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The ROI of intentional branding with Bernel Westbrook

Business owners know that first impressions are everything. Having a strong brand can play a key role in your business success. In fact, research shows that having a brand that is consistent increased revenue by up to 20%.

Bernel Westbrook, owner of Branded by Bernel, joins us to talk about the ROI of intentional branding. Having a good brand goes beyond a good logo and Bernel shows us how having an intentional brand can lead to sustainability in our business. 

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What does intentional branding actually mean?

Branding is more than a pretty logo. Intentional branding means you have a strategy and you are not taking a passive approach to how others are perceiving your brand. 

Intentional branding goes far beyond visuals—it’s about building trust and credibility with your audience through the following components:

  • Visuals
  • Your voice
  • Your values
  • Your vision

How to take an audit of your brand

The best way to understand how your audience is perceiving your brand is to ask them. Find where your target audience spends their time and poll them; this could be in a Facebook group about your niche, on your own Instagram stories, or your email list. You could ask any of the following questions:

  1. What did you think of my brand before you met me?
  2. What attracted you to my brand?
  3. What was your first touch point to my brand?

The four components of a successful brand strategy

A successful brand strategy is made up of four main components: core identity, ideal client, brand personality development, and position.

Core identity

Your core identity encompasses your purpose and mission statement. It’s the ‘why’ behind your business and the first step in building a successful brand strategy. If you take money out of the equation, why are you providing this product or service?

Ideal client

The second component of your brand strategy is your ideal client. You should conduct market research to figure out who your ideal client is and really get to know them. What are their values? You also need to understand their desires and fears, and the solution they need from your business. Sending out surveys is a great way to gather this information.

Brand personality

Your brand personality allows you to you speak and engage with your audience, which plays a key role in your brand strategy. Are you formal or casual? Are you witty? Are you motivational? You need to engage with your audience in a consistent style so that they come to know and trust you. 


The fourth component of a successful brand strategy is your position in the market. This is where competitor and peer research comes into play. What is your differentiating factor from others who offer similar products or services as you? What’s your secret sauce?

The positioning component also encompasses how you want to be known. When someone comes to your brand, what do you want them to walk away with? What is the one conclusion they will come to and tell their friends about?

When you put all four of these components together, you have a successful brand strategy that can drive your decisions and move your business forward. A brand that has done an amazing job with intentional branding is Olipop Soda, a company that has made a huge impact in the saturated soda market. They are a great company to study and emulate as you work on your branding strategy.

Don’t be afraid to pivot your brand strategy

If you have a brand strategy but it isn’t working for you, it’s okay to try something that feels outside your brand. Your audience matures and evolves with your business, so it’s important to experiment with your brand. If you’re releasing something that feels out of the ordinary for you, you can attach a “beta” label to it to let your audience know that you’re testing it out.

AI tools that can help enhance your branding

  1. ChatGPT: insert a URL from your website into ChatGPT and ask the AI to review it. Give it stipulations, such as: “you are reviewing this website as a busy mom of three who owns a photography business and wants to attracts more seniors in Knoxville, Tennessee. What do you think of this page?” ChatGPT will send you back suggestions as if it is coming from your target audience.
  2. Castmagic: on this platform, you can upload an audio or video file and Castmagic will create written content out of it. For example, if you have a podcast and want to create a blog based on a recent episode, you can upload the podcast and ask Castmagic to write a blog based on the episode topic. 

The biggest differentiator between businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Bernel believes that the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail is planning. The businesses that succeed spend time planning instead of flying by the seat of their pants. However, they also remain flexible and are willing to make adjustments to their plan as needed.

Important sections of the conversation:

  • [1:54] What is intentional branding?
  • [3:46] How to take an audit of your brand
  • [7:26] The four components of a successful branding strategy
  • [14:18] Olipop Soda case study
  • [23:36] Experimenting with your brand when it isn’t working
  • [29:05] How to use AI to enhance your branding
  • [35:57] The biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail

Mentioned in this episode

Connect with the guest

Episode Transcript

Akua Konadu
We know as business owners that first impressions are everything and having a strong brand can play a key role in your business success. In fact, research shows that having a brand that is consistent increased revenue by up to 20%. So today on the podcast we brought in Bernel Westbrook, who is the owner and lead designer at branded by Bernel. And we talk about the ROI of intentional branding. Having a good brand goes beyond a good logo and Bernel shows us how having an intentional brand can lead to sustainability in our business. Hey, everyone, this is your host Akua konadu. And you’re listening to the independent business podcast, more people than ever are working for themselves and building profitable businesses in the process. So on this show, I get to sit down with some of the most influential authors, entrepreneurs and creators to break down the science of self made success so that you can achieve it too.

