Company Culture


How to Bring Your Brand to Life


Lesson Info

Company Culture

This one's a little bit complicated just because we all have different sizes of companies, okay? So a company culture is really about team members and who you're interacting with, inside of your company internally. So whether you have a large corporation and you have a huge, wide company of team members that are all the time interacting with each other and having meetings and all of this. Or whether it's just you and maybe you don't have any team members or employees or people underneath you, but you do work with other people. There are a lot of other businesses that you interact with. There a lot of contractors that you might hire, or people, vendors or merchandisers that you might interact with on a daily basis. So it's important to think of whoever you're internally dealing with, with your company, and your brand, it's important to think of those people as your team because those are the people that are working together to make your brand happen. Okay, so if we're talking about team...

and you feel a little discouraged because maybe you don't feel like you have a team. You do. We all have a team of supporters and people who help us make our brand possible. Alright. So it's important to talk about our team members are also should be our community members. So if you're thinking about adding a new person on to your team or you're thinking about expanding or working with people, it's really important that you get your community members injected into your brand as often as possible. So it's a really great way to hire people that are from your community. It's easy, it's a great way to tap into your community and see what they want. And that way, you don't need to look at your profile of Rick Klein next to your desk, because you can just ask your team members and the people that you work with, What they think and what they feel as a member of your community. So when you hire these people and when you are dealing with a group of people that you're working with to make your brand possible, it's really important that they also feel really safe and really excited to be there. And the easiest way for you to do that for them is to be a good friend, as well as a colleague to them. And again, the same rules of being a good friend apply. Challenge them, support them, lift them up. Be excited to be around them on the day-to-day and they'll be really excited to be in your environment and work with your brand everyday. Alright, so let's talk about creating a safe space for these people that you're working with internally on your brand. It's just so important to be respectful of them and to actually care that they're happy. I think we've all had jobs where our employers and the people that we work with don't care about us at all and they could care less if we're happy. It doesn't matter to them and that's what creates a toxic work environment. Because you're not being a good friend to your team members, if you don't care if they're happy, that's not nice. (Meg Laughs) So having an excited attitude of support and encouragement and being able to challenge your team members is so important. it's really really, very important to hold frequent one-on-one meetings with people to just see- don't turn it negative, don't say, "what am I doing wrong?". Say, "How can I make your experience working with me even better?" or "How can I make your experience working with this brand better for you and happier for you?". "How can I make you a happier person here?". I think it's great to spin it in that way, because then everyone wins at the end of the day, You can make them a little happier and they can also express how they're feeling and it's so important for everyone to feel like their voice is heard within your space, to create that trust in a safe space for them to be in your brand's environment. it's important to truly, actually sit and be quiet and listen when people are voicing their opinions of how they could be happier in your environment that you're creating to them. This works with community members as well as people that you work with internally, colleagues or people that you're hiring. it's important to just sit down and nod and actually take it in and listen and react to it positively for them. So actually listen to what they have to say and make change, even if it's just one person with a one-off request that would make them happier. That is so important, one person's happiness can change everyone's happiness. So if there's one person that isn't feeling fulfilled in your space that you're providing for them, that's going to rub off on everyone else. Cause it only takes one person to be unhappy for it to kind of seep into everyone else. So it's important to be quiet and listen and act on what people are actually voicing their opinions to you on. Alright, and it's really important to be a good friend for all your employees, so that also means standing up for them if there's appropriate behavior or something happening to someone that's working in your environment or for your brand. It's so important to stand against inappropriate behavior and act on that. You want all of the members of your team to be happy. And if someone is acting inappropriately and you're listening to other people and maybe hearing what they have to say about this inappropriate behavior, it's so important to actually act upon it and make the lives of your team, of your employees, of your contractors, of your friends who are supporting and helping you with your brand. It's so important to make sure that they're happy and feel safe in your environment. Okay, my favorite thing is creating exciting environments for the people that I work with. I am a freelancer, so I don't have a team of people that I'm employing all the time. I don't have payroll. I don't have any of that cause I've never been interested in being someone's boss, but I do work with a lot of people so at Ghostly Ferns, my Collective, there is anywhere between four or six of us at a given time and we all work together all the time, so we always need to make sure that we're happy and supported and being good friends to each other. So I know all about creating exciting environments for teams. I do this for clients too, they bring me in and help me create experiences for their brands and for their teams, like team-building exercises. I'll come in and help create exciting experiences inside people's offices. So here are some tips on how you can create an exciting environment for your team. Alright, obviously being upbeat and excited. It makes such a difference if you walk into work and smile and say, "Good morning" and say everyone's name to them. That adds so much. If you've ever worked in an environment where someone just kind of walks in and then sits down at their desk and then gets a bowl of cereal and then plops it down on their desk. And then you don't really speak to them and you end up figuring out that you