horsager]: Hm,

[aj_vaden]: work. Not whatsoever. What I do does not define who I am, and I would say we have

[aj_vaden]: really strict cut off times in our family Now if we can’t fit between the hours of

[aj_vaden]: nine and five thirty, it’s really not going to fit in our life, and it makes this

[aj_vaden]: work really efficiently and really effectively. But the idea of sixty and eighty

[aj_vaden]: hour works and grinded it out to your eyes Bleed is no longer a philosophy I

[aj_vaden]: believe in.

[david_horsager]: and in the midst of that you grew a an immensely successful business and

[david_horsager]: then Uh, exited that and basically built another one an unbelievable time.

[david_horsager]: And it’s been amazing to watch. and I don’t know anybody more disciplined as

[david_horsager]: a couple than you two. As far as I, I know, we’re talking to our mutual

[david_horsager]: friend Jason Dorsey. And you guys were just in in Mexico together and all

[david_horsager]: four of us Uh, were together recently. Um, and he said I tell you, this guy,

[david_horsager]: Ro. He just like it’s time. It’s it’s five, five thirty or six thirty. It’s

[david_horsager]: like he’s not puts phone away, and he is with the kids or he’s with you. You

[david_horsager]: know he’s like he is present, pretty cool.

[david_horsager]: Lots more we could learn from you as leaders, sales experts, and really

[david_horsager]: business builders. But this business that you have is brand builders, and

[david_horsager]: you know it’s It’s interesting. Some of the findings. There’s so much here.

[david_horsager]: If I’m going to ask some specific things about the trends at first, you

[david_horsager]: know. Here you go. you talk to a trust guy. I’m like, Oh

[david_horsager]: want. I want to really be trusted. Not just a pi, which is what a lot of

[david_horsager]: people seem to try to do in marketing branding space. And you know I’m

[david_horsager]: always trying to really help people build trustworthiness. And and yet you

[david_horsager]: know what? if they don’t know it, they don’t see it, they don’t hear even

[david_horsager]: what is real. Then you don’t make any impact. So I, I was fascinated by some

[david_horsager]: of this work and some of what people are saying, especially across

[david_horsager]: generations, so let’s jump into first. You know why the study, and why now,

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, oh man, when we started out on this venture with the Center for generational

[aj_vaden]: Ketics a year ago, now was over a year agocause. we launched the study in January

[aj_vaden]: of twenty one, What we really wanted to do was go. Hey, Are all of these

[aj_vaden]: hypotheses that we have actually true? Like we see that personal branding is the

[aj_vaden]: future of marketing. But is that just our imagination? Is that just the way we

[aj_vaden]: want it to be? And so we really wanted to go out and get some third party data and

[aj_vaden]: fill this national research study? Because we also said if we’re not right, like,

[aj_vaden]: please let us find out right now. Um, before we would get too far into the weeds

[aj_vaden]: year and get too deep. And so we started on this. We spent six months fielding the

[aj_vaden]: study at compiling the data, analyzing the data, esimating the data, and at

[aj_vaden]: working with this third party research form, really helping us figure out what are

[aj_vaden]: the questions that we really wanted the answers to, And when we got the data back,

[aj_vaden]: No, yes, Luckily, a lot of our assumptions were proven true. Let a lot of them

[aj_vaden]: were proven wrong,

[david_horsager]: Mhm.

[aj_vaden]: which was equally validating of going. Oh, man, like we had this really wrong, and

[aj_vaden]: to be able to take this data and to help other people expedite their personal

[aj_vaden]: brands, Either businesses has been revolutionary in the last six months,

[david_horsager]: it’s very interesting. So, when you say uh, let’s jump into a few things and

[david_horsager]: there is so much more here, and in fact you’ve given free access. thank you

[david_horsager]: so much, David Di that free Brand study Dot Com will have that and the notes

[david_horsager]: cant to have that in the notes for everybody, David Dot, free Brand Study

[david_horsager]: Dot Com and I want everybody to hear. I know we’ll do it at the end, But

[david_horsager]: your main website for brand builders is

[aj_vaden]: Brandbuilders group Dot com.

