Are you trying to build a brand that stands the test of time, that creates a positive impact in the world?
Well, In today’s episode we are joined by Rachel Cross, globally-accomplished marketer, career strategist, writer, speaker, and the Chief Business Sherpa of Rachel K Group, she explains how to build your brand by developing your internal culture with a combination of authenticity and purpose that builds trust in your audience.
Rachel is aglobally-accomplished marketer, career strategist, writer, speaker, and the Chief Business Sherpa of Rachel K Group, a boutique marketing consulting firm specializing in launching brands, developing world-class marketing communications, and helping creative professionals start the solopreneur business they’ve always dreamed of.
If you are interested in finding out more and connecting with Rachel check out the links below.
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Are you trying to build a brand that stands the test of time and creates a positive impact in the world. In today’s episode, we’re joined by Rachel Cross and she explains how to build your brand by developing your internal culture with a combination of authenticity and purpose builds trust in your audience.welcome to the unify Brown podcast brought to you by elements, brand management, a weekly brand building and brand strategy podcast. Help you unlock your brand’s potential. Stand out from the competition and create impact
joined by Rachel Cross globally accomplished marketer, career strategist writer, speaker, and the chief business sharper of the Rachel Kay group for boutique marketing consulting firm, specializing in launching brands, developing world-class marketing communications and helping creative professionals start the solopreneur business.
They’ve always dreamed of. Great to have on the unified brand. Rachel, if we could find out a little bit more about you, the Rachel K group and how you started your journey into marketing. Yeah, Chris, thank you so much for having me on Rachel K group started really as a response to what was happening in my corporate career.
So after university, I, in a lot of ways fell into a career in marketing. My head, graduated with a degree in psychology, mainly social psychology is the study of group behavior. And that lend itself well to marketing. As you know, marketing is really about trying to persuade people in groups. So. I started in corporate America, working for big tech companies.
And after about 12 years of that, the company that I was working for decided to shut its doors, but a year before it shut at stores, I had been growing disillusioned with. Some of the politics happening at work. And also even just the products that I was being forced to market, I didn’t necessarily believe in which felt really dissonant.
Right? Like I wouldn’t tell you as my friend to purchase this product that I was marketing, that felt really disjointed in my essence, and then had this opportunity when the company shut down to launch my own marketing consulting firm and decided to go for it. Something I’d been dreaming about for about a year.
Wow. Yeah, that’s really interesting. So the idea of psychology and marketing really sort of interests me. I think our listeners would like to find out a little bit more about that, the idea of group behavior and how psychology can help influence that. So what are some things that sort of really stood out for you when studying psychology that you could bring to the table in marketing?
One really prominent thing, and we see this. Played out even more so now with the emergence of the internet of everything and especially social media, but the influence that our peers have on us. So one of the still the best marketing tactic is to have someone refer you to something. Yeah, someone that you trust.
And so that influence is something that is really a deep, psychological construct of us having trust in someone or admiration for someone, and then really respecting what they say and taking what they say as something that should be listened to. So I think influencer marketing, which is one of the big things right now is.
Definitely built on some of those basic psychological principles. Definitely. So building trust is sort of core to developing that brand and building that brand that people can relate to. Yeah. So I definitely see the value of that and it’s yeah. The importance of it. So what are some of the things that you can do or that you have done to build trust with your audience?
Obviously, influencer marketing is one thing, but there are some other things that you can do with regards to say, maybe have a messaging or testimonials that you can do that builds that trust. Yeah. I mean, at its core, I think brands have to really take a look inside at their culture because if they don’t have a healthy, authentic culture where they’re actually valuing their own employees and really believing in their work that they’re doing and more and more, I believe having positive impact on the world, then it’s really hard to convey any kind of authentic trust building to external audiences.
So trust and brand building starts internally at the culture level. And that is from the CEO down to, you know, the lowest rung intern. So I think that for brands to understand how to build trust with their audiences, it has to start first really with themselves, making sure they have clearly stated values that their employees know what those values are and that they actually have operationalized them in a way.
In other words, if they have a value of fun, then how are they supporting that with activities and behavior? How are they encouraging that throughout every level of their organization? So that’s number one, I think when it comes to trust. But the other thing is then to do what you say. Right. So if I tell you I have this product and it does X, and it’s going to make your life better because of Y then it really needs to deliver on that.
And so I, you know, more and more, we have so much choice now as consumers. So brands have to really step up their game when it comes to quality and. More and more research is showing that people also want to buy from brands that really are making a positive impact on the world. Like I mentioned before, so having a socially conscious brand is very important these days.