Akua Konadu
Hello, Bernel Thank you. Thank you so much for being on the show today. How are we doing?

I am good and I am so excited to be here and to be interviewed by you can’t wait so many. So

Akua Konadu
many goodies. A fun fact everybody Bernel is my personal branding design. She brand my personal business Akua Kannada is a storytelling strategist. And she also branded my second business Amana Chua. So I when I wanted to talk about the ROI of intentional branding, I knew that Bernel You would be the perfect person to do this. Because just walking through with you with my own personal journey and creating the brand that I have now that I absolutely know and love. And I bet I’m actually seeing the return of investment in, I knew that you had to be here on the show to talk about that. So I’m super excited. And this is gonna be a fun, fun conversation. So let’s just hop on in when you hear the term intentional branding, as a website designer, a brand designer, what does that mean to you and your business?

Yeah, that’s a great question. As soon as I hear the word or the term intentional branding, I think strategy, like that’s instantly what comes to my mind and an active, like work and effort that’s going into your brain that’s not passive, right? So you’re not taking a passive approach to how other people are perceiving your brand. And then the next step in intentionality, I think, How can we establish credibility and then authority in your market in order to get those results because when someone trusts you, they will spend money. So that’s kind of my thought. And my approach to vintage show branding is so much bigger than just the visuals outside of the visual component, you have the voice component, the values, the vision, and all of the work that goes into why we’re using those visuals. Does that make sense? Yes, absolutely. I

Akua Konadu
love what you said too, about, you know, it not being passive. I just think about with my prior brand before I rebranded with you I was absolutely being passive within that I truly did not take the time to remember when I outgrew my brand, which I think a lot of us as business owners, we already know when it’s that time, but there were certain areas within my brand that went beyond, you know, the aesthetics where I was extremely passive, or I wasn’t just spending that much time and stuff and my business paid for it. So I love that it’s like you’re not allowing things to be passive you’re taking that time to, again, we already know that there’s so many different components to branding, and you’re taking that time to be intentional with each one, whether that be your messaging, you know, your values, you know, your identity. So, I love that I think that’s just such an important reminder. And so what are some ways that we can really, I guess, audit our brand to get a better understanding? Just where we are at like, what questions should we be asking ourselves? Or? How do we get a better understanding of how people also perceive our brand? Excellent.

I think enough, people don’t ask that question. How can we see how our customers are perceiving our brand, because obviously, perception is a big deal. We perceive our brain like we designed it, we know the intention. We know why we place this here. We know what we mean, when we wrote this catchy little phrase, we know the story behind it. But that doesn’t always translate, right? Like our customers don’t know why we chose blue or why we chose pink. And so one of the ways that I review that is number one asking, just ask the question, right? Go to where your target audience is. So if that’s going to be in Facebook groups that are about your niche, whether that’s gonna be on your Instagram stories, whether that’s gonna be to your email list, or even to just your past clients, ask them those questions. What did you think of my brand before you met? How did you What attracted you to my brand? Um, you know, before talking to me, cuz a lot of times as business owners who have personal brands, our personality can kind of sell it. But I like to always know like, what attracted it, what were you attracted to you before you sat down and talk to me? And then what was your first touch point was my brain. So was it in Instagram wasn’t a referral source, was it a Google search, knowing where people came from, and like, really knowing your customer acquisition metrics is so important because we can be pouring all of this effort into, you know, SEO or entire websites. And really, a great majority of our clients are coming from word of mouth, our great majority of our clients are coming from social media. So some of the tools that I use to do those customer acquisition assessments are Google Analytics, as well as the native analytic tools that are inside of Instagram and Facebook. But I want to know where they’re coming from, and what they’re clicking on, and how much time they’re spending on that. Because where someone spends their time tells you what they value.

