S. 3 Ep. 1 – Your Branding Isn’t What You Think It Is

Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Cece Payne

Cece Payne

Content & Graphic Design Manager - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 3 Ep 1 - Your Branding Isn't What You Think It Is with SpeakerFlow and Nadine Hanafi

When you hear the word “branding,” what comes to mind?

Probably the fonts, colors, and general design choices used in your logo and across your website, right? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In this episode, we’re joined by Nadine Hanafi, the owner of Digital Brand Kit and We Are Visual, to talk about all of the lesser-known components of your branding – things like lead magnets, social posts, slide decks, ebooks, and content.

As a designer and digital marketing strategist, Nadine and her team have created more than 20,000 PowerPoint slides for hundreds of clients ranging from C-Suite Executives at Fortune 100 companies to TED speakers, best-selling authors, marketing teams, non-profit organizations and tech startups.

Put simply, Nadine knows better than anyone that your brand extends far beyond the logo at the top of your site.

She also knows that, when you truly take the time and money to invest in your brand, it can may off big-time, and she’s here to explain how you can make that happen.

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅ Check out Digital Brand Kit: https://digitalbrandkit.com/

✅ Learn how you can upgrade your presentations with We Are Visual’s slide decks: https://www.wearevisual.com/home

📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU

🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business? Maybe it’s standing on stage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip by. This is called the flow state. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert, where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.

Taylorr: Look at us.

Austin: Boom. We did it. We’re live.

Taylorr: We’re here.

Austin: Hello, Nadine, welcome to the show.

Nadine: Hi, thank you for having me.

Austin: Yeah, I like all of the plants that you have in your background. Taylorr and I were just having a conversation the other day about how my office feels very clinical, like I’m in a hospital. Need more life around me, liven your place up a little bit. And I feel like you’ve, sort of, given me a visual idea of what I could do. Thank you for the inspiration,

Nadine: You’re so welcome. It looks like you did add some greenery in your background.

Taylorr: Just a touch, nice touch.

Nadine: But I can see how without that it would definitely look like a hospital room.

Austin: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you. I’m going to need a lot of whiskey.

Taylorr: Check out the video, folks. Grill Austin about the hospital room, room.

Austin: It’s fine. I’ll cry later. Man. We’re honored to have you. As our listeners know, we do a little digging on our guests before the show begins. Good research makes for good episodes, generally speaking. And everybody, I think in the professional world, at least that’s been around for a while, gets an award or two now and again, and that’s an exciting thing, I’m not disparaging awards, okay. But you have a very special award; I think you were awarded, what, top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 or something from the UN, the United Nations.

Taylorr: The United Nations.

Nadine: Yes.

Austin: Yeah. This isn’t some random association that you found under a rock, this is, kind of, a big deal. So, how did that happen? What was that like?

Nadine: And not to date myself, but that was seven years ago and when I was under 30. And that felt good. But, no, yeah, it was the United Nations; it was a group of entrepreneurs. We were all recognized at the UN for our work in the online space. And so, I was about two years into my business at the time, so it was a big deal for me to have gone from a nobody starting out from nothing to two years down the road, being at the UN with some amazing people and being recognized, and it was awesome. But yeah.

Austin: Wow, that’s so exciting.

Taylorr: What an experience. So, did you fly out there live to accept the award?

Nadine: We flew to New York. It was, actually, at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Taylorr: Wow.

Nadine: That was very impressive. We got to sit in the big room where all the heads of states, usually, sit, and we had our little plaque with the name of our company, it was very, very official, but also very fun.

Taylorr: Heck, yeah. Wow, that’s so cool.

Austin: Okay. That’s so cool.

Taylorr: Only two years in too. Yeah. What happened in those two years to make that possible, do you think?

Nadine: That’s a good question. A lot of things happened very quickly, but about six to eight months into my business, I started to realize that I needed to put myself out there and associate myself with a more powerful brand that would give me credibility. Because before that, I hadn’t built an audience, I was not in the online space; I worked in the corporate world, I was a marketing manager, and then I came out and I was like, okay, I’m building a business, I’m going to make PowerPoints for a living. It didn’t even make sense to most people that I talked to. So, I was like, I need credibility. Where do I get credibility? And the first place I could think of, because I was in the presentation design world, was naturally Ted, right?