Wow, definitely. Yeah. A hundred percent agree. I think that having a brand that is authentic, but it’s also adding something back is socially conscious. Like you said, has a brand purpose that is beyond themselves has something that they’re striving to achieve, I think is really important. And like you said, it builds that trust in the consumer.
And allows them to connect with a brand on a level that can’t be replicated by say another brand, just down the road. It’s not about price. It’s not about similar features and benefits. It’s more about this something slightly deeper. And I think, yeah, I think it’s totally right. That’s the level we’re trying to get to isn’t it with brand building, especially now.
Yeah, absolutely. And I see this growing more and more over time and. Maybe, you know, 50 years ago you could have a brand and your whole purpose of the brand was just to make money. But now you have to have a stated purpose beyond making money and consumers more and more. I think. Resonate with that. And consumers are willing to pay a slightly higher price if they believe they’re, you know, the brand that they’re trusting that again, the product excellence has to be there or the service excellence, but if you’re comparing similar level of quality, then you’re going to choose the brand that has aligned values to your own.
Yeah, I think there’s a recent stat about that. It says something like 60% of consumers will buy from a brand that they share values with and they feel connected to, and I truly believe if you have those values set and like you, you said you’re implementing them into something that you do, and it feeds into the products and the quality is there in the product.
Then you have something that can’t be. Replicated. It can’t be, it’s a defensible position to have that kind of, that brand built. It’s unique. It’s differentiated. And it’s your own thing, as opposed to one of the things that you see a lot of, which is really a big no-no is when people copy the competition for just some reason, you know, they like take the competition, they take the messaging or the imagery or something like that, and just transpose it over to their brand.
And it really does just lose that differentiation, that uniqueness, it doesn’t work at all. Yeah, and I think some consumers can get fooled by that. But again, I think we’re so savvy today and we have so many ways of disseminating information. So I have a client, for example, it’s a nonprofit that we had very clear messaging.
It was a nonprofit, um, race 5k and a half marathon. And it was interesting because it, it truly is a nonprofit and that all net proceeds went to community service projects and other charitable organizations. And a lot of these races, um, especially here in the States, anyways, they all say benefiting, for example, you know, the leukemia society, but the way they benefit the leukemia society is that runners have to pay extra to donate to that.
Cause. So they’re not actually nonprofits. And so we saw other races who weren’t purely nonprofits mimicking some of our messaging, but you know, when runners then researched and boil down to it, they realized, Oh, I have to donate extra. For this money to be donated to this cause versus actually all of the proceeds be going to the cause and this race being led by a volunteer team.
So I think again, because of the research and the way we’re able to access information and then spread information. Which is both good and bad, right. But the tools, so it can be abused as well. But I think a lot of people are savvy enough to do the research and get to the heart. And the truth of if a brand is being authentic or not.
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s really, it’s quite sad to hear that someone’s actually done that. You know, it’s bad enough when a brand almost copy. Sometimes it’s done just through thinking they’re doing a similar thing and doing something similar, but it’s actually copy. Something, especially a nonprofit that’s not good at all.
It’s really underhanded and definitely something to steer away from. I mean, um, yeah, I think that’s a horrible, horrible thing to do for Brandon. So when he’s talked about the Rachel K group and how it starts hitting and how you got into marketing and branding, how did that develop over time? So what was the kind of from when you started from leaving that position to now, what’s kind of been the evolution of the business.
Yeah. So I should also take a step back and say part of why I wanted to stay in marketing. I was in marketing my whole 12 year corporate America career, but I asked myself this really powerful question that I’m sure you’ve heard, which is what would I do without fear of failure. And when I thought about it, I realized I still loved marketing.
I loved that it was both right and left brain, and that really speaks to how I’m built because I strange. And then I love like budgets and spreadsheets, but I also have a creative writing side and I play music and there’s other things that really feed my right brain. And so that’s why I loved marketing.
And so when I started Rachel Kay group, I knew I wanted to still focus on marketing in addition to that being my, you know, main education and experience. And so as I launched, I started really. Focusing on the areas that I had experienced in already, which a lot of that was brand strategy, advertising and marketing communications.
And so, as I evolved, I realized there were lots of things. When I first launched, I did, I did it all. I offered it all. I said, I’m going to do. I can do it, your marketing and your advertising and your branding and your writing and your PR and all of these things. And a lot of it, I was doing myself and as I’ve evolved, I’ve learned the things that I don’t want to do, and the things that I should outsource, because there are people that are better and smarter at me than at those things.
