Victoria Branson: “Create a stunning visual representation”

Create a stunning visual representation. One of the most powerful aspects of any business is visual representation. It’s proven that we form an opinion on whether or not we like the brand within seven seconds. Your visuals are the very first contact you have with your clients that either establishes positive feelings and trust or […]

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Create a stunning visual representation. One of the most powerful aspects of any business is visual representation. It’s proven that we form an opinion on whether or not we like the brand within seven seconds. Your visuals are the very first contact you have with your clients that either establishes positive feelings and trust or turns them off. If your potential customer doesn’t connect with your visuals (i.e., your brand), you lose them, and it becomes nearly impossible to sell them your services.

As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Victoria Branson, Personal Branding Expert.

When Victoria works with her clients, she strives to understand their personality and their main values in life. With a deep understanding of these components, she then develops powerful brands which are aligned with those values.

Her main drives in life are the realization of her full potential, beauty in the world, and inner harmony. The stunning brands she creates for female entrepreneurs worldwide are the highest expression of these passions.

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?

I’ve been working as a life coach for women, and I saw that they were going through a powerful inner transformation. Once this occurred, they found themselves unsure of what to do next. They had a strong new sense of self and needed to change their outer representation to match. They were wondering how to brand their personality in the physical world, and thanks to my previous career in marketing — I had the answers.

I decided to create a total transformation process from the inside out. That’s how my Platinum Branding Program was born. It included psychological assessments and deep inner work followed by the visual brand creation (personal style, logo, website, social media, etc.).

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?

As a newborn life coach, I needed branding myself. I wanted to save money, and I was sure that I could do everything on my own. So I purchased a very inexpensive logo in one place, chose the colors, and bought a basic website somewhere else. The final result of this “branding” reminded me of Pablo Picasso’s cubism period painting. When I looked at this “painting”, I realized that it had very little to do with me and it didn’t reflect who I was at all.

I concluded that a personal brand shouldn’t be an eclectic painting by someone else. It has to be a holistic process that is done intentionally and in a coherent way. The final brand should be a mirror that closely reflects the inner world of the person for whom it’s created.

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?

The “tipping point” point in my career was realizing that good branding should be directly related to the complex psychology of the person for whom it is being developed.

This discovery serves two important purposes:

  1. It allows me to build a brand that reflects my clients accurately
  2. It helps my clients understand their value system on a deep level and fully express their potential through the brand

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

The difference between branding that is successful and branding that falls short is that ineffective branding is like a prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear), while effective branding is like haute couture (high-end fashion).

Ready-to-wear is mass-produced clothing in standardized sizes, while haute couture is tailor-made, quality clothing.

When I do branding for a client, I “tailor” it to uniquely express her beauty, values, and potential with the highest precision possible — paying attention to every detail.

Right now, I’m working on perfecting my high-end branding program where I unite more top-level experts to serve my clients better. I do psychological assessments and coaching, as well as orchestrating the entire brand development process. I also have a stylist, a brand identity specialist, and a web developer on my team. The idea is to create a white-glove service a-la-carte where female entrepreneurs can find all the solutions to realize their brand aspirations.

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

Do only what makes sense to you

I believe that people who build their work in accordance with their values rarely burnout. As a famous quote says, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I obtained three higher education degrees and tried several professions until I found something that reflects all my values. It gives me plenty of life energy, and this compensates for even the strongest fatigue.

Switch gears

We think that the more we work, the better we perform. That is not always the case. We need to give ourselves time to restore and recharge. Do activities that allow you to let go and switch gears (golf, knitting, cycling — whatever works). Even if we love what we do, our body and mind need a rest from it.

Avoid monotony

Changing the settings in which we work is very useful as well. For those who can do so, try to find new inspiring places to work. For example, I am more productive in sunny weather, so when winter starts in Switzerland, I usually take a trip to California or the South of France for a few weeks to recharge.

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?

Branding is a process of uncovering a company’s or individual’s big “why” (values, mission, purpose, impact), followed by the expression of that “why” in the visual representation (name, logo, colors, fonts, etc.). Branding shows potential clients why the company is unique and makes them want to buy the service, and stay loyal to it.

Advertising is a paid promotion, the goal of which is to attract and persuade an ideal customer to buy the product or service, thus boosting sales. It’s usually done through different media types (TV, Internet, radio, magazines, etc.).

The purpose of advertising is to tell prospective clients about the benefits of the product.

The purpose of branding is to create interaction between clients and the creator of the product or service based on the values that are transmitted through the brand. This creates loyalty towards the product. It’s about making people feel and think a certain way about you and what you offer. Like Jeff Bezos famously said, “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

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?