[david_horsager]: Bran Builders Group Dot Com. You can find out a whole lot more and uh,

[david_horsager]: fortunate to be in a a mastermind group with Uh, your husband rori, and just

[david_horsager]: know you both as a couple. but let’s get in here and look at this. so First

[david_horsager]: of all, why why does even this branding stuff matter to senior leaders?

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, so this is the part that was not even on our radar, like when we set out,

[aj_vaden]: and to figure out what do Americans consider a personal brand? What industries is

[aj_vaden]: it most important? For what professions? What titles like really truly executives

[aj_vaden]: and C. E, Os and entrepreneurs really weren’t on our radar. A huge part of our

[aj_vaden]: audience tend to be the solo penur, I would say the entrepreneur, but it’s the

[aj_vaden]: typical personal brand. the speaker, author, trainer, coach, podcaster consultant,

[aj_vaden]: But when this study came back, there were three really amazing correlations Um,

[aj_vaden]: with this one underlying current around Trust,

[aj_vaden]: and there, these are the three kind of like toable things as it came back as. The

[aj_vaden]: first thing is that personal branding truly is the future of marketing, and at ▁

[aj_vaden]: gim, ▁z, specifically, as we highlight this by generations, literally said that at

[aj_vaden]: personal branding to them is not a thing of vanity or popularity. This is

[aj_vaden]: literally an essential and critical part of how they do business.

[david_horsager]: Okay, so let’s talk

[aj_vaden]: And so,

[david_horsager]: about this one for a moment, because I’m going to bring up a couple a couple

[david_horsager]: of thoughts from this one. So it’s the future and I would think. Oh, it’s

[david_horsager]: vanity. It’s kind of like you’, just a look.

[david_horsager]: And and yet, Uh, I think this is jumping toward the back of the study now,

[david_horsager]: but I was astounded. Let me see if I even have it here. Um

[david_horsager]: Eylon Mus has sixty million total followers. Bit Coin has three point two,

[david_horsager]: five million. You take people right,

[david_horsager]: uh, uh, let’s see, Christiano Rinaldo has five hundred and eighty seven

[david_horsager]: million followers. Coca Cola, the big massive, Uh brand of Coca Cola has

[david_horsager]: less than a fifth of that many followers. So you tell about the importance

[david_horsager]: and I think if I was going to jump in, I didn’t see this in the study, but T

[david_horsager]: mobile, I mean, the he’s not there anymore. The c e o. That was a part of

[david_horsager]: just rejuvenating and revitalizing and growing te mobile. Amazing, but

[david_horsager]: people could relate to that human. So if we think that the the human element

[david_horsager]: like it increases, trust, tell me a little bit more about why this is. You

[david_horsager]: know why it’s significant to kind of have a personal brand. Let me step back

[david_horsager]: for one second. Because what I see and I’ve seen this in in in just my

[david_horsager]: research on the trustwork is we trust people

[david_horsager]: over brand so that

[aj_vaden]: Mhm,

[david_horsager]: there’s a truth there.

[david_horsager]: But what does that mean for our future?

[aj_vaden]: yeah, so here’s a couple of things I think are really important to know, and

[aj_vaden]: there’ three parts of this right. In order for someone to trust you, they have to

[aj_vaden]: be able to see you.

[aj_vaden]: they have to be able to get to know you, and in today’s world they have to be able

[aj_vaden]: to learn from you

[aj_vaden]: right and it’s one thing to be trusted by people who know you and your small

[aj_vaden]: surroundings. But that’s not how we live anymore. We live on a global, a global

[aj_vaden]: landscape, And with all the conversations around the metaivese, it’s not going

[aj_vaden]: away. it’s amplifying and an expedited fashion. So when you talk about Okay, if

[aj_vaden]: personal branding is all about really accelerating trust, Well, then you got to

[aj_vaden]: think about how how do I do that with the masses? How do I do that with people who

[aj_vaden]: don’t get to know me who don’t sit at the dinner table with me who don’t come into

[aj_vaden]: my office who don’t have regular conversations with me, And then you say Well, I

[aj_vaden]: have to be seen. I have to be in front of them because the truth is if people

[aj_vaden]: don’t know you, then they cannot trust you, nor do business with you, or be loyal

[aj_vaden]: to you or anything else with you. But it’s not just a matter of being seen any

[aj_vaden]: Morere is like people really want to know you like. Even starting this interview

[aj_vaden]: today, I loved what you said you said. Hey, I, in addition to talk about the

[aj_vaden]: business stuff, I have found that my listeners really like to know the personal

[aj_vaden]: sides. don’t be afraid to talk about your family and your kids. that is personal

[aj_vaden]: brandingcause. People really want to know that part of you more than the business.

