1. You feel behind-the-times because of an outdated, under-performing website, logo or marketing material

This is the most common thing we hear from people who is frustrated with their brand or website. Here’s the punchline: your brand is not like a crock pot–you can’t set it and forget it. It takes consistent work to make sure it is fresh, up-to-date and competitive. As your business grows, your visual brand should grow as well by updating your website, social media graphics, videos, colors, fonts and even your logo. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend a website refresh or redesign every 2 years; every business is unique but that’s about how often major design trends and technology emerges on the market (sometimes faster).

To be a leader or influencer in your industry or to even make real money, your business and brand must be fresh, current and high-performing. That also goes for your internal documents and operational processes.

If you’re feeling behind-the-times, take a step back and re-imagine your brand’s look and feel, redesign your website and possibly redesign your company logo. How drastic your change needs to be depends on your unique situation. Schedule a risk-free discovery call with us and let’s elevate your brand together.

2. You struggle with knowing who to trust after investing your time and money on a previous website or project

Have you ever spent money on something business-related but was still unhappy and left empty-handed afterwards? Believe it or not, it happens all of the time. We work with quite a few people who previously spent money on their brand or website and was eventually abandoned and unsatisfied. Those experiences left them unhappy, distrusting and skeptic to work with anyone else in the future. If you’ve had a similar experience, allow me to personally apologize on behalf of all the professionals with integrity in this industry. We are not all the same.

The solution to your distrust is to avoid hiring hobbyists to design your brand or website, and to think twice and do research before you hire anyone.

Professional web and branding companies or agencies will have the experience to understand your vision and the skills and process to bring it to life. They won’t abandon you in the middle of the process because they value their reputation; that’s really all we have in this industry. Also, be sure to do your due-diligence and research the company before you hire them. Ask for testimonials, case studies, solution briefs and examples of their work prior to signing the contract. You can read our client testimonials and case studies here on our website. We even have pdf versions you can download.

If you’d like to know exactly what goes into getting a website designed, plus a free download and our expert insider advice, read our article Web Design Process Explained: 12 Steps to Get Your Website Design and Launched. This ultimate, unbiased guide will tell you everything you need to know.

3. You struggle to close deals, get booked and sell more due to an inefficient sales cycle

First of all, do you have a sales cycle in place? I ask because if you’re a startup, you may fall into the majority who don’t have a polished sales cycle. Believe it or not but many entrepreneurs are completely oblivious as to what a sales cycle is. Basically, a sales cycle the entire process of a business deal from Lead to Close, with multiple steps in between. If your company is more mature, then most likely you know what a sales cycle is and have one it in place.

If you don’t have a sales cycle in place, or need to revamp it, I strongly advise you to do so because sales acceleration and efficiency is crucial to the growth of your business. Many people over-complicate the sales cycle but it’s very simple to understand. Simply identify and outline your specific process of closing new business deals, whether that be a service agreement if you’re a B2B company, public speaking engagement if you’re a speaker or a wholesale book order if you’re an author. No two sales cycles are the same.

We use HubSpot’s free sales and marketing automation tools, which includes a built-in deals management system and boiler plate sales cycle. Ours sales cycle in HubSpot is as follows:

  1. Qualify Lead – A lead is pre-qualified based on marketing activity such as a download or contact form completion
  2. Discovery Call or Sales Presentation – A call is scheduled to discuss the client’s needs and goals
  3. Follow-up Email – An email goes to the potential client to recap the conversation, along with some type of pdf asset (preliminary proposal, solution brief or case study)
  4. Proposal – Official proposal is sent, which includes the contract
  5. Negotiation – (optional) Phone call to discuss budget, pricing, and contract terms
  6. Contract – Official signing of the contract by client and us
  7. Invoice – Invoice sent out to receive first payment
  8. Closed Won – Deals moves to Close Won if we won the contract
  9. OR Closed Lost – Deal moves to Closed Lost if we didn’t get the business for whatever reason.
8-step sales cycle diagram

If you struggle with deals being stalled in the pipeline, you may need to rethink your sales cycle and your approach to execution. Use branding assets like case studies, solutions briefs, blog posts and white papers to help push deals through. As you send these resources to the potential client during the sales process, perhaps as a follow up to your discovery call or included in the proposal or contract, it instills a deeper level of confidence in the customer and increases the perceived value of your service offering and ultimately your company.

