A cool logo blog header

A Cool Logo Does Not Make You A Brand

“Design is essential but design is not brand.” Seth Godin


For the last few years, I have had the privilege and honor of engaging, listening, and coaching small businesses in the beauty and wellness worlds. It truly is my purpose, and I am grateful every second I get the honor to empower those I love.

However, there is a trend I see happening that must be stopped, and that is the belief that if you make a cool logo, secure a domain name and throw up a website, you are a brand. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the truth must be shared. That does not make you a brand, it makes you a logo, domain and website owner. There is a big difference.

So, what makes a brand? While there are a gazillion elements, I will focus on a few that in my experience are the most important and powerful. No matter if you are a 1 person team or a 1000 person team, online or off, these principles apply…

1. Purpose + Promise
Having clarity around the purpose + promise of your business and the ability to communicate it through storytelling creates value + meaning (for your target audience), which in turn, create a brand.

2. Culture
How you communicate, the dialogue & systems you use, your team, how train your team,  your negotiables, your non-negotiables, how you make decisions, how you care for your team, how your team cares for your clients, all of these things create a brand.

3. Experience + Value
How the customer experiences your business, how they feel, the emotions that come up while engaging with your business, the value that is perceived in the mind of the client, that is a brand.

4. Strategy
Planning, what you say yes to, what you say no to, your plans, pricing, promotions, programs, that is the beginning of a brand.

5. Relationships
When people begin to engage with your business and relationships are built. When transactions take place, that is a brand. And knowing your audience. Who you are for, and who you are not for. Both very important.

Your look, your feel, your sounds, and the consistency of your look, feel and sounds, all of these elements combined, creates a brand. This is where your logo comes in.

You see, we have it kinda backwards. We don’t start with a logo when creating a brand, we actually end with a logo.

When creating a business, with must begin with our objectives, our WHY’s, the outcome we are seeking, our strategy, our culture, experience, promise, purpose, and then, when we have clarity around that, it is time to begin design. And not one second sooner.

Why? Well, a logo is designed to communicate a brand promise, purpose, culture, etc. So how in the world can a designer create a logo without knowing those things? In fact, more importantly, how can you create a legitimate business and a brand without knowing those things? You know?

Love + Awesomeness-

Value vs. Price

Is Price Really The Issue?

“Value is more expensive than price.” Toba Beta

One of the core principles of marketing is price; it is also one of the most misunderstood elements of creating an awesome business. Price can be determined by many things… cost of goods, overhead, brand positioning, product or service type, strategy, business model, and more.

But what I want to focus on today is value. Value and price are not the same, and I agree a gazillion percent with the above quote. Value is actually more expensive than price. What does that mean?

In my experience, it means the amount of value you bring to your service experience is what ultimately matters, and delivering meaningful and relevant value consistently is not easy.

Do you know what your clients value? Really know? If you don’t, it’s time to find out. If you solely compete and do business on price, be careful, as you become a very vulnerable business, in fact, you will become a commodity. (Defined by Webster’s: a good or service whose wide availability typically leads to smaller profit margins and diminishes the importance of factors (as brand name) other than price) Ouch!

A haircut, a Pilates class, an ice tea, anyone can get those anywhere, anytime. You have to give me a reason to want your haircut, take your class or purchase your ice tea.

My colorist Lucie Doughty at AT Tramp delivers value far beyond the price. She is kind, attentive, focused 100% on me, and delivers quality consistently. That is what I value. The same with my hair cutter Carlos Ramos, aka Sugar Skulls, in fact, I get my haircut almost weekly, so clearly I love my experience.

My Pilates studio, Whole Body Method is calm, friendly, focused and really cares about my well being. That is what I value.

My Starbucks, and now my Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf next door to the Passion Squared Loft consistently deliver a smile, a happy greeting, and pay attention to what I love, TONS of ice. That is what I value.

What do your clients value and are you delivering it consistently. Those are the questions I want you to focus on this week. When there is true value being delivered consistently, price no longer is the issue.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

PS: If price really is the issue, and you are in the volume, discount business, that is a strategy too. The key is knowing what business you are in. And always be mindful, some other business is always going to offer a lower price.


The Hook

Make every detail perfect, and limit the number of details to perfect.  -Jack Dorsey,  Co-Founder, Twitter


Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening.

