Let's Talk About Branding: How To Build Your Brand with Brand Strategist Kate Obert

25th of May 2020

What does it mean to be a storyteller for your brand? How do you start sharing content that can actually leave an impression on your audience?

We couldn’t think of any better person to answer these questions than the godmother of brand strategy herself, Kate Obert.

Kate creates and improves social and digital strategies for brands, advises them on marketing, and guides them through creating a clear and cohesive brand that stands out.

Let’s see what advice she’s got for all the newbies in branding and social media!

What is your job title and what does it involve?

I call myself a brand strategist but each brand strategist can mean something slightly different. A lot of brand strategists are glorified web & graphic designers, however, for me, you can think of me like the "Chief Brand Officer." My clients hire me for my vision, strategy & IP [intellectual property] to help them get crystal clear on their messaging / tone of voice, foundation of their brand, who their ideal clients are, the visual aesthetics & the entire experience of their brand. I help them create a cohesive brand identity (across all platforms & products) & create unique, innovative ways for them to stand out. My clients are multi passionate, so not only am I helping them develop their personal brand but also their product brands (or, sub-brands). My speciality is in creating full-sensory brand experiences for each of my client's brands. Then, after we develop each brand, we have an on-going relationship of monthly strategy calls & when the time is right to introduce another one of their sub-brands or plan a brand event, I will oversee that entire process.

How did you finally decide on the color of your website and content?  

Your brand = your reputation. Your visual branding is a representation of you. When you know yourself & what you like, your brand & the colors you feel most connected to truly just appear. For me, I live in Los Angeles & love tropical locations. My house looks like my Instagram feed - palm trees, leopard print, etc. I primarily wear neutral colors with the exception of greens / blues. So thinking about who I am & my environment, it made sense for neutrals (black, white), tropical vibes (greens), sky / ocean (blues), & a touch of glam (gold). I also add pops of citrus colors because I'm known for loving mimosas & aperol spritz.. Once you know who you are & the vibes / colors you gravitate towards, take that to color psychology - you need to know the why behind everything. Green represents growth/change, black is more authoritative, blue is trustworthy, yellow is fun/energy - all of those made sense for me & represent my brand. For those starting out, I recommend figuring out the foundation of your brand - your brand essence: 3-5 adjectives & emotions you want people to feel when they come in contact with you / your brand... then match those words to color psychology & see what comes up. Another way to figure this out for yourself is to do what I have all my clients do first: create a mood board on Pinterest. Pin whatever resonates with you (text, pics of cocktails, clothes, vacation spots) then you can start seeing themes / patterns of colors you gravitate to.

How can you connect with your audience during these times?

You're never going to give away too much information for free. Be available and genuinely listen to your audience & what they're struggling with. Think about what your expertise is & how that can solve a problem someone might be going through right now. Be social on social media... build relationships! People might not have money to spend right now but they'll remember who shows up for them during this time when they eventually do.

Is there job mobility/security?

Absolutely. For me, there's no shortage of people who need my help when it comes to branding, because everyone has a personal brand - it's just a matter of if they're controlling the narrative. And then most of my clients have products, or sub-brands, where they need to make sure all the elements are cohesive & stand out. Especially now with COVID-19 happening, your brand is really the only thing you have control over because if you remember, your brand is just a fancy way of saying your reputation. If you can figure out what your expertise is, you can use that within your brand to help others! I think there is job mobility for absolutely everyone if they are using their expertise to help bring value and solve someone else's problems, and how you get known for your expertise is through your brand. (Because of this, I just created a free workbook on how to figure out your expertise & make money from home during COVID - it's on my website under "FREE")

Describe one strategy that helps you succeed as a brand strategist.

The one strategy that helps me succeed is that I don't pay attention to any other brand strategists. I am the best at what I do & I am extremely confident in that. I know that my service is very different than other brand strategists because I am creating a luxury, unique experience for my clients. I have extreme attention to detail and I'm always asking how we can be different, which leads to innovative brand experiences & products. 

Of all the content you’ve seen recently, what is your favorite and why?

With everything going on, I love seeing how generous people are & the sense of community. I also really love seeing how creative people are being - they're really paying attention to the current needs of their customers & creating very unique offerings to solve their problems.

Describe the most successful brand experience you’ve run. What did you learn?

Each client I take on, I learn something new. One of my favorites was of a client who had grown her following to 50k being a fitness influencer. She started noticing that people kept asking her social media & business how-to's. (She also built a few multi 6-figure companies). She hired me when she was wanting to make the switch into a business coach. We got her clear on her foundation, matched the aesthetics to her brand, created a full-sensory experience for her clients & built out a brand strategy, not only for her personal brand but also for all of her product brands - digital & physical products. What I learned from working with her is how to really truly listen to the flow of the brand & how the client is feeling - to truly be intuitive. I could tell that she wasn't ready to let go of a lot of elements of her fitness brand so we created a transition brand. I've never heard of other people doing that before but it felt right to create an in-between. By doing that, we were able to prime her audience & take them along the journey of the transition / transformation. The #1 piece of advice I could give anyone is be confident in your expertise, don't look at what others are doing in your field & listen to your intuition - those whispers of ideas in your head are for you to take inspired action ... they will be your differentiating points.

What’s your work motto?

“How can I do things differently?”

Can you share 3 branding tools that you find helpful in building your brand? And from BFROW?

When you're first starting to build your brand, honestly, the most helpful tool is my product, The Branding Bible - shameless plug :) but for real, I created it because there wasn't one place with all of the information together and after so much of my time, money & energy wasted on things that didn't actually matter when building your brand, I didn't want you to make the same mistakes as I did. The Branding Bible provides all the info you need, in major detail & in what order to complete it in. And after building countless brands, the framework in The Branding Bible is consistent with the framework I make sure to go through with all of my high-level clientele.

My other favorite tool to use is Canva - the free version is all you need (unless you are creating your logo, I'd pay for Canva Pro at least for a month so you can use the transparent background feature when you download an image - super helpful!)

Then the app I use often is Facetune - I use that for editing & enhancing photos. 

As for the tools from BFROW I'd recommend, Branding for Business is a very macro view of how to brand - it'll get you thinking in the right way but you'll eventually need more details for implementation. Social Media for Marketing & Quality Content would be the other BFROW tools I'd recommend when building your brand. 

Kate's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kate.obert/

Kate's Website: https://kateobert.com/

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