Taylorr: Sure.

Nadine: So, Ted Talks, and I was living in Miami at the time, and I found out that there was a TEDx Miami happening about four weeks down the road.

Taylorr: Whoa.

Nadine: And they were looking for sponsors and people that wanted to donate and volunteer their time. And I thought, okay, four weeks, that’s happening like tomorrow; there’s no way they would need presentation design help, at this point. I thought about it for about 24 or 48 hours, and I was like, you know what? Screw it. I’m going to send an email and see if, maybe, they’re looking for some help. And I sent this very thoughtful email. I, actually, took a TED Talk from a couple of years before that from a TEDx Miami talk where the speaker, the guy was just brilliant, super magnetic, had an amazing presence online, had really crappy slides behind him, really crappy, not at all up to standard with his speech. 

And so, I, literally, took screenshots of this guy’s YouTube video, and I photoshopped in my version of what his visuals should have looked like.

Taylorr: Hell, yeah.

Austin: Oh my God, that is brilliant.

Taylorr: Whoa.

Nadine: I don’t know if that speaks to my brilliance, or I had way too much time on my hands at the time, in fairness.

Austin: It’s brilliant. It mattered, so wow.

Nadine: When you’re broke and just starting out your business, you have a lot of free time, so that’s what I did.

Austin: You do, yeah.

Nadine: Literally, 45 minutes after I hit send, I got an email back from the head organizer, and they were like, literally, the email said, where have you been?

Taylorr: Wow.

Nadine: We need your help ASAP. And I was like, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh, they, actually, need me. Okay, great. And so, literally, the next day I was on a call with the team, and they set me up with three of the speakers to help them with their visuals. I got to create these beautiful artistic presentations; they were displayed on giant screen at the venue where this was held. And so, I got to brag about it on social media, and I had a Twitter account at the time with, maybe, a hundred followers, I had a Facebook account with just my friends, Instagram. 

And so, I just posted everywhere that I could about the fact that I just designed these beautiful TEDx slides. And so, I kept doing that, at the same time, I was also creating, I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of SlideShare.

Austin: Yeah.

Nadine: It’s pretty much, okay. It’s, kind of, died out now, but back in 2013, 14, it was really the place to be, and so you had a lot of presentation designers showcasing their work there. I was doing that, I was putting out presentations; super original, super colorful, and that was getting traction. I was selected as presentation of the day several times, which meant they put me on the homepage of the website, which at the time, got millions and millions of views.

Taylorr: Wow.

Nadine: Traffic every day. So, that sent a lot of traffic my way. And I was bragging about that to my 100 Twitter followers that never liked or re-tweeted anything that I did. So, I’m like, this is what I’m doing, you know?

Taylorr: Put it out there.

Nadine: Lo’ and behold, there was a lady following me on Twitter, one of my 100 followers, who happened to work for Fast Company, and she had, actually, been following what I did with Ted, what I was doing on SlideShare. She checked on my website and one day I get a tweet from somebody who’s asking me if I’d be interested in being interviewed for Fast Company.

Austin: Wow.

Nadine: And my immediate thought was, I texted all of my friends and I was like, who is messing with me? This is not cool. I’m just going to leave it.

Taylorr: Scroll down the group chat.

Nadine: Yeah. This person from Fast Company is interested in my artistic PowerPoints, it just didn’t make sense to me, and so, as it turns out, she was real. And about two weeks later, she flew down with her camera crew to Miami, and they interviewed me. It was completely surreal.

Austin: So epic.

Nadine: Yeah, this was 8, 9 months into the business. So, things happened very fast. And then once that interview was published, my phone started ringing off of the hook, and it was the dream clients, Disney World was calling, Liberty Mutual, the big companies, but also some of the most famous speakers in their niches. Professional speakers were reaching out to me. People were emailing my name and spreading the word about my work to the, what is that association called? The something Speakers Association.

Taylorr: National Speakers?

Austin: National Speakers Association.

Nadine: Yeah, that’s exactly. They have this newsletter and a couple of people mentioned my name in the NSA newsletter, and so all of a sudden flood of clients, flood of business, and then all of a sudden it was legit. And so, that’s how the UN thing happened after that is people were, I guess the people were impressed with what I was doing.