And it also takes longer. So now I really, really hone in on brands and marketing communication strategy. And I outsource a lot of the other things, even, you know, whether it’s copywriting or web programming or graphic designing, um, PR those things. Now I have a lot of teams of whether it’s agencies or freelancers and network that I reached out to.
For various projects, same here. And it’s that, um, that evolution where you start to realize, okay, where am I best suited to spend my time where it’s good for me to use that time, to get the best out of my time, but also for the client or the particular project or what you’re working on. You know, you focus on the bits that are your strength and then the rest can be outsourced to these different people.
So from that point of view, what have you seen shifting in like branding and marketing communications and strategy? What are some of the things you’re seeing now, but they’ve kind of changed over the last sort of three or four years. Yeah, I think more and more e-commerce is becoming such a big shift as how companies have to distribute services, whether that’s products and actually, you know, having e-commerce as a main platform versus a brick and mortar store.
But also even if you think about services now, the pandemic has really, I think, catalyzed a lot of growth in this area. So think about things like telehealth and telemedicine. And how we’re now receiving. We’re getting used to receiving services over zoom, and we’re used to buying products online. And I think from a marketing branding point of view, it’s now more important than ever to be really clear on the story of who you are, because I can go to a website.
I want to see a video or read a story about how you started. I want to understand your values. If you have some kind of socially conscious responsible thing that you’re proud of and that you are dedicated to, I want to know about that. And it’s a little bit different than maybe walking into a store.
Maybe I could have seen a poster that said we support the environment, but now I want it to be front and center digitally in your presence. So I think Pete brands have to be really clear. And also at the same time, we have a shorter attention span than ever. And so when it comes to branding and marketing, we also have, you know, I think it’s about three seconds to capture someone’s attention when they first come to your website.
So being really clear, really quickly. Is one of the things that’s really important. Now, in addition to that, I think the growing social media just continues to grow in its influence and the way that not only brands are using it, but again, that influencer ambassador way that your customers and your brand loyalists are spreading information about your new brand or new products or services.
Yeah. And I think I was talking to someone today, actually about this idea that you’re saying that where you have to. It’s almost like building an experience now on a website, it always has kind of had that approach, but it’s almost as if you imagined. Walking into the store is now the website is a bit more of an experiential side of it.
Yeah. And it kind of getting across the, the values. And like you said, you’re trying to get that experience onto that site. People can still feel as though they are connected to that brick and mortar store or whatever the brand is. And that messaging as well, like you said, three seconds, it’s so hard to do people think that saying something simply or doing something simply as like an easy thing.
It’s actually, the hardest thing is to be simple and get to the point quickly enough, you know, to get to that core really quickly. And I think that’s a real skill. Yeah. I do brand workshops with clients and I mean, these are. You know, over the course of days and weeks working with executive teams to try to narrow it down to one idea.
And a lot of times different people in the room have different ideas about what that one idea will be. So it takes some while to build consensus. But if you can do that in the beginning of when your brand is forming and then do that exercise every few years as your brand evolves, then it’s going to be really important to sell that idea versus coming up with a, you know, catchy tagline or, you know, just a pithy headline because sometimes we try to be too clever too.
I think in marketing and really at the end of the day, simplicity wins. Because we have as consumers, so many messages being thrown at us each day that we want something simple that we can understand right away. Yeah. There’s that, there’s the idea of, um, it takes a lot more, it takes more calories to understand something, a complex marketing statement.
It takes more calories to do that. You want something, like you said that simple straight to the point and those workshops, they are amazing. We did the workshop brand workshops here. When you’re doing that, and you have those people that have different points of view from the different teams, it’s normally like interdepartmental as well.
You’ve got different departments and they’ve all got different points of view about what the brand is, what it stands for, where it’s going. And that’s a real, it’s almost sometimes like you’re having this intervention moment where it comes to a head and there’s kind of this, you know, butting of heads and it’s sort of, and then it ends up being the, when the resolution happens, there’s like a calm that comes over and it is, and it’s that simplicity then it’s clarity.
Isn’t it? It’s that focus that really kicks in. Yeah, I love that. I I’ve never thought of it as a being an intervention, but I think you’re absolutely right. I know in some of the workshops too, and exactly what you said, there’s this almost like. Exhale, when you come to that, you know, final thing and consensus.
And I always want to make sure it’s something that all of, you know, whether it’s department heads or the executive leadership team that everyone can rally around and get behind, because then it’s their job to disseminate that and make sure their teams. Also are buying into that and embracing that again as a cultural shift of like, Hey, this at our core is who we are.
