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When I learned that my youngest daughter Fanny Slater was chosen to be one of the co-hosts on a new Food Network Show, I was not surprised.
Fanny has always been cooking on all burners her whole life.
From a very young age, Fanny was the type of child who always loved to perform and cook with me in our kitchen. She thought food was a toy to be played with and didn’t take anything seriously. She thought her job was to entertain me, my wife, her sister Sarah and our cats. She once wore a mask made of bologna.
Fanny started to focus on what she wanted to do with her career after college. It became clear that she wanted to be in front of the camera doing improv or acting. After heading to LA, she realized that it was food that was critical to her happiness and that being an actress in a movie wasn’t what she wanted to do.
How could she combine her passions for food, writing, and improv?
Over the last five years, she has looked to me to give her business and marketing advice to guide her to help her achieve her goal. My wife provided her with a calm, broader perspective and her sister was a constant cheerleader every step of the way.
But it was a text from my 89-year old Mom that alerted Fanny to an opportunity to enter a contest on the Rachael Ray Show to publish a cookbook that was the real jumpstart for her career. As my mother wrote in her text, “you never know”.
I have given Fanny advice about marketing herself (her brand) – and how to move toward what she wanted to achieve. Marketing the Fanny brand has been so much fun. The credit goes to Fanny for following through on her dreams.
Here is some of that advice about building a personal brand that might be helpful to you or someone you know.
- Only you can be Fanny. No one else can show up with your brand. So create a brand that captures the essence of who you are and what gives you joy. Don’t worry about how you make money with your brand – instead be yourself. What can you do that no one else would try so that your brand is a reflection of what you care about and who you are? The path toward money will follow.
- Define the activities that you love to do daily. How can you create opportunities to do those things regularly? Fanny loved food, writing and being on screen, so she has concentrated on writing for several publications. They don’t pay that well but it is fun work that she enjoyed, and that helped her build her reputation and her “food chops.” She created a business doing recipe development for wineries and other food companies. As she liked to say, I get to play with food in my pajamas and get paid for it!
- Don’t do stuff that won’t lead you in the direction of your goal. Fanny turned down plenty of opportunities for work (like catering) that was super hard work, very little money and complex because of health and regulatory laws. We discussed this often, and she realized that she wanted to keep things simple and catering isn’t simple. Fanny often hears from me to say NO when your gut tells you that it isn’t what you want to do. Say YES to the rest of the stuff – even when it is really hard work. You may zig and zag in your career but always remember your North Star – the point where you are heading.
- Leverage the assets you have in a unique way. Fanny didn’t just do book signings at bookstores; she partnered with breweries, restaurants, yoga studios and other neat places to create some fun and special experiences. Her cookbook is an amazing creation, and it received some very high acclaim. She has been defining her brand through her writing, teaching, and recipes in this cookbook, and it was all part of her yellow brick road toward the land of Food Oz. When she got the chance to teach a cooking class at a Southern Seasons, it was an opportunity to pretend to be on TV with her own studio audience. When the local TV station, WWAY asked her to do 3-minute segments on the morning and evening show, it was another opportunity to practice being on camera, cooking and having fun.
- Keep the goal in mind every day, but don’t miss the moments. It is wonderful to have big goals and dreams but don’t miss out on enjoying the life right in front of you. Be mindful and filled with gratitude and appreciation. Find ways to use your “minor celebrity” to do some good locally. Be more generous and give and don’t expect anything in return. My wife and I are so proud of how big Fanny’s heart is and how she is often looking to go out of her way to be helpful and generous to others.
Marketing a personal brand is not that different from selling a product or service. You have to understand the essence of the brand and what it stands for, and you need some standards in place. Be consistent in how you live that brand and what you stand for and represent. Don’t be afraid to try and take small risks all the time so you can grow and learn. Keep your social media efforts light and fun and helpful without overwhelming yourself.
Most of all, be yourself and know what you want and where you are heading.
As trite as it sounds, it is never about the destination, but about the journey. Enjoy the moments.
If you want to follow Fanny’s journey, check her out Instagram and Twitter at @fannyslater or visit www.fannyslater.com for more information. The Food Network Show is called The Kitchen Sink and premieres on Sunday, January 15, 2017.
Along with The Next Food Network Star, Tregaye Fraser and Top Chef finalist Spike Mendelsohn, Fanny will be a rotating co-host on this new show. Check local listings for times and watch for her to make a guest appearance on The Kitchen too!
Need help to develop a personal brand? Let’s chat. 919 720 0995.
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Ten Simple Lessons To Help You Market Your Brand.