Caitlin Loos is an extraordinarily creative brand expert who was blocked when it came to expressing her “personal brand.” (I use quotes because I happen to hate that term… we’re people, not products. But I digress.)
As she progressed in her career, she knew her LinkedIn profile needed help — but dealing with LinkedIn felt as onerous “as swimsuit shopping,” as she put it. So, she hired me.
Read on to discover how Caitlin’s updated LinkedIn profile began paying dividends for her immediately. And see if you see aspects of yourself in her descriptions of why she avoided doing this work for such a long time.
Can you tell people about the tag line we came up with for you, and why you like it?
Caitlin Loos takes brand personally. My career has been focused on brand, and my approach to it is all about creating real love and connection between humans and brands. This tagline explains what I do and differentiates my approach in an incredibly succinct and compelling way. It also feels like me, which is really special and unexpected.
You’re so talented at telling brand stories — but I think you found it hard to tell your own story. Why do you think that is?
Anyone who has tried before knows that telling your own story is HARD. I have never been successful at doing it myself, and every attempt has felt cringe-y and inauthentic.
For a long time, I was the Olympic champion of avoiding putting myself out there online. (I had a consulting business for four years without a website…like, at all).
I think there are a few reasons for this.
- It’s hard to know what to emphasize about yourself. When I’m working with other people on their brands, in a sea of ideas and background information, things start to stand out, and I can fairly easily and quickly suss out what should float to the top. But when it came to me, I struggle to see what stood out as most important. Then I just give up and work on someone else’s brand :).
- Committing to words to describe yourself is hard. For some reason, committing to words is scary. Committing to a design is a lot easier for me — I actually have my personal brand logo as a tattoo, and I have never doubted it, but the words never felt natural or like they were quite right. When I said them, they sounded like someone else’s words.
- I felt so much pressure to get it exactly right. Because I work in branding and design, potential customers look at my identity and brand story not just as a depiction of me, but as a demonstration of my ability to do my job. Gulp.
You told me the other day that you’ve already seen a lot of positive impact from updating your LinkedIn profile, and it’s only been, what, a month? Can you share what kinds of things have been happening?
Yes! I have done very little other than update my profile and get a few recommendations, but here are a few great results:
- It’s changed how people interact with me at work. My company has also hired a lot of people recently, and when I do intro calls with them after they read my profile, they come to the conversation with a much better understanding of my role. I find that people show me a lot more respect off the bat than they did in the past. This has been a really notable change, and one that helps me start relationships with coworkers in a very positive and productive way.
- I’ve gotten invitations to connect on LinkedIn from some really relevant and senior people. I don’t know how the LinkedIn magic works, but suddenly, it was clear that I was coming across as much more relevant than before in the areas that I care about.
- I’ve reconnected with people in my network. I am amazed at the wonderful relationship-building that has come from asking for recommendations. In about five cases, asking for a recommendation led to a wonderful conversation. I’ve been able to see my story through their eyes, which has been really helpful in evolving my thinking on how to position myself. I’ve also written a few reviews for others, which has led to similar positive interactions.
Sure, I could have done this before, but having clarity on the story I want to tell as well as having confidence in my LinkedIn profile has made me actually do it, and I am so, so glad.
- I’ve gotten more confident about networking. I sent an invitation to connect to someone super senior at a brand agency I admire with a nice note, and he accepted and wrote back. I can say with absolute assurance, I never would have done that with my old profile.
Aside from external results, did updating your LinkedIn profile shift anything for you, personally?
Definitely. I sometimes go back and read my tag line through a specific lens, or imagining myself as a specific audience, and it helps me gain insights into how to tell my stories, and how to communicate more effectively. It also has given me a place (and a push) to start creating and sharing thought leadership content. I want to grow that aspect of my personal brand in a big way, but for now, it has given me a lot of inspiration to start…somewhere. Plus the social aspect of it makes it really rewarding (love seeing those little thumbs-up come in :).
Any advice for someone holding back from strengthening her online presence?
This sounds silly, but I sort of thought that everyone hated their LinkedIn profile and found it painful to read…kind of like the swimsuit shopping of building your personal brand. Now with my current bio, I am shocked at how much confidence it has given me and how much fun it is to engage with LinkedIn.
If any of that resonates, I can’t recommend enough getting some expert help with it. Amanda was able to get the full picture and then narrow in on just the right things to tell my story.
I guess the other piece of advice is that creating a great profile really only requires one great starting point. Everything else flows naturally from there, and the effort overall was a lot less than I had built it up to be.
The original post for the article can be found here.
Content courtesy of Amanda Hirsch, Founder Mighty Forces, helping women and women’s organizations clarify the stories they want to tell about themselves and share them online and beyond.
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, AMANDA HIRSCH
Amanda Hirsch is on a mission to fill the world with women’s stories. She does this as both a writer and as a story coach and consultant. Her company, Mighty Forces, helps women and women’s organizations clarify the stories they want to tell about themselves and share them online and beyond.
Amanda has been a business owner since 2006, when she left her job as editorial director for PBS.org. Figuring she’d freelance for a while, she spent approximately one hour on the couch with her laptop and her dog, Cosmo, before declaring she would never work in an office again.