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Brand Strategist Robyn Young: “I think there’s a responsibility for brands to use their influence and platforms for good; Your brand is your mission, vision, value prop, core values, who you’re speaking to, and what you have to say”

My vision is to change the way we think about branding. It is not your logo, or the look and feel of your content. It’s not the celebrity you hire as an ambassador. Those are all mechanisms for communicating your brand. Your brand is your mission, vision, value prop, core values, who you’re speaking to, […]


My vision is to change the way we think about branding. It is not your logo, or the look and feel of your content. It’s not the celebrity you hire as an ambassador. Those are all mechanisms for communicating your brand. Your brand is your mission, vision, value prop, core values, who you’re speaking to, and what you have to say.

I think there’s a responsibility for brands to use their influence and platforms for good. Businesses need to make a profit, but your brand shouldn’t just be about pushing product and your bottom line. It should be about service, solving problems, challenging the status quo, owning your core values and caring just as much about internal brand culture as you do about customer perception. This is why we are a strategy-focused company. We ensure that our challenger-brand clients are clear on their brand DNA and take their core pillars to heart before we begin design and content work.


As part of my series of interviews about “How to Use LinkedIn To Dramatically Improve Your Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Robyn Young. Robyn is a brand strategist and founder of Robyn Young & Co. As the CEO and Head of Strategy for her namesake agency, she brings a wealth of branding and marketing experience to up-and-coming and established challenger brands. Robyn is a master at pulling an authentic brand story to the center, and creating sustainable brands through a combination of strategy, design, and content. She also teaches workshops on brand culture for enterprise clients and offers mentorship (and the occasional pep talk) to other startup founders.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always been interested in creative storytelling and how to use narrative to influence, capture, entertain, and even shape perception. My career path has been anything but linear, and includes market research for top commercial brands like Nike and Target, brand marketing for UCLA, brand management for influencers such as Tracee Ellis Ross and Harry Shum Jr., content curation for Modern Luxury and Everyday Health, and a stint as a fashion stylist. I guess you could say I’ve always had a passion for branding and entrepreneurship in a way. I’ve spent the better part of a decade wielding unruly brands into shape. Finally in 2016, after quitting my cushy tech job with no concrete plan, capital or clients in place, I launched a branding agency from a shared desk at a co-working space and successfully quadrupled my business in 2 years.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I think a very interesting part of my journey is that I started an agency without ever having stepped foot in an agency (much less worked for one), while I was 2 months pregnant. Most people will tell you not to make any life-changing decisions when you’re in that place, and I made possibly one of the biggest of my life (mind you, I had no plan or clients). I bootstrapped my way to my first couple of clients just before I went on maternity leave and was one of those crazy women still sending emails as I was waiting to go into labor. The rest is history.

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

One of the most amusing mistakes to me now was thinking that I’d make myself applicable to more clients by offering more services and marketing to a broader demographic at the beginning. I built a beautiful website that basically made it seem like I could do everything from branding to social media marketing for any kind of business, which made my own branding applicable to NOBODY. Oh, the irony, my brand strategy was WAY OFF. Failing miserably was the best thing that could have happened to me. I had to become an expert at brand strategy, focus my offering, and get clear on my audience and value prop. I built an extremely valuable system for developing a brand strategy that I now put every client I work with through and it’s become the key reason brands (and other agencies) want to work with me. That’s also how I grew the business into a profitable venture so early on.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

I’ve mainly used LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook.

An interesting story about Instagram is that I had a client whom I actually went to high school with (but they didn’t know it at the time they reached out) connect with me on Instagram. I happened to be talking to someone about this person, and how they had just sold their company with a decent exit and that I should reach out to them. Of course, I didn’t reach out to them, but it didn’t matter because from a single boosted post I created for an upcoming workshop I was hosting, they went to my profile, clicked to my site, and booked me for a strategy session right off the bat. We then went on design their brand and were hired to do strategy for another company they worked with. That $30 boosted post turned into a $20,000 sale for me. Talk about a return on investment. While I’m not necessarily a proponent of boosted posts as a long term strategy, I think this is a great example of how streamlined branding and messaging that targets a specific audience can make an impact even with a small ad spend.

Let’s talk about LinkedIn specifically, now. Can you share 5 ways to leverage LinkedIn to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

We have recently started using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator to target leads. The tool is much more intuitive than the basic search function in LinkedIn and allows you to filter with company related criteria such as size, industry, and title, but also by their alma mater. This can provide us with an interesting connection to get a conversation going if the contact went to the same school for example.

Because of the position that you are in, 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 vision is to change the way we think about branding. It is not your logo, or the look and feel of your content. It’s not the celebrity you hire as an ambassador. Those are all mechanisms for communicating your brand. Your brand is your mission, vision, value prop, core values, who you’re speaking to, and what you have to say.

I think there’s a responsibility for brands to use their influence and platforms for good. Businesses need to make a profit, but your brand shouldn’t just be about pushing product and your bottom line. It should be about service, solving problems, challenging the status quo, owning your core values and caring just as much about internal brand culture as you do about customer perception. This is why we are a strategy-focused company. We ensure that our challenger-brand clients are clear on their brand DNA and take their core pillars to heart before we begin design and content work.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Yes! I’d love to sit down with the leadership team at McDonald’s and work with them on a new brand strategy. This is a brand that (when I was a kid) did a much better job representing family and philanthropy, but have lost their way trying to keep up with healthy fast-food companies.

Also, Richard Branson, because why not.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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