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Brand Your Creative Business

Lesson 4 of 22

Great Products are Key to Strong Brands

Megan Auman

Brand Your Creative Business

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

4. Great Products are Key to Strong Brands

Lesson Info

Great Products are Key to Strong Brands

Now that we've established kind of what branding is its time, sit down and start implementing it for you. So really working through that. And I actually gave this away for those of you who are paying attention in our last segment, which is, what do you and steve jobs have in common? And that's, really, that you started because you wanted to make a great product, right? I mentioned the biography of steve jobs, and one of the first things that struck me and reading about his story was that he was obsessed first and foremost, not with building this big company, but with building a product. And he was super, super passionate about one product and getting it right. And for those of you who are maybe too young to remember that's a computer, it wasn't an ipad and iphone. It was a computer, actually. So he was obsessed with getting that right. And I think that a lot of you and myself included are like that you started your business because you're passionate about a product, right? Either, you ...

know, maybe like monica, you had an idea, something that you thought could solve a problem or maybe, you know, like sarah, you're passionate about a certain technique you, you know, you want to work with metal or you wanna work with fiber with ceramics, whatever it is you're passionate about your product and that's great because it's going to set the foundation for your brand because great brands need great products, you can't have a great brand without a great product. Now, just for any of you who might not be a maker who are listening when I say great products if your product is a service that's okay, too, you could think of the product is whatever you give to the customer in exchange for money, so the value in exchange for money that's your product. But for most of you think watching here it's a physical, tangible object, something that you make that you're really passionate about and the great products are really the essence of your brand. So what we're going to learn in this segment is howto make your product line both more cohesive and more memorable and they really go hand in hand so when your product line feels more cohesive then it's easier for people to recognize it and remember so they might not have to have seen all of your products, but they could maybe pick something out and no, I think that's hers eso a friend of mine was telling me a story she was actually at her o b g y n having unemployment, she was pregnant and she was wearing a pair of my earrings and her doctor says to her, those megan allman earrings that's the kind of thing you want to hear, right? She may not have seen that exact pair of earrings, but she recognized the style and she knew that it was part of the brand and that's what we're going to dio in this segment is you're going to figure out what you need to do with the steps you need to take to make your product line more cohesive and more memorable they have in common with steve jobs wearing designer says they both look good in glasses I like something I don't have income which is whywe contact debbie saying hoses they both had a great attention to detail yes and that it can be a really key part of your brand that's something that's super important to that attention to detail I can absolutely be an important part of your brand, so how do you make your products more recognizable and we're going to look at two keys to product based branding emotional resonance so this is that piece that we were talking about in the first segment making people feel something and aesthetic recognition that means that you see it you recognize it by the way that it looks right and I think we can probably think of a few brands or a few products that hit both of these pieces that hit that emotional resonance and the aesthetic recognition and truth be told, you're probably actually going to as a customer hit these in reverse right? You get the aesthetic recognition, then it pulls up that emotional resonance so a couple of examples that maybe I could get you guys to think about lupita it's so red soles exactly and that's yeah, I actually asked my husband I was like, so if I say louboutins you know I'm about he's like they're those shoes with a red on the bottom, right? Yes, perfect. So so this hasn't immediate esthetic recognition you say luton red soles everybody knows it and it's amazing how you can pick it out in a flash you're watching a tv show and you're like that's julia really batons, right? Sometimes you're thinking that girl can't afford twelve hundred dollars shoes, right? But you still picked him out you noticed them so they have this super strong esthetic recognition but then on top of that they also have a strong emotional resonance you know that the woman who's wearing them is powerful she's confidential it'll sexy right and that's how she's feeling if she's wearing them so you have those two elements aesthetic recognition emotional resonance if you think back to the early days of the ipod first of all you don't even have to see the ipod to get the aesthetic recognition what you have to see yeah, the white earbuds right and the early days of the ipod that was like the signifier you're on the subway you look over there's another guy with the white roads you know they have the ipod too. And then of course the actual product itself has a lot of consistent visual branding elements that come in a swell but just buy those white everybody earbuds you knew they were rocking the ipod and then there was an emotional resonance there especially for those early adopters right? They felt cool they felt in the know they were, you know, the kind of trendsetters there and they were part of that club, right? You were part of this like, you know, tech savvy but creative at the same time there was definitely that connection happening there. So to bring that down teo perhaps a brand that's you guys I know I know monica knows this brand a brand that's started as a maker brand and she since expanded but freshly picked so if you aren't familiar with