Akua Konadu
Yes, I love that. And I think that is so, so important. And I just had a really lovely experience with that. Just the other day, I just ran a survey for myself, because I’m kind of leaning more into passive income, and really just trying to so I decided, Okay, I’m going to give people exactly what they want. And my personal mind, I have been like, you know, I’m really burned out with courses, I don’t really, you know, I feel like they’re kind of played out, whatever. And then I was like, Alright, let me actually ask my audience because I made this assumption. And it was because I didn’t remove myself, for my own personal brand, right? Like, I had to take myself out of the equation, ran the survey, every single person that answers how they like to learn is through courses. So though the fact in my own mind that I thought, Okay, people don’t want that into me, I’m like, oh, people are burnt out from I made all of these assumptions that weren’t necessarily fact, I asked my audience, and they gave it to me, where I just was like, Oh, I I was completely wrong, and what I thought my audience wanted. So I think, again, we underestimate how powerful it is to really just ask the question, because they’ll tell you, if especially if you ask the right questions, it’ll be very, very clear what your audience wants from you. And again, a really now I’m shifting things with my brand internally of like, Alright, since they asked this, these are, what my next steps are going to be to be able to provide that. So I loved the questions that you just shared of how we can really get a better understanding about our target about our audience. Like what I love the question, what is the touch point, when you first interacted with my brand, I think that is so key, and it’s gonna give you such a great percent like other give you such a great insight of how people perceive your brand. So just so so valuable. Another question that I have is, you know, what are some key components that we need to be implementing, to be able to create a successful brand strategy? Yes,

um, so the Big Four, if you’re taking notes at home, I’m big on like, bullet points. So the big four key components are going to be your core identity, really knowing who your ideal client is your brand, personality development, and then your position. So a little bit about each one of those your core identity, we’re talking about your purpose, your mission statement, and your balance. So I like to summarize that as your big why, if somebody asks you take money out of the equation, why do you feel like you’re providing this? Or why do you feel like you’re the right person to provide this service? That’s gonna kind of go back to your core identity and kind of what the purpose is, right? And then you take that purpose, and you say, Who is that purpose for, which takes you into your ideal client? So this is where we want to do that market research. And this is where we want to set out those quizzes and those assessments, learn their challenge. It’s like, what are you actually struggling with in your business, right? A math yourself but your ideal client, you want to know about their fears and their desires. So what is something that you’re worried about happening? And then what is something that you hope best case scenario happens, that helps you to kind of package your services in a way or your strategy in a way that can address both of those things, their fears and their desires. And then of course, their values are important as well. And so there’s a little bit of an alignment piece before between those first two, where you want your core values, and then what your ideal client took values to be a big chunk, like 50% of your strategy. So then the next one would be in your brand personality, that’s going to be like your tone of voice. How do you speak? Are you casual? Are you witty? Are you very motivational? And then how are you going to engage? So setting up an engagement style that people can be used to? So are you engaging with your community on social media? Are you engaging with them primarily in their inbox? Are you engaging with them more so with in person networking events and conferences, like you want to set the tone for not only this, how I speak, but this is where you can expect me to show up. And then of course, your client experience, taglines, slogans, all of that goes into your brand personality, right? So then that fourth part of this successful brand strategy is going to be your positioning. So you’re going to take all this information, all this research that you’ve done, all of these guidelines, you kind of set in place and expectations you’ve set for your clients, and then you’re gonna figure out where you’re gonna position that in the market. So Though this is where the competitor research comes in, and competitor doesn’t necessarily mean someone you’re against, it just needs someone who’s your peer in the market. So who’s offering something similar? It’s. So once you’ve got collected your competitor research, you want to make sure to fit your unique value proposition, what is gonna be your differentiating factor? Everybody has it, we can call it your secret sauce, your superpower, whatever you want to call it, your differentiating factor in the market, how am I going to uniquely address the needs that we already outlined? And then last piece is figuring out what you want to be known. If somebody asks you, what is the one thing you want to be known for? When anybody walks away with any interaction with your brand? What do you want to be known for? So once you’ve got all four of those pieces of the puzzle together, you have a really good successful brand strategy that will guide all of the other decisions moving forward. Yes,