And it’s really simple, and here’s how we’re going, going to operate and make sure this is how we live out. You know, this principle in our every single day to day work lives and in our, every touch point of our experience with our consumers. Yeah. And that’s, it it’s like that taken ownership, isn’t it, there’s different stakeholders in that particular company taking ownership of the, kind of the work you’ve done in the workshop.
And then, like you said, filtering that through to the whole organization. And so when you see, when you do things like that, how has some of the things that you do to put that in place so that you can kind of keep that culture on track? Because that’s one of the things that is a difficult thing to do, isn’t it over time where it kind of.
Drifts again. So what’s some of the things you do to make sure that it stays on track with that. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s a great point. I think you can’t do these exercises and get this clarity at only the top level and then expect even expect, honestly, those leaders too. Have that trickle down to their teams.
You have to be intentional. And so for me, when I work with clients and we do, for example, a brand culture workshop, there are weeks of different activities we’re doing to make sure that employees, again, down to the lowest level are all understanding and embracing that. So we’ll do things like I call them culture tables.
Where we’re actually having kind of sit down round table workshops where they’re not only just, it’s not a lecture where they’re having, you know, let’s say it’s a values of the culture or the new brand promise. Told to them, they actually get to discuss it with different team leaders at different tables.
We do definitely big, you know, brand internal brand launch events where we’re also making sure whether it’s a poster or a button or something that every employee has something that they can take away and embrace with this new language mantra brand promise. You know, it depends on the company. And then also for example, Making sure that the culture is something that’s now embedded as a, in the life cycle of the company.
So whether it’s a quarterly meeting to discuss culture, or I have one client, for example, who really embraced failure as a growth point in their culture. And I loved that. And so we started Friday failure days where you had to like stand up and actually say like, people got to stand up in their different teams.
It was in small team settings. It wasn’t in front of the whole company. But got to stay like, this is how I failed at this week, and this is what I learned from it. And it created a really open. Vulnerable culture that then lead to, I believe, led to more creativity and innovation. And it was fun to see that how that affected people, because it kind of took the weight off of trying to be perfect all the time and not, you know, admitting when you made a mistake because, you know, we’re all gonna fail at some point.
And so. Having that small exercise and it was every Friday and everyone just shared one thing, you know, again in small team settings. So things like that are some of the ways that I work with organizations to make sure that the brand is, you know, does trickle down to all the levels and also making sure that employees have some skin in the game.
So when it comes to things like the values of the brand, it’s not just an executive leadership team defining those. We actually bring in cross functional teams. To workshop the values as well and how to operationalize them. Yeah. Failure, Fridays. So that’s something that I think more companies could definitely take on board.
That sounds so cool to have that vulnerability, like you said, that openness to be able to yeah. Just celebrate the fact that not everything’s perfect. And you came to sort of get out and get out in the open, I think. Yeah, definitely. I’m from creativity and innovation point of view, right? Because in order to be creative and innovative, you have to take a leap.
You have to take a jump and if you’re too scared to fail, you’re never going to take that jump. So. I think that’s a brilliant idea. I think it’s really cool. I like the round table. I think the round table sort of discussions you’re talking about, that’s really cool as well. Like sounds really good. So switching from the Rachel K group from the sort of the marketing and the branding side of things, you also help creative professionals to build their business.
So I wondered if you could sort of explain that a little bit more and explain how that sort of almost ties into the marketing and branding side of things. Yeah. So, you know, as I launched this business, Rachel Kay group, it was about 10 years ago. And when I first started, there was no clear roadmap of how to launch your own business.
Like there were lots of courses about marketing your business and getting clients, but what about just starting the business from scratch? And so I read a lot of books. I bought coffee for, you know, like 10 people who I knew had started their own business, then pick their brain, but there wasn’t a clear one, two, three paths.
And last year, I was just thinking about, you know, different other ways that I’m wired besides the marketing left and right brain marriage. And one of the things is I’m a people developer, so I’ve always mentored people. I’ve even in the 10 years that I’ve been in, um, having my own business, I’ve had lots of people come to me and say, Hey, can you help me?
I have this question about my business. And so I I’d say informally business coaching people for a while and realized, gosh, there really is a clear way though, that you could launch your business as far as the basics of, you know, whether it’s picking, what type of entity structure you are to your name, to figuring out some of the accounting backend.
You know, things that you need to set up your business, understanding startup costs and ongoing expenses and all of that. Again, there was no clear roadmap. And so last year I launched a program to help people who wanted to transition whether it was, you know, from a full-time job or they just wanted to start a side hustle, but wanted to do it right.
