Your Brand's Company Culture


How to Bring Your Brand to Life


Lesson Info

Your Brand's Company Culture

Company culture means whatever's happening internally. So that could mean you're working for yourself but hey, think about all of the other people that you work with. You might work with an accountant. You might work with contractors. You might work with friends who are giving you advice on your business. You might just pass people on the street and talk to them, and you might interact with a lot of people that help you make what your business is today, whether you have mentors or mentees or all these people that are making up your brand or product or service. If you work by yourself, it doesn't change. You still have a team of people that are helping you make this a reality. If you have a brand or a company that's larger, and you actually have team members that makes a lot of sense too because we're talking about teams. This is a more natural thing to think about whenever we're thinking about teams as people who work for companies that have a large or a small team. But everyone who ha...

s a brand has people that make the brand possible. All right so our first exercise for your brand's company culture is to think about three things that you can do to make your team feel safe. So just like we did with the community feeling safe, let's talk about what we can do with the people that were actually working with, these people that we're working with every day to make our brand possible. What can we do for them to make them feel safer? And what I like to do with the offices and the people that I work with, I work from a shared office space that I own in Minneapolis, and so we actually have a team of people that are renting desks from me and these people that I need to make sure feel safe in my space. So what I do with them is I sit down with them and hold one-on-one meetings with them monthly just to ask them how they could be happier within my space. And that's really important to do because it keeps it positive. I'm not saying what do you dislike about the space because that would actually break my heart if I heard that they disliked the space I created for them. So the way that I frame is saying like how can I make you happier here, because I truly want to make sure that they're happy. So having one-on-one meetings with them and seeing how I can make them even happier makes me really excited to help them, and it makes them excited to feel heard. So having one-on-one meetings with your team members or anyone you're working with is so important, to have those often, to make sure that they feel heard and to also make sure that you're listening and acting on those things and getting steps and steps closer to making sure that they are optimally happy. It's gonna make them feel safe in your space and excited to work there. It's gonna be magic. Another thing that I do, is I be a cheerleader, a good friend and a protector. So those qualities of a good friend, that's what I am to the people that are working in my environment. I make sure to support them, ask them what they're doing, what they're working on. I say good morning to them. I do all the things that you would for a good friend because they are my friends. But I also challenge them. I support them and I challenge them at the same time. Again, a good quality of a good friend. And then lastly is I stand against inappropriate behavior. If someone comes into my space and they're not acting appropriately, and if they're making someone uncomfortable, I make sure that I listen to that. I notice, I'm being aware of what's going on and I act against it. And I take the steps that I need to take to make everyone feel safe inside of the space. That's really important to do. And a lot of times it might be something that you don't notice but it's something that someone else notices. It's really important that you listen to that person and take that into account and that act upon what they need to feel happier and feel safe in your space. That's the key thing, is that everyone feels safe. All right so if we could just go down and list the thing that we'd like to do to make our team, our brand, the people that we're working with safer. Yeah, I wanna make sure that everyone that I'm working with feels like they're ideas are heard and that they can be creative no matter if they're a designer or an accountant. I just wanna make sure that I remember to do those when I want something so they're like, they feel very busy. Absolutely. I'm always so thankful when people are willing to help me out on like a project or collaborate with me. So I wanna find out like what do you wanna get out of this, like it's not all about me. Is it like a portfolio piece that you'd like to also get out of this, or like recognition. You know, I'll shout them out on social media and that sort of thing. So I wanna make sure that they are also supported in the way that they're interested in. I try to remember to always share my appreciation because I, like you said earlier, I'm like most people and love compliments. And so I like to make sure that other people realize that I've noticed what they've done and I really appreciate it. In terms of collaborators, if I bring someone on to a client project, being transparent on budget or my concerns about the project I think could help them feel safe. Yeah, similarly talking about collaborators, just having a kinda open, honest direct line of communication, and also just letting them know like how they can get in touch at any point if they have any kind of problems or any kind of concerns. That's a really good point about communication and being honest from the beginning. Oh my gosh, I'm sure we've all been in those situations where we weren't honest from the beginning, and then you end up getting deeper and deeper and deeper into a relationship and it just becomes this monster because you weren't honest and clear about your objectives, or clear with your communication about what you expect out of the relationship. And it becomes something that you didn't see coming at all because you didn't talk about it ahead of time. You weren't open and honest with each other. So I think that's a really great way to feel really comfortable in a space is by setting clear