[aj_vaden]: They much more care about. what did you dress up as Halloween with your kids

[aj_vaden]: versus what you know new business offering. Do you have truly?

[david_horsager]: Mhm, Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: and then there is an expectation to day wholeheartedly that you need to give me

[aj_vaden]: value. You need to teach me. I need to learn from you way before I would ever be

[aj_vaden]: willing to give you my money. And that’s not like a great ideal. Like Hey, give

[aj_vaden]: content out for freeurry. You give value like that’s no longer

[aj_vaden]: a suggestion at that is an expectation in business to day that I will learn from

[aj_vaden]: you way before I will ever ever give you my money. Because the truth is with

[aj_vaden]: Google and the internet and social media and Tik Tok, and you, too, like I can

[aj_vaden]: learn just about anything I need to know online. So if you’re not going to give it

[aj_vaden]: to me for furry, why would ever pay you?

[david_horsager]: So let’s before we get into number two. What?

[david_horsager]: What is? what? Is one specific thing that we should be doing?

[david_horsager]: Leaders should do to build a high trust personal brand that will affect

[david_horsager]: their corporation.

[aj_vaden]: it is is. I know this is going to sound so simple. Let people get to know you and

[aj_vaden]: create a form in which they can do that. Now the obvious one is social media That

[aj_vaden]: doesn’t have to be your job. Your choice. I, I don’t tell everyone to go on social

[aj_vaden]: media. Social media is not for everyone one, but it is the most obvious platform

[aj_vaden]: to reach the masses. but others are like. How involved are you in your local

[aj_vaden]: community, your local church. How how much face time do your employees actually

[aj_vaden]: get with you? and I would say face time to day is also considered on camera?

[aj_vaden]: Right? Do they actually know you have kids? Do they know where you’re from? Do

[aj_vaden]: they know what your hobbies are? Do they know why you started this business? Do

[aj_vaden]: they know why you’re still in this business? Do they know what you did before this

[aj_vaden]: business and most employees don’t?

[david_horsager]: M.

[aj_vaden]: most clients don’t, but that is a. That is an essence of how do I want to be seen,

[aj_vaden]: and how do I want to be known, or what do I want to be known for.

[aj_vaden]: And then you actually have to go out and do those things right. It’s like If you

[aj_vaden]: want to be seen as a trusted leader, Well then you have to show people that there

[aj_vaden]: is a level of transparency and vulnerability and authenticity. And it’s like that

[aj_vaden]: has to do with opening up the book. And you know it’s like opening the doors and

[aj_vaden]: going here. It is

[david_horsager]: Y.

[aj_vaden]: here, I am.

[david_horsager]: So number two big finding, as far as in the overall studies is that it

[david_horsager]: actually is highly profitable to work on deal with this personal brand.

[david_horsager]: creating a high trust personal bran in a real, and I would keep pushing in a

[david_horsager]: real way. not a fake brand, but really letting people know who you really

[david_horsager]: are. Americans are willing to spend more on products and services from

[david_horsager]: individuals with established personal brands. Number one. of course, go, of

[david_horsager]: course, because they know you, but tell us more.

[aj_vaden]: Mhm. Yes, of sixty seven per cent. So that’s two thirds of Americans, so that they

[aj_vaden]: are more willing to spend more money. And that’s the key word. More money. not

[aj_vaden]: just money, but more money with an established personal brand versus a company.

[aj_vaden]: Now, some of that comes back to another statistic that I think is equally as

[aj_vaden]: important that as the majority of Americans said, in fact, it was around eighty

[aj_vaden]: per cent. And if you take just millenniials, eighty eight per cent of millennials,

[aj_vaden]: and and also have to reference this millenniials are actually considered age

[aj_vaden]: twenty six to forty four, So some of you have been denying that you are a

[aj_vaden]: millenniial for a roe, longan. Ah, surprise.