And I call it the freedom freelance program. And it’s been really fun to help people again, make that transition. And for a lot of people. It’s launching a side hustle while they still have a full-time job. And then some of them have now transitioned that side hustle to their full-time freelance jobs. So it must be really rewarding as well.
I mean, I get a similar thing I was working on, on the side of job, and then it’s kind of almost like building the parachute is I jumped kind of thing and. Take the leap. And then kind of like, you know, just like you said, there, wasn’t much about to kind of give you that guidance. So I think a program with that is really good.
Cause there’s so many people out there that have the talent, they have the ambition and they have the knowledge to be able to do that sort of thing. They just don’t know how to start something. That’s a really cool process and projects to go down. And, um, yeah. So I was thinking about that idea of a career strategist.
So how does that sort of build into that process? So what is that kind of a follow on from the starting of the business, helping them start the business and then the strategist. Kind of kicks in to build out that plan. Is that how that works? Yeah. I actually think of it as crew strategy from the very beginning.
So the very beginning, the first thing that we do in the program is make sure that we get really clear on the life vision, that that person has their spiritual vision. I call it your soul boomerang. So when you think about the flight of a boomerang, right, you have an origin point and then you launch it into the air and then it circles around there, and then it comes back to you.
And I kind of think about our souls like that. Like we have this. Origin point, maybe I believe we’re born with a specific purpose to fulfill in the way we’re supposed to impact the world. We travel around our lives and sometimes we can forget that. And then we spend a lot of time hopefully then rebuilding that or getting back to that essence of who we are at our core.
And so helping people get back to that, understanding their values. So just as it’s important for organizations to understand their values, I think it’s important for us as individuals and as entrepreneurs to get clear on that. And then also understanding our strengths. So I love the tool finder. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.
Um, from Gallup. It’s an assessment tool and it helps you really clarify your top five strengths. And then the idea that you should build on your strengths rather than focused on your weaknesses and turn your strengths and the talents. And so I help people get really clear on those areas first. Because I’m sure you’ve seen this with a lot of friends and maybe in your own life where we fall into some kind of job.
And then we retrofit our lives to fit that job. When really, I think we should be thinking about what kind of life we want and what kind of impact we want to have. And again, our values and strengths, and then shaping a career around that. And so that’s the number one first steps I believe in launching your own business.
And that’s how I approach it. So the strategy piece comes in really early. And then from there we do some more strategy in building a business plan and making sure even some people aren’t. Well, now everyone’s used to working from home at least a little bit because of the pandemic. But before this year, people didn’t know how to work from home, including me.
When I first started working from home, which was 10 years ago, I would work till nine or 10:00 PM. And not really have good boundaries and not understand like when to turn it off and when to turn it on and how to, you know, create those boundaries with my clients and with myself. So we also go over some of those things, some productivity hacks, how to make sure you’re moving throughout the day and not just sitting sedentary.
I have a standup desk, for example. So that’s one of the ways I knew it. They got one of those. Definitely I’ve seen those and really wanted to get one of those. Cause I do, I just sit at the desk all day kind of thing. You know, you have to be really present in the fighting to get up and walk around and you know, do do something else.
Cause otherwise you will just sit and be stuck there. And I think what you said about taking what you want to do in life and your values and then building something around it as being, because I kind of did that. I felt I’m too into something and I I’ve always had like a. I’ve always been interested in design and always been interested in the other side of it, you know, the strategy side of it as well.
But I didn’t realize until I started getting into branding that you could merge the T that you could, the two could come together with those two things. And it was a real revelation when I found branding and the marketing side of things, because it was using those two together. And I think it was, yeah, it’s amazing.
When you find something like that, that you’re suited to your strengths are suited. See how it just feels. Right. I think it just feels right for you as an individual. Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve heard this quote by Howard Thurman. He was a pretty much an old theologian, like in the 18 hundreds, but he said this don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Yeah. And I love that. That’s how I think of it. Right. Like, We can actually, again, step into who we really are and how we’re wired, because we all come in as world wired in a unique way, like you. And I both said, we both love our right and left brains, but some people might be one way or the other or both, but in a different expression of that.
And we also, in addition to our wiring and, you know, innate talents and gifts and the strengths that we get to have, and then develop, I believe we also have a passion and burden for the world in specific ways. And so I know for me, I see so many people stuck in complacency and I think a lack of joy in their life.And a lot of that has to do with their career because we spend so much time working. You know, I did the math about a year ago, and I, if you work 40 to 50 hours a week for about 40 years of your life for about 50 weeks a year. So in the States, right, we only take two weeks vacation in Europe. You’re a little bit better about your holidays, but that’s an 80,000 hours of your life.
