Brands Are Built With These Four Components

Brands Are Built With These Four Components

We could really run the gamut when it comes to branding. There are a million big pictures and small details to consider. So much so that we’re often frozen-intimidated as to how or where to start when we’re building a brand.

But, before we get into that, let’s back it up a bit.

  • Brands. What am I talking about?
  • Are you ready for the answer?
  • Anything. Anything and everything.  

Yes, anything and everything is a brand and can BE a brand. That startup venture where you’ve raised $100,000? Brand. That startup venture that’s raised zilch? Brand. That company that’s been around for 100 years? That idea you had on your morning run? Brand. You? Brand.

They’re all brands. Because they’re all things we want to be a part off of things and/or we want others to be a part of with us.

Which is why, when we’re talking about branding anything, it really comes down to these four components.

Language

Imagery

Experiences

Humans

When starting to build these or even build some thoughts about what they mean in the context of your idea, company, startup, you, it’s best to start with some quick questions. I call these elevator questions. Because, just like your elevator pitch, I want you to hear this question, and trust your gut; what’s your answer to these q’s in the time it takes you to ride the elevator to your destination. (Life hint: This is really about what your gut is telling you.)

1 Language

What keywords, phrases, taglines, copy do you want someone else to read, feel, experience when they read your website, sales brochures, or social media?

2 Imagery

What’s your photographic style? Airy, dream, soft, cozy? Bold and bright with sharp lines? This should be more about vibe – what do your brand’s pictures, graphics, fonts, images feel like?

3 Experiences

What’s it like to experience – be with, talk to, partner with – you and your brand? Is the experience personal and unique? Does it make someone else feel special? Is it easy and fun?

4 Humans

Who’s on your team and who are customers interacting with? Are your team members in-line with you and how you want to run this business? Are they responsible, reliable, fun, and easy to work with? Do they make your life easier?

An easy next step you can do between conference calls today: Take 30 minutes uninterrupted to think through these q’s or write down what might have occurred to you if you did, in fact, think these through on the elevator. Make some quick notes to yourself with answers to your q’s; also, don’t ever be afraid to talk through these q’s WITH your team. They might see things or experience things differently, and their two-cents can make this process more efficient – and more fun. (Who’s ever going to argue with that?)

Now, I want to harken back to something I mentioned maybe 30 seconds ago – what your gut is telling you. This is clutch. Because the day we start making decisions and building brands that contradict our gut instinct, we’re building something that’s not true or authentic. And people always want to be a part of something that’s true or authentic. People can smell that out, you know? You do; don’t you think your followers – or prospective followers – will, too?

Also, remember – branding is meant to be an inspiring conversation you look forward to; if it’s not, there might be something deeper going on in the business. And this just might be the time to think through that, too.

Toth + Fay recently launched an online academy – The School of Brand Confidence – that will walk you through branding basics – from copywriting to visual strategy to believing in yourself – to support your brand building. Learn more about it here.

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How did a blonde from Pittsburgh + a brunette from the Carolinas meet and create a business together? 🤔 Short+sweet version : Meg joined @hyggeclt the first week it opened back in November 2015 when it was literally just @garretttichy sitting at a card table. (Literally. 😂) Two years later, in walked Julia who wanted to see what the co working buzz was about. 🙃 In 2017, they teamed up to write about and photograph members of the Hygge community that year; now – they’ve written close to 90. When they reach 100, they think it’s fair to ask for a cake (@SuarezBakery, Garrett.) 👯‍♀️ After partnering together through different projects with their own clients and teaching four successful in person branding workshops, they decided to BRAND themselves and create @tothandfay. 💛 So needless to say, the first handshake and collaboration would’ve probably never happened if it wasn’t for @hyggeclt and for that they are grateful 💛

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Meg Seitz
Contributor
toth shop, inc.
Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, a Charlotte-based agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She utilizes a unique skill set that is a fusion of her English major and MBA, brand strategist role and teaching experience, writing philosophy and hybrid thinking approach. As well, she serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University’s Vandiver Center for Career Development and Founding Partner of the educational platform and children’s book series, “Bea is for Business” designed to teach children ages 5-9 business principles.
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Meg Seitz
toth shop, inc.
Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, a Charlotte-based agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She utilizes a unique skill set that is a fusion of her English major and MBA, brand strategist role and teaching experience, writing philosophy and hybrid thinking approach. As well, she serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University’s Vandiver Center for Career Development and Founding Partner of the educational platform and children’s book series, “Bea is for Business” designed to teach children ages 5-9 business principles.

