Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Senior Living Sales and Marketing Podcast

Dec 1, 2020

Corporate Branding with Valerie Forgeard

A strong brand is the centerpiece of successful and influential business and professional activity. Your brand is what you make of it. Our goal is to help you clarify the best route to build your brand and help you every step of the way.

Whether you're a corporation, small business, or trying to build/grow your network or change your career, your brand is the bridge between where you are now and where you want to be. It is all too easy to make mistakes while marketing online; even a slight misstep can undermine the personal brand you worked so hard to create. We are here to support you in crossing the bridge to success with ease while avoiding common branding pitfalls.


"Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room"— Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)

Services | StunningBrand

Stunning Brand provides workshops, Media Training & Support, and Consultancy.

Full Transcript Below

Roy (00:02):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of senior living sales and marketing. I'm Roy. Uh, we've got, uh, a great guest with us today. We're going to talk about branding and, um, be the first to say I have very limited knowledge of it. So I am, uh, I'm happy that we have Valerie here with stunning brand to help us out. I'm not forgetting her last name. It's just very difficult to pronounce. So what I will do is I will get her after the introduction to, uh, she can say that for us. It sounds awesome when she says it. Not so much when I tried to say it, uh, but, um, Valerie and her team, uh, they bring 32 years of experience in broadcasting, social media, stakeholder engagement, community, building, public speaking, and negotiation to both the private not-for-profit and public sector. So serve a wide range of clients. And, um, I was why I was excited to have Valerie and she's taken time out of her, uh, late evening. She is in the UK. So we appreciate you taking time, Valerie. First off, before we go too much further, can you give us a pronunciation of your last name please?

Valerie (01:14):

Um, it's for French. Not expected.

Roy (01:19):

Okay. Yeah. Yeah. My French is terrible. I can barely speak English. Good English. So anyway, um, you know, what I want to do is, um, I just want to start at the beginning and this, uh, that what we're talking about today is going to be more geared toward corporations, big corporations, not necessarily, um, individuals are solo preneurs. There is a little bit of difference there. So just so everybody is kind of on board with that. We're going to talk to corporations. So let's just start at the beginning where you can tell the audience kind of what is branding. We, uh, typically some of us that are not knowledgeable, we think it's a logo, or we think it's a web page, but I know it's so much more encompassing, so let's just take it from the start. I, I have a corporation. I want to either develop my brand or, um, maybe rebrand in some manner. So I come to you and your team, uh, where do we start first? And secondly, welcome to the show. Thanks so much, but where do we start?

Valerie (02:26):

Uh, thanks for having me here. Um, so first I'd like to say that, uh, branding sounds like a complicated word, but we run every day right now. You're branding you to me and I'm granting yourself to you. And we're not even aware of it because branding is the representation of the brands. So it's the image that the brand represents and how people will talk about it. Um, the only difference with, uh, which is a big difference with the corporations is that in a corporations then could be 50,000 or a hundred thousand of different worries. Um, which means that, uh, it's a lot of people to represent the brand. So, so yes, a brand that has a logo has a website, uh, does its marketing companies do the marketing to, to impress the clients to gain more clients. Um, but it is also around, uh, the personality of the brand, but also around the people who represent the brands, uh, which is why, sorry, she wants to say something. Um, we, which is why, uh, the classic branding doesn't really work anymore because, uh, everyone nowadays has the perfect design has the same classic marketing. So if everyone does the same thing, uh, branding is not edge. Branding is not really unique. Uh, it's, it's just another flashy, perfect design

Speaker 3 (04:09):

And then another

Valerie (04:10):

Shouting on social media. And so, so how can you make a difference with your branding where first it comes? So if you come to me, I will ask you what is the story? So if you're a corporation, I presume that it's very likely that your design is already sorted out. You hire professionals to do it. Uh, your marketing is already up and running. So, so that that's not really the RA. Um, but I would ask you, what's the story, the history of your branding, how did it start? Why was the story behind your brand? Uh, usually there's always fantastic stories that come out. Sometimes I spoke with people who were not even aware that for example, Vagrant parents were already attached

Speaker 3 (05:04):

The company, um, in term of

Valerie (05:08):

How they influence. Um, but also it's, it's also about the leaders of the organization or the corporations. Uh, many times we don't think of the leaders, but the leaders, uh, some of the leaders may have some really good stories attached to the brand, um, to, to the story of the corporation. Um, there could be also, well, what is the interest for the next step? Uh, so some, some corporations now adopt, uh, corporate social responsibility, uh, to make a, an impression to make more impact and to get their brand, uh, and the great thing with social responsibilities because, um, it's like a marriage with a big NGO, for example. So, so both gain, uh, the NGO can raise awareness to the clients of the brand or the, of the corporation. The corporation can also raise the awareness about their brand, um, to the NGO supporters. Um, so, so that's a big, uh, thing that is being done now. Um, so, so, so these will be the questions first, uh, I would ask is, is after the story is about, uh, which impact, uh, do you want to make, um, apart from just, uh, showing how successful you are, and we would look at these different areas. Yeah.