As I have wandered through several small businesses over the last month, something has stuck out to me that I felt inspired to share. Something so small, and many times overlooked, yet something that tells me so much about how much the business pays attention to the customer experience and to be honest, if they actually care about me.

What is this thing? A hook. Yes, a hook, in the bathroom. You know, a hook to hang my bag, purse, whatever. Do you really want me to put my purse on the floor? Really?

One of my biz mentors Robert Cromeans has always said, “It’s the little things.” And he is right. It is.

Every little detail that I experience with and about your brand matters. Both online and off. The look, smell, color, energy, vibe, sounds, all of it matters. So as the awesome quote from Jack Dorey says above, “make every detail perfect and limit the details to perfect.”

So today, I challenge you to take a walk around your business, both online and off, and check out your details. And while you are at it, be sure there is a hook in the bathroom.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Goodies from Gary Vee

Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling.  -Gary Vaynerchuk


Here is the audio version of this post. Thanks so much for listening. Enjoy.

Gary Vaynerchuk knows things and even better, he shares things. He recently shared some insanely awesome infographics which simply break down some key facts about the social platforms we love, and our clients love. What I love about these is that they focus on awesome content examples that fit the context of the platform, which is key to true engagement, inspired by his latest and awesome book Jab Jab Jab Right Hook.

In this latest book, he uses the example of boxing where the jabs are the set up, the value we create by posting relevant and interesting content, and the right hook being the big punch, or asking for the sale. I love him and his brain. Consider this. Are you posting all jabs and no right hooks? Or all right hooks and no jabs? The sweet spot is more jabs than right hooks. Think about it.

Check out these super awesome infographics Gary created to help us share our story with the right content in the right context for the platform to provide value, build relationships, engage and ultimately make a sale. Brilliant.


Facebook Facebook Infographic from Gary Vee



Instagram Infographic from Gary Vee

Twitter Twitter Infographic from Gary Vee

So now its time to look at your content strategy. Are you jabbing on the right platforms? Right hooks? Storytelling? Is it time to re-think it? I want to know. Share your comments below or click here to share your thoughts with me. I’m listening and I care.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Defining Your Brand

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.  -Simon Sinek


Here is the audio version of this post. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy!

According to one of my go-to awesomeness creators on all things marketing and business, Seth Godin, he states “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

So, when we think of creating, building and growing a brand, such as a salon, Pilates studio, or education business, we must begin with defining our WHY and our promise, which are the foundation of our brand story. Without a story, and I am not talking about an old school mission statement, we are not a brand; we are just another business that can be easily replaced with another.

Your brand is not your name, logo or the colors you choose for your business card, the words you use or wall paint. That is your brand identity and ultimately become your brand image. And while those choices you make are very important and critical, having an awesome logo or name and no clarity around your WHY or promise, will not matter in the end. You see, its your WHY and promise that once defined, help guide you into the best name, logo, colors and words, not the other way around.

Here is a series of questions for you to ponder to begin to define your brand.

1. What is your WHY?
Why are you in business? Why should I choose you over someone else? What problem are you trying to solve? Passion Squared WHY is to help empower the people I love through providing proven ideas, systems and processes to help create awesome in biz + life. The problem I want to solve is small business failure for beauty and wellness professionals.

2.What business are you in?
Hint: Its not haircuts or exercise classes.  Passion Squared is in the empowerment business.

3. What is your promise to your team, clients and community?
After engaging with your business, what will the outcome be? Passion Squared promise is to share honest ideas, insights and inspiration that will empower the community to take action on those ideas and create awesome in their business, with love.

4. What three words best describe your experience?
If you can get it to one word, even better. Passion Squared one word is empowerment. My three words are awesome, create and empowerment.

5. If a client were writing a 5 star YELP review about your business, what would it say?
If it matches or comes close to your why and promise, you are awesome. A client of Passion Squared would say after engaging with my business, my client had more clarity around what steps they needed to take to grow and felt empowered to create awesome in their business.

Begin here. Take the time. Get the team involved. Listen to what your clients say about your business today. Read your YELP reviews and Facebook page comments. Rome was not built in a day and neither are real, sustainable brands.

PS: Your brand is not the product lines you choose to carry or use. It’s actually the other way around. Based on your brand why, promise, story, identity and image, you choose the product line that fits your brand.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)