her brand, she her predominant product line are these baby mocks, and this is another case where that esthetic recognition runs really high. You see that she's got in a lot of celebrity babies to wear her products now, not really even I think of her own doing just because again, and she had this product that people were talking about, but so you spot that picture and you're like, oh, whatever kardashians baby is wearing freshly picked mox I don't know which kardashians or which babies, but I could spot the mox, right? So, you know, based on the way the products look, those air freshly picked mox but there's again also that emotional resonance because you're part of that, like stylish, savvy moms club, right? Your kids have the best everyone knows these are the shoes that your kids wear because they're better for their feet, but if you were in on, you're in the know you feel good about what your kids are wearing, right? And so it's got those two aspects, so let's talk about that emotional resonance piece. First again, you know your customers are probably going to hit on that aesthetic recognition, and so we're going to get there, but I want to talk about the emotional residents because it really is the core of your brand. And here's the thing that's really important to remember people don't buy your product they by the way the product makes them feel this is becoming more and more true but it's especially true with our products because let's face it if they might feel in need but it's a pretty tenuous needed best right? It's not like they're solving a major problem that somebody has we're making things that for lack of a better word could be termed frivolous, which is ok, but that means that people aren't buying the product they're buying the way the product makes them feel and it might be unconscious or subconscious they might not walk in and be like, I'm buying this because it makes me feel like supermom and in fact, a lot of times people will rationalize those emotions like, oh, well, yeah, like they come in and they see the necklace and it makes him feel great, but they're like, well, I need to buy this because I have a big presentation at work next week, right? So they're going to justify it but it's, that immediate kind of emotional feeling that at least makes them want to buy in the first place. So whether you realize it or not, your products have meaning and emotion that are just waiting to be unlocked, so if you haven't been drawing on these emotions now's your chance, right? They're all in there and it's about figuring out what those emotions are. So how do your products generate emotion? There is a really fantastic book that I love called emotional design by donald norman it's really fantastic book about basically the way products make people feel, and he talks about that products resonate with people on three separate levels visceral, behavioral and reflective. So visceral is that gut reaction that's how we respond basically to nature, a visceral reaction is why you love a sunset or a beautiful tree or a really attractive person. You know, the facial symmetry thing, they always talk about that that's your visceral gut reaction it's, why you like pretty things, cute things, fun things, it just looks good, right? It's the hardest one to explain, but it's like it just looks good. I like the way it looks. You have that gut reaction to it, behavioral is how great something is to use it functions well. So in the case of monica's product, you're really selling this kind of key behavioral emotional connection. It's easy to use she's got the the one here could pull the white that with one hand, you can flip it open with one hand, too, if I'm if I'm remembering correctly, so you know, how pleasurable is it to use? And that creates this sort of behavioral emotional connection, and then reflective is what we think about something. So that really kind of intelligent, like, you know, do they, you know, have labor that they're abusing? We talked about that in the first segment of, like, I don't like something because I know that they're mistreating workers somewhere. So that's a negative, reflective, so positive, reflective might be, you know, I know that they are paying a living wage or it's helping women in in guatemala, you know, bringing income into their families. Those sorts of things are going to hit us on a reflective level, and different products, even in the same category, can hit these levels very differently. So take shoes, for example. So the one over here on the end that's visceral. I know those probably are not the most practical boots. But the first time I saw the mosque and those air really great shoes and I showed them to my sister and she was like, those are really great shoes. Just something about them. You were swan to its that immediate it looks good clamoring over here, so crocs are like the opposite of that immediate it looks good, right? But that's that behavioral level because one of the things that happened with crocks is that you started seeing people who were on their feet all day swearing by them nurses you know those sorts of professions people who had to be standing all day raved about how they felt wearing those shoes so that's a product that hits a really strong behavioral level and then tom's hits that reflective level you buy one they donate one right so it hits you on that intelligent I'm buying this I am doing something good so one product category could hit any of those levels and of course one product could actually hit all three and that's what makes for a really, really strong products so if you watch the apple announcement where they're talking about the new apple watch that's right they were clearly trying to sell the behavioral aspect during that presentation here's how the technology works here's how it's going to sink with your iphone here all these little details they were really trying to hit that behavioral level partly because they were talking to that tech you know that tech writer audience right? They want to hit that behavior all we know it works but it's also super clear if you go apples website they're trying to sell you on the visceral all day long right that's a visceral cell right there you look at that and you're like oh, that looks good I have no idea how that functions doesn't matter it looks good you