Akua Konadu
I love that. And again, those are really like key foundational things in your business that you are consistently going back and revisiting. And I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, I you know, a lot of us, even as a storytelling strategist, that is such a huge, huge piece. And storytelling is truly knowing your target audience. And we hear this all the time with good reason. And a lot of people assume that they know their target audience, but they don’t. They really don’t, right. Like, I don’t care how long you have been in business, whether it’s three years or 20 years like that is something that you are consistently refining. And I think, especially right now with our industry, just things in the entrepreneurial space are changing, they have changed since 2020, to now consistently. And so there’s a lot of things, even branding strategies that we thought worked before that certainly don’t work now. And so these are key things that you have to keep going back to revisiting and changing, adjusting, right, because also to your client needs have also changed, right with all of the different types of trends like aI also playing an example now and these different types of things. Go back and really look at these things, and how can you improve in these areas, so that you’re still consistently connecting with them. So I absolutely love that you brought it back to these foundational things. Because it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, these things will never, ever change. And

if you’ve been in business for a long time, your target audience has also grown and mature. So if you were working with somebody, between years, one to three of their business, and you’ve been in business, 20 years, guess what solid they. And sometimes I think we forget that our target audience is maturing and evolving and growing in their businesses alongside of us. So you have to get a little deeper what we used to put out maybe and then everybody was attracted to it, guess what, like now this 15 other people doing. So you have to find ways to stay true to yourself, but also evolve and grow and continue learning. I think that’s the big thing as a business owner, like being stagnant and not taking in additional information, you’ll get outdated, you don’t want to be blockbuster. When everyone’s on Netflix slot, keep learning get on the wave, you know, and that doesn’t mean trends, though. That doesn’t mean follow every trend, it does mean, learn the things that are going to make your job easier and make the process easier for your company.

Akua Konadu
Yes, 1000 1,000%. I love that because I think I remember just with my own experience, again, before I like was in the midst of working with you with my own brand, I got complacent, you know you easily especially when like your brand, or your brand is working for you. And I wasn’t doing a lot of those foundational things until it isn’t. And then I was like a Bernel I need help. You know, because I was I was losing, you know, I was losing out on clients because of that. So again, I think it’s something that you have to consistently revisit whether that’s every quarter or every year. So now even as I plan for the new year, you know, I’m always going back and looking at these key things. So I love everything that you shared within that. And so do you have any case studies that you want to share with us where you have seen whether it’s been like favorite brands that you love or clients that you’ve worked with that have literally seen an ROI with intentional branding? Like they are crushing it all from their branding?

