EP 269: Co-Creating A Brand In Community With Shameless Mom Academy Host Sara Dean

Mar 17, 2020 | Branding, Podcast

Tara McMullin is a writer, podcaster, and producer who explores what it takes to navigate the 21st-century economy with your humanity intact. Click here to support this work.

In This Episode:

  • Shameless Mom Academy founder & host Sara Dean shares how her brand developed over time and in partnership with her community
  • Why she started the podcast in the first place, as well as why it was key she didn’t have a business in mind at first
  • How she came to understand the rewards of imperfect action
  • Why she took some big risks to bring her community together in person and how it paid off

It’s tempting to think that you control your own brand.

After all, you’re the one paying for the logo art, the web design, the copywriting, the photo shoots…

Your money, your decisions.

Your story, your brand.


A brand is really only as strong as the idea of it in your customer’s mind.

Let me say that a different way: you can put loads of thought and money into carefully crafting a brand for yourself or your business but, at the end of the day, if the customer thinks of you or your company as something else entirely, none of that thought or money matters.

Your brand is what your customer thinks it is.

Your brand is what your customer thinks it is. It’s the impression they have about who you are, what you do, and how you help them.

So in essence, all brands are co-created with their customers.

We saw this in my conversation with Gina Bianchini from Mighty Networks in Episode 267. Gina and her team is in constant contact with their user base to understand how people want to use their product and what that means for leveling up the brand.

We saw it again in Episode 268 with Alyssa Catalano from Studebaker Metals. Alyssa shared that their unique approach to genderless accessories was always sparking conversations with new customers. Those 2-way conversations go a long way to create a stronger brand identity for Studebaker.

And I’ve experienced this first hand. The hardest part of my business transitions and pivots over the years hasn’t been the process of changing a name or redoing a website. That’s the easy part.

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.

Now, let’s find out what works for Sara Dean.

What Works Is Brought To You By

Mighty Networks powers brands and businesses – like yours! – that bring people together.
With a Mighty Network, online business owners just like you can bring together in one place:

  • Your website
  • Your content
  • Your courses
  • Your community
  • Your events online and in real life
  • And charge for them…all while building YOUR brand.

Visit mightynetworks.com to see more examples of brands bringing people together and taking their businesses to the next level.

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