“Be raw and authentic.” With Fotis Georgiadis & Hélène Clabecq

I’ve managed several rebranding campaigns and usually, the reason is a change of strategic direction. You realize that you’re not being perceived in the way that you intended. You’ve changed, or your product has changed and evolved over time, and it’s time to rebrand. Getting support doing this is crucial to not lose what you’ve […]

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I’ve managed several rebranding campaigns and usually, the reason is a change of strategic direction. You realize that you’re not being perceived in the way that you intended. You’ve changed, or your product has changed and evolved over time, and it’s time to rebrand. Getting support doing this is crucial to not lose what you’ve already built.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Hélène Clabecq.

Hélène Clabecq is the Founder of Lives/Disrupted and is a Brand Specialist for leaders & influencers. She gathers data from around the world by interviewing some of the most disruptive people out there to understand the triggers that pushed them to transcend themselves, no matter their walk of life. Her work focuses on the topics of human potential, consciousness, and perspectives about success, happiness and comfort zone.

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?

Totally, I began my journey into the branding world at 21. I was obsessed with understanding the psychological aspect of Marketing. What manipulates us on a daily basis? What gets us to behave one way or another, without us even realizing it? What can tweak our perception of a brand and our buying decision-making process, down to the slightest details?

Aside from that, as a digital nomad, I travel the world and meet new people constantly. After getting inspired and relating to so many of their stories, I decided to integrate more human storytelling to the branding of my clients.

Can you share a story about a branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I once made a brand mistake that hit me hard. I had flown to London to interview an infamous tattoo artist, but when I shared the final interview with him, he told me that it wasn’t up to standard. That it wasn’t inspiring, all the little things he disliked about it and why it shouldn’t be published.

The first thing he had told me when we met was that he was “shy and awkward” and that it was his first interview. Throughout the conversation, he was asking me whether I regretted coming and whether his answers were boring or disappointing.

The lesson is to not try and showcase people who cannot see the beauty within themselves (yet), as talented and inspiring they may be. If they aren’t ready to see themselves, they aren’t ready to show their truth to others.

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?

I really saw a change in people’s interest in my work when I started interviewing celebrities. CEOs, influential artists, Politicians. It gave me social proof that allowed me to be taken more seriously. That’s definitely a tip.

The difference is, I can interview a billionaire and a street artist the same day and interact, laugh and connect with both at the same depth.

Therefore, throughout my work, I want people to see that we are all the same, we all go through similar challenges and fluctuating emotions, no matter our status. I want to redefine what makes someone “worth listening to” and challenge the common definition of success.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes, my dream project! I am working on a miniseries in which I’ll be infiltrating the world of game-changers. I want it to be both inspiring and entertaining and the video format is ideal in a branding strategy in 2020. It’s the trend because you can be more raw and authentic. And it leaves more space for creativity!

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

To be attuned to your emotions and intuition. Your body knows what feels right, and when it’s time to stop. Check your energy level. Tune in and feel whether you’re enjoying the process or feeling contracted. I used to work for clients that didn’t align with my personal values and ethics and I couldn’t care less. Now, I pick who I put my energy on, and sometimes feel aroused when getting my work done ;).

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?

For me, product marketing is a one-shot. Your clients have a need, you market the right product, they buy it, job done.

Brand marketing adds a layer of experience to the product (or service) that you sell. It takes into account the emotions of your client. How will they FEEL when interacting with your product. Will it transform them? Make them think? Make them feel a different way about themselves, the world? Will they be proud to associate themselves with your product? Will it represent them in a way, that they stand for? Will it mean something to them that goes beyond the actual problem it resolves?

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 specialize in personal branding, which implies marketing people. It used to be reserved for figures of authority. But nowadays with social media and the internet in general, we all have platforms to share our voice. Building our brand is ensuring that we communicate our values, goals, and missions in a way that resonates with our audience.

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?

I’ve managed several rebranding campaigns and usually, the reason is a change of strategic direction. You realize that you’re not being perceived in the way that you intended. You’ve changed, or your product has changed and evolved over time, and it’s time to rebrand. Getting support doing this is crucial to not lose what you’ve already built.

Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?

It needs to make sense. Especially if it involves changing the price point. Always think about the value that you are providing, rather than focusing just on the creative part of the makeover. If not, it will hurt your brand.

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.

Okay. My top five tips would be as follow:

1. Ask new questions and share the answers with your audience. Say you own a fitness brand: ask your members how sports changed their lives, and make a communication campaign out of it. You are a speaker: ask yourself why you really started. Was it that day you had suicidal thoughts? Include that in your next speech. You are a music producer. Wonder what all your lyrics have in common. Explain their deeper meaning in an interview.

2. Be raw and authentic. You are human after all. How can people relate to you? Don’t limit yourself to a facade and show a glimpse of what it’s really like to be you.

3. Hop on new trends, even if it may seem “crazy”, and see what happens. For instance, Tik-Tok is all over the place now. Done well, what if it could take your business to the next level?

4. Think about the value behind what you are sharing with your audience. Is your content ego-based or will it serve them?

5. Reflect upon the causes you fight for. What makes your heartbeat? Or melt? How can you align your brand with this cause?

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?

I’d like to give an example of a personal brand makeover with Leonardo DiCaprio, the movie start that has become very vocal about his environmental activism. From the movies he acts into the car he picks and the foundations he creates, his words and actions have always been consistent with his values: to preserve the planet.

In order to replicate that, one needs to be extremely clear about their core message and embody and express it unapologetically.

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. 🙂

Thank you. I would like for as many people as possible on the planet to ask themselves this single question: if you could disrupt something in your life or in society, what would it be? This simple question can create a trigger in your life to challenge the status quo.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I collect life lessons through my work because I look for stories of transcendence. But my favorite life lesson quote at the moment is one from the Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi who said: “every mortal will taste death, but only some will taste life”.

How can our readers follow you online?

You guys can find my work here on my website and you can follow me on Instagram where I show the behind the scenes of what it’s like to be a female entrepreneur and digital nomad.

Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.

Merci beaucoup Fotis 🙂

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