[david_horsager]: Yes,

[aj_vaden]: you are one of it. twenty sixy, forty four. That’s what we define as a millennial,

[aj_vaden]: A eighty eight per cent of them said that they are more likely to promote

[aj_vaden]: Recommend by and not just by, but actually, uh, tell other people to buy, but also

[aj_vaden]: they arere more likely to stay with your company, So retention is involved.

[aj_vaden]: They’re more likely to refer other people to work for your company. Invest in your

[aj_vaden]: company all these different things, if the personal values of the founder or

[aj_vaden]: executive alliance with their personal

[david_horsager]: H.

[aj_vaden]: values. so this is no longer just about consumer decisions. this is about

[aj_vaden]: retention, and in the middle of what they arere calling the great Resignation. I

[aj_vaden]: would say Retention is a really big deal to pretty much every single leader at

[aj_vaden]: every scale right now, and you got to be going okay. Uh, If this whole concept of

[aj_vaden]: this resignation is happening, then we got ask. Well, why?

[aj_vaden]: why?

[david_horsager]: absolutely

[david_horsager]: I’ reading one, it might have been the one you talk about from your study.

[david_horsager]: Eighty percent of all Americans agree that companies are more influential if

[david_horsager]: their executives have a personal brand they know and follow so people will

[david_horsager]: spend more money. Finally, there’s this trust accelerator. Tell us about

[david_horsager]: that,

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, So this is one of my favorite statistics, but it did not come from our

[aj_vaden]: study. Um, so this is actually a study done by social chorus. and is as that,

[aj_vaden]: ninety five per cent of millennials say their most trusted source of product

[aj_vaden]: information is their friends. They’ll just hold for a second cause. When I first

[aj_vaden]: read that, I did not know to be terrified or fascinated, right because a ninety

[aj_vaden]: five percent of mallenial say their most trusted source of product information or

[aj_vaden]: your friends than I was thinking about of my friends. I’m going. Oh lord, like

[aj_vaden]: this is a. This is a problem, right. But then, like I compared that to our study

[aj_vaden]: where it says that seventy four per cent of Americans, seventy four. The three

[aj_vaden]: fourths say that they are more likely to trust you if you have an established

[aj_vaden]: personal brand. So we start of asking ourselves this question of what is it? And

[aj_vaden]: then something dawned on us and we went back to an earlier data point that we had

[aj_vaden]: in the study which asks the questions,

[aj_vaden]: What is a personal brand?

[aj_vaden]: What is it Now as a company, Branduilder’s group I, We say that a personal brand

[aj_vaden]: is just the extension of your reputation, Right, It’s the digitization and the

[aj_vaden]: monetization of your reputation, That’s what we say, But here’s what Americans

[aj_vaden]: said, American said that a personal brand to them is simply some one who is

[aj_vaden]: recognizable

[aj_vaden]: so. Pause with that. go back to this social chorus. stat. that said ninety five

[aj_vaden]: per cent of millenniial, say their most trusted source of product information in

[aj_vaden]: their as their friends, and that it all comes together Well. of course it is

[aj_vaden]: because that’s who they see, know like and trust. Of course it’s their friends,

[aj_vaden]: because to them those are people who have and established personal brants. Those

[aj_vaden]: are the people that are recognizable to them.

[david_horsager]: so we don’t have a billion dollar budget and we can’t put. and maybe it

[david_horsager]: doesn’t matter. you know, anyway. if Coca cola is less recognized than some

[david_horsager]: things in a way, But how? what are a couple things? and you do many at Bran

[david_horsager]: Builders Group, But what are a couple things we can think about doing to be

[david_horsager]: more recognizable so that we are more trusted, so that we get to Ha, make it

[david_horsager]: a greater impact in the ways we feel cold?

