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  • Personal Branding Interview: Brett Blumenthal

    Today, I spoke to Brett Blumenthal, who is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting!, the founder of Sheer Balance, and a contributor to Shine from Yahoo!. In this interview, Brett talks about how she molded her personal brand with her corporate brand, how she decided on her career path, some ways to become a better performer at work, branding in the lifestyle sector and how she found her audience.

    Brett, what is Sheer Balance and do you feel it has become synonymous with your own brand?

    In 2007, I started Sheer Balance to be a resource for individuals who found it difficult to find balance in their everyday lives. I think true balance includes physical health (nutrition and fitness), mental health (stress management, relationships and work-life balance) and environmental health (how your personal environment impacts your health). It was built out of my passion for health, wellness and education, and as a result, I have poured every ounce of “me” into it. My brand has been interwoven into Sheer Balance from day one…and without me, the Sheer Balance brand would not have come to fruition. All of that said, I’m an individual with many interests and passions and I think Brett Blumenthal as a brand expands beyond Sheer Balance alone. As a result, I’m not sure I would use “synonymous” as much as “sub-brand” in describing the relationship of Sheer Balance to my brand.

    How did you decide on your current career path? When did everything come together for you?

    Dan, that is a great, yet very difficult question to answer. It was a very windy road getting me to where I am today. It all started when I was a freshman at Cornell: I discovered the mental and physical benefits of eating well and exercising. That led me to become an AFAA certified group fitness instructor. I went on to teach fitness classes for over ten years as a side “hobby” and job. My full-time career, however, included practicing both architecture and management consulting. I went on to get my MBA and focused in Spa Development and Brand Strategy.

    My goal was to combine all of my interests into one career. After graduating from Business School, I did brand strategy for lifestyle clients (spas, hotels and resorts) and found that I wasn’t tapping into my real passion: wellness. That was how Sheer Balance began. It was, once again, a hobby. And it wasn’t until this past March when I was given the opportunity to focus on Sheer Balance full-time.

    What are the top ways to better your health so you become a better performer at work?

    I think people tend to forget the basics. I (and Sheer Balance) stand for simplifying things in your life. The more complicated you make things, the worse off you will be. First, it will be more difficult to put things into action and second, the less you will be motivated to do so. Simplification is the most important aspect to healthy living. This especially applies to eating…the more complicated you make healthy eating, the less likely you will be inclined to do so. That was what prompted me to write the book “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! The book uses five extremely simple, fact-based rules to help you understand how to eat healthy. I take all of the fluff, the fads, the heresy, and throw them out the window. All of that “junk” is what people focus on, when instead, they should be focusing on very simple and basic information.

    My top three recommendations for becoming a better performer at work are the following:

    1. Rest: Get enough sleep…7 to 8 hours is ideal.
    2. Nourish: People tend to skip meals or snacks at work. This depletes us of energy and negatively impacts our ability to focus. Eat well-balanced meals made with whole foods. Every meal should have some carbs (preferably vegetables or fruit), lean protein and healthy fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated – Omega-3s). Further, stay hydrated. Water helps to ward off tiredness, dehydration, head-aches, and other unproductive symptoms.
    3. Move. I’m not saying go to the gym…I’m just saying move. Most of us sit at our desks all day, moving minimally. Take a walk at lunch. Walk to work if you can. Get up during the day and move around. Moving throughout the day will keep your metabolism boosted, will help you clear your mind and will give you a bit of energy to help you perform better.

    Can you talk about your experience with branding in the spa, wellness and hospitality industries?

    The lifestyle sector and branding ARE synonymous. Really. What successful hotel, spa, restaurant or fitness club doesn’t have a well-executed brand? It would be nearly impossible to find one. My branding work with the lifestyle sector included a lot of research and analysis to help clients best differentiate themselves through the experiences that we created for them. As you know, branding is about creating an experience. An experience that elicits an emotional response. I worked with hotel and resort clients, spa clients and restaurant clients to help them set the stage and effectively execute on the performance.

    How did you go about finding your audience?

    It was very organic. As a start-up, I did not have a lot of money to advertise. As a result, I spent a lot of time cultivating content partnerships with Divine Caroline, Intent and on an informal basis, Shine from Yahoo! This strategy has been tremendously successful…propelling my traffic up to 150,000 in some months. The internet is especially challenging, yet powerful, because it is extremely competitive, but you have an amazingly broad reach. When I first set out with Sheer Balance, I assumed I would attract mostly American women, in their 30s, who were well-educated. I was right. And I was wrong. I did attract those people, but I also attracted men and women across the globe at all different ages, and at many socio-economic levels.

    It is fascinating how many people you can reach with a click of a button! Moving forward, however, I want to have a more direct and stronger impact with people. Since people learn differently (some learn best through reading, others through listening, others through watching and others through doing) I’m looking to take my brand and Sheer Balance into other media outlets. I wrote my book, “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! as a way to speak to a new audience. I launched my radio show “GET REAL” with Brett Blumenthal through a collaboration of DivaToolbox and Talkshoe to gain an audience who prefers to listen. I’m going to start putting educational workshops/seminars together for those who learn by “doing.” And, I’m hoping, in 2010 to do more video and hopefully, link up with some opportunities in TV to get further exposure.

    ——–

    Brett Blumenthal
    is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of “GET REAL” and STOP Dieting! She’s the founder of Sheer Balance, which started when she realized that many of her friends and colleagues constantly struggled with finding balance in their every day hectic lives. Brett has been in the wellness industry for over 15 years. Brett became certified as a group fitness instructor through AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), and went on to teach for Cornell University, Gold’s Gym and Bally’s Total Fitness in New York. She taught all types of fitness classes and especially enjoyed helping her students understand fundamentals of nutrition, fitness and overall wellness. Brett writes for several online media companies, and has been featured on popular sites including: Yahoo!, Shine from Yahoo!, Divine Caroline, Intent and Gather. In 2008, Shine from Yahoo! named Brett “Woman of the Year” for her influential blogging and in 2009, Divine Caroline awarded Sheer Balance with their “Love this Site!” award within the Body and Soul Category.

    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

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