Escape The Brand Trap, Female Entrepreneurs


Hey Ladies!

Real talk: your business won’t start taking off once you finally nail your branding.

“Perfect Branding” isn’t the magic pill that will cure whatever is ailing your biz. Stop obsessing naow or you are dead meat, baby girl. Yes, your website might suck. In fact, it probably does, at least a little. But that matters so much less than you think. And your fixation with what may or may not suck about your “brand” is actually killing your business.

“Does My Marketing Make Me Look Fat?”

In Canada, where I live, more than 35% of all self-employed people are female, which means more women are choosing to start and run businesses than ever before. So far, so good. However, I believe a significant portion of this female 35% is wasting the revolutionary potential of their self-employment by transferring their habitual concerns with appearance onto their business. They’re used to worrying way too much about how good they look (physically and socially), so they tend to worry way too much about how well their branding is coming across.

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August 13, 2015

Brand Language: How Do Real People Use Your Brand’s Buzzwords?


My friend (Jenn Cusick of Luminate Wellness) and I got into one of those crazy Facebook thread conversations about the word “authenticity” the other week. She’d just read a blog post I’d written about Elon Musk and she had a question. In the post, I said Elon had real “authenticity” even though I thought that word had become “terrible.” She wanted to know what the word meant to me. So I explained that

I find it’s a buzzword that people want to associate themselves with without contemplating its meaning too deeply. Are people really that honest when they have strategic intent? Also, can ‘too much honesty’ be a professional liability or even just plain bad for your team/workplace/life? In general, I prickle a little bit when marketing lingo seems to appropriate moral concepts glibly.

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July 8, 2015

Your Brand Is A Tribal Signal


About a month ago, my brother and sister-in-law opened a café in Abbotsford BC called Oldhand Coffee. That’s right, a café! Sheesh. So they’re bravely struggling, brainstorming ways to get coffee-drinkers in the door, right?

Nope. Business has been BANANAS. Their space is consistently packed, the social media shares are numerous and passionate, and they already have four staff members.

But howww? Everybody knows that the restaurant industry is a tough row to hoe. Furthermore, their chosen destination of Abbotsford is a fairly standard-issue big-box-dominated Canadian city. It’s a place where small businesses easily get lost in the mix.

I believe Oldhand’s success is related to the quality of their products, for sure. It’s also definitely a reflection of their networking gifts, since hype for their café originated in their sprawling social circle. But what was their big-ticket maneuver? Which winning move sealed their happy fate?

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March 19, 2015