[aj_vaden]: Yeah, so I mean, it’s sure one day to point that kind of connects into this

[aj_vaden]: because one of the things that if you don’t have this huge budget right and and

[aj_vaden]: most don’t right, there is very few. that would say, I have billion dollar million

[aj_vaden]: dollar budgets to do something like this, But let’s say you have a tiny budget

[aj_vaden]: right. This was one of the most. This was my favorite data point of the whole

[aj_vaden]: study because it blew my mind and we asked Americans. What are the most important

[aj_vaden]: factors to you when deciding whom to purchase from whom to hire Right, and we ask

[aj_vaden]: things like. Is it important that you have a bestelling book and your are times

[aj_vaden]: spelling book? Do you need to have viral youtue videos at Ted talk? Ah, do they

[aj_vaden]: need to have like tons of media? Do you need to have like a huge business? You

[aj_vaden]: need to have you know all these different things,

[aj_vaden]: none of em. It was none of those things, the most single, most important. In fact,

[aj_vaden]: sixty two per cent of Americans said. The most important factor when deciding whom

[aj_vaden]: to hire to them was did you have testimonials

[david_horsager]: Hm,

[aj_vaden]: like? Did you have people who would put it on record that you are who you say you

[aj_vaden]: are, and you do what you say you’re going to do,

[david_horsager]: Mhm.

[aj_vaden]: And that’s amazing, because that’s the cheapest fastest easiest thing that we can

[aj_vaden]: possibly do is to get testimonials So when you think about like, what can I do and

[aj_vaden]: the cheapest fastest easy as fashion is to get other people to validate that you

[aj_vaden]: are who you, Ha, are you? You are who you. Say you are, and you do what you say

[aj_vaden]: you’re going to do. It’s getting testimonials And I would say the exact same thing

[aj_vaden]: happens within an organization, right. It’s it’s getting them from your employees

[aj_vaden]: from your executives from you know, not just your clients, but from the people who

[aj_vaden]: actually are in the organization.

[david_horsager]: That’s amazing

[david_horsager]: and there’s there’s a whole lot more. I. I’m reading through that part of

[david_horsager]: the study. What is most important down to least important and funny enough

[david_horsager]: on this list of maybe fifteen items. Is they have a podcast, So I guess uh,

[david_horsager]: we don’t need to worry about that, but it, thank

[aj_vaden]: No,

[david_horsager]: you to all of you that are listening today to the Trusted Leader show And

[david_horsager]: uh, you know it’s This is a super fun to share this truth. Hey, one last, I

[david_horsager]: want to ask you a personal things before we bring this to a close. But one

[david_horsager]: last item that you think might be just important to share from the study And

[david_horsager]: remember to everybody you gave us a special spot. Thank you for that, I put

[david_horsager]: my paper everywhere, David Dot free, brand study dot com, And you can get

[david_horsager]: this whole study. It is fascinating and it’s beautifully done, and in fact,

[david_horsager]: um, when we started doing our study in a new way, we used to trust trends

[david_horsager]: way back and to my grad work. But we also partnered with the same firm, Uh,

[david_horsager]: that you partner with very good friends of ours, center for generational

[david_horsager]: kinetics, who are wonderful people, of course, and dear friends. But um, uh,

[david_horsager]: yours is just it’s not you know. I love about it. It’s not just brilliant,

[david_horsager]: you know work. it’s beautifully laid out. it’s like, Oh, I get it. Oh, wow,

[david_horsager]: I can apply that. so um, thank you for that. Everybody can go find it there.

[david_horsager]: one. just little surprise or nugget. Uh, more from the study.

[aj_vaden]: Oh, titles. I thought this was too fascinating as what titles hold the most

[aj_vaden]: credibility in the marketplace? So when considering how to position yourself and

[aj_vaden]: package yourself in the marketplace, what are the titles that Americans consider

[aj_vaden]: the most credible? And again, I love the ones that completely throw me off because

[aj_vaden]: this was not on my radar and the first one was expert?

[david_horsager]: But can

[aj_vaden]: Are you an expert?

[david_horsager]: everybody call himself and I, Oh want. I’m an expert. You’re an expert. I,

[david_horsager]: we think we’re experts, Certainly atress. but it’s like man, Some of these

[david_horsager]: people can just say whatever right.