expectations of this is what you can expect from this relationship, from being in my space, from working with me, and say that from the beginning and then constantly checking in on that and making sure that you still have an open line of communication. It's so important to do that from the beginning so that you don't get in to deep and into a sticky situation that could have been just cleared up if you would have been honest with each other from the beginning. So that's a really great point. Thank you for mentioning that. All right, so let's talk about excitement. Let's think about ways that we can actually get our team to be enthusiastic and pumped up to be working with us, to be in our space that we've created for them, to be interacting with our brand. What are some things that we can do to actually get these people to feel pumped? So things that I like to be is be really optimistic, excited and just amped up in general every day about what they're doing, about what I'm doing, about what we're all making together. I'm just as enthusiastic as possible. 'Cause I really love my job, and I'm naturally very enthusiastic and I think whenever I come in to work or come in to a meeting interacting with anyone, if I keep it upbeat and really excited, it just rubs off on anybody. Because if you end up in a meeting with someone who you can tell hates their lives or hates their jobs and just doesn't want to be there, it makes you also feel that way. This is how humans work. We kind of feed off of each other's emotions. So if you keep it lighthearted, keep it upbeat, keep it amped up and excited, even if you're saying things that are critical, if you're still excited about the final outcome, it makes everybody really excited to work towards that final outcome with you. Another thing I do like with community is random acts of kindness. Like ask your coworkers, do you want a cup of coffee? I'm about to get me a cup of coffee. I'll go get you one. Or don't even ask. Just bring them a coffee. Or go refill their water, things like that. Just do nice things that a good friend would do for someone. Because you care about these people and you care about their happiness. And it's a really great way for them to feel like they're supported and loved if you do these tiny little favors for them throughout the day. All right, so another one is just like want to see them actually be happy. So it's really easy to think about work all the time and kind of get stuck in that work pattern. But if you actually care about the people that you're working with, even if you don't, just fake it for me if you wouldn't mind, asking them about their personal lives and caring about their success. So think about everyone deserving happiness. We all truly do deserve to be happy, and we deserve to be in an environment that's perfect for us. And if you reframe your thought process to thinking that way of like, oh each person I'm working with, I want them to be completely fulfilled. I want them to have a job and a situation that they absolutely love. Having that mindset is really helpful for me because it allows me, if I see that they're not really jiving very well with me or I can tell that they're not doing their best in my environment, I want them to succeed, and I want them to go find a thing that is perfect for them. So if it's time for a natural change or if somebody needs to leave, I'm excited for them rather than feeling personally hurt that they don't wanna work with me or in my space or with my brand anymore. What I like to think about is no, they get an opportunity to go find something that's gonna be perfect for them. And if you reframe it in that way it makes letting go of people less personal and more about them and what they need to be happy. And if you're having those frequent meetings, one-on-one meetings with them of knowing what they need to be happy, you start to really get to know them, and then you know what they need. And you can actually help and support them to find that. And that attitude makes them feel so much more excited to be working with you and in the space that you're providing for them, to know that they feel supported, that you would support them with any life or career decision that they made because you have their best interest at heart. So that's one of my favorite ones, is to just care about their happiness and make sure that you want them to be happy over anything else. All right so let's go down and mention one thing that we'd like to do for our team members as people we're working with to make them feel really excited. I like to make everyone feel like they can contribute and have an impact. 'Cause nothing's more frustrating than things not feeling like you can affect anything and things not going the way. Yeah, absolutely, you also mentioned, since we're talking about design a lot, making even non-designers feel like they have decision-making power in design process. I think that's really important for everyone's voice to be heard. 'Cause sometimes the best design ides come from people who are so far removed from design that they have such a great perspective on it. So it's really nice to, even if they're somebody who's just like an intern that's in charge of getting coffee, to let them in and ask for their opinions and to make them feel really excited that they can give business decisions that maybe they're not qualified for. But it doesn't matter because everyone's opinion is important. I like to brainstorm with the team more and come up with like crazy ideas for the community. I like to keep like my collaborators or teammates in the loop on the process and just share how excited I am about that process. Because sometimes it takes a long time between like the beginning phase and the final product. So just to show them like look, it's coming to life and you helped do this. Thank you so much. Like that's really exciting for me. I like to just remember small details that my team members have told me and then ask them about them later when they don't expect it 'cause they feel like I'm really invested, and I am, in their lives. That's a really interesting comment and I think even when you said it, it made me feel really good 'cause I love it when people do that for me. I mean you think that they're not really listening that