know nothing about their personal lives, even though you've worked with them for a year. It's so much better to be excited to walk in to work every day with a smile and say good morning to everyone. Ask them what they got up to last night, ask them about their personal lives. It makes such a difference and that creates trust, that creates excitement, that creates enthusiasm to be in your environment because when you work around people that are excited to be there, it actually makes you feel more excited to be there . Complimenting people is so important. This is something that we are really bad at doing as humans. We're so heads down, especially when it comes to work, that we forget the people have real feelings and people love to be complemented, especially in the United States culturally. We love to hear compliments, we love to be praised for our good work and it's so important that you're making sure to also tell people how good of a job they're doing, when they have done a really great job. It's going to make them really excited to keep going, it's going to make them really motivated to move forward and it's just going to make them so much happier and feel so much better in your space. Alright, again let's talk about those friendship qualities. I think a lot of people think of their co-workers as- I think that's sort of a thing, right? "They're not my friends, they're my coworkers". Especially if you're higher up than them, you're not supposed to think of them as friends but if we break it down and think about qualities that make up a good friend, it's really important to also have those qualities when you're working with a team or anyone that you're working with on your brand. So think about those qualities again: challenging them, make sure that they're open to new ideas. if they are expressing something that maybe you disagree with, it's great to challenge each other and to have open discussions, that's what good friends do. It's important to show interest in their actual personal lives, that's what good friends do. Like, "How was the date last night?", that sort of thing. It's important for you to seem, and actually be, interested in what they're doing in their lives outside of the office because that's just as important as what's going on inside the environment of your brand. It's also really important to show up for what they need. So that's what a good friend does. If you need something and you need help, it's really important that the person that you're working with will show up for you. So it's a really important to know always that you're protected by someone and that you feel comfortable and that you feel like those co-workers or those people that you're working with will actually show up for you if you need help and if you need them. So it's so important that you actually show up for these people that you're working with. And it's the most, most fun thing that I love to do with my job is to actually inject fun and play into the environments I work for. And I think especially now, companies are really getting on to the idea of, "Oh yeah, we actually need to be a little bit more fun at work. Otherwise, people are going to leave". (Meg laughs) So it's so important that you're having fun at work, that you're dedicating a lot of your time with your team to just laughing together, to getting to know each other more. To having fun activities that- to doing little tiny things throughout the day or the weeks or the months that are not related to work that are just funny and fun activities. It's so important for people to be excited to be in an environment when they can also associate it with having good times and a lot of fun. And I think a really cool thing is that when people are happy in your space, the people that you're working with, your contractors, or your employees, or just your friends and supporters, it's so important for them to be happy because they're also a great marketing opportunity. Alright, so those people are going to go off and they're going to tell their friends about how fun it's been working with you. They're going to go off and tell other people and those people might wanna work for you too. Word-of-mouth and just being a good friend to people is so helpful to getting new opportunities all of the time. That's how I've always gotten all of my career opportunities as just by making friends with people who are excited and want to support me and they go out and they tell their friends, "Hey Meg needs a little bit of help here" or "Meg's doing great stuff over there, take a look". It's really fun to create an exciting environment for those people so that they'll go off and they'll tell everybody about it. And that is such a good, powerful, impactful marketing opportunity for you to have all these people that are really excited about your brand. I want to just ask you a couple of questions that came in from online Absolutely, Let's do that. So, this first one, this came in from Smurfy and they wanted to know about- I know we're going to do more exercises, we're gonna have some examples, but as you've gone through this first section, do you have any examples of some of these companies that have been hitting these marks that you've been saying? Do you have any sort of ideal brands that you admire, that you want to replicate when you're going through these exercises? Absolutely. I think especially now that I'm in San Francisco, I'm thinking a lot about tech companies and a lot of the friends that I have that are leading apartments at tech companies and two of my absolute favorites that are doing really great things right now are Headspace. Headspace is a mental-health, meditation, wellness product for people to learn how to meditate and be more mindful and they do such a great job with their team and not just making sure that they're happy but they've created such a beautiful environment for their team. Their office is beautiful and inspiring and amazing and a great relaxing place for people to go and meditate as well. So creating a brand that's surrounded by mindfulness, it's so important that you're practicing what you're preaching for your audience. And they've done a really good job of creating such a beautiful, harmonious, supportive experience for their community members as well as their team. Another one that I absolutely love is the brand, Intercom. Which is here in San Francisco where we are. And they're doing a great job, because Intercom it's a robot chat app product, right? It's not very sexy, it's not very necessarily something that you'd be like, "Oh that's so fun and friendly". But what Intercom is doing internally with their team and with their community is so beautiful. They've hired me as well as a number of illustrators to illustrate pieces for their blog or to often collaborate with on products that they sell. They constantly make all these wonderful free products that they give out to their community or e-books, little free surprises here and there that we'll