Discover how important a clear and focused brand identity is to your business. Your company needs to have a fully developed personality. Learn how much impact a fully developed personality for your company is in helping you get customers and grow your business.
We welcome our special guest branding super star Jenna Soard. Jenna shares with us how important it is to know exactly who your ideal customer is. She talks with Steve Kidd the host of Thriving Entrepreneur about how impactful being specific in who you serve is on the success of your company.
A clearly defined persona for the company allows you to relate to your target market. Discover how you will get more and better growth in your business by not trying to please everyone, but by having a specific niche audience. Learn how this specific focus can help take your business to the next level.
Steve: Hi. This is Steve, welcome to episode 1 of Thriving Entrepreneur. I’m so excited to be here with you today. Lots of prayer and planning has gone into creating this show. We’re looking forward to answering some of your questions and helping you get to the next level in your business. Today we’re gonna be talking specifically about your brand and discovering how to have the most impact your brand can have. I’m excited to be joined today by my wife’s good friend and a super star especially in the world of branding, Jenna Sword. Hi Jenna, welcome.
Jenna: Hi Steve, thanks for having me.
Steve: We’re so excited to have you here.
Jenna: Yeah, I’m excited to be here.
Steve: Episode 1 and step 1 in every process is discovering who you are and what you are as a company. Jumping right into that, let’s discover a little about who Jenna is. Tell us a little about your branding background and you.
Jenna: Ok, well actually, if you wanna go way back, I started my first business when I was in the third grade, which is crazy being that I’m doing entrepreneurship for that long. I started my first licensed business when I was 16, designing t-shirts for my high school and I eventually ended up getting a degree in Multimedia Design from the University of Oregon, and I just really developed a passion for Graphic Design, and then I realized after I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, that I was really struggling being able to work as a designer, cause I didn’t really know anything about, I mean I had some business experience from running a business before, but I didn’t really have all the marketing knowledge to really make my graphic design business super successful in the real world, and so I ended up getting an MBA, and once I got the MBA, that’s when I kinda got to find my love of marketing with design and I just started this really great graphic design career and so that’s kind of how I got into this whole industry, and then , I ended up finally starting to teach, I moved to Tokyo for a year, and I was teaching Speech and Debate to like 400 Japanese students and I was like, wow, I really love design and I really love teaching, how can I kinda merge those loves together. And so that’s how everything kinda got started.
Steve: Wow, that’s really cool. So how long were you in Japan?
Jenna: So I was in Japan for a year, and I took 6 months off of designing at that point, I, had a pretty successful freelance graphic design for a couple years after college, and I really was like, , I need a break and so I flew to Japan and live there for a year in a really cool fashion district called Harajuku, which is where they have all these, all the crazy people with the coloured hair and the coloured contacts and I was teaching at this university there, and I took about 6 months off of design, and I then started to miss it a lot, then I went on craigslist and got a job, ahh, it was just a coincidence that a tattoo artist, this famous, famous, famous tattoo artist in Japan, ahh, there was these Canadians living in Tokyo and trying to start a apparel company and they needed a graphic designer. And so, since I was working full time, I didn’t need the money, and so I was like, well, I’m gonna be giving up weekends, and I’m gonna be working like seven days a week, so I wasn’t gonna get paid well to do this, and , I walked into that meeting with nothing to lose, and I basically said if they wanted to hire me, I was gonna like charge like three times more than what they wanted to hire for, and I ended up getting hired and did graphic design for this famous tattoo artist clothing company while I was there and that kind of set the foundation for the next leg of cool stuff that happened in my career.
Steve: Yeah, that’s really cool, wow.
Steve: So, I have been told, after that, or sometime right after that you worked for Nike and their marketing division.
Jenna: Yeah, after teaching in Tokyo for a year, I came back to Portland, Oregon, where I was living for a like a decade before Tokyo, and I was working with a couple of clients that I have worked with before I had left, and one of them was the owner of a swimsuit company and he got hired as a consultant to help with this parks and recreation in this little town called Astoria, Oregon, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with Astoria, but, m.