And that’s really, it’s a third of your entire life. And half of your waking hours we spend working. And so I think, no wonder there’s so many people who are unhappy because they’re unhappy in their jobs. They’re not fulfilled. They don’t find their purpose in it. And again, they’ve really just fallen into this thing and then try to fit their life around it.
Where I think we had a lot of people who did a, a little bit more soul searching in the beginning, which I think should be a factor of our education system. Then I think it would be really cool to see. What, you know, new careers and new opportunities people step into. I totally agree about the education system.
I believe. So. I believe creativity as well, should be taught a bit more. As an actual skill, you know, and not, not creativity in the sense that just artistic creativity or design, but creativity and problem solving, creative thinking and that kind of thing. I think it’s a really crucial skill to have throughout life because it allows you to adapt to situations and change and, and see what’s coming up and be able to change with the times.
So I think, yeah, that’d be you’re right. They should be really, you know, part of the education system to have that creative thinking, but also to sort of be taught and have those strengths. Lift it up, no matter what the strength is. Cause I think sometimes that’s the problem you’re trying to in, in our education system, I’m going on a bit of a tangent, sorry, but like, it’s almost like you’re trying to shoehorn people into a structure that not everyone fits into.
And I think it’s, it should be more about the individual and rather than as opposed to the structure. Yeah. And I think, you know, that made me think of something else is that I think we also uphold certain strengths as being superior to others. Where it’s not that one strength is better than another it’s that we use them in different ways.
And so if we were taught when we were young, that a thing that makes you unique is actually wonderful and good and beautiful instead of. You know, forcing us to conform to the thing, the five things that we all, you know, someone out there who knows who they are decided we’re good. Then I think we would also just have a lot more self confidence and self esteem and more opportunities.
Like I said, to step into those things, to fulfill the thing that we really want to do. So what are some things that you would say to somebody who is maybe in a position that they’re not fully happy with? They’re thinking about changing career or looking for that passion? What’s some things you would say to a find the passion, how are they going to find that passion?
And then secondly, what’s some things they can do to start the process of developing. Yeah. One you’re never too old to start. So I have a lot of people who come and say, well, I’m in my 40 or I’m in my fifties and it’s too late for me. I already have this career and I want people to know it’s never too old.
In fact, there’s lots of examples. Of people who started late, like Ray Kroc who founded McDonald’s, he didn’t found McDonald’s. So he was 51, for example, that’s just a small example. And there’s tons of examples like that Jr. Token. Right? I don’t think he didn’t write Lord of the rings until he was in his fifties or sixties.
And so there’s lots of examples of people who are really successful later on and it wasn’t necessarily doing the thing they were doing before. That’s number one, just that encouragement. But I think stepping into whether it’s, you know, programs or there’s so many resources now online to understand yourself better.
So for example, strength finder is a tool. You could take an assessment. Online, understand your strengths a little bit better. You can hire a strength coach to then go over those results. So as part of my program, I have a really good friend. Who’s a certified Gallup strength coach. So people get 90 minutes with her to understand, okay, now I have this report.
What does it mean? And how, what are some of the actions I can take to, you know, develop those strengths into talents? There are, I’m a big fan of certain assessments. So StrengthFinder is one of them. Enneagram is another one. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of any. What I love about it is it recognizes personality as dynamic and not as something that’s stagnant.
So when I’m healthy and I am in a good place, I have certain motivations. That show up in behavior and when I’m unhealthy and stress, I have different motivations that show up and it’s also based on motivation versus behavior. So there’s tools like that. I think there’s, I’m a big fan of just therapy also for self-awareness self-development or life coaching.
It depends on kind of, you know, what path you want to take. There’s different benefits to both. And I think just starting with some of that reading, there’s so many books too, that I could recommend that are helpful. I’m a huge fan of Brenae Brown, for example. And she’s, I think done a lot of work with courage and vulnerability and shame, but now really stepping into leadership.
And how do we lead ourselves and how do we lead others? So all of those resources in understanding yourself better is step number one. And then I think step number two is trying something. So you don’t have to quit your job and try something, leave it all behind, but you can try something as a side hustle.
See if you like it. For example, Maybe I’m just making this up, but maybe you’re an engineer and you really like creative writing and you think, well, I can’t do that, but why don’t you start writing on the side? Why don’t you start a blog? Why don’t you submit, you know, some articles to a paper or another blog or an online publication, and there’s just small steps you can do.
