Build your network: No matter the size of your brand, word of mouth marketing and referrals are integral to building your brand. There have been countless studies done that show people trust brands that their friends and family recommend vs ones they only see online or in a store. Being connected with the right people and having the right people talking about your brand will create massive trust.
As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Kate Obert.
Kate Obert is a fashion stylist turned Chief Brand Officer who empowers 6–7 figure entrepreneurs to create a beautiful life you don’t need a vacation from through high end branding. She is fierce when it comes to mapping out the vision, strategizing and connecting the dots to curtate a full-sensory brand experience with ease. She services luxury personal brands & multi-brands to elevate the brand perception to stand out in their market & become industry leaders.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Absolutely, and thank you for having me! My path was very unconventional. I set out to be a fashion stylist or corner office in the fashion industry but have now found myself owning my own business and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I now work with the brands in a leadership position that I once wanted to work for. Every position I held prior allowed me to learn the skills necessary to run my own company the way I wanted to. There was definitely a period where I tried to follow in the footsteps of others but that only kept me stuck because what I’m meant to do is unlike anything someone else has created. Once I stopped looking at what others have similarly done and started listening to my intuition and executing on my strengths, that’s when everything exploded! I do branding very differently than anyone else. I have a way of seeing the world and being able to bring to life what others feel but aren’t sure how to execute; I bring all of my strengths, including fashion styling, into my brand strategy for clients. We’re all very unique and have our own strengths — everything we do makes sense for our brand because it’s us, therefore, the more you can amplify your strengths, your path will reveal itself.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I first started out, I thought I needed to have everything put together perfectly — a detailed business plan, a formal LLC, a logo, website, niche, a 2k dollars program and so on but that only kept me stuck. Even though I heard people say, “Just take action, you’ll grow wings on the way down.” I couldn’t understand that concept — how are you supposed to know what to take action on? Well, I definitely learned that to be true. Having everything planned out kept me stuck because I wouldn’t budge or listen to my intuition about what to do. When you start out, the best thing you can do is to brand yourself! People need to know who you are and what you’re an expert in. Talk about what you know and when you hear of someone’s problem you can solve, ask to solve it and give them any dollar amount you feel comfortable with — there’s something magical about that first energy exchange of money. Yes, it will be less than what you might be “worth” but it’s not about the money, it’s about building your brand and people knowing what you do. The more people know who you are and that you can solve their problems, your referrals and momentum will grow!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company stands out because we take a very different approach to branding than anyone else, especially in the online entrepreneurship industry. Branding is about building reputations — it’s about carefully curating who you are with how you want people to feel and what you want them to know. My specialty is in rebrands and creating full-sensory brand & client experiences. Rebrands aren’t just for changing a negative perception, rebrands are great when elevating your brand to the next level.
I have a client who owns a fashion house with three brands and multiple subbrands. They have been in business for a while but needed help refreshing their image to reflect who they are and who they’re becoming. We, of course, solidified the foundational elements and aesthetics but we then created a full-sensory experience. One way we did that is by creating a custom signature fragrance that is tied to the brand’s essence and how we want the customers to feel.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I just hired and met with my product developer to start mapping out a new, innovative brand I’m building! I’ve seen a gap in the market for a while and now is the time to fill it. This product will completely evolve the way we approach branding and help so many people! It’s extra cool because building brands is what I do for clients so now I get to show my audience how I’m building my own subbrand (or product) and take them along the journey with me. Follow me on Instagram @kate.obert to learn more about this new project & to follow along!
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?
Brand marketing, or branding, is your reputation — it’s the entire essence of you, your company and every single touch point. Product marketing, or advertising, is the vehicle you use to tell people about you and your product.
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?
Everyone understands the importance of spending money on marketing, advertising and PR but what most people don’t realize is that all of those dollars are being wasted if you don’t have a great brand, or have a brand at all. Building a brand is the first step because it directs how you do everything else in your business. A brand should be consistent and cohesive, but also willing to evolve and be creative. Understanding the foundational elements of your brand is how you have a successful ad campaign or marketing strategy.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.
- Know your brand’s foundation: It all starts here. Figure out your core values, brand essence, why, mission, vision, tone of voice, brand personality, positioning, differentiating point, and so on. The brand’s foundation will direct every decision you make within your business. For example, when choosing the aesthetics (i.e color palette) for your brand, they must accurately reflect how you want people to feel (AKA brand essence), if you choose the wrong color or graphics, that can negatively affect your brand’s image.
- Be transparent: This is key. As I mentioned before, a brand is consistent and cohesive but should also evolve and the way to do this, while still staying on-brand, is by being transparent. As you learn new things and want to implement them into your brand, take your audience along the journey with you. The more they feel invested in your brand, the more they will feel a sense of loyalty.
- Be clear: People should easily understand what you and your brand is about. Always take the complexity out for the customer. For example, make it very clear and easy to figure out any information that is needed to learn about your brand.
- Be creative: Innovation will position you as the trusted expert. This is where knowing your brand’s foundation is important because it will also keep you on-brand. Being creative will also keep your audience engaged — it’s boring to see the same stuff all the time and we all have short attention spans, so being creative with your brand (and creating a full-sensory experience) is necessary.
- Build your network: No matter the size of your brand, word of mouth marketing and referrals are integral to building your brand. There have been countless studies done that show people trust brands that their friends and family recommend vs ones they only see online or in a store. Being connected with the right people and having the right people talking about your brand will create massive trust.
In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?
The fitness company, Tone It Up, has done a fantastic job building their brand! What impresses me about Tone It Up is that they lead the industry with innovative ways to workout, they’ve built a cult-like following and they always stay true to their core values, especially when leveraging their partnerships with other companies and influencers. How can you replicate that? By implementing the 5 strategies I listed above — Tone It Up has done all of those beautifully.
In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?
The success of a brand building campaign is different from an advertising campaign because branding is the long game. For the most part, you’re unable to see immediate ROI. Branding is about controlling the perception of the brand so you can definitely interview focus groups or interact with your audience online to get a pulse on what people are saying but the only way to truly measure the success of your brand campaign is to see how the perception of the brand changes over time and if it’s in alignment with what you want.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
Social media plays a big role in branding because it’s usually the first impression. People find out about brands through social media therefore it’s important for the profile and visual branding to accurately reflect who the brand is.
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
Take some time “off” and create experiences! I put off in quotations because for most of us, we draw inspiration from our lives for our work so we’re never really “off,” but the more we step away from the day to day tasks of work and experience life, the more we will be energized and have focused attention on the elements that will actually propel us forward.
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. 🙂
I believe that we should always live life like we’re on vacation! Life is too short to live for two weeks of PTO or weekends and we’re all better people on vaca, right?! My mission is to help people build brands, and a life, they don’t need a vacation from so they can create the impact they’re meant to make!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“What you focus on, you create more of.” Our minds are incredibly powerful — this quote is a great reminder to me to only give energy to the things that I want more of in my life. Our thoughts create our feelings and our reality. If we’re worrying about something that hasn’t even happened, it’s like wishing for something you don’t want. The more I am grateful and the more I focus on what I do want, the more abundance I receive.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have lunch or breakfast with Lauryn Evarts Bosstick of The Skinny Confidential! I have followed her for years and admire her so much. She has built an incredible brand with such attention to detail and always creates a full-sensory experience. She is unapologetic about who she is, what she stands for and is always a source of inspiration and positivity for me!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Follow me on Instagram @kate.obert !
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Thank you so much for having me, I’m so honored to have been interviewed!