Roy (06:42):

I'm not being rude, I'm actually taking, actually taking notes. This is very interesting. So, uh, yeah, I want to talk about the story for just a minute, because a, a lot of time in business, we, we try not to be personal or we try not to tell those stories. We try to be very sterile, but you know, one thing I talk a lot about is not only telling the company story, but the individual story, that's how we, uh, I think that's how we connect with other individuals is when we could connect on a personal level and not be a sterile, non, um, you know, non feeling company.

Valerie (07:23):

Yes. Um, well, I think to, to tell a story, a physical story has to be a really aligned with the brand, but it also has to be aligned with you. Um, I agree with the fact that if you don't feel comfortable of telling a personal story and not everyone is ready for that, um, it doesn't have to be, I mean, some companies use, uh, other people's stories that connect to them, um, to create an emotion, uh, because beyond the physical branding, uh, what really matters is the emotion. So it doesn't have to be your story, but it can be someone else's story. Uh, so for example, corporations who are associating themselves with, um, um, um, and then you, uh, could have, for example, a guest, uh, so for example, let's say it's an NGO that helps refugees could have a refugee coming and talk at the event and show that, uh, the corporation is supporting these schools. So, so that can be an example, for example, so that, that would touch, uh, the clients, uh, providing that it's, but usually a corporation will choose, uh, an area where it's safe. Um, and also, um, the corporation the same time does something good. So it's good karma.

Roy (08:54):

Yeah, I think, uh, you know, the story goes a long way in conveying our brand, um, unless you're very lucky and have a very unique product or service, there's somebody else that sells the same product or service out in the market. So the other thing that I've, uh, talk about a lot and feel that we have to do is we have to create the value. Why do you want to deal with me either for my service or my product? Again, I think that's where stories can go a long way in helping us show where that value is to the people that we're trying to reach.

Valerie (09:31):

Yeah. I mean, these days for corporations, uh, it's very data driven, so they will know what their customers, uh, what kind of topics that customers are interested in there will be surveys, but would be so, so it's not like, um, there, there would suddenly dive in supporting another organization and it doesn't have to be an organization. I mean, some, some, some corporations use emotion in very complex companies, for example, cook at the company in about happiness, um, to, to uncle, to encourage people, to, to figure about happiness when they did this look and choose happiness, or you have also, uh, for example, children of the world, which is a non-profit organizations. I like to give the example of nonprofit organizations because they're fantastic when it comes to creating emotions, um, because uh, corporations tells a product usually, which people want, um, otherwise they con crew, but a non-profit organization says something that people don't especially want and lesbian raised awareness, right. So the emotion has to be created, uh, strongly. Um,

Roy (10:53):

Yeah, and I think that's important even for products I, you know, in sales, that's one thing they always try to tell you is that you have to tell a story that creates that emotion in order to, you know, interest people. So I, I did notice that, uh, you know, when some of your collateral, that's something that you talk a lot about is creating that emotion. It's some kind of an emotional response.

Valerie (11:17):

Yeah. Yeah. Now there is, there can be downsides about this, uh, which is why some people are when you consent to tell your story, um, which is connected with brand damage. So sometimes the story or, or values are being promoted, but within the company it's not being respected. And then you will have, you will hear about an employee. You will start to Sue the corporation, but harassment, that people will say, well, you've been promoting this and your values and, and, and that, and so, so would say, um, well, when we speak about pushing further the branding, we also have to look at the downside, right? The potential risks. That's a con that the company might run, uh, by, by branding, by running new campaigns or associating themselves with, with specific organizations.

Roy (12:19):

So I kind of have a question that's basically back at the beginning. Um, I guess it's branding one Oh one. So it's a two-fold question. First off is how important is our name? And I love the name of your company, stunning brand, because you say exactly what you do in there is some thoughts around the concept that you really don't have to be a service product specific in your name. And, you know, the fine example of that is Google. I mean, nobody knew what a Google was, you know, 20 years ago. And now all of a sudden, it's not only a noun, but it's a verb. So can you kind of elaborate on, um, how important is naming and trying to focus on our product or service, or is it really not that important anymore?