want it and then of course because it's apple on because it's a brand that has certain connotations you have that reflective level as well so one is not better than the other, you know your products might just hit a really visceral thing they might just make people feel good because they are beautiful or whatever that's okay or they might have this great use function or they might have some kind of reflective aspect so maybe you're someone who really does value something like giving back and you're putting that element into your products and that creates that strong emotional pull as well one is not better than the other but it's important to understand which way is your triggering people because you might be trying to sell them on one and they might be drawn to another one right? So maybe you're trying t you know, sell them on the reflective thinks maybe sarah's saying, I'm going to donate five percent of my sales tio you know the earthquake rebuilding in japan or something like that, right? And so you're thinking that's what my customers you know when really there's like that is a beautiful necklace and I want it so it's important that you kind of understand which angle is sort of the most prominent yeah good where does your story fit in do it just doesn't fit into any of these that's a good question, so right now it doesn't okay we're actually going to put that aside because part of this is you don't always have the opportunity to tell the story ah lot of times an interaction with the product is the first thing that people are going to see so someone a customer of yours is wearing your necklace and their friend is going to see it and you're going to need that aesthetic recognition and emotional resonance right off the bat before anyone ever has a conversation, so we'll come back to the story part absolutely, but for now we're just dealing with the products themselves and and some of that story can be part of the reflective aspect of something, but I think particularly with a lot of the products that that we're all working with there's something about that really visceral emotional reaction that has to trigger before I think anything else kind of works there are two I think big ways that that you're gonna do this so first of all you could just make it up if you really wanted to. You could say I want my products to make people feel happy, but you may be super off base so it's better if you can actually get some feedback from people, so the first one is talking to your customers now there's a little caveat here, which is that people don't always know right? They say that actually like focus groups market research are really ineffective because people make decisions in their gut in the moment and then you ask them why'd you buy this and they're gonna rationalize it later so it's a little bit hard but you can still talk to your customers and asked them to tell you about their experiences with the product how did it make you feel while you were wearing it or using it or trying it on and you can even also just watch your customers so when I see someone put on one of my necklaces you see this happen right? It's subtle yeah that's confidence in action I don't have to ask them do you feel confident? But I know because the shoulders roll back and they stand up a little straighter I know how that makes someone feel just by observing my customers I'm sure that monika you've watched people use your product and what do you see? Like what? What happens when they use it? Um I my perfect example is my dad using it? He was at disneyland and, um he went in with a bunch of other dads teo change my little sniper and he like was all chest puffed out and he, like, got through everything quickly knee like looked at everybody's like you know when he walks away and everybody else was still like fumbling around trying to get through the diaper duty so, um I think that it definitely is one of those it's a product that streamlines the process that aside like a crappy process yeah unattended it really makes people feeling yeah, I got this I got it under control I think there's a control element and years that it really brings for write a process that really feels like awful and so outside of your control and this gives you back that kind of element, which is really great totally uh who else have you guys talked to your customers at all to hear? Um yeah cats sometimes a at home I'll have my work out yeah and visitors that every guest will come in and then they look at it and sometimes I didn't really expect this of that particular person I'm thinking this isn't their style and when they walk past certain kind because they have different like a variety of different styles, I I watch their emotional reaction to a couple and it's kind of like a couple times they've asked like work and we're going to put that, you know, like it's like they like it, they're drawn to it but it's like they're trying to find space for it because they're kind of could see that they're trying to rationalize too yeah, but how how can I use that product very lifelike where kamei right but so they're emilie what's like immediately drawing I'm too it like what's making them you know like what when they see it they want it like what are they really feeling when they see it um I think it's the colors it's like brightness and a lightness and just kind of almost like a playful kind of emotion makes him happy yeah thing about this it's okay to be so basic it makes them happy that's okay that's actually really important people want to feel happy right? So it's okay to us toe own those really what feels like a basic emotion we get some money back what you just saying making this saying ninjas dog design says if I like it I make it I mean it's pretty simple is that other people are very, very put off by this or rather scared I sent it off they're saying talk to the customers I something they did they generally find yes frightening but at the same well, if you are asking for feedback carried particularly thing typically after feedback trying to understand how our photography session I went, what they enjoyed and if I had any ideas of how they could have felt better and she feels that does help her business awesome and here's the other thing if you're scared to talk to your customers talk to your friends who have your product so