Our Exclusive One-on-One Interview With, Branding Expert, Coach, Strategist, & Consultant, Lydia Pierre
A natural entrepreneur since her childhood, Lydia started out her career early. A cosmetologist by trade, she believes her journey and experience in various jobs and roles has helped her to be more diverse in her skillset to make her a better brand manager. "I went from being a licensed cosmetologist to becoming a billing specialist and office manager at a chiropractic office to planning and decorating weddings, to working in public relations at a nonprofit to becoming the director of communications at the Chamber of Commerce to working as a marketing specialist at a bank. This resulted in me have an understanding of these industries allowing me to work with clients in those spaces today as well as equipping me with a unique set of skills and understanding that you may not get from a typical marketer."
Lydia started building her reputation as a brand manager in 2011 and went by the title of Ur Beauty Liaison which focused on Beauty and Entertainment. In that capacity, Lydia branded makeup artists and hairstylist and also worked as a Media Personality while branding a high-end fashion magazine. She interviewed celebrity guests such as Actress LisaRaye McCoy, Singer Lyfe Jennings, Singer Sheila Raye Charles and daughter of Ray Charles, the legendary Huff & Gamble, among others. She has had the pleasure of working in affiliation with individuals such as NFL's Michael Vick; Celebrity Stylist, Dwight Eubanks; and Reality star, Erica Dixon to name a few. She later expanded the business and rebranded as Pierre Branding Group so that she can serve a broader scope of clientele and industries with Ur Beauty Liaison becoming one of the five industries they serve. Her niche market is Executives, whom she counsels through the process of maintaining, improving, and upholding their reputation right where they are as they build their brand. Lydia knows a thing or two about this, being someone who has had to transition quite a few times herself while building her own brand. After seeing how doing so positioned her for success in the corporate world, she dedicated herself to not only working with Executives and Industry Professionals but also helping them turn their passion to profit.
Q: Tell us more about your business.
LP: I am a branding coach and consultant who provides services aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills and strategies to reach new levels of leadership. I started Pierre Branding Group, LLC., also known as PBG, which is comprised of a network of industry experts who come together to deliver quality work at flexible, boutique agency prices. As the Lead Brand Manager, I’m often tasked with managing all identity aspects of a product or service, as well as overseeing advertising and marketing initiatives to ensure that they’re in line with the brand’s identity and messaging.
The nature of the role requires frequent interfacing with other roles and departments including research, development, marketing, external creative agencies, and more, so it’s imperative that a brand manager is a team player and an exceptional communicator who can bridge these varied interests and create a unified message for the brand. Not only do I serve as CEO of Pierre Branding Group, but I’m also involved personally in the training and development of all our clients to ensure that every client receives the highest level of service in the industry.
Q: What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned from being an entrepreneur?
LP: That you cannot and should not do this by yourself. Choosing an entrepreneurial path is a very risky life choice which can lead to many life setbacks. Entrepreneurs need strong support and advisory system in order to turn their startup ideas into valuable businesses. The support of family and friends is very important for entrepreneurs and startup business owners. They are already sacrificing a lot of their personal time which can affect their relationships with the others. Being able to create community is so important. Entrepreneurs by themselves need to understand the importance of support, connections, and networking. Mentoring and leadership development in order to obtain knowledge and ideas can be a huge first step which entrepreneurs can take in order to flourish.
Q: What are some of the key challenges in marketing and branding that most startups face?
LP: Money. Being an entrepreneur has its challenges and giving up the stable job and regular paycheck is one of these challenges. Being able to afford marketing. For the typical startup, any marketing expense feels like the brink of bankruptcy. Newer companies should allocate more to marketing, to help speed up growth. But many times, they just don't have it. It is suggested that business owners make their marketing budget a percentage of revenue, but a lot of time, they do not even know what they’re working with.
Q: Can you give us an example of how you took a brand and then made it successful?
LP: One of my biggest success stories is Hope White. Hope White is the CEO of HD White Logistics and the Founder of Hope White Consulting. She was referred by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce to me and when we first spoke her words were, "I don't want to be seen as a mom & pop shop anymore". At the time, all she had was a website that needed much improving and her drive. She was ready for change and through working with her and building her personal brand, we were able to position her as a CEO, Entrepreneur, Logistics Consultant, Speaker, Diversity & Inclusion Trainer, and a Subject Matter Expert when it came to Logistics & Supply Chain. Now she is sought after for speaking engagements, podcasts, interviews, partnerships and more. Seeing her success has made me so proud to be in the position to help others see the value in themselves and take it to the next level, then the level after that and the level after that. Branding is an amazing journey and to be able to go on that journey with these amazing clients, is a privilege and an honor.
Q: Tell us more about your cultural background?
LP: I am a Haitian American native of Brooklyn, New York, raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and now residing in Metro Atlanta. Haitians are very proud of their culture and history. The stories of past Haitian heroes are not forgotten by today's youth. Some claim this is because the present offers no heroes, but others believe the past gives hope for the future. Everyday life is hard for most people, so parents strive to send their children to school, though it is very expensive, trusting that an education will give the next generation a better life. Haitians are warm, friendly, and generous. Their tradition of hospitality is clear in how they treat guests. No matter what society's conditions, Haitians celebrate life with joy, laughter, and dancing. Urban families might have three or four children, while rural families have ten or more. My father is one of ten siblings, and my mother was one of nine. The basic unit of society is the extended family. Relatives may also fill the role of godparent, which entails responsibility for a child if a parent dies. My mother passed in 2012 from cancer. Her passing is actually what triggered my move to Atlanta. I needed to get away and get a change of scenery. I didn't have any blood related family here in Georgia when I moved but my "auntie" from Philadelphia lived here, and she took me in and helped me get acclimated.
Q: How do your cultural experiences impact the way your run your business?
LP: Being Haitian has impacted the way I run my business greatly. In Haiti, the people have what we call a village mindset. Family and community support are common within Haiti. Often times, a child is raised not only by his or her immediate family but also by their village which includes extended family members and supportive members of the community. Even though I was born in the United States, this was still the case as we were very involved in our church community and had other Haitian families that lived in the neighborhood with whom we were able to somewhat continue these common practices in the United States. They became my aunties and sisters, even though we weren't related by blood. Growing up like that influenced the way we run PBG because we do with the frame of mind that this is family. Everyone from the Team of Consultants and Creatives to the Clients and Customers...we are all family. We even incorporate the word within our messaging and in the way we make clients feel. We encourage our clients to do the same and create that culture by creating opportunities for them to work together, support each other and hang out on their own. Seeing it play out that way and how everyone interacts with one another, brings me joy like no other. It makes my heart smile.
In addition, Respect and obedience are characteristics that are valued by Haitian families. Consequently, Haitian children tend to obedient and respectful. I have continued to value those characteristics to this day, and it shows in the way that I carry myself. Not to mention, it has become part of the reason that I am able to walk into any room and be able to command respect. It is because I was raised to respect myself and my family no matter where I am because I am a representation of them. In the branding space, I help client realize that their brand is not only a reflection of them but of their family. It is part of their legacy, so it is important that it remains intact.
Q: If there was one piece of advice that you could give to any business trying to build a brand – what would that be?
LP: Whether it is by design or by default, everyone has a brand. We are constantly building a perception of who we are in the minds of those around us. This is Branding. This is why it is important to be consistent and authentic— because you are a brand. If you truly want to be successful in life, you must consider yourself a brand and act accordingly.