Yeah, I the one that comes to mind. I mean, obviously you’re crushing it with your branding. I think it is interesting to note in when talking about the change in the the evolution of brand they we work together a almost a year apart with the two brands. So it was about nine months between the first brand project and the second brand project. And there were things I feel like even in my process that were refined a little bit better just in that nine months of like, here’s what we’re gonna do this time. Here’s different tools that we didn’t use necessarily for the revision process the first time that we’re going to use now because they’ve come out and why not use them right. A brand that I think is doing it incredible job with this like, I have done a deep dive kind of obsessed with them is the lollipop soda break? Um, yes. Not only are they tasty, but I’m just very fascinated by the fact that you put out healthy soda options. And everybody’s grabbing one like the idea of healthy soda. Five years ago, we kind of sound nasty. If somebody had told me Do you want a healthy soda? No. I do I leave that I’ll be soda. And it’s interesting, because the way that they approach this was a lot of research. The owner, Ben did a lot of like market research on his target demographic and the target demographic. If you’d ever get a chance to study this brand, our consumers between the ages of 18 to 34, who were aware of this sugar crisis that we’re having in America, right, they wanted to make healthier choices. They wanted a low sugar beverage. They also surprisingly aligned with the demographic of people who were consuming kombucha. Like that was a big craze. I don’t know if you guys remember right, sleeping to me, like everybody was sitting at kombucha brewery. And if still a popular thing, but that target demographic, he looked at the market, it will realize these are people who will sit and spin 789 dollars on a beverage, because it’s for their health, because it makes them feel better, right? Because there’s a benefit. And so the way that brand approach to getting in front of their clients, because the beverage, like industry in America is very saturated. Like everyone knows Coca Cola, like when you say soda, you think Coca Cola. And so they went a totally different approach with that. They use three key brand strategies that I’ve really select we could be using in our businesses today. And the first one was, they were very clear on that unique value proposition. And they highlighted their contrast immediate. So they didn’t come out as like, hey, we have a new soda, they came out with like a healthy soda, a gut happy soda. So they started like immediately positioning themselves as like, we’re a contrast to the word soda that you’re familiar with. One of the ways that I think photographers could do that, right? Like you’re a photographer, you have a camera, obviously, that’s been done before. But are you rethinking the way that you’re going to approach their wedding day? Are you a content creator for their wedding day? Or are you documenting it as some sort of special way? Are you pulling the couple away and making sure that they get moments just for themselves. And if those are all the things you’re already doing in your business, can you kind of position yourself in a way that highlights that contrast, not your average approach to photography or not your average approach to graphic design, here’s how I approach it a little bit differently. Um, so that was the first one really showing that high contrast. The second thing that I feel like lollipop did really really well is they use their brand colors, to to attract people and to consistently show up different most of the soda brands are not bright orange, and purple and yellow. And they came with these bright fun, almost like Miss Thau Jake colors and designs on their soda cans, which I think is very interesting. Because going back to that target demographic being 18 to 34. We’re very big on Instagrammable. Mo, it’s like very big on things that are aesthetic that we can do product placement, and I realized that are of TiC TOCs. So I really think they thought through like what is something that is going to look catchy? What is something that is going to kind of create this like home feeling for their target demographic, and it was those primary colors, those bright colors, those nostalgic kind of 40 element almost created it if that like that’s the word that comes to mind. Like it’s a soda designed by some very creative people. And then the last thing that they did was they looked for a low cost, high exposure way to make the most impact. And I think that’s very unique. Because a lot of times we’ll be talking about big brands, and especially with talking to small business owners, people are like, okay, Bernel, but I’m Matt app, like I hear what you’re saying, but like we don’t have the budget Google has, or you know, like great, that was a great Nike campaign. Well, we don’t have nine videographers, you know, catching the shots. So how can you use these things as a solopreneur as a person who has a small team, low costs, high exposure. So the way that Ali pop did that was they did not target in store sales first. So they didn’t go to Whole Foods in target and things like that as their first way of selling. They started as an E commerce business. So they were selling on their own website and they were using the platforms that they owned and could control when they launched their orange soda. Flavor. For the primary way that the biggest part of that launch was SMS messaging. So text messaging, so they sent out texts and made, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars based on SMS messaging before it ever hit the shelves in stores. So if you’re at a point in your business where you’re like, Hey, I just can’t invest anymore, like I have a lot of my revenue is tied up in other things, right? We’re going through inflation, things are happening, we’re scaling with our tea, whatever it may be, can you look for ways that you can use the platforms you already own for low cost high exposure, and still make an impact with your audience? So I get very excited about Ali pop. Now I got a little one. I know we do.

Akua Konadu
Oh, my goodness, that was so good. Because I was, as you’re explaining everything, I’m thinking of myself of how I discovered Ali pop. And it’s so true. Just they were so intentional with the brand because I remember seeing it number one, because it was it was the coloring. I was on target I was walking by and I was like, Oh, it was it was like red, it was blue, like this lighter blue. Really, it was very eye catching in the aisle. And then you saw it. It was like a probiotic. It was like gut health. It literally said, like probiotic soda or something. I had the word probiotic on it. And I was like, Oh, interesting. I haven’t tried it. And then I was obsessed with it. But if you go back and break down a lot of these steps, number one, I love what you said, again, it’s really just foundational, really knowing your target audience. But really also looking at your competitors as your peers, like you said, but also it helps you identify the gaps. Honestly, that was just a perfect example. Because it’s true. When you do think of pop you think of Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, whatever. But you certainly don’t think of healthy soda. And then also to also heading into an area that is slightly different with Ken Bucha is still a beverage, but it’s not a soda, right? Like there are two different things. So also, I think it helps to sometimes look at other industries as well to gain your inspiration to gain those innovative and original ideas that maybe not necessarily other people aren’t talking about. And then being very, very intentional with the audience and their needs. And then also to I think a lot of us, we have our brands and we see like our beautiful brand guide, but we may not necessarily know how to implement it. Yeah. And gauges, your face said and all you like, yeah, yeah.

No, that’s something I see at hand over these brand guides to people. And I’m like, oh, that’s how you use your colors. Okay, okay.