it might be a case that your friends don't have your product, then give them some of your product. You know I'm not a huge fan of, like, give it, give away to everybody, but give it to your friends, let them you know where it or have it in their homes or whatever, and then turn around and ask them I would give them to your smartest, most articulate friends because you're going to get so much more out of it. It's very helpful for me that my best friend is terra gentilly, who is an amazing business coach so I can give her jewelry and then say, how'd that make you feel terror and, you know, that's really useful, so you might not have terror as your best friend, but you probably have those friends who are really good with language and they're really articulate. Give those friends your product. Let him live with it for a little while and then ask them so if you're scared to talk to your customers, talk to your friends either. Why? But you want to get someone else's opinion? Great magic sort of reflecting that she's saying, you know, happens to her all the time. She feels like she's got something that she really loves and she's created something that a lot of energy and emotion into it and the customers a lukewarm to it. They're just pieces that she's disappointed, not going wild about so soliciting what her friends thinking it was really helpful, and and that may be a case to where the people that she's thinking that we're the customers might not actually be the right customer for that product. So that's something to think about, too. If people are lukewarm to it, they might not really be the target audience. And of course, you know, you do have to take into consideration, you know, that your customers or not, you know, like, I know I'll make necklaces that are I'm like, I'm so excited about this because it's like the biggest, most joy, enormous, boldest statement necklace I could possibly make and then no advise it because they're a little score scared. Yeah, so you have to take some of this with a grain of salt and that's where the second piece comes in, which is that the way that I think is really, really useful is to do something that I call become your own biggest fan. Which is to take yourself out of that role of maker and just think of yourself is the user so if you are it's easy if your jeweler you wear you wear stuff but you want to wear it and be aware of it right? You want to pay attention obviously if you are something you know not everyone has a product you can wear but ceramics you better be drinking coffee every morning out of your mug you better be eating every meal off those plates you should be using your product all the time if it's art it should be hanging it sounds like you already got that down cathy that should be hanging all over your house and again pretend for a minute that you aren't making it because that's going to give you the opportunity to start to get inside the mind of the customer or the user which is really what's important here get inside the mind of the user and think about how it might make you feel so like sara when you're wearing your work how does that make you phil and pretend you didn't make it pretend you didn't make it that's it that's the tricky part I know it's hard it's pretty I bank things because they're pretty but actually yeah with my new branding ideas I wanted to make people feel um passionate so I'm trying to infuse that into it now into my new designs so you're actually taking the thing where you have an emotion that you want to hit and you're really than designing around that she's really interesting so well when we get to your product hot seat we're going we're gonna talk about that a lot more so so cathy like when you have your art in your home how does that make you feel happy yeah colorful yeah no break and I kind of understand where she's coming from with the whole emotional aspect of it all because I mean there are times in your life where you go through transition say story happens to you in your life and it changes your image or your outlook on you know what you're creating and you want to infuse that in your products and kind of send a message through your work yeah so that's awesome thing yeah and obviously us you're not wearing your product but we know your product is a really easy one you know and that it's obviously you don't even have to talk to your customers to know that it's making him feel lucky and ugo and they love it awesome yeah talked about customers all the time so I'm actually curious what people say why they buy your product like just because they want to get some of that luck or moves with them for the look but a lot of them have different association too it was just you know, irish tha shamrocks and all that stuff they not of the same but yeah, they're come commonly confused by yeah, tim rocks in a clover for over and well, you know something else that actually we didn't talk about, which can be a really powerful emotion for your customers is nostalgia right? So it reminds them of something from their past so when you said you know, customers buy for a lot of reasons I was thinking like, oh, right, well, I remember being a kid and finding four leaf clovers, so then if you want to recapture that, you might buy the product so that's another powerful trigger and I'm not you know, I don't know what the three of you that that necessarily is applicable to your product but it's a big draw for a lot of people I have a friend I who makes purses out of old books so she uses the hard cover binding and makes these beautiful purses rebound designs it's her company and people come into like her booth at a show and it's that was my favorite book when I was a kid or like we use that same textbook in my seventh grade science class so she really pulls on that sense of nostalgia and that's a big motivator for people to buy been trying to do to because I I like brightness, lightness and also mediums that kind of bring out that child inside of you and I I like glitter. So that's that's, kind of. One of the things I used a lot in my pieces is glitter and finding a way that it it brings out that inner child. I'm not that kind of wants to come out, and it reminds you a little bit of that, but grown up, kind of grown up way. So it's, like your childhood glitter, that's, adult appropriate, where? He asked.

