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Adventures in Branding

The Adventures in Branding podcast is here to inspire you to find your brand magic. From business brand to personal brand, these Clusters of Awesomeness will talk you through about the good, the bad, and the ugly of being a human. Get ready to make the impact you were born to rock. Follow me, Melanie Spring, and my collection of hardcore co-hosts around the world as we share our experiences on the road of branding. The twists, the turns & everything in between - building businesses and living the adventures. This is the podcast for kickass humans who crave change, push limits, and light fires. Melanie is your Chief Inspiration Officer & it’s her job to spark the magic.
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Adventures in Branding
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Now displaying: Category: business
Jan 17, 2018

If I asked everyone at your office your core values, could they recite them? Do you have them for yourself? Do you know what core values are? Core Values are the foundation of every brand - personal brands & business brands. When you create them effectively, you and your whole team can use them to filter every decision they need to make.

A year ago Alison McNeil, arts and culture advocate and head of MCEArts, was looking for podcasts that filled her soul and she stumbled upon my journey on Adventures in Branding. This year, she's a guest of the podcast! Alison & I dive deep into how core values drive her life AND her business. We even get a chance to talk about the power of having words to name your experiences & what it looks like to be breaking down barriers in the arts.

Listen in as the extroverted introvert and kickass creative entrepreneur teaches us what she looks for in every human interaction and how she organizes her work - creating roadmaps and removing roadblocks - to make arts and culture accessible to all.

Dec 20, 2017

Have you ever met someone who lives their brand so well that no matter when you catch up with them, you feel like you jumped in right where you left off and everything is just as wonderful as it's always been? That's how I feel with Kacy.

Kacy is the master organizer who focuses on all things paper - and she runs The Inspired Office. She’s been organizing since she was a kid but started a business instead of getting a job in 2001. She knows that organizing can change lives (truly) and bring calm in ways you wouldn’t expect - she's even done it for me.

In this week’s podcast episode, Kacy Paide let us in on her affinity for dusty hands, being covered in someone else's cat hair and why clients take photos of her while she's organizing their lives. Even though things have changed in her industry, she's really focused on the people she's helping and how to help them best.

Think you’re the only one who hasn’t gone digital with with your documents? Kacy has seen it all and has proof that humans of all ages and sizes collect paper - even in this digital age. We shouldn't have shame around our things - and there's a big loneliness of being trapped by our stuff. Kacy is ready to let you off the hook whenever you're ready to let go - without all the guilt that comes along with it.

I've known Kacy's love for Evernote for years and FINALLY got a chance to ask her how I can use it better - now that I have her captive on the podcast. Want Kacy's ten-minute organization method to determine how hectic your life really is? Press that play button and get inspired to pull your paper together!

Dec 13, 2017

Holly Gerberich is one of us.

She’s a Kickass Human who is ROCKING her brand, taking names, and leading a kickass life.

As the head of strategic marketing at Gerberich Growth Strategies, Holly is focused on helping businesses grow and creating tailor-made strategies to get them to the next level. A DCer of over 15 years, she connected marketing and growth before big brands like Coca-Cola even realized they were related.

In this week’s podcast episode, Holly Gerberich lets us in on working with crazy human beings who feel things, taking a step back to see where you are, and the importance of having business goals. Holly drops some truthbombs for business owners who are trying to grow and goes through how marketing can light a business on fire- or make it fizzle.

Listen in to find out the secret of Holly’s master growth strategy superpower, how she brainstorms crazy into tangible in her business, and where her ideas come to her. Also, Holly and I dig deep into how the universe can take charge - bring you to places that you never thought you would end up, and sometimes name your dog FOR you. Ernie and Bailey - thank you, Universe.

If you want to know how NINE dogs, meditation, and TEN Oscars events have changed Holly’s life, you’ve got to listen in. HINT: It’s the plot of a Seinfeld episode and a life exercise of knowing how to be in front of the right person at the right time.  

You need this wisdom in your week today - your brain and your business will love you for it. Get her wisdom in your ears - HIT PLAY.