Taylorr: Good for you. What a lesson in just putting it out there.

Nadine: Putting it out there.

Austin: I know.

Taylorr: Being relentless with it. And it all started too with that really personalized outreach, we’re not here to talk about outreach. We’ve beaten this horse many times, I hope you take a lesson from that listeners. That’s where it started, and then you just put it all out there, kept making noise about it, marketed the heck out of it.

Nadine: Yeah.

Taylorr: And yeah.

Nadine: Even when I thought nobody was listening.

Taylorr: Made it happen. That’s right. That’s the important piece.

Nadine: You just don’t know where your luck’s going to come from, so you have to keep creating opportunities for yourself. Yeah, that was my lesson.

Austin: This is one of my favorite entrepreneurial stories of all time. I am so inspired by you. It’s so cool. You really nailed down a niche here. Because you’re right. This is a trope at this point, especially in the spaces that Taylorr and I spend our time in, right? With professional speakers. Amazing from the stage, horrible visuals to go along with it. It’s a tale as old as time. And so, you’re really solving a true problem that people have. And, maybe, you did it in a way that other people hadn’t, or, maybe, you were talking about it in a way that other people hadn’t, I’m not smart enough to know exactly what it was that lit the fire, but God damn, that fire got lit. Because wow. You went zero to hero pretty fast, Nadine.

Nadine: I did.

Austin: It’s impressive.

Nadine: Yeah. I was very grateful for what was happening to me. Yes. Well, you’re right. I was solving a problem. I didn’t even realize how big of a problem I was solving, because I did not go out to solve a problem, I went out to do something that was fun for me. And what was fun for me was designing in PowerPoint. And so, if you guys want to hear the story of why I ended up even designing in PowerPoint, because I don’t know if I mentioned this to you guys.

Taylorr: Lay it on us.

Nadine: I’m a self-taught designer. I’ve never set foot in a design school. I’m absolutely not formally trained in design whatsoever, which is the reason why I don’t know how to use Photoshop, InDesign or any of those fancy tools. I only know how to use one design tool called PowerPoint. And that’s because when I was a marketing manager at my last corporate job, my boss came up to me and she was like, hey, we need more help with design stuff, would you be interested in taking a training and becoming a little bit more advanced in design so you can do some work for us? And I was like, sure. 

So, they paid for, I don’t know if you guys remember lynda.com, before it was purchased by LinkedIn. Yeah. I don’t even know if it still exists. She was one of the first people that did legit online courses. So, they paid for me to take this lynda.com course that was like Photoshop 101 or something. I logged on, I opened the course, and it was 17 hours of video, total. So, I was like, oh my God, I’m going to have to watch 17 hours of video to learn Photoshop. That freaked me out. I started watching video number one and about three, four minutes into it, I was like, screw this. Not happening.

Austin: Yeah.

Nadine: There’s no way I’m going to watch 17 more hours of this shit. Sorry, can I say that?

Taylorr: Yeah, of course, we got the explicit label. Welcome.

Nadine: So, I was over it before I even started, but my company still needed me to learn freaking design. So, I started perusing lynda.com and I found design 101 courses. And so, I just started learning design, I was like, screw Photoshop, I don’t need Photoshop. I’m going to learn design. And I learned design through those videos. And then I was like, wait a minute, I can do all this stuff that they’re showing me in Photoshop, in PowerPoint. And so, I hacked PowerPoint to make it do things that people don’t, usually, do with it. 

I would change the size of the canvas. When you open a PowerPoint, it gives you a slide size canvas, but you can change that to a square or a bigger rectangle or whatever, and then you can design anything you want within that canvas. And so, that’s what I started doing and practicing my design skills, and then I just got really, really good at PowerPoint. And I started creating everything that the company needed me to create in PowerPoint, they had no idea at first, they thought I was doing, I was creating everything. 