Along with refining your sales cycle, deploying brand consistency is another way powerful way to push deals through the pipeline, sell more and get booked more often.

4. You don’t know how to reinvent yourself after leaving a job or changing careers

It’s very common to change careers or leave a job to start a business. If you’re in this season, I commend you because it requires a lot of guts and passion to take that risk.

In my Branding 101 online course, there are essentially 4 steps/phases to creating and launching a personal brand:

Phase I: Establish Your Brand – This is all about establishing who you want to be as a personal brand or business owner and identifying your gift, strengths, weaknesses and skills so that you can use them as leverage to succeed.

Phase II: Map Out Your Brand – This is about laying the foundation to your actual brand, writing your positioning statement, brand message, defining your target audience, writing an elevator pitch and more. Map out how you will position yourself in the marketplace, then execute.

Phase III: Create Your Brand – This is where you bring your brand to life by creating the visual identity such as your logo, photos, website, videos and social media. Basically, you’re putting a face to your business.

Phase IV: Launch Your Brand – This is where it all comes together, and you take your business/brand from idea to reality. In this phase you’ll map out a specific action plan to launch your brand and share the new you with the world.

If you don’t know how to reinvent yourself and don’t know what the next step is, I strongly encourage you to enroll in the Branding 101 online course. It has 20 in-depth training videos, a workbook and 1-on-1 access to get coached along the way. It provides an easy-to-follow process that will help you reinvent yourself and start your business in 90 days or less.

5. You have trouble explaining or communicating your service, product or business to others

The problem is not that you lack expertise, knowledge or experience–you simply don’t know how to present and communicate that in the most effective way. This is a very common challenge that handicaps a lot of people. Understanding the link between branding and marketing is the bridge to overcome it. Allow me to break it down for you.

The 4th P in the 4 Ps of Branding is PRESENTATION. How you present yourself is absolutely crucial to your success because how your brand is represented in the marketplace is the way the marketplace will perceive you. Marketing is all about VALUE and PERCEPTION. Value being something of interest to your audience, and perception being the visual things that people can see, hear, touch, and smell.

Let’s look at it this way: consistency over time equals branding. Therefore, if you consistently market yourself as “Mike the Milkshake King” long enough, people will believe you. However, you can’t simply SAY you’re the milkshake king–you must actually back it up by giving your audience what they want (VALUE) in the form of visual aids and collateral (PERCEPTION). This is the bridge of synergy between branding and marketing. You are in total control of what people see and know about your brand, therefore you have the power to tailor your brand experience and conversation to what will first benefit your audience, then you. When you understand that link, it becomes much easier to communicate with people about what you do.

 

Public speaking is one of the biggest fears for most people. Even networking events can be a challenging experience for some. But, knowing what to say and how to say it will help you be more confident in your ability to converse and market yourself.

Having an elevator pitch is a great way to shake off those gitters. Write your elevator pitch and learn it inside out, front to back, left to right. The more you say it (aloud) the more comfortable and confident you’ll get with explaining and communicating your value.

In Module 2 of my online course Brand Building 101, there are multiple exercises to help you develop your brand message, crafty your brand story, and simple formulas to write your elevator pitch and positioning statement. This course is perfect for public figures, startups, and solo entrepreneurs. Click here to learn more.

6. You struggle to market yourself among competitors and the sea of speakers, authors, and personal brands

I was watching an interview of Steve Jobs once and he said, “Don’t ask how you can be better than your competition; ask how you can be different.” In my experience, having the best product or service doesn’t always win the day, the deal, or the sale. It’s all about you present your “X factor”, which is the thing you do the absolute best with the least amount of effort–that is what stands out in the end because it allows you to showcase your differentiation (or USP).

If you can present yourself or business in a way that’s unique from your competitors, you’ll win. And, the way to do that is to highlight what makes your unique, i.e. your story, experiences and value propositions. Identity your X factor, embrace it and run with it—it’s worth more than any marketing gimmick, advertisement or press release.

Remember, no one can do what you do, the way you do it. You are truly one of a kind.


Let's Overcome These Challenges Together

If you feel stuck and find yourself in one or more of these six categories, schedule a risk-free discovery call and let me help you think through your ideas and overcome your challenges.