Steve: Oh yeah, very much. Astoria is very popular.
Jenna: It’s a super, beautiful little town, it’s a place where [5:16] was filmed, and I think Kindergarten Cops, so they had a couple movies that got filmed there. And , and so anyway, they had a pool that was, , , one of the main perks of their little town and they had a whole bunch of problems with the pool, it was running at a negative half million dollars a year, , it had a couple of the deaths at the pool from not having proper protocols, and so this pool was gonna get shut down and it was gonna devastate the community, and so my client brought me in as the branding expert to help save this pool. And so, I got basically hired in a freelance position, but by the state to come in rebrand, and we did a rebrand which totally saved the pool and brought them up into the black so they were totally functioning and not running a negative anymore, and we really kinda completely changed this whole community around and it was uhh super, super, super successful project that ended up, I ended up winning an international design award, uhh, for branding for design, and through that I actually ended up getting discovered and asked to teach at the University of Oregon, and so, somebody had seen me win the award and they came up and they said, “hey, , would you be interested in teaching at the University of Oregon”, and I was like, “of course”, because I was an Alma Mater of the University of Oregon and so I happily accepted that and then I started teaching there and taught there for 4 years online doing Branding Entrepreneurship and Portfolio Design, and then, about a couple months after that I ended up getting discovered by Nike and then I went and worked a Senior Graphic Designer for them for a year. So yeah, that’s how I got to Nike.
Steve: Wow, so quite a traverse of the whole world to bring you back to Portland again.
Jenna: Well, I had always planned on coming back, it was mostly like I just needed a break, but I was cool that I discovered my love of designing, mixed with marketing, mixed with teaching and I was collecting all this great experience along the way. Saving the pool was such a great experience and understanding how to target things effectively and how to rebrand something that has a bad reputation, and then going and working at Nike and seeing their processes and learning about branding was, it was life changing for sure.
Steve: Oh yeah. So of all those different kind of companies, I mean, a famous artist in Japan, Nike, which was really cool, which one of those, or what kind of company is your favourite kind of company to work with now?
Jenna: Well it’s funny that you mentioned that, because I discovered early on that edgy design is my favourite kind of design work, so I’ve down really, really, really edgy design work for companies are a little bit off the status quo of, like, what’s even accepted by society, like design for some pretty like crazy companies, and so, , so that was one of the things I really discovered is that I really need to work with companies that want sort of an edge, ahh because , the typical, sort of corporate branding, it just doesn’t really thrill me, and so it was great to work for a company like Nike that’s really boundary pushing, and to work for that tattoo artist company that was really, kind of, , it was my job to take this guy’s handmade drawings, this is gonna kinda freak you out probably, of decapitated heads and put them on $800 sweaters.
Jenna: Yeah. So, then the other thing that was really crazy about that , was that particular tattoo artist, like also like the artwork that he had that we were putting on these sweaters, also had like, he had used blood as like his paint, it was totally crazy. So that’s like, this edgy stuff that is not something you would normally see, I think that is interesting, for sure.
Steve: Wow, oh yeah, that can be a lot of fun. , although, I wasn’t working with the chopped off heads, I was in the Christian music industry, , back in the days when most people wanted to lynch mob us for being or even talking about Jesus, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in the same sentence. So another kind of a format, but I understand being way out on the cutting edge is stuff, hahaha.
Jenna: Yeah, it sounds like you’ve understood, like being controversial in maybe a different way, hahaha.
Steve: Oh yeah well, I’ve probably been accused of just about all the same things that the person that was doing the drawings of decapitated heads, so I get that. The age old, if your hair is too long you must have sin in your heart thing. But at 47, I did finally decided it was time to cut my hair. Talk about a rebranding. Steve goes from long hair to short hair over the course of the last year, so I understand. Well we’re gonna take a little break, we’re here with Jenna Sword and, we’re talking about Branding today, Jenna has been literally, all over the world, helping people brand things, from famous tattoo artists that you would think don’t need help with their branding, but she’s helped them, to failing companies. I can tell you Jenna, last time I was in Astoria, cause I was we used to just live just across the river there in Long Beach, the pool’s still going strong and Astoria is a thriving community. In other words, Jenna has a good mixtureof types of companies she has worked with.Wwe’re gonna come back after the break, and were gonna answer some questions specific to how to have the most impact from your brand. We’ll be right back.