talk a little bit more about later. But they really capitalize on being able to give their audience and their team members little acts of kindness throughout the day. And I think that another, my last and best, most exciting example for me is MailChimp. Also not a sexy product. Email, newsletter campaigns, kind of a snoozefest, right? But MailChimp is so fun about it, they create such a great environment for their audience as well as their community and they do similar to what intercom does. Where MailChimp has a huge closet in their office of all of these free things that they made and they're constantly going out to events and just tossing free things to their community. And giving their Community little gifts and little prizes and little surprises, all the time. And they also are really, really supportive of the design industry. If you're in the design industry at all, you've probably noticed that they sponsor everything. They're always everywhere, cheering you on and supporting you. So I think that MailChimp is also a superb example of how to create an inclusive, safe, exciting space and environment for your community and for your interoffice culture. I know that this is not a specific copywriting class, but we've gotten a few questions about how specifically you can get your brand into the copy that you're writing, whether it's on your website, or your email, your social media. Do you have any advice for copywriters who're looking to have more brand in their writing? (laughs) Yes, definitely. I think the one I'm so excited about is injecting your own speech patterns into copywriting. I do a lot of copywriting for companies, as well as myself, and I think it's really important that you talk when your copy as you would as a person. So sometimes it's going to be a little funny and a little informal and you're gonna use weird abbreviations. Maybe some emojis or maybe illustrations to prove your point. And I think it's important whenever you create that personality for your brand, to have that personality come out in your copy. It's so easy to want to have copy that's really stale and straight to the point because it's really important as a copywriter to be able to be straight to the point. But if you're going to create a personality for your brand, you want to make sure that personality is also speaking and writing like a human with that personality. So it's such a good point and that's a great question of injecting that personality into your brand through the copy is so fun and I really enjoyed doing it and it's a really great way for you to really push your brand's personality. We'll do one more that just came in. You mentioned the importance of Having that smile on your face when you come into work. The comradery, knowing about the personal life of your co-workers, but the specific question here is: do you have any tips for bringing departments together that have a history of tension? Maybe there's been some tension between two different departments, how do you bring them together? How do you make them happier to work together at work? Absolutely, that's a great question. And I think that the same things often apply that we've talked about. I think whenever tension starts to form, it becomes really toxic. And it only gets worse and worse and worse. So it's hard to bounce back from that, once it happens, but you have to remember those qualities of what a good friend and a good person are and you need to actually start reframing your view of this other department that you maybe don't get along with as real people. It's easy for us to think of, like, "Oh, they're so terrible". "I hate everything they do", And to be so upset about them, and to really dig yourself into a hole of hate, about those people that you don't like in your environment. But it's important to just take a step back, deep breath and remember it's not that big of a deal. Everything can get sorted out and remember those qualities of what makes a good friend and a good person and put that back into that team. So sit down with them and listen to them, listen to their perspective, allow them to share your perspective. All the while being quiet and listening and taking it in and come up with a compromise and figure out what you both need to do to make this relationship better and work more harmoniously for all of you. There's always, always a win-win situation and in any aspect of a brand's interoffice culture, we just have to listen to each other and actually respect each other as humans, and try to reframe this relationship as a friendship, even if it doesn't feel like it is. Start doing the steps that you would take with a friend when you need to patch up a relationship, and fix the situation. So challenge each other, but also listen to each other and cheer each other on and provide one another with what you need to be successful in your environment is very important. Alright, cool. Any questions here from the studio audience? So earlier, You talked about figuring out what your values are, what your brand's values are, what your community's values are and I was wondering if it makes sense for- My company, for example, is just one person right now. If all of his things are just kind of the same because a lot of the work that I do is inspired by my personal life and I just kind of assume, or expect, that my community is interested in that as well and we're all kind of relating over the same things. If you're self-employed and you're creating a career that's just for you, that's capitalizing on what makes you special, I think if you're working for yourself and you don't plan to necessarily expand, you don't plan to be this huge company or huge corporation, and you're doing something that's at the core of who you are and is very important to you- I think it's so important to capitalize on the things about you that make you so unique and the things that you value personally because it's really important to put that into the world and listen to your community. They'll probably agree with you because your authenticity and your transparency is really going to bleed out into them. And your excitement for what you're doing is all going to be so contagious but they're probably going to agree with you. And if you find that you're doing something in the world that your community disagrees with or you find that you're doing something or making something and it's not selling and you're not understanding what's going on, that's when you need to take a step back and sit down with your community. And listen to them, and say, "what do I need to do to make you happier?" and I think that's a great way to look at it, is to first when you're working for yourself, to let your values ooze out of you and make things that are so personal to you and so important to you until your community starts to want more. And then you need to make sure that you listen to them and start serving them, in order for your business to remain successful, and to keep growing and moving

