Today, I’m joined by Stasia Savasuk, the creator of Stasia’s Style School. Stasia helps people find the courage, clarity, and congruency to rock their personal style. Stasia’s personal story—and how she’s turned her passion into a thriving business—will shed light on all the hangups you might have about your personal style and the way your personality plays into the brand you’re building.
This weekend, I spent money at my local brewery because I want to support them as they try to keep their workers employed. I spent money at a local cafe. And I spent money at Whole Foods, which might be a big corporation but one that does a helluva lot of good for its workers and our local economy.
These brands are really important to me. They represent my home, my friends, and the world that I want to live in. I value their presence and I want to see them thrive.
They’ve worked hard to build brands that truly connect with people.
The small business owners we support at The What Works Network are doing the same. We asked 4 of them to share how they approach brand-building and what they’ve done to create a genuine connection between how they show up and the people they care about.
Now, I want to let you know that each of these contributions was recorded before the outbreak had fully hit North America. But I think sharing them with you and inviting you to think about how you want to approach your own brand-building is more important than ever.
You’ll hear from Layla Pomper from Process-Driven, Lou Blaser from Second Breaks, Julie O’Hara from Hearts & Brains Consulting, and Margy Thomas from ScholarShape.
Let’s get into it!
My guest today is Martinus Evans, the host of the 300lbs And Running podcast and the founder of the Slow AF Run Club.
Martinus isn’t very “on brand” either if you consider a runner someone wears short shorts and only eats salads. But Martinus is very much a runner. And Martinus has built a brand around rebranding who you think of when you think of a runner.
Today, we’re talking about building a brand that defies convention and stereotypes.
Martinus and I chat about how he got started sharing his journey to become a runner, how his first race changed his own idea of who a runner is, and why Toastmasters played a big part in him finding the confidence to go big. We also talk about dealing with negativity online and why he chose to create the Slow AF Run Club as a standalone community instead of a Facebook group.
The hardest part of rebranding has been rebuilding the idea our customers and community have about who we are and what we do for them.
That process is never a one-way conversation. It’s collaborative and co-creative, especially in a community-based business like ours.
My guest today also runs a community-based business and she’s intimately familiar with the role that her community members play in the brand she’s building.
Sara Dean is the founder and host of Shameless Mom Academy.
As the Shameless Mom Academy podcast started to take off, Sara realized that what she was creating wasn’t just hers. It wasn’t just her sharing her thoughts and stories behind a mic and her audience listening, all from their respective houses, in their separate communities.
No, Shameless Mom Academy was a connection between women wrestling with their identities as mothers and ambitious women. This connection was the real story, the real brand powering an emerging business.
Today, Sara leads the Momentum Mamas membership community, the Tenacious Mamas business & leadership mastermind, and Shameless Mom Con where she brings the whole community together to co-create the foundation of this brand—and celebrate their shameless motherhood.
Sara and I talk about the personal identity crisis that inspired her to start the podcast, how she started with a vision for making a big impact but not making a big business, how she’s leaning into imperfect action, and how the Shameless Mom Academy brand has evolved.
This week, my guest is Alyssa Catalano, the co-founder of Studebaker Metals—a metalsmithing and accessories brand that epitomizes focused and intentional choices.
Alyssa and the Studebaker Metals team have made careful brand choices about everything from how they style their products to how their products are categorized to the tools they use to craft their products to the messaging behind the products.
Alyssa and I talk about the unconventional choice to produce unisex accessories, why slow is fast and what that has to do with their brand positioning, and how their brand plays out in advertising, plus the roles of timelessness and place in how their brand is built.
Today, we’re talking to Gina Bianchini from Mighty Networks.
Now, as you probably already know, Mighty Networks is a sponsor of What Works. Plus, we’re proud users of their community-building and course delivery software.
And, as such, I’ve seen the Mighty Networks team go through a careful brand evolution over the last 3 years.
In fact, Mighty Networks brand evolution is a perfect case study in co-creating a brand with the people who engage with it and that’s exactly what I wanted to talk with Gina about.
Gina and I chat about what’s stayed the same and what’s changed over the last few years as Mighty Networks has grown and grown. You’ll hear about Gina’s light bulb moment, how building a community for Mighty Networks users helped her see how people were really using the software, and why she decided to build an online course. Plus, you’ll hear how all of this learning helped Mighty Networks create a stunning new visual brand, in-house, in less than 1 week.
Allie LeFevere is the co-founder of Obedient Agency—a full-service humor marketing agency.
Truly, the first time I landed on their website, I can describe my experience as nothing less than surprised and delighted. It’s not funny for funny’s sake—it’s humorous for clarity’s sake. Every piece of it serves to define who they are, what they do, and who they do it for in the most unique ways possible.
I had to know how this brilliant branding & positioning functioned on the inside. Had they designed equally surprising & delighting client experiences?
Yes, of course they have.
Allie and I talk about how that website got built—which is a great look at the brainstorming process they use throughout the agency. We also chat about how they infuse humor into every touchpoint they have with a client, how they manage each client touchpoint, and why client fit is such an important piece of the puzzle.
Carol is the founder of Speaking Your Brand, a speech coaching agency that helps women entrepreneurs and executives craft their signature talks.
I wanted to ask Carol how she worked out the recipe to her own special sauce so she could start training the first speech coach she brought on board.
Carol and I talk about the time and energy she put into working with clients 1:1, paying attention to exactly how she worked her magic. We also chat about how she knew it was time to hire, what have been her biggest fears throughout the process, and how her mindset about the business she’s building has shifted.
Rachael Kay Albers is a marketer who hates marketing. As the founder and creative director of RKA ink, a branding, web design, and digital marketing studio, Rachael has helped hundreds of small business owners all over the world stand out online without selling their soul or playing the manipulation game.
When not crafting epic, unforgettable brands for her clients, Rachael hosts Awkward Marketing, a business comedy show blending fun-size small business advice with storytelling and sketch comedy, for entrepreneurs who want to create epic, unforgettable brands online.
Janeris Marte had been a photographer for 18 years with limited success. She was a self-described jack of all trades.
She could specialize in photography for adoptive families.
Instead of creating portraits of anyone who popped into her inbox, she could focus on connecting with a community of people she knew well with a service that could transform their families.
In this interview, you’ll hear how Janeris decided to focus on adoptive families, how she connects with new clients, and the specialized packages she’s able to offer because of her niche.
Host of What Works
Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.