Dec 6, 2017

Strother Gaines is full of glitter and wisdom.

He’s the head unicorn of But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC, an entrepreneurial coaching company helping humans who want to build their next step. When I asked the Kickass Humans Club who should be on the podcast, Sarai Johnson, one of our recent Rock Your Talk-ers put her hand way up and suggested Strother saying “He’s AMAZING!” spoiler: she was right.

Strother is a Kentucky-born triple threat who is keeping busy as an entrepreneur, the artistic director for TBC immersive - a new theater company in DC, and the event director for “Network Under Forty”.

Oh - and one of his drag queen names is Joann Fabrics. (Like, the fabric store… Yeah, I love him.)

In this week’s podcast episode, Strother Gaines lets us in on the phone call from the IRS about his LLC’s name, “But I’m a Unicorn, Dammit, LLC” and how to network without being an asshole (this was fun). His bits about growing up in the rural south, coming into his own, and the glory of Southern Queens are what make Strother such a fabulous human being. He shares HIS story, which helps others share theirs. BRILLIANT!

Ever wonder what the difference is between  jackhammer careers and hummingbird careers? Maybe you’ve wondered how a career trajectory of cross pollination led him from being segway tour guide to entrepreneurial coach? Well, you get all of that and more - right here on the podcast.

My favorite part? Strother brings Joann Fabrics to the podcast - including the family inspiration for her and how he gets himself into character. (HINT: It’s a very specific swear word with southern flair.)

Nov 29, 2017

Jennifer kills it on her FIRST TIME on a podcast.

Jennifer Vallina is a master of saying “sure” and jumping right in. She accidentally started a successful business, One Sock On Photography, from scratch in a brand new industry for her - in the most political city in America. It’s a photography studio that has been featured in the Hirshhorn Museum (her kickass cards were in the gift shop!) and grew from Jennifer’s passion for finding the beautiful essence of everything - especially the overlooked. Her business tagline is “Capturing the beauty of the world overlooked” and Jennifer does that through her lens.


This week, we hear how Jennifer’s life has been changed over and over again by just saying “Sure.” From her drive for accessible art to finding the arts scene in a city known for politicians. We also get to hear about how she found the love of her life at a bonfire on a cold night - right after she had given up on dating FOREVER. Jennifer gives some solid advice about humor in relationships and some rad fruit puns (This is a big deal, says the woman who is awful at being punny.)

We also get the inside scoop about the reason for her brand’s name (hint: it has to do with dressing for the East Coast winter.) Jennifer also shares about losing the job she loved most, her ongoing love of dance, and slowly building a business from nothing. Listen to hear her wisdom on trying to not give away all your secrets (another thing I’m terrible at doing.)

At the end, Jennifer speaks to knowing her brand down to the shade of green and how her business is built on being the photographer who won’t automatically airbrush the bumps and bruises of life.

Nov 22, 2017

Joe Natoli is the UX guy.

He’s done it all - from running a print design firm to jumping on the user interface design platform when the internet was small enough to start with a lowercase “i”. After 26 years of coaching clients and corporations on how to build stuff that humans can intuitively use, he’s written a book to complement his course - which has reached over 55,000 students. Joe also confessed he might move into my living room and never leave.

In this week’s podcast, Joe lets us in on his early adoption of the internet as more than just a “passing fad”, his definition of UX, and how communication is the heart of design. We also get to hear about his growth, riding the Dotcom boom, and how purpose should drive what creatives do. Joe also shares wisdom on how language can encourage listening - and when to pull a “Tom Hanks”. (Yeah, you’ll have to listen to find out.)

Joe found his calling while running a UX design firm. He watched the room light up as he got clarity on why humans get stuck at design roadblocks - including the frustration of an espresso machine.

At the end of the episode, we even get to listen in on his philosophy on the ups-and-downs of life - and the power of seeing value manifest itself. Listen in to get the whole conversation.