Akua Konadu
But I mean, they’re a prime example of how they were intentional to in the use of their actual brand, where it really does align with their values. You’re not questioning it. But then I love what you said at the end of something that was a low cost to implement. Because it’s true. We as business owners, we do see these big brands, and we’re like, Well, I don’t have the budget. So we were instantly feeling discouraged. So it’s like, what are ways can you look at what you’re currently doing now, that’s, that’s a low lift for you that could potentially have huge rewards. And I think, again, it just goes to show just how powerful experimentation is in our business. Like they started small. They did it on their website, wanted to see analyzed, right, they made data driven decisions before even before they moved on to the next step. And that’s why they are where they are now. And so that I think that’s so powerful, so many great key things that we can walk away with. And so for business owners that are experiencing setbacks in their branding strategy, right, like, maybe you do have a brand that you love, and you feel really aligned with, but you’re not seeing the results. What, how can how can people navigate through that?

Yeah, well, we’ve already talked about market research. I know at this point in the podcast, you guys are probably like, we get it, bro. Like we’re sending out quizzes tomorrow. But also think it’s a really good to, like, learn from people who are open to telling you what’s working and not working for them. So one of the things I’d love to do is I’d love to talk to other designers in my industry and just see like, hey, what worked for you last quarter? What did it work? And this isn’t with the intention of copying that this is what the intention of is there a gap in the market, because you can learn a lot from what people tell you isn’t working. So if you’re talking to your other industry friends, and they’re like, yeah, like none of us are really able to see a lot of results from, you know, this mask these masterminds we’re all putting out how can you approach that a little bit differently. And so really, I love the code that you were saying, identify the gap. I think that’s the main thing that you can do with your strategy. I also think it’s it’s good to test things not, you know, like, you want to go super far off of your brand. But if you do have another idea of you feel like you’re you love your brand, you love what it stands for, but you just aren’t quite getting those increase in those leads that you used to get, why not put out something a little different, right? Just put it out, test it, attach the word beta to it, you know, and let people know that like, Hey, I am testing this thing to see if maybe this will serve you better than the way that I was doing it before. I think a lot of times we’re scared to pivot Especially people who’ve been in business for like, over like seven to 10 years, like, there’s this thing. Well, it worked for me before. So why is it not working for me now, but but being open to just pivoting, trying something new, and not being committed to the fact that it has to, you know, you trying something new doesn’t always have to see, like, and that gets into mindset. So, you know, like, if you’re just trying something new to see if he could work in this genuinely the way you approach it, you’ll be surprised like what kind of innovative ideas you come up with, I

Akua Konadu
think, to not getting not attaching our worth to the results as well. Because, you know, I think as well as business owners, we don’t like to share when we’re struggling, we don’t like to bring people into the parts that aren’t as perfect or maybe extremely messy. If our business is struggling in any type of capacity. We don’t like to share about it, we just like to share about here’s this finished product, or, you know, here’s what I’ve been working on. And this is something I’ve just done. And and I don’t think it has to be that way, I think really bringing people into that journey along with you and that transparency. Yeah, I think they’re one people respect that a lot more. And then two, I think it makes people trust you even more when they get to see the amount of work that you’ve put in to build something that’s heavily going to positively impact their lives. I’m more inclined to spend that my money on that because I’m like, I’ve been seeing the journey from the beginning to here we are now seeing everything the inner workings of it. Not only do I find that inspiring, but also to I need to get my hands on this because I think he can help me. So I’m going to swipe my card, you know what I mean? And I think that’s just so valuable within that. And I think again, like I love what you shared with that, because I think it’s so important to experiment, it’s so important to put yourself out there and just be opening to pivot because you really don’t know where it’s gonna lead you. Yep. And that’s the beauty of entrepreneurship. That’s why we got into entrepreneurship is to just see how the, the journey unfolds. So I love that thank you for sharing that I