I tell people, if you take one small step every day towards doing something that you really love by the end of the year, you’ll have done 365 things towards that thing. So it doesn’t have to be these big monumental changes in your life, but even taking those small steps will increase. Your confidence will increase.
I believe the joy that you have in your life, because you’ll feel good about investing in yourself and working towards creating something that you really love. Yeah. Definitely those, those small steps do add up. And I think you’re right. If you can try something and you can see whether you like it and find out whether it fits with who you are.
I think that’s a really good way to start what you’re doing. So. With regards to behavior. Actually, I was thinking when he was talking then, so with behavior, you mentioned that you play music and ID too, and I think maybe when you sort of at the right and left brain, I think maybe that start again, isn’t it in play the right and the left brain working together.
Yeah. Are there some things that people can do in order to improve some of their sort of cognitive abilities around that kind of idea with creativity and business and things they can do to improve that from a psychological or behavioral point of view that you’ve sort of picked up on? So there’s lots of, I’ll say brain enhancing exercises, right?
I mean, they even show things like Sodoku. Those puzzles, right? And crossword puzzles and different things that actually stretch your brain are really good for your brain. But now there’s also things like Skillshare. So, you know, online platforms that have learning that you can go. And I believe when we’re learning, we’re also constantly using our brain in new and different ways, because what happens is our brains get used to the things we do.
So if you think about, if you have to drive a certain route, To drop your kids off at school every day that becomes very rote and your brain actually will kind of turn off. Right. And we’ve all experienced that because all of a sudden we’ll get to the destination and we don’t remember actually driving there.
Yep. And so one thing people say, you know, for example, some psychologists say like take a different route to work or school every day and that’ll actually force your brain into continuing to learn. And so there’s lots of ways we can continue to learn. There’s so many free YouTube videos. If you searched, you know, like guitar is a perfect example, like guitar lessons, there are a million free guitar lessons on YouTube from some really talented people.
But if your thing is computer programming and you know, more, left-brain like there are YouTube videos and courses online that you can take, and it doesn’t have to be a big investment, but I know for me, I was gifted masterclass. Have you heard of that? Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen that already. When I give that, I got, it looks really good.
It’s really cool. So I’ve been taking different classes. Like there was a class from the CEO of Starbucks. I’m Howard Schultz on business. And one from Sara Blakely who founded Spanx on business. There’s one from Carlos Santana on music. There’s yeah, there’s different cooking ones and gardening ones. And so for me, I do about 20 minutes a day of a masterclass video is just a lunchtime learning break.
I also am just a learner and I love to learn. So in addition to the brain benefits, it’s also just fun for me. Cool. Yeah. The only thing I saw on the masterclass that Gordon Ramsey does when I think, and I just thought if I said that class, he would just like shout at you the whole time. Just kind of, he actually doesn’t show as much.
Like I took one of the classes and it was about, well, what knives you should have in your kitchen. Uh, so yeah, there’s lots of, you know, in masterclass, like I said, is a paid platform, which is really cool, but there’s also lots of free resources. Don’t let finances be a reason you don’t keep learning. Yeah.
That’s a really good point. And that’s one of the things when you do that learning, and like you said, at lunchtimes and things, or if you do any kind of learning, you get a sort of afterwards, a little bit of an inspirational. Yeah. Afterwards, you feel inspired, you feel ready for something it’s like a refresh to the brain?
It sounds strange, but yeah, you feel a lot better afterwards. So I was thinking from your point of view, what brands have you seen recently? And it could be a client. It could be someone you’ve worked with, but what brands have you seen recently that you’re really kind of excited about? Or you’ve seen some marketing they’ve done that has really captivated you and you’ve been inspired by.
That’s a great question. I have to admit, I don’t consume a lot of media. I don’t have cable TV, and most of the shows I watch are commercial free on Netflix or Amazon prime, but I’ve really enjoyed watching. I think across the board, innovation happened. In different industries. So I have a client, for example, who they do team building for companies, they call it team connecting, but when the pandemic kits, they already had a virtual version of their team building, but it actually blew up because now all of a sudden companies were like, we have to do this virtually.
So now he’s been able to have clients all over. The country, not just, we live in San Diego, California, so not just here. And so it’s fun to see how he’s innovated to make sure that the thing he was providing before in person would work and be just as fun. And actually now be more accessible to more people because he’s taken it to a zoom platform.
So the innovation has been fun. I think I’m also really impressed with the companies that are still doubling down on their values. And so I think about like charity water for example, is a brand that I support and admire a lot for a lot of different reasons. And they’re still committed to their goal and their mission, even in the face of a pandemic and are still living out their values from what I can see.