Nov 8, 2017

Borzou Azabdaftari is a design genius. He’s transformed his family’s business from an ‘80’s printing place into the modern marketing agency - The Falcon Lab, It’s a creative and digital print agency with the motto of “Make cool sh!t”.

This week, we dive into his recent lab move, how the “Make cool sh!t” tagline grew on him, and how his spouse uses crazy competition to drive ambition. We also get to hear about the new location, how he updated his family business, learned how to run a business from scratch , and what he would tell his 18-year-old self. Also, why he got married over Thanksgiving weekend.

Because of his recent office move, we even get the inside scoop from Borzou as he passes on some straightforward advice about construction projects, contracts, and leases. He learned a lot over the course of moving The Falcon Lab to its new home near Tyson’s Corner, fortunately for you..

At the end of the episode, we even get to listen in on his philosophy on how to live - AND figuring out how to find what you love. Because the secret is there are no secrets.

Oct 25, 2017

“I have a newfound passion for curiosity.” - KiKi L’Italien

KiKi L’Italian is a powerhouse. If you couldn’t tell by her amazing presence and bold lipstick, then you’d definitely understand who she is when she calls herself the “Oprah of the Association industry”  and the curator of the curious. KiKi is CEO of the digital marketing agency, Amplified Growth, and founder/owner of Association Chat, which is a community for association members.  

This week, we discuss how she turned her hobby into a business, why weird is better, and reframing what generosity means. We also talk about the tactics KiKi used to exercise her curiosity and you get to hear her seriously gush about her daughter, Margot, at the end.

We even find KiKi’s personal brand during this episode - and in case you didn’t already know: KiKi is larger than life. She loves music, is a runner, likes to cook, is curious, generous, and a very thoughtful human.

 

Oct 11, 2017

“When you get out of your comfort zone, that’s when great things happen.” - Ati Williams

There are so many great things I could say about my dear friend, Ati. The last time I saw her, she had just shown us The Poopy Dance in front of a live audience on the Rock Your Talk stage, which is absolutely as impactful as it sounds (scroll down for a piece of the action.) Ati is a mother and entrepreneur. She attributes a lot of the innovative solutions she has used to build her real estate company, DC HomeBuzz, with her Kenyan upbringing.

In this episode, we discuss rocking your personal brand, what motherhood has taught Ati about being a leader, and how to properly answer the dreaded: “So tell me about yourself.”

THEN, the tables turn and Ati surprises me with a few questions. Listen to this episode of Adventures in Branding to find out how I found my personal brand, what are some of hiring tactics, and what really happened in Bali.

Sep 27, 2017

Meet my neighbor, Michelle Lim Warner. Michelle owns DCanter Wine Boutique on Barracks Row here in DC with her husband. Together they are creating a powerhouse in the wine lifestyle market.

We hadn’t seen each other in awhile so it was great to do some catchup here on the podcast. She and her business have been undergoing some serious growth! Michelle has been branding her business like a branding pro - so much so that all of her new hires are so excited about the culture they have created together at DCanter - and the crazy part?! They were all customers FIRST!

This week, we talk about growing your team, using your growing team’s talent to help catapult your business, manifesting a work/life balance, and the commitment it takes to own a business with your spouse. First tip: take walking meetings! Listen in to find out why.

Sep 13, 2017

“I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that bitch on fire.”

 

It’s my birthday today and I have to admit that I am enjoying the heck out of getting older. One year ago today I was preparing for a year of change. I was working out how to end a relationship, blow up my business, and unbeknownst to me, getting ready to dig deep into why I’m on this earth.

 In celebration of this last year of blowing things up, here’s my birthday wish for you: I want YOU to light a huge blaze. I want you to make a decision to SHOW UP every day - beginning today.

 My birthday wish is for you - the person who feels lost and empty, the human struggling to find out who you really are, the one who’s really trying to show up and show off. It’s time to light that shit on fire. My wish for you is to start showing up and showing off.

So, what are you waiting for? All it takes is one decision and one step.