Steve: Hi, it’s Steve, we’re back. We are having an exciting conversation with Jenna Sword. We’re discovering how to have the most impact from your branding. We learned that Jenna has literally been traveling all over the world, helping companies of every size, shape and sort, developing a cutting edge brand for themselves. I think that’s really an important thing Jenna, I think it’s important to have a brand that stands out, that isn’t just like everybody elses. Would you agree with that?
Jenna: Yeah, absolutely, I think that , when you think about branding, it’s, it’s kind of a tricky process, because you don’t have a 100% control over your brand, it’s really your reputation, and it’s a promise that you’re making to your customers about the kind of services and goods that you’re going to provide, and so, some people do that successfully, clearly and cohesively, and then some people are really fragmented and don’t deliver on their promises, and that’s where the real branding problems start.
Steve: Yeah, I can see that. So, what is the best example you’ve seen of somebody who really, really embodied their brand?
Jenna: There’s people like Ally Brown, she’s really a great women’s guru, she’s got some really great programs, Moreen Forlio, she’s also a great entrepreneur, who’s got a great personal brand, and then if you talking like, in terms like of products branding, Nike is of course one of the biggest, , and most successful ones out there. But, in my program, I cover taking a look at brands like Victoria’s Secret and how well they know their ideal client and how every single, , thing that they do is really strong in communicating to that, and I would also say, Betsy Johnson, is a designer that is really, really successful at creating services and products, mostly products, but products that are so completely in line with her clients that essentially these people feel like the products are being made just for them. And it ostracizes some people and they are totally fine with that because they know their niche. So, yeah.
Steve: Interesting, so they are on purpose are actually turning people off, is that a good way of saying that?
Jenna: Yes, yeah, that’s a really good way of saying it, so Betsy Johnson, for example, she, I feel like her products are made for me, all the dresses fit my type of body type, , she really into all the prints, , all the things that she does in her designs with skulls and jewels and all that stuff come out, and I just realized that I was I’ve been a 100% devoted to her brand because everything that comes out artistically is so in line with like my, ahh, sort of desires, comes to art and fashion and when I see women that are in the ad, I feel that person could be me, sort of thing. So, these big companies that sort of learn that people want what they need, they form all their products and services around that and it’s okay they’re eliminating some people because they’re serving their ideal clients better.
Steve: Yeah. I know in your class you talk about at Nike, you guys like actually literally break your customer down to a specific person, give her a name, how old is she, can you talk a little bit more about how that process works?
Jenna: Yeah. In Nike, that, it would get that kind of a specific, that process is , that ideal avatar/client process is something a lot of gurus do, which may or may not be the exact same process that that somebody, like, , that somebody like Nike would go through, but it’s more uhhh, they look, they do break down, they put together these things they call Shadow Boxes, where they really think about who the ideal client would be hanging out with, what they would be seeing on a daily basis, and what would their needs be. So, when I worked for Nike Tennis, there were, there were ideal clients we were looking at, like high schoolers for example, a high schooler that is obsessed with tennis, has very, very, very different needs that the competitive player, or the house wife that is gonna go to the club to play tennis. So we would look at like ok, if we have a high schooler, , they’re gonna be like more apt to wearing t-shirts at school to show their relationship to tennis, they’re likely gonna be at like, an outside street court playing tennis with a t-shirt on, versus a club that has a clothing requirement or that has a competitive clothing sort of requirement that you would have to have to play. So we look at those things and we look at what are the things that are gonna be on trend for each of those categories, what’s gonna be on trend for a competitive tennis person is totally different than what’s gonna be on trend for a high schooler. It’s a lot of research and tapping into their minds. That’s what we have to do and I ultimately teach my students how to do that on a smaller level.
Steve: Oh good, because I was gonna ask how does that translate over to a small business where it’s just yourself working in the company, or you’ve got just a couple of virtual assistants. Is the process the same or is it a little different when you’re smaller, how does that work?
Jenna: Yeah, well I think that what happens, is that with big corporations, they are not actually are not people the way that you and I, as a solo-preneur or small business owner would be, so, to be able to relate with their ideal client, they have to personify their corporation, so that means they have to take this thing that is not actually a person and give it the characteristics of a person so that the ideal client can feel like they have a kind of relationship with that corporation. So, I’m sure you’ve seen where people can be totally fanatical about Nike, but Nike is not an actual person, so if we look at something like Trader Joe, for example, if we look at Trader Joe as a real person, we can almost imagine like what he’d be like, he’d wear a Hawaiian shirt, he would be very well travelled, educate you about interesting cheeses and snacks that you normally wouldn’t have at a grocery store and, , would kinda like be your friend, and you could think of him, if you were an older person, he might be like your grandson that travels or a younger person, that he might be, , that if you’re a woman, that he might be the guy that you would date. And so, the people who shop at Trader Joe’s are a very specific kind of person they would be attracted to the personality of this corporate brand. So then, has does that then translate over into personal branding that a solo-preneur or an entrepreneur and how it works basically is that you end up having to personify yourself, which is totally kind of a weird thing to think because you’re like, “I am a person already, why would I need to personify myself, and so I like to use this example as like, I call it like the Overweight Trainer Syndrome. Nobody would want to pay attention or follow and get in shape with someone who is really unhealthy. That wouldn’t make any sense. So, m, or , isn’t providing a good example of the service they are trying to have. So, the idea here is whatever industry you’re trying to get into, if you’re branding yourself as the spokesperson of that industry, that that spokesperson, whether it be you or even somebody else, needs to be showing the ideal client of whatever struggle they’re having of being on the other side of that. So, in my instance, I’m helping entrepreneurs brand themselves. So, it’s really, really important that I am creating a brand that is 100% me and a 100% super loved design, very well thought out in language and visual so that I can show my potential clients of what I am capable of doing and how that will apply to what I teach them. And so, if I had a horrible website and horrible graphics, like nobody would wanna pay attention.
Steve: Which is really funny that you would say that because, often, after almost 20 years in the internet industry, often internet service provider companies are the ones with the worst websites.
Jenna: Well, they’re usually not the ones that are doing the designing, , it would be more like if we saw, and it still happens, you still see amateur graphic designers who say I will design your website and they have a horrible website, or , people in the tech company that have these sort of bad websites, but even more than that, if you can come up with a story and a character of like the most ideal version of who you are or if you are personifying your company; creating a fictitious character that people can relate with so that when they interact with your business through social media, through just going through the sales process or going to the website and filling out a form, if like that consistency happens with a personality that you actually you give advocate about like funny, quirky, staffy or something like that, if every image on a website is funny, quirky, staffy and all the language is funny, quirky, staffy even if there isn’t a spokesperson, you’re gonna feel like that company is like something that and that you can trust and that you can understand what sorts of products and services that are gonna be provided based off that consistency.
Steve: Great. So, if a person was to only do one thing and do it really, really right, is there one specific thing that you just have to do with your brand?
Jenna: I would say yeah, there are quite a few things that need to happen before you can even get into the branding process, you really need to sit down and figure out a couple of things. First thing being, who is it that you really wanna serve. What sort of problem are you gonna be solving in the world? And, generally, a lot of times, this happens actually doing a personal brand, that your ideal client can actually be yourself like 5 or 10 steps ago. So, we usually get inspired to start businesses based off our own struggles with something, or seeing it as a whole in the market place that is not being filled, or a passion about something that you work in, that , if you kinda take a look at this whole, what is this problem that you’re solving? If it’s something super obscure and nobody is in that industry, it could be an indication that the market is not big enough, or that could be an opportunity there, so you have to do some kinda research to find out if that business that you are going into, if there is enough of a need for it. So that would be a first step before you spend any kind of money on branding, because how bad would that be you spend all this time on branding this business only to find out that nobody needed it. So, then the second part would be uhh, really diving into who that person is that is gonna need this product or service and how do you create more products and services that are gonna address their needs, and so I like to use this as an example where you can have a graphic designer that graduated from school and they just kinda do graphic designing for everybody.
They’re gonna get some business, but they’re probably not gonna get as much as business as they sit down and define where there could be a need in the market place, and for us here in Portland, Oregon, there’s a lot of sports bars here, or there’s not, in this case, let’s pretend that there’s kind a few sports bars. Well, they could create a list of products and services that would be totally be for that sports star’s needs. So maybe they need help with coming up with specials that are related to sports, they need graphic design elements that are related for getting people through the door into certain sporting events, and so, a graphic designer that is super passionate about sports, instead of designing for everybody, could come up with a portfolio that’s really focused on delivering a package of services and products that the sports owner would just flip out about, and maybe they become known in the industry for that and would suddenly become known to all the sports bar owners, don’t hire any designer, hire this guy because he has brought in a $100,000 into my business, and so it’s like one of those things where there’s a phrase. “the riches are in the niches”, it’s like you can be the jack of all trades, or you can really find something that you are personally super passionate about, that you are helping solve a problem and it’s a win win situation, the client ends up getting somebody who is totally specialized in what they need, the designer is super happy because they are working within, whoever the entrepreneur is, working within an industry that they are really passionate about, and that passion pours over into our work, and then, what is the most miraculous part about this entire process is that when somebody, , gets that specific of a niche, like working with sports bar, they are opening up the market for all the other designers that are out there to have more opportunities for business because everybody is not trying to be the jack of all trades. Instead it might be closing in on the target of the sport bar, but its opening up all the other potential clients that that jack of all trades had been trying to get had they just being trying to design for everybody. Does that make sense?
Steve: That makes a lot of sense. I really appreciate that, I think it’s so interesting because I’ve seen so many and you happen to be talking about graphic designers and I see graphic designers come out of school and that’s what they wanna do. I mean, you talk to them and their plan is to design everybody in the whole wide world’s website, and the truth of the matter is that they would be better off just getting a website done instead of trying to reach everybody.
Jenna: Well, I think that a lot of that comes from that they don’t know what they wanna do yet, and so there’s a thirst, they’re hungry and they will take anything that comes there way and it’s really counterintuitive because uhh, the common belief, and this happens in a lot of businesses, if I get that specific, I’m gonna be ostracizing all of that other potential for business, and that’s when you do your research to see that the market is big enough, now I mean another way to handle that lets say this particular designer opens up that market to wanting to focus on sports bars and then find that they some time leftover to focus on some other things, they can come up with other targets so that they maybe the common value between all of their customers is wanting some sort of cool, edgy design, and they figure that sports bars, apparel and energy drinks companies are the three companies that need a good design work, and they’re gonna come up with services and , packages for each of those, and so then, their niches get, like become sub branded sort of products and services that they can expand on their product and service line that they are still niching down three different targets, versus it being everybody. So, people get scared, I don’t wanna put everything in one basket.
Steve: So, let’s put a pin in that for just a second because I wanna talk some more about that after the break. Focusing and then seeing that it can get bigger and going from small to big, as opposed to be huge to smaller, or, huge to never smaller that so many people do. This break is gonna be a little different because we really want people to know some of the things that you’ve got going on, so, tell us about some of the programs you’ve got going now, we’d love to hear.
Jenna: Sure. Yeah, so the name of my program is called Launch Your Brand and its, you can find it at my website, youcanbrand.com. and so what I do is that I have two different programs that are running right now, one is a Self-study program, the other one is a VIP program, and the Self-study program is a 30 day program where I teach entrepreneurs to design their very own logos, business card and website in 30 days, and that Self-study program runs once throughout the year, and it’s something that anybody can jump into pretty much at any time, and I’m structuring it where they can do that and develop something professional without ever having designed before and , be able to learn some of the basics of Photoshop and Illustrator with these video tutorials. And then I run the live program, the VIP program, 4 times a year and that includes, hand holding, , me to walkthrough with people in a group platform where I give them custom feedback on every single thing that they’re working on and I have people that come into the program that are working with a designer, I have people that really just wanna design for themselves and their business, and then I have people come through the program that actually wanna be designers. It’s been phenomenal because about 15 – 20% of the people who’ve taken the program have become professional designers and didn’t even intend to, just came in to learn for themselves and they have abandoned their businesses to become designers. So right now I have the Self-study version of the program open and I’m gonna be doing the VIP version of the program on January 5th for 60 days, so that VIP program is a 60 day program that basically takes everything from the Self-study program and takes it up a level, there’s more time, there’s more advanced videos on learning certain things, and so the people that apply for the Self-study program can apply that tuition to the VIP, so that way I have people waiting in the wings at all times ready to dive into the VIP when I run that 4 times a year.
Steve: Well, I can tell everybody that Kathy, even after being 16 years as a graphic designer and business strategist has taken your class at least twice that I know of, so it’s a definitely something I would recommend.
Steve: We were just talking about before the break how you need to focus your brand and how really important it is to really know your target market. As Jenna said, “niche makes rich”. And so often we tend to go really broad, we don’t wanna leave anybody out, but the truth of the matter is that you really wanna get focused on a specific part, then we can actually then grow bigger and it’s not like we’re chopping off the whole world because we get focused, but until we get focused, I think I found, and you probably would agree Jenna, that people never really tend to get going because they don’t really have any focus with their start. Would you say that’s true?
Jenna: Yeah, I think the process can be overwhelming for a lot of people because they get this mind-set that they are worried that if they get too specific, there’s a couple of fears that come from that one, that they aren’t gonna wanna work with that set group of people forever and that if they set their business that way, that they could be shooting themselves in the foot, but also that the scary thing that you see happens to photographers all the time, photographers will do weddings and baby shots, and like labour, any of those things, they do like senior portraits, pregnant women, babies and weddings and so all of that sounds great because they wanna have more opportunity to make more money, if you look at the most famous photographers in the world, they always specialize, Ann Geddes only specialize in babies, Anzel Adams only specialize on landscapes, and so, photography is a really good example of that. It doesn’t mean that they won’t get business, or request for business for doing those other things, but instead those examples, what was the other Anne Hebert does these famous portraits of people. So they become known for these things, and they become experts at these particular topics. And if they were to try and do everything, they never would have been an expert at anything, they probably would’ve just been all around good photographer, but not as famous as they became. And so, kind of wrapping your head around this idea of how do you become this go to person for a particular thing means that you can’t really be broad; you have to kind of be specific.
Steve: I like that. How do you be the go to person for a specific thing? That’s good.
Jenna: If you even think about it with assistance, would you rather hire somebody off craigslist that is a pretty good assistant in every area, or if you in FusionSoft or some any other marketing program and you wanna hire an expert in that program? It’s the like when you look at the prices that you’re gonna pay for something, , having to train an assistant in the on having to do a technology, or just go hire the person who is a wiz at that is sort of the idea here.
Steve: Well, we always talk to our clients about the fact that everything is a balance between time versus money, I mean, sure you can take a bunch of classes and learn how to build your website yourself, or how to build your own brand, or how to run inFusionSoft like you said, but a lot of times, the amount of times we spend doing that is ridiculous. I was teasing the other day in a conversation that a person could get a job a McDonald’s and actually earn more money than what they are paying their own selves to actually build their own website, it is like , the virtual version of building their own sports car.
Jenna: Well, the thing that is interesting about this is that my program actually allows people to go through that process and really have success with it and I think, , there is something to that’s exciting about the whole reason I developed my program was from dealing with difficult clients that could not communicate to me what they wanted, could not communicate to me in a verbal way what they wanted for their brand. So my idea was, how do we take them through a process, have them figure out what they want in a visual way, like they put together a Mood Boards, and on the Mood Board, they’re putting their stamp of approval on anything that they are putting on this Mood Board that they love, and then from that Mood Board, they themselves could design from that or give it off to a designer and then bridge that gap between verbal communication and visual communication, and so that’s kind of the thing that is being solved here, like with something like a proprietary process that I have of helping people that have never designed before learn how to do that. That’s the only time I recommend any type of DIY, because otherwise you’re totally right, they’re DIY-ing without that sort of structure, they are totally taking a shot in the dark about how are they gonna learn a 100,000 hours of what’s gonna be, , good unless they have a guiding process to take them through it. So it’s funny how opposed to DIY I am unless from a guided format.
Steve: Yeah, I agree. I think that one of the primary things that people need to understand is how powerful coaching and mentoring is. How good a guided program can really be in taking their business up a notch, to getting something out of the proverbial nothing if you will that it feels like sometimes in business.
Jenna: Well there’s a new phrase that is emerging right now and its ahh, DWY which is Design With You.
Steve: I like that.
Jenna: Yeah, so that’s like kind of the difference of like how do you get the support that you need and that can come as a form of coaches, or, but the second part of this is getting empowered to learn some of these things, can really help with saving money because designers charge a lot of money for very simple things, like I just met with a client yesterday, who has a JPEG for a logo and, I don’t know if this but like a [42:46], a JPEG doesn’t really work well for logo because it can’t be sized easily. She wants to do t-shirts and she can’t because her logo is made out of pixels, instead of a factor based thing which is like, , it’s like the design of, and based on mathematical equation versus little dots essentially. And , this designer was gonna charge her $300 to take her super, super simple JPEG and factor based thing that could be screened, printed, or be resized for sites, for signs or , and, I was like, , in my program you would learn how to do an Auto Trace, and it would take you 15 seconds, you wouldn’t even have to rely on a designer.
Steve: This is Steve. We’re here talking to Jenna about Branding and how to really get the most out of your brand. How can you turn your business up a notch by capturing the right brand, having a focused brand, we’ve covered some really exciting stuff today, and what I had talked to Jenna about, just before the break, is about to talking to us a little bit about how much of your brand is marketing, for example, JC Penny’s named after person named JC Penny, and how much of it is having the right brand. I gotta tell you this story Jenna, I was telling you just before I started the show that I was working for a company that spent $60,000 for the name for their brand because the company that they hired happened to come up with the name for Starbucks. Starbuck is an obscure character in the book Moby Dick and I was talking to this one day on the commuter train here in Portland, going to a business meeting and one of the teachers actually turned around and said, “I’ve taught Moby Dick every year for my whole life basically and I didn’t remember that Starbuck was in that book. So, talk to us a little bit. How much of Marketing is the right brand and how much is Marketing?