At least as a consumer, from what I can see. And other organizations like Patagonia, who I really admire their commitment to the environment, for example. And similarly, like they didn’t say like, Oh, we have a pandemic now we’re not going to do the things we were called to do to support climate change or combat climate change.
They’re still doing those things. So. I don’t know if that answers your question, but those were some of the top things that came to mind. Yeah, definitely. And, uh, yeah, like you said, pass again, you know what I mean? Just amazing brand. And there’s a brand that we support with my company on them. It’s brand management in the UK called surfers against sewage, and it’s a similar, and what they do is they’ve told us to kind of, yeah.
Clean, clean up the oceans and clean up the beaches and stuff to make sure that yeah, the oceans is just a safe place that we can all play in the oceans, enjoy the oceans for what they are. And there are similar kinds of things, so they haven’t stopped their values. They haven’t stopped anything they’re doing because of the pandemic.
In fact, like you said, they’ve doubled down on it and I think that’s a really embarrassing quality. And on the flip side, like you said, those brands are having to pivot like online gyms and stuff like that to have to come up with new ideas and innovative ways to do things have really taken a lot of brands to task because they’re having to innovate in that way, in that new sort of situation.
So, what is some sort of core building blocks that potentially you would say to brands to think about now as a way to looking into 2021 what’s some course or building blocks they can use to get themselves into this new normal? Yeah, I think this is a really good time to relook at some of those things.
Like your values, your purpose, and your promise. And for a lot of companies, I think they’re going to look at it and say, yes, this is spot on. We still believe in this. Now we might need to operationalize those things in a different way. Um, we need, I’ve never heard the word pivot so much since the pandemic, but it’s a good word and it applies.
So, you know, they’re going to have to pivot in different ways, um, whether it’s supporting a distributed remote workforce or, um, like I said, like taking their service or product online, Um, and not relying as much on brick and mortar, but I think for some companies, it’s going to be a really great opportunity for them to maybe innovate and explore some of those values, promises and purpose, because maybe it’s shifted as a result of the pandemic and they realize.
Okay. This thing that we thought we were doing, isn’t actually serving our customers the way we wanted it to, or they’re telling us it’s not the quality they expect. And so it’s the time to re-look at those things. Get clear on them in a new way. And then again, operationalize and make sure you’re being authentic and aligned in the way you’re delivering your services and products.
To those people that you want to become your brand ambassadors? Definitely. So in terms of the Rachel K group and what you’re doing, what’s your vision for the next year? What are your plans? What you’re looking to do. Yeah, I’m really excited about some of this more brand culture building piece that I’ve been working on and working with clients on.
And also I’m starting to help. There’s a lot of companies that do executive coaching. So the C level people, the chief marketing officers and the CEOs, they all get this executive coaching. And it’s really great for them. But I know when I was in corporate America, I was a middle manager. I was a senior manager.
And we didn’t have that kind of support. And so now I’m also starting to work with organizations to help support that middle management tier, especially in creative groups and marketing groups, to make sure that they feel supported and invested in that they can manage their teams. Well, because most of them also have employees under them.
I think when you can support the health of a culture at every level of the organization, that’s an organization that’s going to thrive and survive in the long run. Even through economic downturns, even through things like a pandemic. And we’ll again, be able to innovate more quickly and survive, change with more resiliency.
Thanks very much, Rachel, for coming on the unified brand podcast, it’s been really, really good having you on here. And, um, yeah, I’d like to find out more about the brand coach and stuff that you’ve been doing, but where can our listeners find out more about you more about the Rachel K group and some of the stuff that you’ve been doing?
Thanks, Chris, it’s been so fun and I love the name of your podcast unified brand. And I feel like you and I are unified in the way we approach brand. So it’s very fitting that people can find me at my website, Rachel K group.com. I’m on LinkedIn at Rachel K Croft and I’m on Facebook at Rachel K group. So those are the best ways to get ahold of me.
And I love hearing from people whether it’s related to brand, or like I said, launching their own business. I’m passionate about both of those things. So thanks again for having me. It’s been a really fun question. Oh, no worries. No, it’s been really good and I really appreciate you coming on and yeah, definitely.
If anyone is thinking about launching a career and they’re not too sure how to get started, then definitely going to go to Rachel Kate group.com. I’ll put all the details in the show notes. And yeah, just, just head on over there and, um, yeah, get started. So, thanks again. It’s been really good. Cheers. Have a great day.
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