[aj_vaden]: Yes, it is so funny because in our company there is this running joke and they

[aj_vaden]: call it a ▁j’s law, Because I say this all the time, and my philosophy is that.

[aj_vaden]: You only have to be an expert if you know more than audience in which you’re

[aj_vaden]: speaking to Right, And I think there’s there’s variations and levels of expertise

[aj_vaden]: right. It’s like I am an expert at changing diapers, like I’ve been like In my up

[aj_vaden]: to my eyeballs in it for five years, Like I, I could teach anyone how to do this

[aj_vaden]: right, But then it’s like you can talk about personal branding. I’m an expert

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: in that, but I also consider myself an expert in sales to other people. Probably,

[aj_vaden]: um, but it’s I think there’s these variations of. you know. it’s like. Would I say

[aj_vaden]: that I’m an expert con compared to a mom who has eight kids. Probably not, but I

[aj_vaden]: am to a new parent,

[david_horsager]: Sure, yeah,

[aj_vaden]: so I think there’s these levels of that, but then the other ones I thought too

[aj_vaden]: were really amazing. I would was C, e o and founder,

[david_horsager]: hm,

[aj_vaden]: so expert, c, e o and founder, And then you know we have a podcast too, so I can

[aj_vaden]: totally dish on the broadcast. But then like the least credible title is host.

[david_horsager]: yeah,

[aj_vaden]: it’s like host, and these generic titles of. But what again? That goes back to

[aj_vaden]: what people are Li really looking for Is can they trust you

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: Because you know something that they don’t right. That you are a credible source

[david_horsager]: yeah,

[aj_vaden]: of information and they tie that to. Well, if you’re C e O, you must know

[aj_vaden]: something.

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: If you’re a founder. That meants to me

[david_horsager]: yeah,

[aj_vaden]: you’ve done something. If you’re an expert, you can help. Um. So I think all of

[aj_vaden]: these things is really correlate back to this underlying current of trust.

[david_horsager]: well, I, I appreciate that. I think it is kind of funny the host thing,

[david_horsager]: because you know to me the host, I don’t even think of myself at all like

[david_horsager]: it. It’s been amazing to see how now seventy countries are listening and we,

[david_horsager]: we have uh, this impact it, uh, more of followers than some other names.

[david_horsager]: where anyway we, we’re really grateful for what we’re doing, But this

[david_horsager]: podcasting for the first time, I was on a uh t V interview not very long ago

[david_horsager]: and I got introduced as Um. This, you know, trust expert, author and

[david_horsager]: podcatster and I’m like I’m not a pot. I mean I, I’ve never, even. I’. I

[david_horsager]: certainly don’t think of myself as one, but it has been really fun. The cool

[david_horsager]: thing about it is I learned the most uh, from the great brilliant

[aj_vaden]: Hm.

[david_horsager]: people that I interview and it keeps me fresh in a way beyond reading and

[david_horsager]: research, and um, uh, you know, working in companies and all that. So

[david_horsager]: anyway, I think it is funny cause I kind of kind of cringe when someone

[david_horsager]: called me That be cause. I certainly don’t don’t don’t think of that, but I

[david_horsager]: guess that’s what what we’re doing. sometimes. So the super supervluable

[david_horsager]: research. let’s get back to personal for just a couple seconds. and one is

[david_horsager]: you know what. Outside of all this research, just in your leadership, life

[david_horsager]: or family. what are you learning now?

[aj_vaden]: Oh man, I am. I’ll tell you on a business front, I am obsessed with learning tax

[aj_vaden]: strategy right now, Um, and I, a lot of that came

[david_horsager]: Okay, we need to get more exciting Quicker’re going to lose everybody.

[aj_vaden]: y. I. It is one of the most exciting things that I have learned in a really long

[aj_vaden]: time to go. Oh, man, and I’ll tell you what it was is. I did not trust the

[aj_vaden]: accounting firms that we were using. There was a lack of trust. Why? Because there

[aj_vaden]: was a lack of education that they provided.

[david_horsager]: Hm,

[aj_vaden]: It’s like, just send me

[david_horsager]: absolute

[aj_vaden]: you stuff and I’ll do it. I’m like No, I don’t. I want to understand. I

[david_horsager]: h.

