Hi Gracie! Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I can’t wait to gain some amazing marketing insight—and I’m sure my readers feel the same way! Let’s get started with you telling us a bit about yourself and how you got started as an entrepreneur.
I’ve been entrepreneurial and business minded since before I can remember. My first successful company was a clothing line that I had started my sophomore year of high school, and I sold it my freshman year of college. After the sale, I had small businesses in my hometown of Fort Worth ask me who did the branding and marketing for my company. I had done it all myself, so I offered to do theirs! All throughout college and into my corporate career, I created brand strategies, brand design, and websites for small businesses. More times than not, I ended up coaching them on how to start/grow their business, so when I took my business full time, I added on the consulting offering.
What made you choose the field of marketing?
I love psychology, business, and design, and I felt like marketing combined all three of those things! I have always had an eye for design and fashion, but am incredibly business minded, so it was the perfect fit. To me, marketing is a huge part of growth strategy, which is one of my biggest strengths in business. I love to come up with innovative ways to take companies to the next level whether that be through leveraging their brand story, creating a new marketing plan, creating a new offering, or revamping systems and operations.
I love that! That’s exactly what I love about brand design—it combines psychology with business and design. Can you give an example to our readers regarding the ways psychology, business, and design work together to create a solid marketing strategy?
This is so important, and I often see at least one of the three left out when people are designing a brand or building a marketing strategy. First and foremost, we are emotional beings. There are so many studies on this. Our brains actually light up when we are reading a story or connecting with a message. While I never like to use the word manipulation when talking about marketing, there are strategic, scientifically backed ways to grasp people’s attention and connection. A good brand always has an emotional aspect for that reason, whether that be a good story, imagery, or a strategic color scheme.There’s a reason those in the health and wellness industry use light, calming colors in their branding as opposed to harsh tones. The last part is the hard one. You can design a beautiful brand, with a great story that connects you emotionally with thousands of people, but if there’s no strategy on how to actually convert that audience into paying customers, clients, patients, etc. then you don’t have a business! The business part is the hardest part of the puzzle, but once you have a brand that connects with your audience emotionally, has design that resonates, and messaging that converts, you’re set!
What was the biggest lesson you learned about marketing yourself or others during your early years of business (in high school)?
I would say the biggest lesson I learned was marketing backed with passion is the most successful. It became clear to me how much an audience can see through BS marketing, and how much they are drawn to marketing that you’re proud of, aligned with, and passionate about. I also learned that you never know until you try. I didn’t have a perfect plan, the marketing knowledge that I have now, or any clue what I was doing, but I had a vision and passion for what I was doing, and I think people saw that. I completely winged it and came out with my idea at 110%, and it worked!
As an expert in your field (and through personal experience), how does a professional brand design help a business grow?
Professional brand design creates instant credibility and trust, and trust = sales. I always encourage my clients to invest in professional brand design from the start. People can tell if you designed your logo on Canva. Make the investment, and I promise you it will pay off ten-fold! Brand design also is key for differentiating you from competitors, building brand awareness and top-of-mind recognition, and helps people connect with you and your business emotionally.
Yes! I’d have to agree 100%. In what ways would you say a company’s marketing strategy is directly effected by its brand identity?
My method is always brand before marketing strategy. Branding is so much more than just a visual identity. It is the core of why your business exists and for whom. If you are lacking a solid brand strategy, your marketing strategy will be all over the place. I’ve seen countless businesses investing time and efforts into a marketing channel that doesn’t align with their brand. To me, branding is your compass. If your compass is misaligned, you’re not going to get where you want to be.
Does it help (both you and your client) if a business comes to you for PR or marketing help first having a solid grasp on their brand identity? In what ways?
Absolutely! I build all of my marketing and PR strategies off of the brand. They all have to be working cohesively for the growth strategy to be successful. I don’t even take on clients for marketing and PR strategy consulting who don’t have a solid branding strategy. It always comes first!
Gracie is a Marketing + Brand Consultant and Design Agency owner. She helps entrepreneurs scale their business through marketing, branding, PR, and coaching them on how to do it all with balance.