Aug 23, 2017

Each of us has a story. A lot of us just think that our story is insignificant. I’m here to let you know you couldn’t be more wrong. Whether you’ve been through the big things or the small things, it doesn’t matter. Someone else has gone through them as well. And some of us are going through them. And some things are still yet to come for some us. But you would never know who needed to hear exactly what you have to say until you say it.

 

It’s no secret - I’m a BIG fan of stories. I love sharing them and I love receiving them even more. The last couple of weeks have been amazing with 6 sets of women on HERadventures. Storytelling is one of the biggest drivers for why I do a lot of what I do, and the biggest inspiration for Rock Your Talk.

 

I can think of fewer things in life than helping someone organize their story and helping them get the hint of courage they need to be able to get on stage and tell it to the world! In honor of stories, being back to Adventures in Branding, and the launch of the second Rock Your Talk, I made a whole episode all about stories and the impact your story can have on someone else.

 

Oct 4, 2016

Have you ever heard a speech about someone who had something horrible happen to them and it changed their life? Cancer, a car accident, an injury, a fight, a sickness, a relationship ending, being arrested. They get up on stage and start with how it all changed for them. My goal in this life is to never have to give that speech because I was in control of my life being amazing and nothing had to happen to me to change it. One of my other goals is to make sure others are living their lives in a way that they won’t have to either.

Many people think about things they need to give up or quit or get rid of - those habits they want to be done with. But how many times do we say we're going to do it and then decide it's not really as big of a deal. So we keep doing that thing. We keep going back to it with guilt and the feeling that we really can't stop doing it because (insert excuse here). 

Most of the time, these are just stories. Stories we tell ourselves because we're human. And that's where those speeches come from. We never gave up that thing and something had to step in and change it all for us.

I recently wrote a very personal blog post called Because I Keep Saying I Will on one of my biggest "stories." The story that said I wasn't strong enough to find something different to cope with stress, anxiety, nightmares, and lack of sleep. Something that could help me stay focused because I just wasn't built that way. And you know what, it was just that - a story. 

Replacing my story with a commitment - NOT saying "I'm giving it up" or "I quit" - but saying, this is my new story and this is how I want my life to look. I have a much better chance of being true to myself and writing the next part without making up guilty lies.

COMMITMENTS: Even if you don't read the post, or listen to the podcast, here’s my commitment to myself:
  • Meditation as medication. I am committed to meditate when I feel it’s time to medicate myself. Even if that mean I have to meditate 15x a day to make it stop.
  • No booze in the house. I am committed to removing all alcohol from the premises and will not purchase another bottle of anything.
  • Playtime looks different. I am committed to finding new activities that will replace “meet me for a drink” activities.
  • Cravings become writing. I am committed to keeping a journal of how I’m feeling so I can find out what brings on the cravings. 
COMMUNITY: As much as people like to complain about others oversharing, posting too much, and being narcissistic, we humans need each other. We need to hear each other’s stories, we need to know that others struggle like we do. We need to be there to help each other through these things. I need you. You need me. We can do this together.
 
Do you have something you need to commit to? It doesn’t have to be the same as what I’m doing.
  • What do you keep saying you’ll do?
  • What do your friends keep asking you about?
  • What are you doing that doesn’t fit your personal brand?
Write it down. Find a replacement habit.
Commit to it. And take it one day at a time. We’ve got this. 
 
Let’s work together to make sure we don’t have to write a speech about the thing we couldn’t give up that almost killed us.
 
This series also comes with a video series.
Sep 27, 2016

It's time to trust yourself.

Quite a few people have told me recently that when they first meet me they're a little intimidated by me. But after chatting, I find out that it's because they want to show up as confident as I do. They say they can tell I don't care what others think of me. 

Little secret: I do care what people think about me. Because I care about people.

But showing up with confidence is not meant to be intimidating. A conference attendee recently confided that when I got on stage in my little black dress & heels (yes, I dress up sometimes) to deliver a speech she immediately hated me because of how "perfect" I seemed. And by the end of the talk, she wanted to be my friend. Because of how I was real and unafraid to be imperfect in front of an audience of really smart people.