I created their slide decks in PowerPoint, of course; but also, their brochures and marketing materials and one-pagers for the sales team. Anytime anybody on the team needed anything graphic, they would come to me. I even built stuff for websites in PowerPoint. And so, after a while I was like, wait a second, I think I’m onto something here. I can do what I’m doing for this company or other companies and be my own boss and it’s fun for me. And so, that’s really how I got into, I was like, I didn’t go thinking, there are a lot of speakers out there who have really bad slides and I can help them. No, I was like, this is fun. I want to do more of this.

Taylorr: Wow, good for you.

Nadine: And I want other people to pay me for it.

Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. That’s how it’s done.

Austin: It’s a passion.

Nadine: Yeah.

Taylorr: That’s exactly right. So, this eventually segued into more than PowerPoint, like branding as well, right? You identified this, kind of, branding gap, and I know one of your companies, We Are Visual, has a pretty interesting story behind why you named it that. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d love for you to tell that story to our audience.

Nadine: Of why it’s called, We Are Visual?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Nadine: First of all, all of the genius names that I came up with were taken.

Taylorr: Well, that’s where you start, for sure.

Austin: That’s where you start. Yeah.

Taylorr: verygoodbranding.com.

Nadine: Yeah, exactly.

Austin: That one was taken, that one was taken.

Nadine: As it turns out, none of my initial ideas were original at all. And this was just me racking my brain and I was like, all right, what am I doing here? I’m helping people communicate ideas, how to communicate ideas through visuals. Because we are visual and I was like, we are visual, we are visual. We are visual beings. This is as old as the dawn of time is, we are visual beings, we recognize threats visually. A tiger coming for us or any other threat coming for us, we recognize it visually. We react viscerally to our visual environment. It’s just Ingrained in us. 

And so, it was relevant back then when we were being chased by lions, it’s also relevant now because we are being bombarded with visual information more than ever before. And so, the way that we now interact with the world is visual beyond the fact that we do judge a book by its cover, right? Who doesn’t? That’s why so much money is spent into cover design. Sometimes the cover design is way better than the book, right? And we get screwed, but we really judge everything by its cover, and when we are bombarded with so much information, we have to select what we are going to give our attention to by what attracts our eye. 

So, it’s whatever is going to be the best at attracting us visually, that is going to catch our attention the longest, and that’s when you can communicate your ideas in, you know. And so, if you want to communicate effectively in today’s world, you need to be able to communicate visually. And so, all of that, I was like, all right, this was a fact. This is a very strong thing that I can anchor myself into, is we are visual. And I was like, why can’t that be the name of my company? And that’s.

Taylorr: Heck, yeah.

Nadine: That’s how I came up. Yeah.

Austin: Wow. Really tapping into human psychology there. I’m a big fan.

Taylorr: I love that.

Nadine: Thank you.

Austin: It makes sense too, that’s the world that we live in right now. Walk into any supermarket and you’re going to see a bunch of very bright, loud colors from every direction trying to catch your attention. In fact, I imagine to some degree, as a designer, that has to be difficult, because you’re not just using the core principles of how to attract attention with color, let’s say, as this novice is trying to explain to the expert here. But I imagine you’re also having to try to stand out from all of the other people that are doing the exact same thing, right?

Nadine: Yeah.

Austin: Is that something that you run into, is standing out from the people that are also trying to stand out?

Nadine: Oh, yeah, absolutely. 100%. By the way, a mistake that I see a lot of people making is they don’t think outside of the box. They, literally, box themselves into whatever niche they’re in. So, whatever industry they’re in, they will look at what their competitors are doing, and they will do something similar, which by the way, is a valid way of doing things. Because if you want your audience to associate you with, oh, you do this type of work, then, yeah, that’s effective. But if you want to stand out in the sea of people doing the same stuff, that’s not going to work. 

And so, this is where I encourage people to go against the grain and, actually, flip the status quo and do something that is unseen in their specific niche. I call this process and it’s just my word for it, I like cross pollination. If you’re in the financial industry, for example, I may encourage you to go find inspiration in, maybe, the beauty industry, what they’re doing and copy, maybe, their color scheme. And then, maybe, take inspiration from that and then another industry and then cross them together and see what that gives you. And that’s what allows you to really come up with more creative, original visual identities that are definitely not going to be seen in your niche. I don’t know if that answered your question.

Austin: Wow, that’s fantastic.