Class Description

Every small business owner shares two common goals: increasing sales and marketing more effectively. One of the most powerful ways to achieve these goals is to define and tell the story of who you are as a creator. That story is your brand, and a strong understanding of how to tell that story to your customers will take your business to new heights.

In Brand Your Creative Business, you’ll explore what makes your business a unique brand and find ways to share it. You’ll learn about implementing a brand strategy and growing and protecting it. Megan Auman will teach:

  • Why branding matters
  • How to define your brand
  • Storytelling to promote your business
  • How to develop a strategy to implement your plans

You’ll leave this course equipped and energized to create a strong, consistent presence in every aspect of your company – from packaging to customer interaction and beyond. You’ll also develop the confidence use colors, logos, and fonts to reflect your style - even if you’re not a designer

Whether you’re an Etsy seller looking to grow or an occasional crafter trying to build a full-time business, this course will give you the tools you need to connect with customers and sell more products.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Megan Auman - Brand Your Creative Business Resources.pdf

Megan Auman - Branding Bibliography.pdf

Megan Auman - DIY Photography Resources.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Megan Auman - Brand Your Creative Business Syllabus.pdf

Megan Auman - Brand Your Creative Business Workbook.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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a Creativelive Student

I was drawn in immediately. Megan's ability to tender precise, goal-oriented, and REAL life experience-infused information is what captivated me the most...AND...I logged in 30 minutes late on the first day of her class. I am excited to know that her course is STILL available, and on sale a couple of days after it aired live. TY CreativeLive for this opportunity; it is truly a gift to myself which will keep on giving...I have often used storytelling to build my brand, but Megan's guidance has given me a structured approach, which I really needed. Paying it forward, and sharing her amazing course with others will be a joy, as I feel an obligation to others I know, and those I have yet to know, all who will benefit from her plethora of carefully cultivated information. Her use of emotional connections to build a brand, and to reach a solid audience based on one's authentic voice is clear, clean, and easy to follow. Thank You Megan Aumen!


This is such a great class! Great content, great advice, great examples...great, great, great!! I'm so happy that I have a clear path to create a great brand for my business. Very empowering! I especially love the bonus information, especially the video on how to make your own logo in Illustrator. Exactly the information I've been looking for. Great job, Megan!

Laura Captain Photography

I'm in the process of launching a creative business and this class was what I was looking for. With procrastination and indecision cast aside, I will now confidently plan and carry out a productive and well organized branding strategy of my own. Before this class I felt somewhat confused and overwhelmed by all the miscellaneous branding information I had been trying to piece together. Even though I already knew some of the information she covered in the class, she put her own spin on it, gave some great examples and put it in an easy to follow plan. I particularly liked the segments related to naming your business and social media branding because I had a lot of questions on those topics. I'm very excited to get started with branding my business and I'm so glad I took the time to go through Megan's class, it will be so worth it in the long run. A big shout out to Megan, I love your business branding, your jewelry and your teaching style, great work!