When we build a personal brand, we solve two important challenges:

  1. Everyone wants to leave their legacy. When we have the right personal brand, it is a beautiful reflection of ourselves. Through the brand development process, we embark on a journey of deep self-discovery. This transformative process and the final brand result allow us to express our personal meaning and life purpose fully.
  2. Our personal brand tells the story of who we are and what we value. As clients connect with our brand, we build deep, trusting relationships with them through this shared value system.

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

When a product does not inspire trust — the main goal of any brand, then it is necessary for the company to do rebranding.

Also, if there is a change in the head of the company — the person who stands behind the brand, then the rebranding is necessary to reflect this new person’s values. A striking example is an inherited business where the heir has different values from the previous owner and the business stops being successful.

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

Before doing a rebranding, here are three things to consider:

  1. Rebranding should always reflect the values of an entrepreneur or a company. When that isn’t the case, it feels empty. Even if it is beautifully made, it will not resonate with clients and won’t inspire trust.
  2. The company should conduct market research to learn about their target audience.
  3. Effective branding requires an investment of both time and resources. Be prepared to invest.

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 your “why”. I really resonate with inspirational speaker Simon Sinek’s idea that people don’t buy your product or service (your “what”); they buy your big purpose (your “why”).

Lots of entrepreneurs start a business because it seems like a great revenue generator. They are very clear about their “what” but often unclear about “why” they are doing it. If you don’t know your “why”, it will be impossible to establish customer loyalty and create a long-lasting successful brand and business.

Steve Jobs pushed his developers and designers until the smallest details were perfected. His big “why” was to create impeccable, top quality products for clients and “revolutionize the way people work, communicate, and live their lives.”

2.) Know and connect with your target audience. I’m very inspired by the example of Coco Chanel, who created her collections exclusively for modern, emancipated women who were ready to change. She was leaving behind those who wanted to conform to old norms and traditions.

She was a daring woman who wanted to establish new fashion rules (pants, flap bags with chain straps, and little black dresses, etc.) that went against the fashion traditions of that period. Starting with the way she carried herself and through all of her collections, she showed what kind of women she wanted to work with and create for. She knew her target audience perfectly and was not trying to be everything to everyone.

3.) Create a stunning visual representation. One of the most powerful aspects of any business is visual representation. It’s proven that we form an opinion on whether or not we like the brand within seven seconds. Your visuals are the very first contact you have with your clients that either establishes positive feelings and trust or turns them off. If your potential customer doesn’t connect with your visuals (i.e., your brand), you lose them, and it becomes nearly impossible to sell them your services.

A great example of highly appealing visual representation is the luxury jewelry company, Van Cleef & Arpels, which personally makes me want to buy everything they offer!

4.) Be consistent. Being consistent with your branding is another key aspect of good branding. Make sure that your main color palette, logo, business cards, website, emails, social media accounts, advertising material, and any other visual components are coherent and match the overall brand.

My favorite meditation app, Headspace, is doing a fantastic job at that. Their app, website, animations, and marketing materials are all cohesive and aligned.

5.) Create unique stories of your brand. The brand loses its purpose if people don’t understand what is behind the brand. Visual branding on its own doesn’t have much value. It has to be permanently fed by actions — it only comes alive when there are stories happening behind it.

A great example is Elon Musk, who is always creating stories and events that reflect his values. When a new product or service is about to be launched, we already know that it will carry his values (entrepreneurship, innovation, vision, impact) and will be done in a certain manner. By creating stories regularly, you show your clients which values are behind your actions, and people then transfer these values to your product or service.

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?

McDonald’s has done a great rebranding. Before, their communication was about fast food, accessibility, and low price, which is not the way they aim to appear anymore. They now want to be seen as healthier and more “upscale”. We can see it in the menu, which now offers more vegetarian options — they’ve even added salad bars in some of their locations! The design of their restaurants is more organic, thanks to the use of wooden furniture. They also made their packaging brighter. They added a lot of green colors, which are often associated with being fit and healthy, and brown colors that indicate that the company cares about recycling and ecology.

This rebranding campaign had great success, and McDonald’s now appeals to a much larger target audience.

In order to replicate it in another business, we also need to take into consideration the overall trends in the world, hear our customer’s needs, be flexible, and have a team of experienced professionals who would use this information wisely in rebranding.

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. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, my values are maximizing my potential, expanding beauty in the world, and discovering inner harmony. So I would inspire a movement aimed at self-development, self-realization, and the nurturing of beauty and harmony of all women on this planet.

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

Fyodor Dostoevsky, a famous Russian novelist, wrote the profound statement: “Beauty will save the world”. The author certainly filled this with his own meaning, but the way I apply it into my life is that a beautiful person with an impactful brand that reflects her values is the biggest gift to all of us. Helping women transform on the inside and outside is my mission, because I truly believe that beauty will save the world.

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