Welcome to 5 Questions With, a “behind the business” series from Bella Domain Media. This interview style post will be published every few months and I’m so excited to bring you a repost of the very first interview.
During my travels and throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the smartest, talented and inspiring people, and Maria Ross of Red Slice is one of my favorites. I met her 3+ years ago on the way to a networking lunch when we started chatting each other up in the elevator. We became biz collaborators and friends and I hope you enjoy this fun and candid interview with her. She has a great brand story herself and I’m certain you’ll even pick up a few tips about defining your own brand promise.
And please check out the 2nd edition of Maria’s brilliant book, “Branding Basics for Small Business: How to Create an Irresistible Brand on Any Budget.”
1. If there were “one thing” that most people don’t get about branding, what would that one thing be?
Most people fail to see that branding is much more than just a logo. Your brand is the impression you want your business to have, the essence or core of what you’re all about. What do you want people to think or associate with you when they see your name or logo? Saks Fifth Avenue and Walmart have very different brands, focused on different strengths targeted to different audiences. If you think of it more like “reputation” you’ll be much closer to understanding what brand truly encompasses.
2. What does someone need to understand to do branding well?
They need to understand that brand is communicated in more ways than just visually. Brand is conveyed in three important ways: visually, verbally and experientially. People always tend to think of the logo or colors or packaging, which is just the visual component. You also have opportunities to communicate your brand verbally, through your messaging, the tone of your copy or even your elevator pitch. And then, where the rubber hits the road, experientially. Now that you’ve promised me a certain brand visually and verbally, do you deliver? What is actually like to do business with you and does it align to what I’ve been promised?
3. Of all the information you shared, what is most important?
Brand is more than just your logo. It’s not just how you look, but what you say and what it’s like to do business with you.
4. Was there ever a moment when you had an “aha!” around branding your own business and suddenly it all made sense? If so, will you share this with us?
Sure…I initially had trouble combining all my passions under one brand umbrella: marketing expert, writer, actress. But then I simply did what I do for my clients and found the overarching theme that ties all those interests together, which for me is storytelling. I refocused my brand to be more about storytelling, whether for a client’s business, on the page or on the stage and suddenly, I was able to speak to more aspects and resonate with people in a very unique and differentiated way!
5. When you picture how all this information fits together, what comes to mind?
As mentioned above, my brand is evolving beyond just business and marketing topics to be one of telling impactful stories. I’m still serving entrepreneurs, rock stars, and change makers – essentially, people on a mission to act – but with a slight spin on content and offerings. To me branding IS storytelling, and you can’t be a good brand strategist if you can’t unearth good stories! So beyond just pure business topics, Red Slice is all about “stories, advice & strategies to ignite your brand & delight your mind.” It’s not just about a business’ brand but what can ignite the soul of the person behind that brand? I strive to create content that educates and motivates these go-getters to craft their own irresistible story in order to reach their goals. Whether that’s launching a new business, writing the epic novel or amplifying a cause, it’s all about helping them believe in and find their own irresistible story!
Thanks so much, Maria!
About Maria Ross:
Maria is a consultant, author, and speaker who believes cash flow and creativity are not mutually exclusive. As chief brand strategist and creator of Red Slice, she blogs weekly and advises start-ups, solopreneurs and small to midsize growth companies on how to craft irresistible brands. Maria is the author of Branding Basics for Small Business 2nd edition and her humorous and heartfelt memoir Rebooting My Brain. Start a conversation with Maria @redslice or join her Facebook tribe at www.facebook.com/redslice.
Disclosure: Book links are affiliate links