All the Stars in Glennda’s Galaxy

Oh, my stars and stripes, this is one of my favorite topics. That’s right, we are talking about what it takes to establish your personal brand! There are so many moving parts to creating and developing your personal brand that we can only scratch the surface.

Today, we’re gonna start at the very beginning because everybody needs a jumping off point. Fear not, we’ll be sure to circle back to this topic again and again, because it’s so important, but let’s start with what you can control and develop right this very minute. Spoiler alert: not only is it okay to fake it ‘til you make it, it’s often downright necessary. 

P.S. Don’t establish a personal brand that everyone associates with wearing star sweaters. That role is taken.


The (Other) Blueprint

Let’s take a minute to talk about Shawn Corey Carter.

Oh, my apologies—do you not know who that is?

Because I guarantee you do, although you might know him better as Jay-Z.

Jay-Z wasn’t always a hip-hop billionaire, no, ma’am. He fought his way up. He started life living in public housing in Brooklyn after his daddy ran off. Not an auspicious start. By his own admission, he dropped out of the school that he attended with legend Biggie Smalls (remember that for your next Trivial Pursuit game) and sold crack cocaine.  

But the man had talent and a dream… and a penchant for marketing himself. He was not about to let circumstances hold him down because he understood his own value, so he leaned into building a brand.

In his early days of his professional career, he would come out dripping in conspicuous consumption, with gold chains fat as a baby’s arm and medallions the size of boat anchors. Rumor has it he could not yet afford to look like he was living the high life, but he did it anyway. As we are not personal friends (yet), I cannot say for sure that fronting like this was a conscious business decision, but I’ll bet y’all five dollars that it was. If I were a gambling woman, my guess is that he followed the fake-it-‘til-you-make-it dictate.

Given everything he’s created since then, given the life he’s made for himself and his family, I practically guarantee that he made tactical calls in creating an image for himself. Hyping up his personal brand, coupled with his talent and drive, was the secret sauce.

Does this story have anything to do with real estate?

No, ma’am. But it has everything to do with establishing a brand, and that’s what we’re here for today.

Also, never forget, your name is your power.


Has the Kardashian affect changed the thinking of using your name as your business? #Glenndabaker #RealEstate #AtlantaRealEstate #Brand #N… See more


Fake It ‘Til You Make It

One of the most common questions y’all ask is, “Glennda, when do I start trying to build my personal brand?”

Short answer? Day one.

Like Jay-Z, I knew I needed to establish myself from the very beginning. I remember that I watched this girl who was the number one agent in the office. I’d seen that she had put her picture on a flyer and I thought to myself, “Huh. I like that.” So, I wondered what would happen if I were to put my picture on everything. I had read in this book that people do business with people they know and I was thinking, “I bet they would feel like they know me if they saw my picture.” That was the very first step I took towards creating my brand.

It's funny, but the company that I worked for didn't even have a picture business card. I had to design one myself! After I figured out the layout, I wanted to come up with something that would differentiate me, but I hadn’t gone to college, I didn’t have any credentials, and I was brand new. (None of that seemed like a good idea to list on a business card, FYI.)

I thought to myself, “What do I have?” That’s when I came up with the idea to list out my affiliations. In the little insert, it said Member of the Atlanta Board of Realtors, Georgia Association of Realtors, National Association of Realtors, Women's Council of Realtors, Sales and Marketing Council for the Atlanta Home Builders Association. Basically, everything that I could join, I joined because it lent credibility. My credibility wasn’t my drip, it was my affiliations.

That was step one.

Step two, I went to my broker and I said, “It says that all of the listings anyone here sells belong to the broker because the agents are representing the broker.” My broker said, “Well, yeah that's right,” and I tell you what, my wheels began to turn, y’all! I thought to myself, “If I work here and I am part of the brokerage, and someone sells 123 Banana Street, I have that success by association, being a part of the brokerage and all.”

I asked the broker if this was something I could say on marketing material. My broker told me, “As long as the agent who actually sold the listing says it’s fine, go right ahead.” So when somebody in the brokerage would sell 123 Banana Street, I’d send out a postcard that said “Buckhead Brokers just sold 123 Banana Street! If you're thinking about selling your house, call Glennda Baker.” I never, ever said that I sold any of these houses, I just made the case that the brokerage did and I was part of the brokerage. It wasn’t even a lie by omission because everything I said was true. On those postcards, along with the “If you're thinking about selling your house, call Glennda Baker” they’d see my cute and friendly picture.

If this isn’t the best example of “fake it ‘til you make it,” I don’t know what is. Sure enough, my strategy worked! I mean, it was hilarious—people would call me because it worked and that gave me the jumpstart I needed. The reason this was so effective is that as a real estate agent, you must put out there that you are selling houses in that area because it means that you know the inventory in that area. By associating myself with real estate success, I created it out of whole cloth. It’s just that simple.

After having established myself by association, I began to incorporate other cues to help establish my visual identity, beyond people just knowing my face. Enter the star sweater.

Flash forward twenty-something years. I recently gave a speech at Inman Connect, where I introduced myself by saying, “My name is Glennda Baker and I am a brand.”

Why? Because I started establishing that brand on my very first day, and y’all should, too.

BTW, when you build a brand that is so big, so powerful, and so world-renown, you will break the internet when you decide to change it.


Shining Bright

“Think of yourself as the star that you are.”

Glennda Baker

If you’re buying or selling, connect with me on Homes.com, where you can find listings like this one: