Go brand yourself!
Brand (/brand/). Definition: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. For some businesses brand identity can make or break a company. It can be the difference between recognizing a company from another and forgetting it altogether. Some brands take years to find their distinctive voice, others naturally pick up a tone during a company’s inception. Brands can be tricky to handle and can be easily tarnished, which is why many businesses spend a significant amount of money on retaining a good brand image. Jenna Sweeney is someone who is passionate about brands and their connection to our society and culture, which is why she is the perfect person to give us her tips on branding your business. Jenna, the floor is yours!
Tell us a little bit about yourself Jenna!
I’m a recent graduate of Babson College who’s fascinated by the ways brands connect with their audience and as a result, influence culture. I’ve been working with eco-conscious start-ups in Los Angeles, CA since July under my brand strategy consultancy, Freedom Machine. I feel so grateful to be working towards a better Earth while exploring new markets and collaborating on exciting projects—getting to flex different creative muscles— it’s really my dream come true!
In your opinion, what makes a good brand?
What makes a good brand to me is a distinct perspective. Brands which have a unique look, feel, and voice that all work together to tell a compelling story are typically the brands that rise to the top. I like to think that every brand has its own personality in what they value and how they show up. Every sale is a social interaction first and foremost, even within e-commerce.
What are the most common challenges that the companies you help face?
Nowadays, in every sector, there are brands with an outstanding visual identity, stellar product, and great intentions. I think the most common challenge is finding a way to creatively compel your audience and distinguish your company from the inevitable competition while following best practices.
What are some steps that companies can take in order to begin to develop their own brand strategy?
I think asking yourself or your team how the brand would show up in the world as a person is a great exercise to reimagine the way your brand functions. Looking beyond target customer, to ask:
Who is your brand? What do they stand for? How do they treat their competition, customers, and team?
I think bringing attention to those traits of the business can really help to hone in on the nuance that helps a brand to resonate with its audience.
From a marketing perspective, what are some suggestions you would give to companies that have struggled during the pandemic?
My advice would be to get creative! Systems in our world are being rebuilt and part of that process is making way for a new mode of commerce to emerge. I see a lot of great, new companies finding a niche demand that is more unique to this moment in history. In America, most people have been spending most time at home in this past year– but that has made space for subscription-based goods and services to come back in style, for example. I think it’s just about recognizing the opportunities in enhancing our new ways of living.
If a company wants to branch out into utilizing social media, what is some advice you would give them to figure out which platforms would be best for their business?
I’d say it definitely depends on what the product is– A B2B for example may only need a landing page and a LinkedIn, whereas direct-to consumer would want to be active on Instagram first, then Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, etc. as they’re applicable. The best way to find your audience is to start creating on different platforms and prioritize the platform where you get the most user/audience interaction.
What are some company brands that you admire?
What excites you about the future of the marketing and branding space?
I’m excited about new perspectives in the marketing field that will change how an audience resonates with a brand’s content and challenge existing social norms. I’m also excited by the market’s high standards for companies to use sustainable practices and conscientious employee relations. Quality of life and product is more important now than ever.
How can someone looking for your services get in contact with you?!
Or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org