Be prepared. Try to know what you’re going to talk about ahead of time whether you plan for the week, the month or the quarter. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating everything in one day, photos, videos, captions, hashtags…it could just mean an outline. Plan your social media strategy around what you’re selling, holidays, rebrands, current events…etc. It will mean a LOT less stress for you in the long run and less chance of burning out.
As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Nicole Anderson a personal branding photographer and a content creating queen. She has an English husband and 2 kids plus a slight obsession with cheese. For over a decade she has helped entrepreneurs uplevel their businesses with on brand and on purpose content in a way that is totally and completely authentic. She knows exactly how to put the “personal” in personal branding for her clients in fun and out of the box ways! She is the owner of Anderson Media (a digital media company) with her husband, Daniel and her personal brand Nicole[BR]Anderson and loves every single minute of serving the brands she co-creates with.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you so much for having me! Long story short, I decided to pursue photography when my grandmother passed away in 2008 unexpectedly. She ALWAYS had her camera in our faces and we always hated it but when she left this earth and we saw the thousands of photos that she had printed and boxed up it clicked (no pun intended).
I chose personal branding specifically because I have a passion for helping entrepreneurs be seen in the most authentic way possible. I think with the explosion of social media a lot of us tend to potray ourselves online how we THINK everyone wants to see us but in reality, they just want to get to know the raw, real and uncensored human behind the brand. Photography is a powerful tool of not just our memories but for building an online presence too and it helps me help my clients show up in the most authentic way.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was branding my business in the beginning instead of branding myself. I NEVER posted photos of myself so when my clients would meet me for their session they’d just know my name and would have NO clue what I looked like. Often my client would be standing right next to me and we’d call or text each other to see where the other one was! I learned that one pretty quickly.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
ABSOLUTELY. My tipping point was 100% when I started showing up for my audience consistently. I posted more photos of myself instead of my client work, I hopped in front of a live video or two a week and I just generally engaged with my people more. I found that once I stopped hiding behind my own work and really honed in on building my know, like, trust factor the clients started coming from every direction. My biggest advice on this would be to keep posting whether 2 people are watching or 20000. There are ALWAYS people that lurk but don’t interact and they still need you to show up for them.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
YES! I am working on my signature program right now for mental health professionals called The Last Content Calendar You’ll Ever Need. There are SO many content calendars and courses to help people with social media posting but they’re mostly generic. I am digging deep and putting everything together in a way that is easy to understand and even easier to implement without just throwing a bunch of post prompts out into the world and hoping it fits every industry. My second version of this calendar will be specifically for direct sales consultants.
I know there is a desire for a program like this with the support and accountability I’m offering with it because SO many people feel lost on what to post that will actually gain traction. I want to show busy entrepreneurs that it doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to put out quality on brand and on purpose content!
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
– The biggest and best piece of advice I can give you is to not force yourself to create. If you’re not feeling inspired, don’t force it. If you’re not in the mood it will show in the final product whether it’s your work, content, videos, scripts…etc. To get that inspiration back I like to change my scenery (go outside, move to a coffee shop, change spots in your house) and do what I call brain dumps where I just take a piece of paper and pen and write down anything that comes to my mind and I typically get inspiration from either of those things.
Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
– Great question! I truly believe that brand marketing is step one, it’s basically the foundation. Branding is YOU and the advertising is how you put your message into the world. If you try to advertise without knowing who you are, what you stand for or who you’re looking to serve then you’ll be wasting your time and running around in circles or wasting a LOT of time and money on campagins that go no where because there is no clear destination/person you want to reach.
It’s like the classic question, what came first- the chicken or the egg? Branding is the core and you build the advertising around that!
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
– I always tell my clients that if you don’t know WHO you are and WHOSE problems you plan to solve then you’re marketing and selling to NO ONE. Your brand needs to be genuine and clear and conscise. Your ideal clients should feel like you’re talking directly to them every time you post and if they are left confused by your messaging or if they don’t know who you are and what you stand for they may quickly move on to another person who does make those things clear to them at first glance.
Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?
– As someone that has grown out of a few brands (and rebranded about 3 times) I know the importance but also the careful thought that goes into rebranding. I am of the opinion that it is VITAL for an entrepreneur to feel completely aligned to their branding.
If you started your business 5 years ago with pink and gold but now you’re feeling like it was trendy instead of classic- that would be a reason to rebrand with new colors.
If you’ve changed your target audience you may need to rebrand so your colors/messaging/visuals speak to the person you’re wanting to work with.
If it’s an older company trying to adapt to new markets a rebrand is almost always the best choice. I can think of a few companies that should have rebranded and changed a few things around- maybe they would still be around today! Adapt or perish!
Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?
-A rebrand is definitely not the right option for everyone. It is a lot of work to change direction and sometimes you lose a good chunk of your audience if you completely change your brand. When I rebranded from To Pepper, With Love photography which was one of the brands I had to shoot couples and families to Nicole[BR]Anderson I lost almost everyone. That was my plan because I was dramatically shifting my target audience and price point and I KNEW I would lose almost everyone but a lot of brands don’t stop to think about that aspect before they rebrand and are surprised when they have to completely build a new audience profile up from scratch.
Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.
1. Know exactly who you’re talking to and provide value to them ALL. THE. TIME. Aim for 80% value/connection and only 20% selling.
2. SHOW YOUR FACE. No, seriously. You need to be at the forefront of your brand. Your audience wants to buy from a person, not a business. They want to know who you are and what you’re about as well as to feel a connection to you in some way.
3. Go live. Use IG stories (if your audience is on IG). I tell my clients that they don’t need to POST everyday but they should make an effort to CONNECT somehow everyday. That could mean doing a quick 15 second IG story about where you are or what you’re up to, sharing someone else’s work, engaging with other people’s posts. If you want to build a successful brand you need to be in it everyday whenever you have time.
4. Don’t wait until everything is perfect. If you feel like you can provide value or you have an idea that you love, don’t wait. If you feel called to say something then say it.
5. Be prepared. Try to know what you’re going to talk about ahead of time whether you plan for the week, the month or the quarter. This doesn’t necessarily mean creating everything in one day, photos, videos, captions, hashtags…it could just mean an outline. Plan your social media strategy around what you’re selling, holidays, rebrands, current events…etc. It will mean a LOT less stress for you in the long run and less chance of burning out.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
– Hands down, Nike. Their rebrand is incredible and all of their ad campaigns focus on social issues and putting their customer in the shoes of the athletes they have representing their brand. They are now putting their values at the forefront of their brand and instead of focusing on selling, they focus on empowering. Even with the controversy last year they still came out on top. Their branding and marketing department deserve high fives all around.
They are focusing on their values- once you know what you and your brand stands for you can create campaigns around that. If people share your values and your WHY, they will pay more attention and ultimately buy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
– My BIG idea is to create an organization that teaches high schoolers entreprenurial skills. No high school really does that because the focus is on college right after school and not every 17/18 year old KNOWS what they want to do with the rest of their life. They go to college, rack up debt and sometimes change their majors because as we grow we change (ask me how I know). I’d love to offer this to high schools across the country to try to provide some direction to the kids that may feel lost and uninterested with traditional life paths.
I went to school for journalism then I became a licensed phlebotomist then I did a semester of culinary school all before I was 26. i had no clue what I really wanted to do with my life and if I had had the preparation or even the option to learn about what it’s like to own a business, how to set up LLCs, hire people, create brands…etc maybe I would be further ahead than I am today because I would have gotten a bigger head start.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
– “In a world of algorithims, hashtags and followers…don’t ever lose sight of the power of human connection.” Connection is a basic human need and some of us seem to think we can skip over that and replace it with a stellar business strategy. The truth is that human connection will carry your brand further than you ever thought possible simply because you put that effort in and show people that they matter and they’re not just a $$ to you.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you! My fb group It’s Not Brand Surgery is https://www.facebook.com/groups/notbrandsurgery/
my instagram is @nicolebranderson
Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.