[aj_vaden]: need you to tell me and it wasn’t happening, And so I started diving into all

[aj_vaden]: these courses and classes and eboos, and reading all these books and it has been

[aj_vaden]: one of the most. I know. It sounds crazy because it seems so boring, but it’s been

[aj_vaden]: one of the most fascinating and invigorating things to go. I understand this to a

[aj_vaden]: way that I now know how to help my own business and my own family, and ways that

[aj_vaden]: even accounting firms weren’t willing to do. And so I think it’s empowering.

[david_horsager]: Wow, I’ll give you a new job. You can come look at our taxes be cause. that

[david_horsager]: is something

[aj_vaden]: It’s been really empowering.

[david_horsager]: I don’t want to be an expert in. I bet.

[aj_vaden]: Well and and it’s and honestly, it’s why I got into

[david_horsager]: Yeah,

[aj_vaden]: it and then I kind of got obsessed with it when I learned that so many other

[aj_vaden]: people who considered themselves professionals in the field. I was bringing ideas

[aj_vaden]: to them that they had never heard, and it was a great reminder to me as like the

[aj_vaden]: day you stop learning is the day you start

[david_horsager]: yes,

[aj_vaden]: dying, and uh, I’ve just, I’ve been infatuated with tax strategy. However boring

[aj_vaden]: that may seem, um,

[david_horsager]: you two two things. In that one one thing, is it. It brought back one of our

[david_horsager]: early piece of research at least a few years ago that basically found Um.

[david_horsager]: mortgage brokers and real estate professionals. Almost nobody goes back to

[david_horsager]: the first one they ever had, unless they were a family and they had to,

[david_horsager]: Because the first experience they had buying a home. They, it was so unclear

[david_horsager]: and they would ask a question and they felt dumbcause. No one would answer

[david_horsager]: that they were. Oh, just sign here, and you feel the first time you buy a

[david_horsager]: home, you feel like you’re signing your life way. You don’t understand it

[david_horsager]: like No, Just, and they kind of rush you off and rush you through it. And

[david_horsager]: the data shows that if you would on that first time home buyer, just spend

[david_horsager]: the time to explain. It helped them understand, go slow and not push you and

[david_horsager]: try to get ten home sold day that

[aj_vaden]: Mhm,

[david_horsager]: they would actually stick with you for the next home. So in to to that very

[david_horsager]: point, hey, I don’t want to. you know. I know we got to land this plane, but

[david_horsager]: I do have to ask because I’m a curious human. What’s one? um, just tax idea

[david_horsager]: that you might have for all of us they would help, especially founders and

[david_horsager]: business owners, like like me, or maybe others listening. one idea.

[aj_vaden]: y ye, if you are an ▁c, make sure that you classify yourself under the one ninety

[aj_vaden]: nine, a classification that allows you to get a twenty percent deduction on all

[aj_vaden]: path through revenue. and it single handed, twenty twenty sa, us eighty thousand

[aj_vaden]: dollars of just making sure that we were classified correctly because our previous

[aj_vaden]: accounts had classified us as consultants. We’re not consultants. That’s not what

[aj_vaden]: we do and we didn’t classify it. So by actually learning what it was and what our

[aj_vaden]: true classification was, which were a training

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: company, that’s what we do. we were able to qualify for the one ninety nine a

[aj_vaden]: deduction, and save us eighty grand

[david_horsager]: Hm, Wow,

[aj_vaden]: in teas. one simple thing, one really simple thing.

[david_horsager]: there you go. now. Yeah, I’d love to hear more, but let’s let’s just add,

[david_horsager]: let let me follow that up with this. I’m a subs. I’m a corporation my

[david_horsager]: company

[aj_vaden]: Uhhuh,

[david_horsager]: is. Does it work this same in a corporation or not

[aj_vaden]: Yes, you can. it’s the one ninety nine A still works for an escort. If you’re a

[aj_vaden]: sea corp, not so

[david_horsager]: right?

[aj_vaden]: much, but if you’re an escorporate, you’ in ▁l, ▁ C, filing as an

[david_horsager]: Mhm,

[aj_vaden]: escorp. Um, it still works. It just depends on how much you’re paying yourself an

[aj_vaden]: ordinary income. Uh, because those will you know, Ba, basically net each other out

[aj_vaden]: depending on how you pay yourself, but yes, I would definitely look into it.

[aj_vaden]: Definitely bring it all to us. I, I am not a C. P. A, I

[david_horsager]: Hey, let’s put all this. this is not. This is not advice. We are going to

[david_horsager]: say this is not right,

[aj_vaden]: take this and then talk to her professional. Um, but yes,

[david_horsager]: but in one podcast, in what pod gas, do you go from family to branding to

[david_horsager]: tax advice? I mean, this is all free of charge, so this is

[aj_vaden]: yes,

[david_horsager]: exciting. I love itj. thank you so much You know. this is the trusted leader

[david_horsager]: show. so we always end with one very specific question. Who is the leader

[david_horsager]: you trust And why?

[aj_vaden]: oh yeah. So I had too, and know I’m really debating in my mind back and forth who

[aj_vaden]: it is. Um, but I’m I’m goingnna go. I’m going to go with her name is Mary Sobin,

[aj_vaden]: and she was an executive at Mcdonalds for a really long time, but then she left

[aj_vaden]: the corporate world, probably about ten years ago and started a performance

[aj_vaden]: consulting and a you know, high, fast paced but high fast paced entrepreneurial

[aj_vaden]: company kind of start up mode. And she works with the c e o’s, and she’s been uh,

[aj_vaden]: my business coach for the last year, and

[aj_vaden]: there’s not a ton of people that I would say, like give it to me straight, and I’d

[aj_vaden]: actually implement it. But I’ll tell you why it’s like she gives me the hard

[aj_vaden]: truth, but always surrounded with this like core reminder of I know who you are.

[aj_vaden]: I know who you are. A ▁j. and this is why I’m giving it to you. And she really

[aj_vaden]: does know who I am, And it’s there’s just very few people in my life that I would

[aj_vaden]: say. whatever you say. I’m going to take it into account and I’m I’m I’m going to

[aj_vaden]: pull something from it. but every single time I meet with her she is pulling

[aj_vaden]: something out that I didn’t say in the conversation, so I know that she’s spending

[aj_vaden]: time on me when I’m not around,

[david_horsager]: Hm.

[aj_vaden]: And that’s one of the things where I. I know that she knows me because she knows

[aj_vaden]: things that I’m doing that I didn’t tell her. And how can she do that? Iss,

[aj_vaden]: Because she’s connected to me on social. She is listening to her podcast. She’s in

[aj_vaden]: touch with my team, but she’s getting to know me on a level

[david_horsager]: Mhm.

[aj_vaden]: where there is you. I see you. I know you. I learned from you. I trust you, but I,

[aj_vaden]: I trust her the most because she gives me the hard truth, but always in a way

[aj_vaden]: that’s

[david_horsager]: Hm,

[aj_vaden]: going to make me better.

[david_horsager]: wonderful. I see you. I know you. what a thing to be able to say about your

[david_horsager]: your team or anybody you serve or your kids, for that matter, getting down

[david_horsager]: on a knee instead of shouting from across the across the family room. A ▁j.

[david_horsager]: I’m looking forward to seeing you and your family in Orlando. We both speak

[david_horsager]: at the same

[aj_vaden]: Yes,

[david_horsager]: event. I will not have my family with. I’ll be a little bit more in and out,

[david_horsager]: But youll have your family with and I think we might uh get to do dinner

[david_horsager]: with some friends briefly before you guys maybe go hit Disney. W. Um.

[aj_vaden]: oh, it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to be Mickey Mouse ears and tow. We’re

[david_horsager]: exactly where where I will not. I will be not headed to Uh Disney at that

[aj_vaden]: ready for it.

[david_horsager]: point, but thank you, and uh, what a. what a wonderful treat to have you on

[david_horsager]: and share with our listeners. You can look at the show. Out’s trusted Leader

[david_horsager]: show Dot com for everything we talked about, Remember Brand Builders Group

[david_horsager]: Dot Com. This has been the trusted leader show Until next time, Stay

[david_horsager]: trusted.

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