Taylorr: I love that idea.

Austin: Yeah, so cool.

Taylorr: Yeah. That way you’re not copying everybody in your core industry, you’re just, it’s almost hard not to be unique, at that point, if you’re not looking at the core industry, then copying those visual identities. That’s cool.

Nadine: There’s a book by Austin Kleon, I don’t know if you guys know him, called Steal Like an Artist. Brilliant. It’s a tiny book. You can read it in, probably, 30 minutes. It’s very visual, it’s got lots of pictures, highly recommend it. But in the book, he explains that being creative is really, you’re never inventing anything. And this is something where a lot of people get hung up; they think they need to invent something new that’s never been done. Guess what? It’s, probably, been done at some point.

Taylorr: Oh, yeah.

Nadine: And there’s no way you can invent something new. And so, creativity is not about inventing something new, it’s about taking inspiration from this person and this person and this person and taking random things from random people and bringing them together to create something unique. And so, he explains in the book, if you copy from one person, that’s plagiarism, if you copy from two people, it’s creativity.

Austin: That’s so great. Oh, man.

Nadine: So, if you need to be creative or if you want to be more creative, the first place to start is to get more inspiration, is to widen your horizons and look at what different people are doing in completely different spaces than yours. That’s how you become creative. You don’t go to school for it, you don’t read, you explore.

Austin: Oh my gosh.

Taylorr: Oh, I love that. The curiosity component is huge.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: For sure.

Austin: Oh, I’m such a fan of the way that you think.

Nadine: Thank you.

Taylorr: So, we get this all of the time, especially in the world of speaking, right? These are personal brands, solopreneurs. And the emphasis is on the personal brand a lot of the time, right? And so, the thing that we’ll get a lot is like, I just need a logo, I don’t need a brand.

Nadine: Oh, yeah.

Taylorr: So, I think you have some opinions about this.

Nadine: I do. I have very strong.

Taylorr: I’d love for you to share those opinions.

Nadine: Very, very strong opinions about that. So, I can’t even tell you the amount of situations I’ve been where I ask the person, well, so you have your branding and they’re like, oh, yeah. I’m like, okay, what do you have? I have a logo, I have colors, I have fonts, I have a website. And I’m like, great, where’s the rest of it? And they’re like, what do you mean, that’s my branding? I’m like, no, that’s not. That’s the tip of the iceberg of your branding. That’s the basics of what you need to, actually, build your branding. Your branding is going to have to incorporate everything that you do across every platform and at every touchpoint that you have with your audience. 

So, what does that look like? It is everything from the project proposal that you send, to the invoice, to your social media, to your media-kit or your speaker-kit, to your slides, and all of that needs to be cohesive with your website and those colors and fonts that you have and your logo. And so, brand cohesiveness and having your stuff look the same everywhere, is something that a lot of people struggle with. For very simple reasons sometimes, for example, you will hire a professional, probably, pay them a lot of money to build you this super fancy website, this super sleek logo, right? 

They give you a style guide with your colors and fonts, and you’re like, all right, I’m set. And now you have a speaking gig and you have to make slides. Are your slides going to look like that fancy website that you pay $10,000 for? No, because you’re going to make those slides yourself, and you’re, probably, not going to know how to use those fonts that your designer gave you or how to marry those colors that the designer gave you. And so, your slides are going to look like crap compared to your website. I’m just being real.

Austin: Spitting truth over there.

Taylorr: Speak it to them, yeah.

Austin: Yeah, for sure. We’re honest on this show.

Nadine: So, here’s the deal. I’m going to say something very blunt. The standards in the speaking world are so freaking low, in terms of visual quality, that if you just make a slight freaking effort to make it a little bit better, you’re already going to stand out. You’re already going to be seen differently, right? So, it doesn’t take that much to; actually, stand out in the speaking world by making better-looking slides, more professional-looking slides. And I want to circle back to something that you mentioned earlier about what is it that I did that was so unique? 

Well, what I did is I rewrote the PowerPoint playbook. When I open PowerPoint, I don’t put anything into the boxes that they give me. I delete those boxes, those placeholders, I delete all of that, and I start painting. I start painting visual stories, literally, like an artist on a canvas. If you look at the slides and the way that they, kind of, sequence together, it’s a visual story and that’s what I did differently. I wrote a book called Slide Therapy, where I explained my method for how to do that to speakers, to anybody, really; that makes presentations for a living, mostly speakers. 