I’m very excited to share with you our new look that we’ve been working on for a while. Don’t get me wrong, we love our old logo and people loved it too, but it just didn’t show the entire picture of who we are. In this post I want to share with you the whole story of what we value as a company and strive to do for our clients.

Our Story and Why We Changed Our Logo

We are not only changing our logo, but also our messaging and how we show up in the marketplace. As our company has evolved over time, and we outgrew our previous logo and core brand message, which is a natural part of every business.

Our previous logo was military-themed, and although the military is a part of our story, it’s only one strand of the fabric of our brand’s DNA. My father was in the United States Air Force and as a kid I grew up without him, which led to a grudge. However, after 24 years of resentment, I forgave him and we began down the path to reconciliation and creating a new family legacy. You can read our full story here. So, naturally I wanted our agency to bear some sort of military resemblance to represent my history with my dad. However, over time we have evolved as a company and our brand today is more dynamic than it has ever been.

Before I dive into our new logo design, come with me “behind the brand” and allow me explain to you how we got where we are today.

We See Our Clients As Family

Our clients aren’t money trees; and they’re not email addresses on our mailing list—they are our FAMILY. As cliche as that may sound, it’s true. Each time a new client comes on board, we add a new member to our family; and we build a bond with them. It’s a BONUS that we get to help them with branding and web design.

Every family, person and business leaves a legacy behind. The legacy we want to leave is that of servanthood and excellence. We strive to always have a servant’s heart when working with clients, and a high standard for excellence in design and customer service. Through our creative branding and marketing solutions we help our clients create a brand that will last for generations.

Our Philosophy

One part of our brand that has remained is our core philosophy:

“We aim to help you do what you do best–change the world.”

Whether you’re a motivational speaker, doctor, president of a non-profit, network marketer, entrepreneur, CEO, marketing director, or entertainer, you are leaving your mark on the world through what you do for people.

There are two types of people in this world:

  1. those who use others to help themselves
  2. those who use themselves to help others (which is what we do)

If you’re a business owner or leader in any capacity, every single day you pour into the lives of your clients, customers, followers, and audience. Our goal is to help you do that by empowering you to focus on what you do best. You shouldn’t worry about building your website, graphic design or being concerned about marketing metrics–you should be focused on delivering your gift to the world with all your might, heart, mind, body and soul. And, guess what? We’re going to be right here with you to guide you every step of the way.

“To Infinity and Beyond” – Behind the New Logo Design

Since our conception, “legacy” has always been the underlying theme and pulse of this agency. It is woven into every fabric of our brand, from our story, to how we treat our clients. We believe our new “infinity logo” is a visual representation of what we believe, stand for and represent–which is LEGACY.

The challenge with every logo design is finding a symbol that visually represents your core message. What better symbol represents legacy like the infinity symbol, right? We also considered using a lion, circle or octagon shapes. But, in the end the infinity symbol became the clear choice.

Sargent Branding legacy logo

We wanted our new logo to POP–something that jumps out and makes a statement. Something that makes you stare at it. We chose to use multiple colors instead of one. Each color has its own meaning of course, but for us they also represents the variety of clients we serve from different backgrounds and geographies. The gradient of the colors represent the evolution of us as an agency and individuals, and how our legacy will continue to evolve over time to mean different things to different people.

 

Sargent Branding Mood Board 

 

Another challenge in logo design is creating something with meaning behind it. Besides the infinity symbol and color variations, if you look closely, you will notice a few shapes that overlay the logo. It’s a subliminal message. Those shapes are the exact shapes in the United States Air Force logo. Remember I told you my dad was in the Air Force. We had to weave in the military theme somehow. It’s the cherry on top.

Well, there you have it. Our new brand identity and logo design. Please leave a comment and tell us what you think about it.

If you would like to rebrand your company or reinvent yourself, send us a message and let’s have a conversation about. I believe we can help you achieve greatness with your brand.

Personal branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands. You are your business. You are your company. You are your organization. You are your product. You are your service. You are the brand. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you are a walking billboard for your business or company. No one can represent your business as good as you can. You are the most accurate representation of your business that there is. It doesn’t get any more accurate than you. No one can explain your vision the way that you can.

