Jenna Sweeney on Tips for Branding your Business

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!

Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 10.57.24 AM

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. 

Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 10.57.02 AM

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? 

I’m loving Seed, Ghia, Topo Chico, The Elder Statesman, Paloma Wool, Bode, Suprstructur, and Older Brother

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

Jacquemus, the Obsession is Real

Why I think Jacquemus should be the model for luxury retail marketing and engagement.

I was first introduced to the fashion brand Jacquemus last summer, when I was an intern at Bureau Betak, the fashion production company that is responsible for Jacquemus’s most splashy runway moments. I remember my fellow intern Cristina showing me photos of Jacquemus’s fuchsia runway and pronouncing the French designer’s name with a perfect French flair. Since seeing Simon Porte Jacquemus’s beautiful designs float through the infamous lavender field last summer, I have been captivated by the company and Simon himself- and who can forget Toutou the newest furry member of the Jacquemus team. But what was it about the brand that kept me coming back for more? It was time to do a little bit of research on Simon and all things Jacquemus to find out.

Simon Porte Jacquemus started his very first clothing line at the age of 19 years old, back in 2009, following the death of his mother, for which he named the company after- Jacquemus being her maiden name. During this time, Simon worked at the Comme des Garçons store in Paris, France to finance his business and inspire his designs. Simon’s success did not come overnight, but it did surely come. In 2014, Simon was a finalist in the running for the LVMH Prize and the next year a winner of the prize, for which he received publicity, a €150,000 check, and a yearlong mentorship. Two years later, Simon would be invited to the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode to stage a catwalk in Marseille, which featured his 2018 Spring/Summer collection named “La Bomba” and was picked up by major retailers Selfridges, Moda Operandi, and Net-a-Porter. The rest is history. 

So why am I and the rest of the fashion world gushing over Jacquemus? I have a few guesses.  

First and foremost, Jacquemus’s marketing is both brilliant and sincere. 

Simon’s first ever fashion show- a staged fake “protest” outside Dior on Avenue Montaigne during Paris Fashion Week- is a testament to the marketing genius that has guided the brand’s success. Unlike with many brands and their fashion designers, Jacquemus’s Instagram account is run by Simon himself, where he often features the clothes he designs as well as photographs of his childhood modeling gigs, Instagram stories of his adorable new puppy pronouncing around his Parisian design studio, and Simon’s quirky design inspirations. Whatever Jacquemus posts is intentional, but also organic in nature. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 1.19.55 PM

All photos taken from Jacquemus’s Instagram

Jacquemus’s marketing does not bombard you with advertisements and company logos, but rather lets you in on what the brand as a whole sees, experiences, and loves. Jacquemus’s TikTok, for example, features fun and imaginative videos, such as an operational purse vending machine and Simon raking black sand in one of his iconic straw hats during a photoshoot. The feeling is anything but commercial and promotional. Through Jacquemus’s marketing presence, you get the feeling that you are on a digital media adventure, Jacquemus leading the way with whatever he finds beautiful and inspiring. 

Ready to Wear is essentially ready to wear. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 1.34.26 PM

The Jacquemus brand is all about structure, design, and simplicity in many cases. Jacquemus clothes are not crowded with logos and signature brand patterns, but are lead by tailoring, color, and texture. As a result, it is easy for the consumer to picture the clothes on themself because of their sheer “wearability”. Whereas Gucci’s ostentatious styling and larger than life embellishments can be off putting to many, Jacquemus does an expert job of keeping up with the latest trends, while still retaining a strong brand image in terms of style. Moreover, unlike many of luxury brands today, Jacquemus unapologetically features models of various shapes and sizes as well as ethnicities both on their runways and in their marketing. However, Jacquemus doesn’t scream for attention in terms of their inclusivity, its an organic integration into their brand. Jacquemus is also inclusive in terms of LGBTQ representation, as Simon frequently features himself and his boyfriend Marco Maestri on social media. There is no denying that the brand expertly balances vulnerability, creativity, confidence, and style. 

Jacquemus is about more than fashion, it’s about experience. 

In addition to selling clothes and leather goods, Simon has two volumes of photo books that he has released, the second and most recently debuted titled “Images”. The photo books feature some of Simon’s favorite images that he has taken throughout the years with his iPhone. The diversity in this product offering allow for the consumer to experience the brand even further and in a different way, truly bringing the company to life.

Simon thinks like an artist from beginning to end, making for incredibly cohesive experiences for the consumer and spectator. His 10th year anniversary show in Provence that was placed within a lavender field with a straight fuchsia runway, for example, was seen across social media and digital platforms for weeks, a truly remarkable spectacle that no one dreamt of, until now. Simon followed up this show with an equally compelling curved runway show through a wheat field located just outside of Paris. It is clear that Jacquemus is here to bring a stimulating experience in everything that they do. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 1.50.32 PM

Experiences are also reflected in their larger (or smaller) than life accessories. Simon’s Le Chiquito bag is so memorable, so fanciful, so refreshing that it was able to capture the attention of Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and the like. Simon’s oversized Le Bomba straw hat has a similar effect, where the wearer is able to feel dramatic and fun. The Jacquemus consumer is invited to be playful, fancy free, beautiful and included in their narrative. 

Jacquemus is a brand that is constantly filled with engaging surprises. A book, a mini purse, a field of lavender, a  behind the scenes look, an imaginative photo- there is something for everyone to take a way and feel inspired by. One of the most inspiring being Simon’s life story. Coming from a small farming town in France, to building a world renowned fashion brand, Simon embodies the possibility of what it means to leverage your talents through marketing and craftsmanship to become an unstoppable force. 

 One of a kind products, one of a kind experiences, and a one of a kind brand. Jacquemus. 

Facts provided by Business of Fashion and The Cut