So, that they can, instead of following the PowerPoint playbook and putting texts into the boxes that they give you and making these very boxy slides, creating visual stories, incorporating more imagery, incorporating colors, playing with fonts and type, and doing more original things. That is what I teach people, is a different way of doing PowerPoint.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: For sure.

Austin: Well, to your point earlier that people put themselves in boxes, right? I think some of what you were just explaining elucidates that idea that you should really be thinking outside of the box, do things differently than the way that either it’s pre-scripted that you do them or the way that other people do them, because that little bit of extra effort makes you stand out. And we know, especially as a speaker, one of the most important things you should be considering is how you’re going to make yourself stand out, because otherwise you’re, probably, not going to get a whole lot of business.

Nadine: You have to break some rules. And I just remembered a story from a client of mine who is, I hope I don’t mess this up, audiologist. Anyway, she’s a doctor who helps people with their hearing.

Austin: Okay.

Nadine: I think that’s what it’s called. And she was going to be speaking at this very prestigious conference for audiologists. And she came to me because she wanted help creating her slides. And they gave her a template, by the way, like conferences, and I’m sure a lot of speakers who are listening to us, are going to recognize the fact that a lot of conferences will give you templates to build your slides into. They will, kind of, force you to do it, but you don’t really have to do it, they just want to give you a container so that you don’t give them something really crappy. 

But I encouraged my client to not use their template, and I say, be very firm. Tell them that you’re going to have your slides professionally done and you’re not going to use their template. And she was like, okay, that was really hard for her to do. And then the second thing I told her is, we’re going to make your slides super colorful. And she was like, well, I’m going to be speaking to doctors. I’m like, exactly. Doctors are boring. All the other presentations are going to be boring; you’re going to come in with this super colorful presentation, and I guarantee you’re going to stand out. And she was like, oh, okay, hard pill to swallow. All right, I’ll follow you, Nadine. 

So, then we started putting together her color palette, and I slapped pink into her color palette, pink and yellow and blue, but pink. She was like, Nadine, I can’t put pink on my slides at this freaking prestigious doctor’s conference. And I was like, yes, you can, and yes you will. And watch, just trust me. And so, it was really hard for her. She was great, she really played along and trusted me. We created her slides; she went and did her presentation. She was the talk of the town at that conference. Everyone was talking about her.

Austin: Obviously.

Nadine: Everyone wanted to talk to her afterward. Obviously, people were asking her about her slides, but people just thought she was brilliant because her presentation was so original. Now, to be fair, her content was freaking amazing, which is why I insisted on, actually, making her visuals super original so that they would elevate and match what she was sharing, because what she was sharing was brilliant, and it would’ve been a shame for that to be undersold with poor visuals. But she was a talk of the town, they wrote about her and then they interviewed her and her name was being spoken all over, and she came back to me and she was like, you’re right, it worked.

Taylorr: Standing out.

Nadine: That’s right.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: That’s exactly right. Yeah.

Nadine: So, that’s an example.

Austin: Very authoritative. Good for you for putting your foot down.

Taylorr: A true expert.

Austin: We’re doing it this way.

Taylorr: You’re guiding people to their success. That’s how it’s done, for sure. So, we are visual, but then you created the digital brand-kit.

Nadine: Yes.

Taylorr: Or branding kit. Yeah. Digital brand-kit. Because I would imagine it could be difficult or unattainable for some people to hire a professional to do their brand and their slides all of the time, right? And you saw a gap for, maybe, the DIY or to still have an elevated visual identity, and so this thing got created. So, tell us more about that and what’s involved with it.

Nadine: Yeah, so it came, really, from a demand that I was getting from a lot of my speaker clients, a lot of my clients, in general, but mostly speakers because they have personal brands, right? And so, they need other assets besides the presentations that I’m making for them. So, what would happen is, because a lot of my clients would come to me with, usually, either no visual identity or very poor visual identity, I would end up creating a custom visual identity for their presentation. 