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PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

PledgeLA to Boost Diversity and Inclusion in The Los Angeles Tech Community

As the tech sector in LA grows due to the saturation of the tech industry in the San Francisco area, the same problems in Silicon Valley are now coming up. There’s a growing tension between the upstarts of the tech industry and the regular folks in the community surrounding this IT boom.

According to critics, what will follow in LA will be what happened in San Francisco if there’s nothing done about it. Regular people and longtime residents will feel alienated and looked down upon. They will feel like they’re being forced out by the higher rents and costs of homes as well as the prices of regular consumer goods.

That’s why more than 80 entrepreneurs and tech investors are joining Mayor Eric Garcetti and the non-profit Annenberg Foundation to launch PledgeLA. This is the LA tech community initiative that seeks to avoid what happened in San Francisco and to the people there who felt disenfranchised by the growing tech boom.

PledgeLA Features

Features of the initiative include the following:

  • More opportunities will be provided for everyone, regardless of race, background, or gender. So even non-white women who grew up poor should have the same opportunities as the white guys who grew up rich.
  • Those who signed to the PledgeLA agreement will track civic participation and diversity data each year. That data will be made public so that people will know if a tech company is made up of exclusively white males from the Ivy Leagues and other top schools.
  • Startups and funds will report on the composition of their workforce noting various factors. This won’t be just noting age, gender, and race. It will also note socioeconomic origin, educational attainment, and even sexual orientation to see if there’s bias against hiring members of the LGBT community. Other factors will include the status in regards to disabilities, immigration, and military service veteran. Even the tenure at a firm will be noted.
  • The signatories also will come up with a proper code of conduct centered on diversity and inclusion, and diversity will be practiced in corporate hiring.

Good Business Sense

While many who signed PledgeLA did so out of a sense of moral and ethical rightness, it also makes good business sense to emphasize diversity on corporate hiring practices. A Diverse workgroup brings different points of views when it comes to making decisions. It helps with networking for sources of talent, and the diverse work group can help build a diverse consumer base as well.

LA has now become one of the top 5 US destinations for technology investment and it’s now one of the top tech hubs in the country. The top 100 tech companies in LA and Orange County has reported a 24% increase in employment within the last year.

There are a still a few notable holdouts to PledgeLA, however. Tesla and SpaceX have not yet signed on, and nor has Snap. But LA is an inherently diverse area, and such a diversity must be maintained in the tech workplace as well.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

Karlie Kloss Teaching Code to Teenage Girls

If you’ve followed fashion over the last decade, then you’re familiar with the Karlie Kloss name. She’s the gorgeous model who’s actually been around for the last 11 years or so. She’s BFFs with the likes of Taylor Swift and Serena Williams. Her boyfriend is Joshua Kushner, who happens to be the younger brother of Ivanka Trump’s husband Jared Kushner.

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Cannes Cannes Cannes #tbt

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So how can a fashion model suddenly teach doing to teens? Actually, it’s all because of the people she met while working in fashion.

Learning the Language

As a model, her work often had her meeting various Silicon Valley entrepreneurs at parties. It didn’t take her long to realize that these were the people whose technology was suddenly changing how society worked.

Karlie wanted to learn what they knew, so she learned. She went to a 2-week class at the Flatiron School, which is a renowned coding boot camp in lower Manhattan. That’s where she learned how to use the Ruby program to build web apps. It’s wasn’t all that hard for her, because prior to her modeling career she excelled as a student in subjects like math and science.

A year after that, she began her own coding scholarship program at the Flatiron School. This program grew to 50 camps in up to 25 cities. This summer, a thousand girls in those camps can learn various coding skills such as basic HTML/CSS, Ruby, and JavaScript. They can get into virtual reality programs, gaming platforms, and even artificial intelligence.