Class Description

Brands today have a lot of work cut out for them. Not only does your product have to be life-changing, but your brand’s personality has to be well-loved by your community. Today’s most successful brands are more than a product, they have a personality that is authentic and a culture built on trust.

These brands have an amazing community culture that is just as strong internally. After all, a happy community makes for a happy company.

In How to Bring Your Brand to Life, Meg identifies what makes a happy company and a brand the world loves. She’ll outline what makes your community special and create an actionable plan for your brand’s personality.

In this class you’ll

  • Identify your community and create guidelines for their happiness
  • Define your brand’s personality and determine how you can communicate it through marketing, graphics, and copy
  • Learn to be a well-loved company that does good, and is trusted, within your community
  • Discover new ways to make your community feel safe and encouraged to be themselves within the space you create for them
  • Pinpoint ways you can create a positive environment for your team and internal company culture

By the end of How to Bring Your Brand to Life you’ll have a new brand culture, marketing guidelines rooted in authenticity, and a company well on its way to happiness.


a Creativelive Student

It was so incredible to hang out in the live studio audience for this class!(Despite having NO voice! ...thanks for being so kind and patient with me!) As a brand designer, it's actually so hard to get outside of my own business and think about my brand in new ways and Meg's course was so helpful in doing just that. Thank you for your fun and super helpful knowledge bombs, Meg!

Annie Wong

I know a lot of artists and designers like myself that cringe at traditional business marketing advice because it sounds gross and antithetical to the creative process. Meg has the amazing ability to humanize the idea of branding in a way that makes complete sense. The a-ha moment for me was when she reframes thinking about our "audience" and "users" as our "community." This was so helpful for me because a few days after the class a couple of members of my community expressed some concerns to me and I was able to address them in a way that was authentic. I might have dismissed their concerns before, but I realized that I have a responsibility as the steward of my brand to cultivate a safe space for my community. Thanks, Meg!

a Creativelive Student

I really enjoyed being part of this class. Meg's excitement is contagious and she really makes the idea of branding into a fun activity, instead of something complicated and scary. I really liked the workbook and how it breaks down branding into manageable exercises. I'm really excited to finish the work and start implementing my findings with my own brand.