was looking for a vendor to do some work for me. And one of the things they told me that is always stood out to me is they said, so here’s the thing, we’re building the plane as we’re flying it. But we would love to have you been on the building process. And so I didn’t expect perfection from the unit, like it set the expectation. And let me select okay, hey, you are interested in my feedback, you’ve already told me you’re building the plane as you’re flying it. So I think you know, I’m not super, you know, thinking that it’s going to be polished are all these things until that level of transparency made me invest in them. And then now they’re this big booming business, but I feel like Hey, I was there at the beginning. You know, like, I remember the groundwork there. And so you’ll continue to get money, because I know the blood, sweat and tears you put into this. And so I do say to your point, we get very guarded as entrepreneurs when things are not ready. And I’m guilty of it, too, guys, like very guilty. There’s some things I’ve been working on for years that have never seen the light of day because I’m just like, the public’s not ready. Like it’s not ready for the public. But in reality, I’m not, you know, to, to let it not be perfect and to build the plane as I fly it. Because guess what, those people who are building the plane while they’re flying, it are still flying. Like they’re still making money. You’re sitting on this idea. And they’re making money, and you may have been further in the ideation process than they were. But whoever gets to the execution portion of the project first is the brand that’s going to be memorable. So get those ideas. I

Akua Konadu
love to get those ideas out there, y’all. I love that plane analogy. I’m like, oh, yeah, that’s so true. Like, you’re gonna be a passenger on this plane, as I build it. Now, I don’t know how comfortable the ride is gonna be. But we’re gonna we’re gonna get you there. And we’re gonna do it together. Yeah. I love that. And so with so much change within the just the small business landscape, right with, like I said earlier with AI and, you know, trends, you know, are there. How do you see that impacting branding, as we move forward as things continue to evolve?

Yeah, so maybe you have talked a little bit about this in the past AI is a scary thing. You know, scary good, scary unknown. I definitely think AI is making it easier than ever for everybody to become I wouldn’t say the expert but to become a, you know, a novel a novelist in thing. So Right. So like, if you’ve ever had an interest in writing, you now have chat, GBT. If you’ve ever had an issue, or had an interest in video editing, or photo editing, you now have the dolly tool. So these AI tools are making it easier than ever for the for more people to enter the industry. But I think maybe if we address it or look at it as how can you help me to enhance my client experience, it will be less scary or at least that’s what I tell myself. Now are you feeling good about that? As a storytelling strategist? Yeah, you

Akua Konadu
know, I think, I think national, everybody else, when I first heard about AI, because I didn’t have the education on it, I was absolutely terrified. And especially when you kind of see the conversation surrounding it, and everybody else is fear based, then you get fear based. And so I was like, you know, I have to stop and do my own research, I have to step outside of this conversation really quick, and do my own research. And I’ve said this before, I’ve said, again, the conversation that I’m seeing right now that’s being had with AI is that people are saying, you know, it’s not AI is not here to replace you. Yeah, it’s the person that’s using AI that will, right. And so for me, that was definitely like that light switch moment where I’m like, Okay, how can I continue to improve my relationships with my clients? How can this save me more time to where I can actually work on aspects of my business that I am really good at, like my gifts, because that’s what attracts people to me. So that’s kind of the mindset to that I have really been looking at it. And we’ve had very several, like, we’ve had several AI episodes that have just been so impactful. And it just reminds me, you know, again, I feel like we’re still under utilizing the platform, but we can utilize AI to make these strong data driven decisions. And I think so many of us as business owners, we go off of our gut, which I’m guilty of, I still do, which I think there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think when you as your business starts to grow and evolve, and you’re doing these different things, data is so important, it helps you make smarter decisions, and AI can help you do that, and, and in a short amount of time, so that you can, you know, get back out there and do what it is that you need to do. So, you know, it’s it’s scary, of course, but I’m leaning in, and I’m, again, curiosity, I’m excited to see what it can do. And I don’t want to necessarily be left behind. And I don’t mean that in a negative way, in a fearful way. It’s the fact of what’s gonna bring me closer to my clients. That’s how I’m viewing it. What’s gonna help me create that relationship where they’re coming back for more? What’s going to help me you know, when I’m not in the room, they’re talking about my brand of how much they love it and the experiment experience that they had, like, that’s the mindset that I’m viewing it as so yeah, I hope that answers the question. It does,

