Valiant CEO Magazine Interview with Kelly Millar - CEO and Founder of KM Transformational Branding. "I would say the most common mistake that I see entrepreneurs make is to give up when they fail. - "Kelly Millar

Kelly Millar – KM Transformational Branding – Create Your Extraordinary & Evolve Your Brand

Mike Weiss
November 7, 2021
"I would say the most common mistake that I see entrepreneurs make is to give up when they fail." - Kelly Millar

Meet Kelly Millar – International Branding & Transformation Specialist.
As the founder and principal of KM Transformational Branding Consultancy, Kelly uses over 15 years of international branding, psychodynamic training, and leadership transformational experience to strengthen your brand positioning. During her time spent living and working internationally, including the UK, Canada, US, Spain, The Netherlands, and South Africa; she honed a truly global perspective that can empower you to compete in tomorrow’s economy.
A personal branding and transformational specialist, she has worked with hundreds of people including entrepreneurs, industry leaders, influencers, celebrities, and CEOs to build brand giants. She’s given advice on TV, radio and contributes regularly to international media syndicates as an authority in the branding and transformation spaces. You’re in expert, experienced hands. Her hand-picked suppliers and talented team will unlock unique advantages. Their strategies and tools will enable high growth, brand awareness and ensure premium brand positioning. They’ll enable your next level of success as a strong strategic partner on your brand journey. And will always offer you the latest in techniques, tools and training to deliver on your core KPIs through personal branding, rebranding, thought leadership, public relations, and digital brand presence.
Kelly’s dream for KMT is to empower visionary leaders globally. She is passionate about building successful, inspiring, authentic brands that are sustainable long-term and make a powerful impact.

Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)

Kelly Millar: We currently have a few exciting projects on the go but a couple of them really stand out.

We have been working with a big, international bank to help them to define and launch an exciting value proposition to transform how small business owners manage their finances. We focused on a very humanized digital brand strategy to set them apart with a personalized vision and brand development through market research, creating a meaningful customer experience, and a more personalized messaging architecture that was purpose and values-driven. They have already had an extremely positive response as well as received high praise for ‘being more connected to what their customers actually want and need’. We don’t often think of big banks as being human-centric, so it is wonderful to be part of this progressive transformation that is changing how we all do business.

Secondly, we have been working with a very talented lead strategist for the big four who wanted to build her personal and professional brand and step up to a C-suite role. Our transformational branding process combines a complex but complementary synthesis of branding, communications, strategy, and personal development. We’ve helped her to elevate her profile using branding social media and PR media campaigns, showcase her accomplishments and align her brand with her level of expertise in order to position herself as a thought leader in her niche and to create new opportunities. She recently landed the role of her dreams as CEO and was also offered a prestigious book deal. She has been invited to give a TED talk and speak at the UN. So things are going really well and myself and the team are so delighted for her! It’s such a privilege to be part of the branding journeys of real people with a vision and witness their successes.

Speaking of milestones, we’ve just had a new member of the team join us as Marketing Architect & Brand Strategist, which we are all very excited about. We are now 15 strong!

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?

Kelly Millar: We’re all on a journey and fellow entrepreneurs can all relate to facing tough times whilst building their businesses.

When I first started my company in Toronto, over 15 years ago, Personal Branding was not generally understood. It was perceived as something only for high profiles or figures in the media. So most people didn’t really understand what I did or what I was creating. They thought I was crazy building something that was so niche market. That was not easy. I believed even then that who we are, what we represent, and how we present ourselves to the world matters. I understood the growing importance of having an online presence and taking charge of that messaging.

I experienced some really tough times over the years, but all through the ups and downs I never gave up. It just wasn’t an option for me. I think when you do something that you really love and believe it, you have that fire in your belly that keeps you going.

What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?

Kelly Millar: I would say the most common mistake that I see entrepreneurs make is to give up when they fail. As an entrepreneur, it’s not of question of if, but when you will fail, because we will all fail and fall short at some point on the entrepreneurial journey. Having a growth mindset is so key, as it changes the way we see things. As a wonderful mentor of mine Wayne Dyer once said, ‘When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’ So it’s all about perspective. If we see our ‘failures’ and opportunities for growth, we never fail, we just learn and do better next time. My bit of advice from experience is to say, remember that it’s a journey, stay flexible and focus on what you love about what you’re doing and becoming.

Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?

Kelly Millar: When the pandemic first hit, KM Transformational Branding (KMT) faced big challenges like most companies around the globe. We had to evolve, reimagine and create new ways of working virtually. We already offered some services online (as we work with clients globally), but ultimately, it presented us with challenges that helped us to grow and transform positively. We have innovated and in many ways designed new, better ways of working whilst still offering clients a high quality, personalized service and results.

Many entrepreneurs, leaders, and companies have needed to rebrand and take a much more authentic, humanized approach to their branding and consider what their customers actually want. And that’s where we come in, so we’ve experienced an influx of business. I’m very grateful that for us, the crisis has enabled real growth on a global scale.

personal branding Kelly Millar portrait

What is most important to your organization—mission, vision, or values?

Kelly Millar: I would say that as a company we lead with our values. That’s the heart of who we are, how we work, and how we engage with our clients and our audience/community. I believe it is so important to walk the walk and live the brand, authentically. Our core values are: Authenticity, Human-centric, and Innovation.

As the founder and CEO, I’m in a leadership position and it’s important to me to also serve my team and clients and to lead by inspiration. We do branding differently, in that we understand the importance of creating meaning beyond what we are selling. It’s really branding from the inside, out.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?

Kelly Millar: I think the three traits that have served me well over the years and which have been instrumental to my success are: leading with integrity, being extremely driven, and always keeping an open mind to learn and grow.

Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?

Kelly Millar: Being CEO of my company, I believe that the values integral to my personal brand are absolutely reflected in the company’s values and are a key part of the company vision and how we grow and evolve. I think it is especially important in this new business era for CEOs, business owners and industry leaders alike to take charge of their personal brand and what it says about them –  to ensure it’s authentic, well defined, and powerfully aligned with their vision. and purpose. The days of leaders remaining in the shadows are gone, and it’s time for CEOs and leaders to show up in a personal, human way and to live their brands authentically – that is to walk the walk.

How would you define “leadership”?

Kelly Millar: I live according to the idea that leadership is a way to inspire others to be, do and contribute more. It is a choice and a privilege.

Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?

Kelly Millar: I do believe that entrepreneurship is a journey and a choice and in that sense, anyone can do it with the right mindset. Entrepreneurs are not born but made. It starts with a burning passion to create something, to realize your vision in the world. But you need that drive and love of what you’re doing to succeed, otherwise, when you hit those bumps along the way, which we all do, you won’t have the motivation to continue.

What’s your favourite “business” quote and how has it affected your business decisions?

Kelly Millar: Interestingly, I think our business and personal lives are inextricably intertwined as everything is in some way connected. I have always loved this idea of success which is beautifully expressed by Maya Angelou: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” ― Maya Angelou

I don’t think ‘business success’ is very meaningful if you’re not happy. So, I have also very much invested in my own personal development over the years, as the more self-awareness we have, the more we learn to trust ourselves, and I believe, the more empowered we are, the better decisions we make. I focus on doing what I love, and feeling good about how I do it, Success comes from that.

Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Kelly Millar for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

If you would like to get in touch with Kelly Millar or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page

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