Guest Post: Your Brand Is About YOU
Today’s guest post is by my friend Laura Scholz. Fellow KimberMedia account manager Matt LaCasse introduced us through Twitter and it was love at first mention of cheese dip. She is an inspiration. After you read this post you will understand why you need to read her blog and follow her on Twitter.
I’m writing this blog post from glorious Asheville, North Carolina, a city I’ve been visiting once a month since December of last year to attend training seminars for my Pilates teaching certification.
As KimberMedia’s own Matt LaCasse would say, “wait, what?” (Yes, I owe him royalties. Matt, you can expect payment in cheese dip.)
Pilates? What does that have to do with PR? The company, the brand, the relationships you’ve spent the past twelve years of your life building?
The answer: everything.
But first, let’s backtrack for a bit.
When I embarked on this Pilates certification training journey, I never anticipated switching careers. Pilates was a hobby—something I really enjoyed, and only I decided to get my certification because it would be the last opportunity to work with my teacher. And well, the side effects of being in really great shape didn’t hurt either.
At the time, I was doing very well with my PR business. I was just finishing up my highest grossing fiscal year ever— in fact, I had doubled the previous year’s revenues. I was continuing to land interesting clients whose missions resonated with me, continuing to secure prominent local and national placements for those clients, continuing to connect with likeminded professionals across the country and continuing to feel blessed to do work I enjoyed with people I loved.
But I’d also been keeping a dirty little secret: I’ve never really loved PR.
Do I love my clients, my media contacts, my fellow PR pros, the rush of getting that perfect story?
But it just doesn’t make my heart sing. And if I’ve learned anything from working in this business for more than a decade, it’s that people can tell when your heart’s not in it.
So, I’m making a change. A scary one, but an exciting one.
The good news?
My network has been 100% supportive of my career change.
This morning, I posted a picture of me in my studio’s logoed t-shirt and announced that I was teaching my first group Pilates class.
Within a few hours, I had nearly 100 “likes,” ranging from predictable support from close family and friends to surprisingly, reporters I’ve worked with over the years, fellow agency owners, other friends in the business, and yes, event clients.
Your brand isn’t just about your profession. It’s about YOU. Your interests, your personality, the way you interact with and treat others. People don’t care as much about what you do as they do WHO YOU ARE—and I’m still the same cheese dip-addicted, crazy marathon running, random music lyric quoting night owl I’ve always been. I’ll still maintain my friendships and connections (in fact, some of my professional contacts have already become Pilates clients), just working in a different field.
And honestly, Pilates isn’t THAT much of a stretch for me. Yes, it’s about anatomy and movement, but it’s also about relationships.
Those same skills that made me good at PR—building connections with people, helping them understand how to achieve their goals and express themselves, being attentive to the little things while understanding how all the moving pieces fit together in the bigger picture—are helping me as I transition into my new profession.
And I’m grateful to all of my friends for being along for the ride.
Laura Scholz is a recovering publicist turned Pilates instructor who lives in Atlanta, GA, with her husband, @tilong85, and their border collie, Zoe, and calico cat, Daisy Mae. When not tweeting random song lyrics or about her cheese dip addiction, Laura can be found running the streets of Atlanta (yes, for fun), eating her way through Atlanta’s hottest restaurants, visually hoarding things on Pinterest and singing and dancing in her kitchen while “cooking” (i.e. drinking wine and burning things).
Her blog is: laurascholz.com.