Networking and Connections

Part of her professional life as a model was meeting people from many other industries in various parts of the world. It just so happens that Karlie Kloss also met Kevin Systrom, who founded Instagram. Kloss was fascinated by how such a platform can touch the lives of hundreds of millions of people, and she wanted to understand that skill set and language. It was this meeting that gave her the nudge to go to the Flatiron School.

Her friendship with Serena Williams also includes sitting together on the board of Oath. This is the Verizon subsidiary that owns AOL, Yahoo, and other digital content brands.

Her beau’s career is also separate from the political industry in which Jared Kushner is a part of. Joshua is a venture capitalist, and he also helped found the health insurance start-up Oscar Health.

Kode with Klossy

Karlie Kloss isn’t just a model. She also runs Klossy, which is a philanthropic organization also involved with both fashion and multimedia. She runs this group out of her home in Lafayette Street in SoHo.

In 2015, she started Koding with Klossy as a coding camp for teenage girls. It’s to counterbalance the fact that most coding camps are predominantly peopled by boys and men. In such an all-girls environment, teenage girls tend to feel safer and more comfortable.

The results have been very encouraging. One camper had been accepted to Princeton University, where she will major in computer science. Another had completed a computer science internship at Microsoft, while another girl had just finished an internship at Viacom and will now pursue her activist goals with the help of coding.

In the end, it’s not farfetched to realize that pretty models and girls can learn how to code. The fact that some people judge due to gender is actually one of the first misconceptions that must be put to rest, sooner or later. Karlie Kloss is doing just that.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

New Girlboss Platform to Challenge LinkedIn

New Girlboss Platform to Challenge LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the most widely acknowledged social networking platform for professionals. It has trounced its many rivals, but now it has to face the coming of Sophia Amoruso’s new Girlboss professional social-networking platform. Called the Girlboss Collective, it’s set to launch in January of 2019.

Leading Up to Girlboss Collective

Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso previously established the online retailer Nasty Gal, before founding Girlboss as a career site customized for millennial women. It has recently received an additional $3.5 million cash investment during the latest funding round. This was started by Initialized Capital, which is the venture capital group led by Alexis Ohanian (who co-founded Reddit).

Based on the latest funding round in 2017, Girlboss is now worth $13.1 million. The idea of a professional Girlboss social network was borne from a closed Facebook group called “Girlboss Gang,” which has more than 5,600 members.

Why Target LinkedIn?

It’s somewhat hard to understand how a new social platform can dare to challenge an established colossus in the industry such as LinkedIn. This is widely considered as the social platform for professionals. Nothing else comes close.

But according to Sophia Amoruso, LinkedIn isn’t as current as it ought to be anymore. Amoruso views LinkedIn as a platform for a bygone traditional era which no longer exists. Supposedly, LinkedIn focuses too much on where people previously worked and went to school, while it overlooks the importance of showing more about a person’s character.

Girlboss Collective Features

The plan is to launch the Girlboss Collective as a paid professional social-networking platform. This platform will be established as a networking hub to serve primarily women, though it is open to serve the professional networking needs of both men and women.

It’s especially geared towards women, however, who may have careers that may not be considered particularly traditional. These women may work as freelancers instead of as employees for a single company. They may also have significant gaps in their work history, or they may be working several part-time jobs at once.

It is still in its testing phase, and at this time it is only for US users. Getting on it is by invitation only, and so far more than 15,000 users are on the Girlboss Collective waiting list.

Once you become a Girlboss Collective member, you can view up to 50 hours of Girlboss Rallies. These are the networking events that Girlboss hold in LA and NYC with various panels and keynote speakers on a wide variety of relevant topics. Subjects that have been covered include how you can create a viable business out of your part-time jobs and you can navigate the Boys Club (which can be difficult if you’re a woman).

The next Girlboss Rally is on November in NYC. The speakers scheduled to appear to include Zola founder and CEO Shan-Lyn Ma and Marah Lidey who is the co-founder and co-CEO of Shine. Other speakers include Arianna Huffington and Jennifer Hyman, who co-founded Rent the Runway.

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
×
LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.