The power of personal branding: Kelly Lundberg's evolution as a branding expert

Abha Garyali Peer |

Today, we delve into the world of entrepreneurship and personal branding with a true luminary in the field. Meet Kelly Lundberg, a seasoned business mentor, personal branding expert, athlete branding strategist, and style expert, whose passion lies in nurturing dreams and achieving goals.

With an impressive track record spanning two decades and over 15,000 hours of mentoring experience (yes, that's right, she's been honing her craft since the Gucci-clad days), Kelly is more than just a mentor – she's a catalyst for success. Her mission is to empower entrepreneurs to not just thrive but to dominate in the digital marketplace. Kelly's expertise lies in creating that indispensable space in the digital arena, where entrepreneurs can amplify their value, personal brand, and profits. She's the voice of reason, the motivator, and the strategic guide that every ambitious entrepreneur needs on their journey to success.

In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Kelly Lundberg, brand strategist, business mentor, talks about her journey of more than two decades, with many successful roles she played. She talks about being a brand strategist and business mentor. Whether it's saving time, providing invaluable insights, or simply being the driving force behind your business and life goals, Kelly Lundberg has the tricks up her well-tailored sleeve to make it happen.

Kelly Lundberg is synonymous with style. What inspired your diverse career journey, spanning from celebrity stylist to business mentor to brand strategist? Could you share insights into your path toward becoming a brand strategist and the motivations driving this career choice?

Style has always been more than just clothes; it's about confidence and the transformative power of self-expression. Style has been a huge part of my life, helping others feel more confidence in the clothing they wear and the impact it has on them. Over the past 20 years I have witnessed first-hand the profound effect that personal branding can have on an individual's confidence and success.

I recognised that there are a number of elements beyond clothing that contribute to a strong personal brand. Over the years, I saw as I not only developed my own personal brand, that there are so many other elements to feeling good about your brand, and styling is just one element to this.

In many ways, the transition to brand strategy is a natural extension of what I was already offering, but now I have found a means to expand a reach and help a broader audience. With the ability to help more people with not only their business if they were an entrepreneur, but also climbing the career ladder and the importance of your personal brand too. There is a huge amount of interconnectedness of style, personal branding, and professional success.

What do you consider to be the essential qualities and skills for a successful brand strategist and business mentor?

I would say a successful brand strategist and business mentor should possess the ability to envision the big picture; but not only that, but to have first-hand experience of building their own brand and/or other clients with results. A creative mindset to think outside the box and devise innovative solutions. I massively believe in ongoing learning and professional development. The ability to stay abreast of industry trends, attend conferences, and seek out opportunities to expand knowledge and expertise that you can also share with clients.

Can you recount a challenging brand strategy issue you've faced in your career and how you navigated through it to find a solution?

One of my client's challenges stemmed from a lack of visibility and differentiation in a competitive job market. Despite her impressive credentials, she was struggling to stand out among other candidates and capture the attention of potential employers, facing many rejection emails. Through the creation of, the development of an authentic video reel, and strategic promotion efforts, together we successfully revitalised the client's personal brand and created new opportunities for her in the job market. Read the full story in my new book ‘Deseed The Lemon, Elevate Your Personal Brand One Pip At A Time’ which is out in March!

How do you keep abreast of the latest trends and shifts in the branding industry? Could you highlight a particularly effective brand strategy you've crafted and discuss the factors contributing to its success?

As a firm believer in investing in experts and continuous learning, I employ various strategies to keep abreast of the latest trends and shifts in the industry, recognising the value of learning from industry experts who offer valuable insights and expertise. Whether through online courses, workshops, or mentorship programs, I seek opportunities to learn knowledge from other professionals. Innovation is also at the heart of effective branding strategies. By embracing new technologies, tools, and approaches, I strive to stay ahead of the curve and deliver innovative solutions to clients. At a recent conference, I was introduced to a simple yet highly effective quiz app that revolutionised our lead generation efforts. By leveraging this quiz app, we were able to engage our target audience in a fun and interactive way while capturing valuable data and generating organic leads.

In your client work, how do you discern their unique brand identity and craft a strategy that resonates with it

When working with clients to craft their brand strategy, I utilise a framework that breaks the process into seven easy-to-follow steps. These steps (or slices) serve as a roadmap for understanding the client's current position and charting a path toward their desired future.

The first step in this framework is strategy. During this phase, I work closely with the client to assess their current situation and define their future goals. This involves understanding their values, objectives, target audience, and competitive landscape. Through collaborative discussions and exercises, we establish a clear understanding of where the client wants to go and how they envision their brand evolving.

Additionally, I incorporate an anonymous brand audit into this process. This allows the client to gather feedback on how their personal brand is perceived by others, providing valuable insights into areas of strength and areas for improvement. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the client's unique brand identity and positioning, I can then develop a strategy that resonates with their values, objectives, and target audience.

By following this structured approach, I'm able to guide clients through the process of defining their brand identity and crafting a strategy that aligns with their goals. This ultimately leads to the development of meaningful connections with their target audience and the achievement of their business objectives.

What role does storytelling play in crafting impactful brand strategies, and how do you integrate it into your approach

I am a huge believer in telling stories; this might also be a Scottish trait too. I genuinely believe storytelling serves as a gateway for communicating a (personal) brand's values, mission, and vision in a compelling and memorable way. I love how it creates an emotional connection with consumers, fostering loyalty and advocacy and in today's digital age, where people are bombarded with messages, storytelling stands out as a powerful tool for brands to cut through the noise and capture attention.

With the proliferation of digital platforms and social media, how has brand strategy evolved, and what aspects are now more critical than ever?

It would be naive to think that employers and potential customers don’t frequently turn to social media and online platforms to learn more about individuals or brands before making decisions. Having no online presence can indeed raise red flags or signal disengagement in some cases. In my opinion, LinkedIn is a crucial platform for building your personal brand. To maximize its effectiveness, make sure your profile is up-to-date with current information and that you engage with the platform regularly.

Are there any common misconceptions clients hold about brand strategy, and how do you dispel them in your consultations?

I would say there are a couple of misconceptions, for example brand strategy is only relevant for large corporations or consumer-facing brands. In consultations, I highlight the significance of brand differentiation and positioning, regardless of the organisation's scale or sector.

It’s also not just as a one-time project rather than an ongoing process. Effective brand strategy is iterative and dynamic, requiring ongoing refinement and adaptation to evolving market dynamics and consumer preferences. During consultations, I emphasise the importance of continuous monitoring, measurement, and the constant evolution of branding efforts.

How do you manage situations where a client's vision for their brand diverges from your strategic recommendations?

While I may offer expert guidance and recommendations, I ultimately respect the client's authority as the decision-maker for their personal brand. I strive to empower them to make informed choices that they feel confident in. I would however, present the client with alternative options that would perhaps align more closely with their vision while still addressing their objectives. I would also use my expertise and experience to educate the client about the rationale behind my strategic recommendations.