And they would love that so much that they would want to then incorporate it into everything else, and so they’d ask me, well, can you give me a logo that looks like this? And can you give me PDFs and stuff that I could create that look like the presentation? And from the demands that I was getting, I was like, all right, wait a second, I think people need more than what I’m giving them. They need more than just beautiful presentations; they need beautiful branding across everything that they do. And so, that, kind of, started me going on the idea, and then the other thing is, I was realizing that people were falling into two buckets. 

Either they were DIYing because they wanted to save the money, and they were having a really hard time DIYing, because they could not create graphics that were professional looking, et cetera. Or even worse, they would go and dump a lot of money into having stuff custom-designed, and they, usually, would work with different designers, and so their stuff still didn’t look cohesive. And I just wasn’t finding a solution that was across the board helping people that was affordable, but also gave them good quality stuff.

And so that’s how Digital Brand Kit came up. I was like, all right, initially I just created templates for presentations. So, here are templates to create keynotes and workshops, here are templates to create your courses, slides for your courses. And then it was slides for your webinars. Initially, it was called Alides That Convert. It was just slides. And that’s all I knew how to do at the time. I was like; I’m just going to go into this thing that I do really well. So, it’s called Slides That Convert. I beta launched it and the feedback was, give me more stuff. I love this, give me more, I want more than slides. I was like, oh, okay, shoot. 

So, then I just started interviewing people and asking, what else do you need for your business? And they’re like, well, I’m launching a podcast, I need graphics for my podcast, the squares to brand it, and then the social media graphics to market it, et cetera. I was like, all right. So, I created that. And then video stuff, and then social media stuff, and then, oh, I need a media kit. Oh, I need a speaker kit. Oh, I need this, I need that, sales. And so, I just surveyed people and put together, there’s, actually, what makes up your branding. And what it is, it’s 12 kits, right? 

So, 12 kits across everything that you do in your business, and that covers pretty much everything, every brand asset that your business truly needs. And the thing that I realize is that most people don’t, actually, know what they need, right? So, we were talking about how people think their branding is colors, fonts, logo, website, tip of the iceberg. Well, the rest of that iceberg is these 12 kits that I created. It’s all of these other things that you need. And so, there is a design kit which has all of your design basics; style, guide, logo, all of that. But then you also have a course kit, everything that you need to build a course, not just the slides; the worksheets, the roadmaps, the social media graphics to market it, all of that. 

And then you have your webinar kit, so everything you need to build a webinar. And, by the way, what I realize is people don’t just want pretty graphics and pretty templates that are just visually pleasing. They need help with the strategy of like, well, what do I say in the webinar? How do I start it? Right? How do I do the pitch and what’s the format? And so, the templates I created were not just these beautiful graphics, which they are, but they’re also infused with the strategy. 

So, it’ll tell you exactly what to include in your webinar, how to start it, in what order to have the information, and the slides are, actually, given to you in the exact order that you need them with directions. It’s idiot proof, it’s directions to do this, say this, and it has copy prompts in it. So, you don’t even need to try and come up with copy, it’ll give you ideas for what each slide should say. And what I realize is people have a hard time with the implementation part, right?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Nadine: They might get the strategy and the conceptual, but when it comes to the rubber hits the road, and you, actually, have to make things happen, this is where procrastination sets in, because it feels hard, like, oh, I don’t need to think about this and I need to figure out this part, and so people, kind of, stay stuck. And I met so many people that stayed stuck on the idea of launching a course, not only because they couldn’t create the course, but because they couldn’t create the webinar to sell the course. And so, they have this idea that just stays in their mind and that they never, actually, execute on because they couldn’t get past the starting line. 

And so, these are the templates that I created, even though, initially, I just started out to make really beautiful branding, I ended up creating what I call branded implementation tools. Tools that, actually, help you get shit done. Actually, implement your ideas, execute on your ideas, and bonus, cherry on top, your stuff’s going to look really good and professional, and that’s just a bonus, but it’s also going to be built very intelligently and, actually, be effective and convert.

Taylorr: Man. What I love about this is how much you’ve productized it. You’ve answered every question people have, and it’s not just the pretty stuff, but it’s also the implementation of it. It’s clear that this is a culmination of many years of demands from clients about what they need and gaps that you’re filling, and you just created a product that answers all of their questions and makes it all happen, which is, hats off to you; very few are able to get to a product at that level.