Valerie (13:14):

It's a debate there and I haven't chosen my, my say that that's fair, that's fair. It's a difficult

Roy (13:25):

Question. And, you know, looking at naming and things and you always want to be in that space, but sometimes it's like, well, all the good ones are already taken. So you kind of have to look outside of that. So I won't press you on that then. And that, because it is a debate, there's a lot of, uh, argument. There's a lot of, um, data, you know, that kind of goes both ways on that. So the other question about naming is, um, how hard is it? If you're a corporation that's been in business in the same space for, I don't know, 25, 30 years, and now you decide that you want to change your name to something, uh, you know, maybe you've grown and evolved in something more representative. How hard is that to, uh, have a name change with a well-established company?

Valerie (14:19):

Uh, you're, you're talking about for branding. Um, yeah, it's, uh, it's very hard that I don't really search this area. And then we find you have, uh, clients who are interested in this. I kind of recommend people who have the top companies will do branding. Um, but from what they told me, uh, it's often a struggle because they, they want to rebrand, but then when they get to the stage of rebranding, they kind of attach it's like your children go. Right.

Roy (14:53):

Exactly. Exactly. So a lot of times that change, um, somebody wants to make a change because of a brand damage. Maybe I've got a brand, something went wrong with my product, my service, bad publicity, bad press. And so if you can't get out from under it, sometimes people think the best thing to do is make a change. So do you ever do any brand damage work?

Valerie (15:23):

Yeah, um, it would be more like refreshing the brand. Okay. Um, so some, my advice would be take, take positive action that will make good publicity. Um, I S I see a grand, like a person in a way. And, you know, when someone made a mistake, uh, the person has the choice to either keep justifying and try to make things better, according to the first mistake, or they can ignore it and keep doing, um, good, try to keep doing good things, uh, to actually help, um, the reputation to, to, to do better. So I would say, I would say don't get stuck with the bad reputation, uh, but think of what is the next thing you can do. And, and very often what I would advice is either to go with, um, some social responsibility, corporate responsibility to, to, well, firstly it will help the brand to do better.

Valerie (16:26):

Uh, and also it will ensure the clients that, um, Verizon improvement, very something. Now, if it's to do with, uh, employees who have to been, for example, badly treated and clients found out and it looks, it looks really bad. Uh, I would advise to take action, um, and make it public. We have changed our modified our policy. And, um, if it's to do with the projects, uh that's what about produce then? Uh, when I don't sell them anymore maybe, or show the improvements that has been done and should the process of, uh, of the improvement. I mean, the thing is there's no corporation who was perfect. It's, it's, uh, it's, it's hard work to run already a small company, but when you're running a huge corporation, um, mistakes are going to happen all the time. Uh, the wrong projects are going to come out every now and then.

Valerie (17:30):

Um, but how to deal with it, I would say is the same way we deal with our personal life, our personal life. We can choose to get, to stay stuck with what's not working, uh, or we can find a way forward and how to, to refresh, uh, the image, uh, by, by being completely honest. And sometimes it's to admit, um, that yes, this, I mean, this was wrong and people are not blind. And, uh, and this is the thing there's, there's a lot of leaders who have, um, a lot of pride and we don't want to, to, to tell, uh, there's been an issue, but there's a way, I mean, you don't have to be on your knees and apologize. There's, there's ways of saying things and there's ways of, um, making things look better. I mean, if, if it's, if it's a really big scandal or if it's a very big area, then, um, I would give it to that, for example, with, uh, someone who has worked fighting here and has been working with people who have a very big international reputations. So, so that would get into the area of reputation management. So it's really, I would assess what the damage is and, and see, um, who is the best person to take it off.

Roy (18:56):

Okay. Yeah. And I think, um, you know, transparency is the best way out of trouble is, you know, sometimes we have to admit it and then we lay out our course of action of, you know, how we're trying to fix it, how we won't repeat that, because like you said, nobody's perfect. We're all gonna make mistakes. Uh, especially when you have large corporations with a lot of people, uh, we can't be with them at every minute of every day, so things happen. And so that kind of leads into another, um, kind of area with social media, with each employee, having their social media account. There is, I guess there's a lot of room for that to be damaging, but there's also a lot of room for your employees to be advocates of your brand.

