A couple of weeks ago, people from across the country joined me and two of my collaborative partners for a branding workshop. Together, we shared insights on creating brand language from your business’ core values and brand personality. We discussed how to best work with a graphic designer to translate that information into a visual brand. Then we wrapped it up with how to protect your assets with IP law. For me, it was a day of personal growth, professional development, and some hard lessons learned.
A Branding Workshop in the Form of a Marketing Webinar
From the beginning, the plan was for this to be a marketing webinar focused on brand language for small businesses who do not necessarily have access or a budget to work with an ad agency or marketing consultant. Choosing the webinar format over in-person workshop was strategic in that it opened up access to people outside of Austin. Makes sense, right? Well, there were advantages and disadvantages to the approach and it brought along a few lessons learned about technology too.
Let’s start from a place of my biggest gratitude – people. Among the many lessons I’ve learned throughout the years in business, there is one that stands out most. Gratitude. I genuinely appreciate the people who support me. Beckmann Collaborative has been built on relationships and partnerships, and it is one of the core strengths of the business. Thank you to all of you who have supported me and the development of Beckmann Collaborative throughout the years.
1. Partnerships and Collaboration are Awesome
When I first announced to my community that I would be hosting a branding workshop, hands raised to contribute. This was not something I expected or was even thinking about at the time. It just naturally happened because brand language is an interesting topic and there are many different ideas about what that means for a business.
First an attorney showed up. The incredible Nik Sallie Franklin offered to share her knowledge about legally protecting your brand assets. She shared insights about copyright law and trademark law, but without sounding superior for having the knowledge. Nik provided real-life examples about how these laws impact a business, your ability to grow, scale, and make more money.
Then a graphic designer stepped up to make her contributions. Rachelle Diaz and I have worked together on several projects. She got value from my brand language process while working with clients, because it made the creation of logos and style guides easier. So she wanted to share insights about how to best work with a graphic designer and find the right person for your business.
At the time of promoting the branding workshop, Rachelle and I had just begun engaging in the re-branding of Beckmann Collaborative. The logo is completed now (check it out), and next up is the website renovation and print materials. Stay tuned for more. Woohoo!
Lesson Learned: Be open to the contributions of others because it can seriously level up your offerings.
2. SMART Goals and Confidence
What’s the purpose of the branding workshop? How does it contribute to the bigger purpose of my business? These are the questions I began asking myself when the idea of launching another online marketing course first came to my mind in February. The short answers were: generate income, grow my online marketing course community, and provide value to the existing community.
My intention was to provide value, grow awareness, and generate some income with this new branding workshop. However, I did not set SMART goals for the outcome of this marketing webinar and the impact on my business. That lack of goal setting showed up in the ways I was promoting it.
First, my promotions were limited to my existing community – email list, social media followers, and in-person networking groups. This probably could have worked out if I had felt more secure about what I was working towards (lack of goals). Second, the copy and style of my promotions reflected a lack of confidence in the value the workshop could provide. A part of me was unclear about the bigger value the branding workshop could provide and that showed up in my mediocre promotions.
Lesson Learned: Good intentions are only step one. Setting SMART goals and being confident in your ability to achieve them shows up in the results.
3. Live Events Vs. Online Courses
In the past, I have offered in-person brand workshops for individual business owners and their teams. That is where the initial content for this brand language workshop came from. It’s a different experience to host a live event verses a marketing webinar. There are expectations that I created with past clients and my community about the way I deliver live event workshops.
For the community I serve (small business owners who are growing and scaling), they prefer live events. There is extra value in interacting with the speaker and other attendees in the room. People are willing to pay a higher dollar amount for the in-person experience of a live event because they feel like the value is greater – even if the content is identical to a marketing webinar.
There is added value in accessing the branding workshop as an online marketing course after the event. Attendees can go through the same materials again, at their own pace, and they can interact in the online community.
Lesson Learned: My tribe prefers live events for workshops and sees the online marketing courses as a value-add for after the experience.
4. Co-Hosts and Technology Fails
Early this year, I had the typical entrepreneur realization that to grow my business I needed MORE help. My business was growing beyond the support of a virtual assistant or ad-hoc part time support. So I hired a part-time contractor who will grow into a larger role as the business grows with the aim of converting her into a full-time employee.
Having a person dedicated to supporting my business development and operations has been a wise investment. During the branding workshop, she took on the role of being a co-host to manage questions and technical issues for attendees. This allowed me and my two collaborative partners to focus on our presentation.
However, I forgot one very important technical setup step… and it’s rather embarrassing. Before starting the marketing webinar, I did not set her up as a co-host within Zoom. When someone is setup as a co-host, they can control the attendees sound, video, and message everyone. One attendee accidentally un-muted his line during the presentation. While that wouldn’t be a big problem for some people, it was a problem this time because there was so much noise. All of the background noise of him talking to someone else, a baby crying, this clackity-clacking overtook the sound of the presentation for about 5 minutes. All of this could have been controlled and prevented if I had just made my operations coordinator a co-host on Zoom.
Lesson Learned: Be prepared for technical fails. Accept that despite good intentions and planning, things will happen and it does not devalue the content of a presentation.
Thank You Collaborative Partners!
Special thanks to my incredible collaborative partners, Rachelle Diaz and Nik Sallie Franklin. Your contributions took the Branding Language Workshop up to a whole other level. For those of you looking for support, please check out their websites to learn more about what these kick-awesome women entrepreneurs are doing for other small business owners.
If you would like to read more about the branding workshop (turned into online course), check it out here: Your Powerful Brand Language. Or if you have questions about it, feel free to comment below.