Nadine: Thank you. Yeah.

Taylorr: Okay.

Austin: This is textbook, yeah.

Taylorr: Textbook. Yes, exactly. Leading to the very beginning of this.

Austin: I’m learning from you.

Taylorr: I hope you guys.

Austin: I’m learning from you in a big way.

Taylorr: I hope we’re taking notes, right? Not only just the branding stuff, that’s valuable, but the journey, right? That Nadine has been on as her own business owner, we all have the ability to do this type of thing. So, I hope you’re looking at the meta-level of this conversation. Okay. So, golden nugget time. What is one thing people can do right now to elevate their visual identity?

Nadine: Great question. Guess what? It has nothing to do with your visual identity.

Taylorr: Whoa.

Austin: Oh.

Taylorr: Plot twist.

Austin: Ooh, curveball.

Taylorr: Love it. Let’s go.

Austin: All right. I’m excited.

Nadine: Your visual identity is, actually, an inside job. You have to start on the inside, and this is why a lot of people are frustrated with the design process, because they jump a very important phase and go straight into picking out colors and designs and fonts, and, no, we’re not there yet. Slow down. Come back to the basics, because branding in visual identity is about energy, right? I am trying to coin this term, maybe I will after saying it enough time, but it’s the energetics of branding, right? So, before you go out and try to figure out what your visual identity is, you first need to figure out what your brand energy is, right? 

So, who you are as a person, and this is speaking, specifically, to personal brands, this doesn’t really apply to corporate brands. But if you’re a personal brand, you are the face of your business. Your brand energy is what you communicate to people. The feelings that you make them feel, what they come to you for, right? That’s your brand energy. There’s a quote by Jeff Bezos that says, your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room, right? Well, I say your visual identity is how you communicate your personality and your energy, and what makes you unique without ever being in the same room with someone, right? 

And so, your visual identity is your handshake. It’s how people are going to experience you virtually and digitally before they experience you in real life. And so, you have to be able to communicate who you are without being there, and that’s what your visual identity is going to do. And so, you can’t go build your visual identity if you don’t know what that visual identity is supposed to communicate, right? So, you need to come back and do that inside work first, of who am I? How do I want people to perceive me? Who do I want to attract? That’s the most important part that a lot of people skip is target audience, ICA, everyone’s talking about these fancy words. 

Just who are you trying to attract? Who are your people? And what do you need to communicate to them in order to become magnetic for them? And so, once you’ve answered all of those questions, that’s when we can start talking about colors, and fonts and all those other things, right? I’m, actually, developing a new color picking system using a blind test, because after many years of doing this and realizing that this is a big pitfall for people; they don’t know how to pick the colors that are going to work for their branding. And so, I am developing a color workshop, which I’ll be launching soon, but it’s a system that I created that walks you through a step-by-step process that starts with a blind test. 

And the blind test is I’m going to give you a bunch of cards, and they’re color cards, right? With the meaning of each color, the symbolism of each color in words, right? And words that can trigger an emotion, right? Words that you can either connect with or not connect with. But the trick is the color cards don’t have color on them, right? They’re all black and white. So, you have to choose the words, what words, actually, speak to you, right? And so, you go through this process of elimination like, all right, these clusters of words don’t really speak to me. You delete, delete, delete. And then you’ll end up with between one and three, where you’re like, all right, these words really represent who I am.

And then you uncover the cards and it’ll tell you what those colors are. And that’s an effective way to make sure that you pick colors without, actually, knowing what those colors are, and being distracted by whatever preconceptions you may have about those colors, right? Those are your true colors because they represent your true energy. And so, this is what I’ve had to come up with to help my clients pick the right colors for them, because it’s such a difficult process, because so many people carry symbolism from other ways that they’ve seen those people use those colors, that they may carry it into that decision making process and, maybe, pollute the whole process. 

So, you need to clear your mind of, forget what everyone else is doing, who are you, what do you want to communicate? And then we’ll help you figure out what color combination you need to use in order to communicate those exact values, that exact energy to people.

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