Valerie (19:49):

It's a, it's a big opportunity to, to spread the word as well. I mean, if I example a corporation or has, uh, 50,000, um, employees, uh, could run, uh, for example, Earl was I do it with my nonprofit, uh, where it's not a nonprofit community. Um, uh, they could give, uh, was for example, for the employees who promoted best, uh, the corporation and they could give them training is where, because the, the fear very often of cooperation to, to bring brand advocacy among the staff, uh, they're worried that someone is going to mess up or say the wrong thing or misrepresented the Brown, but there are trainings for this that can be given, uh, it's possible to educate, uh, the employees educate them also about their personal brand, because sometimes the person or the brand of the employee quits, uh, damage a little bit, the reputation of the corporation, the way they post on social media, for example, and, and it's to raise awareness more about how, uh, the social media world works. Um, and, and also there are, I mean, lots of the corporation now integrating diversity is very big word these days. Um, and also internet integrating like mindfulness, we're trying to get, uh, the employees welfare for their wellbeing, but we saw it is branding was so the corporation, because, uh, I see all the time on LinkedIn employees speaking about the corporation where they work and say, Oh, I've been to this great mindfulness training. So it's great publicity for exactly the operation.

Roy (21:48):

Yeah. And kind of the flip side of that is, uh, with the big brands, they need to be mindful of monitoring, uh, traffic negative, w let's talk in the negative for a minute, but, uh, you know, disgruntled customers, maybe even, uh, competition, trying to pull a fast one and posting bad, uh, experiences about your product or service. So in order to keep your brand reputation, it's important to monitor, uh, you know, what's going on out there on social media platforms with your brand.

Valerie (22:24):

Well, it's lucky in life very often. Uh, the issue will come from the inner second. And what many times corporations are, are not aware and nonprofits organizations as well. I mean, once, uh, in a big nonprofit international organization, uh, which is promoting, uh, all the good to do in the world, um, th the, the, the main line manager was, uh, introducing himself as a tumble of cider. I mean, what, but, you know, if someone photographed him, uh, not photographed him, but made the video these days, it's very easy to record, uh, people, uh, that that could have been a huge scandal because, uh, you you're talking about a humanitarian and social issues. Uh, so, you know, bringing, uh, like heavy alcohol in, in, in conversations when you're supposed to work, um, it's not really the place. Um, personal life is one thing, but, um, what, what many people are not aware is when we're within the company, their branding, the corporation, uh, for their eight or nine hours a day.

Valerie (23:46):

Yeah. They're spending their, everything. They say everything they do is, is part of the branding. And tomorrow someone might just pass or work there for one day and recalled, and then it was in the press. And, and you've got this big scandal about, uh, uh, you know, like sexual harassment and all the things we're hearing. Um, but the thing is when you have 50,000, a hundred thousand employees, you can count one that you can train them. You can educate them about the values and why it is important to have a certain code of behavior. So, so I know most corporations and organizations have their, their big flats. And, but very often nobody reads it. It's, I mean, people who start a job, they're just eager to start the job. They're not reading every document that the receiver sign it, they're not reading every, every single thing. So, so training is very important and the future will be more and more about this because the millennials are paying lots of attention. Right. And if a brand is not ethical that we know.

Roy (25:00):

Yeah. And I think you make a good point there that when, uh, when you come onto a company, you're onboarded, you sign the documents, you go through it. That really shouldn't be the end. There should always be a refreshers. Uh, again, it goes back to employee engagement. We need to keep employees engaged enough where we can reach out and talk to them about how we expect them to act and represent us. Because like you said, even in their personal life, if things could go really bad for them, it can, uh, uh, it can make the brand look bad and be very damaging as well.

Valerie (25:35):

Yeah. No super supporting, uh, employees wellbeing and, and supporting, you know, the education about the values, I think is very important. And many incorporation don't think it's important until we have to.

Roy (25:52):

Exactly. Exactly. So one more thing, um, the consistency of branding, because again, there's so many platforms out there that, uh, we need to be, even though we may message different on different platforms, the branding, um, how do we keep that consistent?

Valerie (26:16):

What do you mean? For example, because it was lots of consistency area,

Roy (26:20):

Well, like, uh, you know, across Instagram, Twitter, uh, Facebook, you know, they all reach a little bit different audience, and I know we can tweak our, uh, tweak our messaging, but our branding still needs to be very consistent, no matter what channels that we put that out on.