We all have unique characteristics, gifts, skills, personality traits, passions, and interests. Personal branding is about taking all of those ingredients, mixing them up and creating a product or service that can benefit others by solving their problems, providing information, convenience, and value. It’s all about packaging you in a certain way and presenting yourself to your audience and the world.

There are 2 types of people in this world:

  1. Those who use others to help themselves
  2. Those who use themselves to help others

Which one are you? As a personal brand, your mission should be the latter–serve your gift (the thing you do the best with the least amount of effort) to those who need it most, and in return you’ll reap positivity, love, finances and much more.

Why Personal Branding Should Matter to You

Whether you like it nor not, you have a brand. Everyone does. The danger is not being conscious of that brand and what it’s saying about you to the world. For example, do you know someone who always is pessimistic about everything, and never has anything positive or uplifting to say? They see the glass as half empty instead of half full. That’s their brand. When they come around, you already know what to expect.

Do you know someone who is always loud and boisterous? That’s their brand. What about someone who’s a hard worker and takes care of their family? That’s their brand. All of those are unique characteristics that create a reputation for those people. My question to is this: what reputation is your brand creating for you with or without your knowledge? Being purposeful about guiding and cultivating your personal brand is so important because personal branding is one of those things that you can’t stop from happening, but can control what it does to your image and for your image.

A Quick + Dirty Way to Build Your Personal Brand

When you consistently present and market yourself as something, people will automatically associate you with that thing. When they think of you, they think of the service or product you offer. So, when you think of Mike, you think of milkshakes. Why? Because Mike always talks about milkshakes; it’s his favorite dessert and he posts pictures of milkshakes on his Pinterest and Instagram.

You’ve become a personal brand when people associate what you do with you. For example, when people think of milkshakes, they automatically think of Mike. Why? Because Mike has marketed himself and the milkshake expert. He has a YouTube channel of milkshake videos. He educates people on how to create different flavor milkshakes. He knows the exact ingredients. Mike has a milkshake cafe where he sells milkshakes. Mike has a recipe book full of milkshake recipes, and he also has a milkshake starter kit. All of this creates brand dominance for Mike. Do you see why you automatically think of Mike when you think of and hear the word milkshake? It’s consistent personal branding. You can make people believe anything about you if you say it and tell them long enough. Anything people hear long enough, they start to believe. But, there comes a point in time when you have to back it up with the physical proof. Videos, providing the service, live events, photos, etc.

 

How Your Personal Brand Cam Help You Grow Professionally

When you create a personal brand for yourself, you carve out space in the market that makes you an expert, therefore people will buy from you and work for you and with you. People do business with those they know, trust, and like. Consistent personal branding provides knowledge of who you are and what you do. It embodies trustworthiness because if you’ve been repairing cars for 30 years, I’m more likely to trust you with my vehicle when it breaks down. And, finally if you are genuine and unique, people will like you. Not everyone, but there will be a group of people who are drawn to you. I believe that we all have a specific group of people that we are called to reach, and personal branding will definitely help you reach those people. However, it doesn’t happen automatically. It takes work, thought, and cultivation in order for you to grow professionally, financially, and personally. And, that’s what I do- I help people cultivate their personal brand. 


Let’s talk and figure out the next step for your personal brand. If you haven’t taken the time to guide and cultivate the personal brand that you do have, then let me help you do that. Use the form below to schedule an in-depth brand consultation.

What are your thoughts about typography for branding? What fonts do you use for your brand? Where do you download fonts?
Typography is defined as:
the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point size, line length, line-spacing (leading), letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space within letters pairs (kerning).
Typography is a huge part of every brand, however it is probably the most overlooked part of every brand. The average business owner will never think of typography as a key cornerstone of the brand.
The goal is to find a font face that best represents your business. If you own a daycare and your brand theme is fun and whimsical, you may not want to use traditional fonts, instead you may want to stick with handwriting fonts fit your name, industry, brand theme and brand photo (if you have one).
For contrast, choose 2 fonts that are totally different, but at the same time compliment one another. This strategy gives your brand a very professional and complete look. There are many great websites for fonts and typography. I’ve found that the best places to start looking for typography is www.google.com/fonts and www.dafont.com.
If you have any questions or need help with choosing typography, reply to this email- I’d be glad to assist.