Why You Need to Start Building Your Personal Brand
Rockstar International Publicist Tracy Lamourie Shares Her Wisdom
The featured Guest Czar for the next episode of The Communications Czar Podcast, Tracy Lamourie, turned her calling into a profession and has become an internationally award-winning public relations executive. Lamourie, the founder of Canada-based Lamourie Media, is no slouch when it comes to creating a buzz around worthy causes. Her career was a natural outgrowth of her activism and dedication to social justice. Her first foray into the uncharted waters of public relations was in response to her advocacy for an innocent man whom she had never met. His name was Jimmy Dennis and he had been sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Lamourie and her husband, Dave Parkinson, who worked as telemarketers to pay the bills while devoting all of their spare time to raising global awareness of his plight, Dennis was eventually exonerated and released. Now Lamourie counts Dennis, a musician, among the hundreds of people she represents in a myriad of industries.
The lessons that Lamourie shared in her interview are numerous (shameless plug: listen to the February 16, 2021 episode to hear them all!). However, in the interest of providing the most impact for your brain and eyeballs, I will limit them to the Top 5 Lessons That a Rockstar Publicist Can Teach You.
1. EVERYONE Can Benefit From Building a Personal Brand
If you think that you don’t have to worry about building a personal brand because you work for a big company, think again. Lamourie debunks that myth without missing a beat. “Your company is temporary. Even if you are going to be there for the next 50 years, you are going to be of more value to your company if you are seen as the expert. You’ll have more prestige.” Besides, unless you’re a clairvoyant, you don’t know where you’re going to be employed a year from now. “I’m focused on selling you as the expert, which impacts what you are doing now and in the future. So, building your personal brand supports you and the work that you do, not the company you work for. It’s about you as an expert in the field that you work in. That could improve your chances on your next job application hugely.” A higher profile will create more opportunities and could put more money in your pocket.
When COVID-19 led to less international travel, Lamourie found herself spending more time in her office. She turned the media spotlight onto her own firm, creating an impressive amount of global publicity. “Anybody who is looking for PR now, when they look at my resume and the list of 40 podcasts that I have been on, there’s nobody else who can beat it. You could bring the very best, the publicists who have been doing it 20 years longer than me, and I’m at least in the running with them. I don’t care who they are or who they worked for. I might not get chosen but I am in the running. I am right up there with confidence, at the table, saying, ‘You should hire me!’”
2. You Already Have What It Takes to Build Your Brand
“I believed very young, the truth, that I have known, and I believed it, that you have a voice, and you can use it. Don’t be shy and tell the media about it. Shine a spotlight on it. Be one of those people they now call thought leaders, but I used to call activists,” Lamourie encourages.
Deep down, you know that you would benefit from a slightly higher profile in whatever industry you are in, but you hesitate because self-doubt creeps into your head, causing you to question your worthiness. “Who would want to hear from me?” you ask yourself. Unlike Lamourie, you didn’t recognize your worthiness early on. However, after today, you have an assignment: Acknowledge that you are a brand, that you have something unique to contribute to the world. Stop talking yourself out of it. “You’re an expert in your field. You know what you’re talking about,” Lamourie ensures. “You have something in your background — it could be a cause or a job or a hobby or something you love or something you’re really good at.”
She continues: “We all have that power in front of us now, that screen, the internet. The whole world is about communication and connection. That, by the way, is how I have always described PR: communications and connections.”
3. Stop Underselling Yourself
Lamourie sees this first-hand with clients. When she is hired to work with a client, her first item of business is to write a bio so that she can promote her client to the media. She asks them to send her their background information. Then, based on the materials that the client provides, Lamourie writes up a bio. Sure, she is a seasoned pro and master wordsmith but all the information that she uses to write the bio is provided by the clients. She’s not doing a deep dive to uncover anything new. Still, her new clients invariably have the same reaction: “Oh, you make me sound so good!” No, says Tracy, that’s not it at all. THEY achieved all the things she wrote about. THEY did the work, the heavy lifting — yet they can’t see it. Wherever you are on your journey, you’re probably not recognizing your accomplishments. Stop underselling yourself. Give yourself the credit that you’ve earned.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Wins
Lamourie didn’t start at the top but when she earned some accolades, she leveraged them into opportunities. Take a page from her book and share your wins with the world. Everyone benefits from good news, so if you’ve got some, by all means, share it! “I am good at what I do. If I get an award, I put it in my bio,” Lamourie shares. The record of these wins has turned into her brand. It’s the reason why she is recognized as “an international award-winning publicist.” It’s also the reason why she speaks on high-profile podcasts, works across industries, and talks on stages around the world — all because she shared and leveraged her accomplishments. “As much as it sounds epic, I believe it means empowered. Now I am speaking to all these international businesses, but my message is that you have it in you already,” Lamourie relates. What is stopping you from becoming empowered?
5. Keep at It!
“Jimmy Dennis used to always say, ‘Never, never give up! I don’t want to hear you say anything bad about today, because we didn’t get this far to only get this far,’” recalls Lamourie. “Now he is in Rolling Stone on panels with Ja Rule, talking about police brutality in America. My husband and I are no longer telemarketers. We are internationally award-winning publicists.”
Lamourie encourages you to keep going “no matter where you are, whether where you are is someplace where you are being lauded and applauded, or if yesterday you were gonna jump off a bridge.” Focus on what you want and keep making progress.
“It’s really a situation where your own self-doubt is the only barrier,” Lamourie states. “Believe me when I say there are a million opportunities on the internet, literally thousands of podcasts about everything where your story would be a perfect match. There are so many forums now. If you are not using these forums and you’re just doing your work, you’re falling behind. You’re literally falling behind,” Lamourie warns. Take her advice and put yourself out there. Start building your personal brand, share it with the world, and see what comes back to you.
Roseann Galvan hosts The Communications Czar Podcast. The interview with Tracy Lamourie will debut on February 16 and will be available on Apple, Audible and Spotify or www.CommunicationsCzar.com