it does it. So there’s two tools that I really want to tell you guys about that I feel like I’ve embraced, to kind of help my process. The first one was chat. GPT is putting in a URL link. So like, I test different pages on my website, I’ll put in a URL link into chat TPT. And then I’ll say, you are reviewing this website as a busy mom of three who has a photography business with wanting to attract more seniors in Knoxville, Tennessee, what do you think of this page? So I will put that into chat GPT and chat GPT will tell me like, oh, like, it’ll give me questions about things. It’ll be like, Well, what is this paragraph for? Or it’ll say like, word this like this? And then I will say, given that knowledge, what keywords which are given that knowledge, how would you change the concluding paragraph. And so it’s almost creating, like, fake target client analysis, because I’m having it to view and review my website as my target client or with that background in mind. The other tool that I’m really loving right now, it is called cast magic. And I am a person who loves to talk like if you’ve never met me before, just after kua I love to talk. Yes, like, that is my thing, right? Um, but I hit really bad writer’s block. Like, if you sit me down to write something, I’m just like, oh, okay, like, what should I say? But if you were on the phone with me, if it was a podcast, if it was a YouTube video, I’m like, Volvo’s, let’s go. Um, so like Cass magic allows you to do is you can upload an RSS feed, or you can upload an audio file or podcast URL or a YouTube URL en it’s not a transcription tool, it will form content based on the words so you can upload a whole YouTube video and the you can say create a workbook based on the tips that I gave in to YouTube video. And it will like chunk your content for you. It creates headings and subheadings and it’s just really, really nice for the people like me, like would rather talk than right and it’ll paraphrase things too. So you can say like pull out five points from this podcast episode and it will automatically pull those out and then you can take that to another AI tool and say, hey, you know like me appear now about each of these five tips so that’s how it’s really changed the game for me with repurposing content because I was on the struggle bus guys like what the writing was like. I had a hard time getting my tone across in written form, to sound like my speaking voice, so look up Cast Magic if that’s a struggle for you because it’s pretty.

Akua Konadu
Yes, I love that. I love that you have taken the time to find that tools that work for you and your business, like you have really leaned into what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. And you’re like, alright, this weakness is exposing this gap in my business. So how can I solve that? And so you sat there took the time to experiment with the tools that are really again, going to propel your business forward. And now I’m sure you feel confident now with whatever it is that you’re gonna write, because I’m the same way like I, I’m not a bad writer, but I’m not a good writer. So I speaking wise, I’m like, great, you know what I mean? So I’m definitely have to check out that tool as well. But I love as well, how you’re utilizing chat GBT? Because I feel like a lot of us are under utilizing it. And that’s a really another unique way to just see how your website is actually doing and making those decisions based on the feedback that you’re given to help improve everything. So this conversation has been amazing for now. I love this. And so we always like to close out each episode with this question, what is the biggest differentiator between the businesses that succeed and the ones that fail? I

think the biggest differentiator is planning. I think that the businesses that succeed, spin time planning, like they make a plan, they will adjust their plan. They’re flexible, but there’s a guide, I don’t believe in the flying by the seat of your pants. I mean, there are some overnight sensations that, you know, just kind of flew by the seat of their pants, but I really do believe like, if you fail to plan you’re gonna fail. So

Akua Konadu
see ya, like that’s it point like.

I wish it was like more of a drop the mic moment, but you gotta plan guy. But it’s

Akua Konadu
true, though. I think a lot of us can relate when we were in our businesses, like the first year or two, we truly are flying by the seat of our pants. But I think again, as you start to evolve, and if you’re like, I want to hit these financial goals, you’re not going to hit and whatever your goals are, whatever success looks like to you, you’re not going to hit those goals if you don’t have a plan in place. And I’m not saying that that plan needs to stay, you know, completely the same. Of course, we don’t know how the year is going to turn out. We don’t know. But it’s like you are being flexible, like you said enough to just make adjustments, but you’re still sticking to the plan. You’re still sticking to the goals that you have. And I think that, like to your point, it’s not the most, you know, sexiest answer, but it’s it’s the reason why your business will be here and 510 years later is

because you plan for a you know, I mean, gotta aim at something.

Akua Konadu
Oh, man. Well, we’re now Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I have loved this conversation. And so for our audience who wants to connect with you further, where can they find you? Yes.

And so you can find me on Instagram and seeing top if we’re into babble now. And you can find on my website at Brandon by And I love chatting with people so sloth and muddy

Akua Konadu
again. She loves to talk y’all so you’ll have no and here’s what it is what it is. Thank you so much for now and thank you everybody for listening. And until next time. That ends our episode of The Independent Business Podcast. Everything we’ve discussed today can be found at [email protected]. Head to our website to access for show notes, relevant links and all the resources that you need to level up. And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe to the podcast to make sure you never miss our future content. Drop us a review and leave our guests some love on social and thank you again for listening.

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