Emma Burdett is a deep-sea enthusiast and marketer with whom I have the pleasure of sharing not only the twenty-first episode of the Personal Branding Exposed Podcast but also an office.
A perfect example of someone that lets their personality shine through not only on the way she runs her business but also in how she expresses a passion for the things she enjoys, my talk with her showed what a strong personal brand looks like in practice.
Here’s how that went:
23 Fathoms: Taking the dive
The very first thing that Emma and I got to talk about was how her marketing company got off the ground and what she does.
She explains that “23 Fathoms started out of necessity, we are a marketing company specializing in marketing management and all things sales and marketing really. I’ve been in business some way or another for over a decade and just thought marketing was a weak point for many, so I wanted to get out there and do it.”
Now, although the story of how her business got off the ground is something that warrants an article all of its own, what really was fascinating to hear was the explanation for its unusual name.
When I asked her about it, she replied I love that everybody asks me that all the time, it’s intentionally ambiguous, I want people to ask because it tells a story in the name.
“So, my background is diving, I love the ocean, I grew up near the ocean, I dived from a young age, became a dive instructor, and have always done it as sort of a side job. So when I started a new company, I knew it had to be ocean-related and, of course, “fathoms” is a nautical measurement, 23 fathoms equates to 41.4 meters, and for some, it might mean something, for me as a scuba diver it does because we know that the recreational scuba divers limit is 40 meters deep, and that is where everyone stops because it’s too hard, too expensive, takes too much experience, training, money and time to exceed that boundary. So, 41,4 meters is all about us being adventurers and taking the next step above and beyond where everyone stops because it’s just too hard.”
Underwater Photography and Personal Branding
A cool name with a deep story behind is not the only thing that Emma’s passion for the ocean got her, incorporating this huge part of her life into her personal brand opened many doors to many exciting places as she told me: “It’s funny, as a hobby and something that I’ve always just felt so passionate about it really has taken me to some incredible places. Just recently, of course, before the whole COVID going on, I did get over to South Africa on safari and diving with some sharks over there which were awesome.
A few years back I was contacted completely out of the blue just because I promoted what I did and was involved in the diving scene, got called to go out to Japan and be part of a tourism campaign and an advertising campaign for what they were doing over there, so that was fun!”
This was amazing to hear because it’s such a perfect example of how being open about your passions and incorporating them into your personal brand can get you unexpected opportunities that feel like real adventures.
Keeping your niche
Going a little back on our talk, there was also a moment where we spoke about Emma’s business model, and how she doesn’t try to overgrow her team, preferring to get the expertise she needs when she needs it.
Referring to this she shared a really useful insight about not just managing a business but also personal branding: “You can’t be an expert at everything, I’m a huge believer at being good at what you do and sticking to that.”
If you have ever listened to any of my other episodes you will know how important I think sticking to your niche is, but it’s always good to reiterate that the more specific your niche is the better, and stretching yourself too thin will only hurt you.
Your Ideal Client
At a certain point in our talk, I got to ask Emma about what was her ideal type of client and at first, she seemed a little unsure, claiming she had too many types to pick from, which was a little funny because she then proceeded to describe her ideal client anyway saying: “I just love working with people who have that growth mindset, who want to make a difference in what they are doing, really truly believe in their product and really lead their staff and employees to do that.”
In this case, Emma is a reflection of many people that can’t really narrow down their ideal client at first, but there is always a given set of qualities that unite the people we want to reach into a group, and finding that out is essential for building your personal brand.
If you are struggling to nail your favourite client avatar I have a free client avatar download with your name on it!
Thinking Outside The Box
The topic of working with people with a growth mindset brought us into the subject of thinking outside the box and how being creative to try out new things is not as simple as most people think.
“Especially when a business has been around for a long time,” Emma remarked, “They just do what they do but you’ve got to shake things up, be a little adventurous.”
The Covid crisis came as a good example of how the same things and habits are not always going to work. In fact, I had a whole talk with an adaptability coach, Dr. Yishai, about it recently.
If you were to take a single lesson from my talk with Emma Burdett, let it be this: Your personal brand is all about allowing who you are and what you like to shine through your business.
For Emma that was diving and the sea, for you, it could be anything else, horses, cars, books, anything that you judge to be essential to who you are.
Now, if you would like more lessons on personal branding, you can always contact me for some orientation on how to become a reference in your field through my Personal Branding Coaching Program.