When I pressed her more about herself, I heard all of her insecurities, her hurts, and how much her past was affecting her future. But her past could be used as a motivator to get where she wants to go instead of a detractor holding her back.

When we show up with confidence, we show up trusting ourselves and knowing the world is here for us, not against us. What do you need to do to find the confidence you most totally deserve?

Sep 20, 2016

 

What happens when you have a well-defined brand, but it’s not really YOU anymore? Sometimes the brand that you started out with  —  the one that got you out there and paid  — looked like success. But if it’s not you anymore, you can feel trapped inside your own brand. And what’s worse is that you’re attracting people but they’re not YOUR people.  

It’s hard to crawl back from misalignment. Life changes and so does your brand. Finding alignment means finding what floats your boat and then getting out there and doing that thing - whatever your thing is. If circumstances have changed, or you’ve evolved in other ways, finding alignment is all about your destiny in your own way.

It takes guts to live “on brand.”  Struggling people (and businesses) in a brand crisis are in misalignment. And that can lead to mistrust. If this feels “too real,” stop the presses and boil everything down to what is really at the essence or the core of your brand. That’s the hard part. But it’s so worth it. When you know who you are, you can market the heck out it!

This series, Finding, is all about you. It’s about finding your light - from the inside out. It’s about finding yourself, your joy, your strength, your purpose, your direction, and your freedom.

This week is about Finding Alignment. Cheney and Rebecca talk about people who feel trapped in their own brand, how to identify misalignment and then get re-aligned. Listen in to find out how a little self awareness and a lot of tweaking — can lead to really rocking your life.

More at www.brandventurespodcast.com 

 

Sep 13, 2016

Our biggest regrets will not
be the things we did.

Creating this podcast was not a dream of mine but I knew I had to do it. Getting it started was terrifying for me (and you know this if you listened to the first few) but if I wanted to accomplish everything I’ve been dreaming of, I had to do it. It was my little big step that will end up allowing me to get where I want to go.

When we get to the end of our lives, our biggest regrets will not be the things we did, but the things we didn’t do.

Inactions = huge regrets.

One of our core values at Sisarina is Dream Bigger. It’s not because your dreams are too small - it’s because you’re meant to have big dreams. Your purpose is to live a big life - whatever that “big life” is for you. What is the thing that you can accomplish today that will get you where you want to be someday?

This series, Finding, is all about you. It’s about finding your light - from the inside out. It’s about finding yourself, your joy, your strength, your purpose, your direction, and your freedom.

This week is about Finding Dreams. Based on a social media post I read about someone having their dreams stolen, I went off on a short rant talking about how you have to let go of the childhood dreams you have and start living the dreams you have now. Listen in to figure out how to take that next step.

 

Sep 6, 2016

 

It’s not what you do but what you seek out. Magic will keep showing up – if you let it. It’s not just about holding the door open. You’ve got to make space for it. Surround yourself with the people who want your heart to sing. Make real connections. Live human to human, not business card to business card.

 The world is here to help you, not hurt you. When you stop looking at life as something that happens TO you, you get this awesome thing called agency. It gives you power. Power to show up and show off. Power to surround yourself with rockstar humans who help you create magic.

We need other people for real balance. It takes a village. Truth. You can’t make magic happen without interacting with other people. Be real and let other people be real. Keep making the space for it, and magic WILL happen. Let down your guard. Keeping your walls up and people out only sells the world short of your awesomeness.

This series, Finding, is all about you. It’s about finding your light - from the inside out. It’s about finding yourself, your joy, your strength, your purpose, your direction, and your freedom.

This week is about Finding Magic. Rebecca, Cheney and I talk about what happens when the goddesses show up, like they did recently at Fosterly’s Study Hall for Women Entrepreneurs. What happens when you make the space  and give yourself permission — to be 100% yourself. Listen in and get inspired to connect with people on a deeper level and keep making magic.

 This podcast episode even has video outtakes - because you’re welcome.

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