Valerie (26:40):

Yeah. Um, well usually it's the communications departments job. Uh, what I've seen in, I mean, cop, uh, PRI in the private sector, usually it tends to be more, more consistent. Uh, the big non-profits organizations tend to be consistent. Um, but I have seen in some large organizations I should be, which are international, um, where it's not consistent. People who don't really see it because, uh, the bigger news are stay consistent and it's stronger. Um, but I think as, um, people, as AI is coming in, people are gonna pay attention also on more and more details. Uh, so eventually I think consistency, the lack of consistency in some places, wouldn't be it. I mean, because I've got the background in fashion uh it's it was in my own career or represented like, um, uh NVMH and, uh, so as, as you said, as negotiator, but what I've learned there is perfect perfection is in, and I can tell you a consistency, even when you sleep, you

Roy (27:57):

Dream about. Right.

Valerie (27:59):

Um, so I, I tend to spot details that a lot of people don't spot. Um, but the thing is like everything, you know, when you start to go outside the line, that you can cross it more and more, and then mistakes can be done very easily. Um, but if there's a lack of consistency, I mean, many times it doesn't damage too much to brand, but it, it just, uh, reduce the strength of the branding, right. Because people just don't recognize that that is, that was picking about the same thing. Um, and, and, and Brown's also, um, uh, corporations also have Brandon Sue Brown. So for example, if a certain product that we brand a little bit differently, um, that's again, when it comes to, um, on per years, for example, promoting it. Yes. I think education is important. Someone majors say something that has nothing to do with what they're trying to promote.

Roy (29:01):

Right. Right. Well, Valerie, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk to us about corporate branding. Um, before I let you go, uh, first off, is there a tool or a habit or, um, that you use in your daily life, either your business or your personal life that you just couldn't do without Your phone? Right. Okay.

Valerie (29:30):

Do you mean, uh, like, yeah,

Roy (29:32):

Yeah. If it's, uh, if it's the phone, an app, um, could be, uh, I hear a lot of, uh, practicing gratefulness, you know, people go out for take walks when they get stressed. So just anything that you do, you know, in your life that you just couldn't do without,

Valerie (29:52):

Uh, I meditate actually every morning and every evening, uh, that helps concentrating for, for the rest of the day and in the evening helps me sleep well.

Roy (30:04):

Okay. No, that's good. That's good to know.

Valerie (30:06):

And I find it very helpful in some of, for cues, um, term of a physical tool then yes, I couldn't live with also my computer because they work on lane that's would be dramatic. Right.

Roy (30:20):

All right. Well, Valerie, thanks again. Uh, tell everybody, uh, number one, who is your customer, uh, what you do for them and how they can reach out and get ahold of you?

Valerie (30:32):

Yes. So, um, I, I can advise from corporations to personal branding or sometimes personal branding in corporations as well. Um, at the moment amongst a ring on a sentence, uh, woman is program. Um, but I've also worked with, uh, tech companies, um, um, very open. I mean, for me, branding is branding. Doesn't really matter in which sector, uh, what matters is, is what you want to achieve. And, and if, if you're open to speak about, um, the history of your brand, it's like with lawyers, if you don't tell everything that's important, something may be missed out. So, so, so I would say with unsure clients, just be aware that, um, I will not come in, uh, as a tourist and pick up the money because clients or so represent my brands. So I don't want to work with clients where I know something might go wrong and I will do a full assessment before making sure that a bit before confirming that we can work together so that the assessment is free.

Valerie (31:44):

Um, so you, you can reach me at hello, uh, outstanding and one group would reply. And, um, and we do a free assessment of one hour to see what is needed and, and what has been done before. And what is the step forward? You have a questionnaire to fill. It's not long, it's very short span, 10 questions. Um, and, uh, and then, uh, we can assess, um, how we, how we proceed and if we proceed, if you're happy. So with, with what I'm suggesting. Okay. So there's no, um, obligation that I always think if the client is happy and then it's great for my brands. So, so I, I prefer to do an assessment first. Uh, some people will take the service streets aware, but I have some friends for whom it's went wrong and then reputation goes with it. So that's all right, you're your

Roy (32:40):

Brand. So you can protect, you got to protect your brand. Exactly. Exactly. Now I understand that. All right, well, shout out to Valerie and, um, let her, you know, give you the assessment, see what she can do to help you either strengthen or change your brand, whatever you need done. She'll be glad to help you out. Um, again, thanks for taking time out of your day. My name is Roy. Uh, this is the senior living sales and marketing podcast. You can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, Google, play, and Spotify. Please be sure and share with your friends. You can also find And, um, if you have any questions, please reach out to me or reach out to Valerie until next time. Thank you very much.