well, or you think, oh, you even forget that you told them a little detail, and then they surprise you by remembering these things about you that you told them. So it's really helpful to actually care enough about them to really listen and to, even if you remember things or you wanna jot it down for later so that if it is time, even if it's months before the holidays or the end of the year and you wanna make sure that you wanna give them a little gift at the end of the year, even if it's March, like you know, write it down so that you can save that for later. Write down things about them that they say are important to them or things that they mention haphazardly that they'd like to have some day. Write it down so that you can bring it up later and you're gonna really surprise them in an exciting way. Super in line with what you were just saying (laughs) but just the idea of being interested in someone, what their lives are like and then sort of using that as your baseline for anticipating what they might need or want and then leading to sort of those acts of kindness. Ooh, definitely. Particularly if you're working with collaborators, just like blowing up their work on social media, kinda talking about the fact that you are working with them and like sharing their work and kind of broadcasting it to everybody's who's following you already. Definitely, I think especially as a creative, nothing makes you feel really excited to start a project than when the people you're working with are also excited to start that project with you. All right so let's talk about some ways that we can actually bring our team members, these people that we're working with, people that are part of our brand, let's talk about how we can bring them into the brand itself. Okay, so we talked a little bit about how we can bring community members into the brand and maybe your community members could also be your team members, but think about this as though we have this whole group of people that help us make the thing or the product or service that we're offering. And so let's think about how we can actually feature them and bring them into our brand more. So a few ways that I have is that feature them on social media and the website as often as possible, which is what I said for the community members. But a lot of brands do this now where they highlight their team and they say here's who's actually making these products. And if you work for yourself and it's truly just you, all that means is show more about yourself. Feature your true self more on your website, on your social media. Show the behind the scenes of who's actually making this thing. And people are going to love that and it's really gonna resonate with your community. Another way is to allow them to express their opinions on your product or service. So this is what we talked about before. No matter who it is or who you're working with, ask them what they think. Like what would make you like this product or service even more. Ask them to give their opinions. And allow them to be heard and then act on those opinions. It's very important to not just ignore them after you listen to them. And then lastly is to, your brand is made up of a bunch of people often. It's not just yourself. So inject their personalities into your brand. Allow them to have a space where they can use your brand as a playground for their personality in whatever way that means. If you have a lot of people on your team that you've hired that have this wonderful sort of community that you've created inside of your space and everybody has this beautiful chemistry and you have this wonderful friendship that's formed out of your brand, so that off as often as possible. Because that's a magical thing that you've created inside of your brand. So bring their personalities into your brand in any way that you can I think is really important. Whether it's social media posts, but if it's not, then you can bring it into your website through photography or whatever you like, copy as well. All right, is that enough time? Okay, so let's go down the row and just mention one thing that we'd like to do. I guess this is a little similar to what you said but just tagging your collaborators on social media and saying hey, look at this cool thing I made with so and so. So I have a small team of contractors. And they're all in different cities so I'd really like for them to kinda do like a city tour of like their favorite places and where they like to work remotely. I like to feature my collaborators, get photos of them working on the things that they do and show, have them be part of the behind the scenes process, so everybody can see. Yeah, I think similarly like when I show my team, just like helping me and talk a little bit about what they do besides hang out with me. (laughs) I've been interested in the idea of a newsletter. And so maybe that is a nice channel to spotlight collaborators in more of a long form format. I think we're all talking about crediting people in various ways it seems like during the project when it's actually going on. But I think also making sure the people are properly credited once the project drops. Like I think I've worked on certain things and I've seen it pop up on other's people's sites and it's like, there's no mention. You're like, oh, okay, all right. And just making sure people feel like seen and valued and like they were a real part of this project and they weren't just like a hired gun. Absolutely. That came in and did the work and then left. That's such a common thread I think in this class and a lot of the things I teach is that it's so easy to think of the people that you're working with as competition. And so you kind of, it makes you second guess yourselves sometimes and think a little less about yourself 'cause maybe you have imposter syndrome. But also it makes you just feel a little bit like you have to compete with them to get similar jobs or maybe like, oh thinking comparing yourself to them at all times during a project and think oh, they're doing better than me. They're performing better. Or they had this meeting, what does that mean and to really get inside of your head and think about the people that you work with as competition. And that so should not be the case. We should all think