Jenna: Well, that is really kind of a tough question to answer because there’s so much that goes into it right, it’s kind of an all-encompassing thing, so based on a lot of the things we’ve just talked about are really important to develop before you can get into the branding process, sometimes companies like Starbucks, it was very smart for them to end up developing a term that nobody like really had in this situation where, actually would say in like a different example, I wanted to create a clothing line and call it Hermoine, based off of the Harry Potter series, that wouldn’t work. That actually would be a major infringement that I probably couldn’t even use based off of the fact that that name Hermoine is a part of the trademark of Harry Potter. So, it’s surprising that they actually used something maybe the trademark wasn’t, there wasn’t a copyright issue with that because that book being so old, like I don’t really know if that was, , if they were tapping into the public domain should be able to do that, but what is really smart is that when you’re coming up with a brand, is developing something that, there is no other sort of way to have any confusion, like if we like look at the company Exxon for example, Exxon was a created name by that corporation and we can’t, nobody in the world can have Exxon clothing, or Exxon anything because they’ve trademarked this name that is, actually completely separate from what they do in business, so much so, that they own the likeness of the thing versus it being like a word in the dictionary that anybody can have access to. And , these trademark things are really tricky so, we have used made up words, and yeah Starbucks, I don’t know it’s because they’ve added an “s” to it and it’s not a known sort of thing and maybe because it’s a part of the public domain and they could take it and brand that and then get the trademark on it, so we could never use Starbucks in anything it’s because it’s this trademarked brand that, so there’s a lot of power in that, they’ve trademarked there logo design as a mark with the Starbucks word in it for it to be trademarked, they have gone to do that, the mermaid probably has her own separate trademark that can’t be used like any part of it can be used, but there is the, we could go on for go on for hours about the difference between the different kinds of trademarks related to work, marks, or if we’re talking about the actual logo itself being trademarked, but in regards to like marketing, or having a proper brand, from a personal solo-preneur perspective, I would say that because a brand has reputation, if you start marketing yourself, in sort of a gorilla fashion means that you are not spending guh guh dollars on advertisement, and instead you’re trying to position yourself as an expert in a field and you go into a Facebook groups and you provide a lot of service by sharing a really great tool that you’ve found, or developing free views without expecting email addresses in return, just being of service and giving feedback on things, that you can develop a brand off of becoming an expert in the field, giving back service by giving people an experience like what it’s like to work with you without even expecting anything in return, and then spending some money on a really great website or a logo, that’s one way to do it, like it doesn’t like return a whole lot of money, like you don’t have to be throwing a lot of marketing at it. The other way to do it is to spend, like $60,000 on a strategy done for you and then have to invest all this money on not organic, not gorilla marketing but instead to try [52.38] and still be able to try achieve from it a results that way, like you could totally like start to get people familiar with the brand with something like Facebook adverts and all of that and not, from a different perspective, being a solo-preneur as I am, I would always recommend the other version and look for relationships with people who like you and they wanna do business with somebody because they know you. It’s gonna be a completely different process depending on a lot of things like industry, like who are the clients that you’re actually targeting, like if you trying to go for, let’s say you’re ideal client is another big corporation then obviously that process is gonna be a bit different than if you’re a solo-preneur.
Steve: Well great, well I’ve been spending almost this whole last hour with Jenna, we’ve been talking about branding, and she’s given us some really great suggestions. Jenna if you were ever to be stuck in an elevator and somebody cornered you and asked you to tell them 30 seconds of what would be the most impactful thing that they could do tomorrow for their business, what would that be?
Jenna: I would say, , I would probably relate to like the thing that is the most life changing for my brand, , there is a really great speaker by the name of Simon Sinek who did a Ted Talk about how leaders inspire action and the theme of it, you can actually google it, his whole main concept of the speech is what is your why, and so what does that mean exactly, is that a lot of companies are out there, even corporations will focus on products and features than even the company and the ones that really thrive, , the ones that really end up making fanatics out of the client base or their fan base are the ones that really share the same values, so if you get very clear on what your values are, on what it is that you’re trying to make better in the world and make it a movement that people can get behind, but you’re not gonna have to go through the whole traditional, like features and benefits thing, the selling point thing. You gonna be tapping into people’s minds at the sort of gut level where it’s not their mind that’s actually making the decision, but it’s their gut. And, he does this really amazing talk that gets into that, so my recommendation would be go watch that Ted Talk and get inspired from that because that could be a really great foundation for your brand for sure. It’s a part of the process I take my students through.
Steve: Well Jenna, I really thank you for spending the time with us today. Let us know where they can go to sign up for the independent study class or your VIP 60 day class that starts in January.
Jenna: Yeah, the best way is to get on my mailing list just because you’ll get all of the notifications when certain things are gonna be released at youcanbrand.com and there’s a really great 3 part video series training that you can go through and it will help you develop your brand story, how to understand how to look at some graphic design things, like how do you develop a brand identity, how do you develop characters, so we go through some really fun examples, with lots of tangible, practical things that you can do before you even think about doing a program with me, so you can go and get like a little sample of the course for free there and that is available anytime. So, youcanbrand.com
Steve: Thank you again Jenna.
Leave a Reply