of each other as being collaborators and friends, and there's definitely room for everyone to succeed. And the more that you lift other people up, the more excitement you're gonna drive into your space and the better people are gonna perceive you and the more successful you'll also be. So it's really important, especially like what you said, to credit other people and to really support them during the process but then once it's live and finished, to like really cheer them on and say you did a great job and really give them credit where their credit is deserved. Okay, cool, so that's it for all the exercises, which is pretty freaking exciting. You did so much. I feel like we've come a long way. But I think the important thing to remember is that this takes time. We're talking about an entire brand and how to bring life back into that brand and how to excite your brand a little bit more with your community and with your team members. So this is a huge thing, and it takes time. It's not just gonna take a couple hours in this class to figure all this out. You're not gonna get all the answers. That's why we have the workbook that you can purchase the class to get so that you can have it for a while so you can work on it piece by piece. Maybe if you have a larger team you can sit down with other people. You can all sort of dependently and interdependently work on this workbook together and come back and brainstorm ideas as a group. So this is gonna take time. It's not just something that you can easily figure out. So be gentle with yourself. Figure it out as you go, but at least we have a place that we could start working on these things. It's really great to have an excuse, and I'm happy for this class to be that excuse, for you to finally sit down and devote the time to think about these things for how to bring life to your brand. So some helpful takeaways I think in general to remember, 'cause we've covered a lot of information, is I want you all to start thinking of your users and audience as a community instead of users and audience, okay. So please remember that these are real humans with real human emotion, and you really need to care about them with every decision that you make. Think of your community before you're thinking of yourself because they deserve your respect in order to give that back to you. All right, I want you all to form a personality to your brand and apply it everywhere. So your brand should be a human. It should be a good person. It should be a human with a real personality. It should have all the best parts of yourself, all the best parts of your community included into it, and it should be deeply and powerfully injected into everything that your brand does, whether it's social media, copywriting, in person experiences, website experiences. Everything you're doing should be 100% your personality pushed forward as often as possible. And if you find yourself being lazy and not doing something with your personality behind it, stop doing that and just go 100% with your personality because your community is going to love it. Ooh, okay so in order to create a well-liked brand where people trust you, are excited to use your product or service, your community is really amped up about your brand, you have to be a good person as a brand. So remember those qualities I outlined that make a good person and do that with your brand and you're gonna be really well liked and really trusted. And people are gonna be amped up to use your product or service. And lastly, just create a safe exciting space within your brand for your community and your team. Make sure that your community and your team feels supported, feels encouraged, feels excited to be there. Challenge them, think about those qualities that make a good friend, and do those qualities. Be that good friend to your community members and to your team. Be a good person and be a good friend as a brand. All right Chris, do we have any questions? Yeah, I think we can wrap up on this one question. We have a couple of viewers who are looking for guidance on how you keep track of all of these different tactics. Like do you recommend any software or like anything to be like okay, am I keeping track of this part of my brand or this part of my brand. How do you keep all this organized as you work on it over time. Yeah, that's a great question. Personally I like to use, for social media and marketing, I like to use Buffer. Buffer is my favorite social media marketing tool to use for scheduling posts, for remembering the things I wanna communicate. I'm naturally not a goal-oriented or planner at all. I don't like to plan. I think it makes me feel really stagnate, and I don't like knowing what's happening in my future. But when you're being methodical about your brand, it's really important to just at least remember certain things you wanna do. So I use Buffer specifically 'cause they have a calendar to where I can schedule things in advance. So if I know that someday I wanna do a certain social media promotion or a post, I'll just put it on my calendar for the future so that I have a place to go back and remember that that's what I wanna do. I also, just for taking down notes, I use Dropbox Paper. I really love it 'cause it's very collaborative and I can work on it with my collaborators, with my friends, with the people that are working in my space on my brand. I can use that and kind of collaborate with people that way. Because my brand decisions aren't just me, I like to have other people's voices heard. So it's really important for me to have a platform where I can get other people's ideas injected into mine. I have almost a fear of doing anything by myself anymore because I love collaborating so much. So I find myself often sharing my docs with other people so that I can get their opinions and feedback because I love having different personalities injected into my brand, and it's really fun when you collaborate with someone, when you get to work on it for a little while, and then you pass it off to them, and then they send it back and you go, oh I didn't even think about that. So you get to learn all these wonderful new things that your brain wasn't pre programmed to think. Which I think is really fun.

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.