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Creating brands with clarity [Interview with Melanie Watson]

May 8, 2024

I love sharing the interviews I’ve been doing with colleagues. I like these for two reasons.

I’m finding many of my clients could truly benefit from working with these professionals. What they do can truly help, but some clients aren’t even aware these professions are needed in their businesses.

Also, hearing my colleagues stories, knowing they have similar doubts and fears, lets us all know we’re not alone. We’re all struggling or feel like we’re lagging in some way. Hearing these stories spurs us on!

This is part of a series of interviews with other professionals that may help you as a service provider or consultant. It’s my hope you come away with a better understanding of what they can bring to your business overall, not just with your website creation!

Read the other interviews:
What are Personal Brand Photographers?
What is a Copywriter [An interview with Terra Osterling]

brand board sample colors shaded out with the words Creating Brands with Clarity [Interview with Brand Expert Melanie Watson] overlaid

Melanie Watson is helping passionate small business owners build brands that work for them

Like many people, Melanie didn’t start in a creative profession. She learned about branding after being laid off and it became her passion. She’s now a Brand Designer and Consultant, helping passionate small business owners feel more confident in their branding. 

Melanie and I both create branding for clients, but Melanie’s offers are more extensive. 

Melanie and I both start our creative process with a session that brings our clients clarity. 

Hers is called the Brand Clarity Session. Mine is called The Focus Session. By the end of a session with either of us you should know your message, understand your ideal client, and know how you stand out from others. 

But there are differences.

My Focus Session is more focused (pun intended) on uncovering details that will help consultants and service providers write their own website copy with a little branding work on the side. The goal is to help get you and I both focused on your foundation before starting the website project.

It’s part DIY (you write the copy) part finessing your essential branding (text-based logo, color palette and font selections), and then building out your website strategically. Many of my clients have already DIYd their first website and don’t *quite* need a full brand, yet need a better website to showcase their expertise. We work on the foundational elements for that to happen.

Melanie’s Clarity Session

A clarity session with Melanie leads her to a full understanding of your business, background story, mission statement, vision statement, goals, core values and more to develop a complete and robust brand. A brand that could  include a brand concept, custom pattern design, font selection, brand guide, logos and marketing materials.

My branding work is just the essentials with a focus on the website.

For those that want a whole package, need additional graphics as well as a creative direction, and need the confidence to market yourself online…a Brand Clarity session and Brand package by a Brand Expert like Melanie is what you want!

The Interview

So let’s get to know Melanie a little more and maybe you’ll understand why working with a brand expert will help move the needle in your business more than just finessing your DIY/existing colors and fonts. Read: Why working with a brand expert is better than just the essentials you and I can create together.

Q. What results do you bring about for your clients? How do they benefit? What do they get from working with you?

They get a brand identity that truly fits them and works for them by attracting their ideal clients. They gain confidence when marketing themselves because they have professional brand assets that they are proud if.

Q. What tips do you have for your clients to ‘do the work’ with you for a better result than if they did it on their own?

I can look at their story from an outside perspective, can help them remember that their individual preferences are not as important as what their clients will want. As a brand expert, I can keep them focused on the complete picture.

I have been told that my Brand Clarity Session is like therapy for your business. (I love this!)

Q. What are some of the fears and doubts your clients come to you with and how do you help them overcome them?

Clients don’t have a logo that fits them or it may not feel professional. They may be unclear on who their ideal client really is and how to speak to them. They may be starting to hire employees and are looking for more clarity in who they are and how that will in turn affect their company culture.

We sit down and I ask a bunch of questions and dig a little deeper to help them get that clarity. And in turn, their new visuals will fit them so much better and feel just right.

Q. How do you differentiate yourself from other brand experts? What makes you different / stand out?

For me, I think the difference is that I will share and educate as much as possible before asking for money. I make sure I’m clear on how my services will improve your life and will be honest if I don’t think I can help you. I want the business owner to be a part of the process and collaborate with me.

What Melanie’s experiences can teach us

Q. What would you say you’re proud of yourself for, or a big win in your business?

Personally, I’ve really grown as a business owner. I’ve done things that were way outside my comfort zone and lived to tell the tale. :) In terms of business, I love hearing about happy clients that tell others about me.

Q. What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone starting out in business, from the perspective of your expertise?

Don’t be afraid to pivot in the beginning. Sometimes we don’t really know what people are willing to pay for or we may find out that what we think we’re good at isn’t what gives us joy. Keep an open mind and follow your passion.

Q. What’s a lesson you’ve learned from being in business that’s helped you grow that you think could help my audience of independent consultants and service providers?

Don’t get caught up in research and learning.

I spent a lot of time buying courses from other designers or researching how everyone else did things. It’s important to do some research, but it’s also important to just get started.

Progress before perfection. Hands-on experience will trump someone’s course any day.

Q. Because I’m a web designer, I have to ask, how does a website fit into your marketing plan?

I have a website. I don’t really bring in clients from people visiting the website through Google. It’s more of the place to send people once we’ve met for them to learn more. And it shares my portfolio.

Q. Who else do you follow that my clients should too?

Chris Do from The Futur. Chris is a designer, yes, but he talks a lot about how to price yourself, how to close a deal, how to provide value. These can all be applied to any service-based business. He has a YouTube channel and is on LinkedIn and Instagram.

Q. What are some resources you use in your business and how do they help?

Terra Osterling – Freelance writer. Terra helped me write some content for my website and is a great person all the way around. She may be good for this survey as well. (Also interviewed previously on my blog.)

Harvest – I send estimates and invoices through this app as well as track my time on a project by project basis.

Calendly – I have a paid version of this app. It syncs with my Google calendar and I have multiple types of meetings set up. Some are in-person, some link to my Zoom and create links for Zoom calls, and some are for phone calls. I can set the availability for each type of meeting separately. Then, when someone wants to schedule something, I don’t need to do the email dance. I can just send them a link and they can schedule anytime that works for them. This has been a game changer. (Just make sure EVERYTHING is in your Google calendar, including personal appointments, self-care time, etc. or you may end up double-booked.)

You can find Melanie on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook .
Or check out her website at melaniewatsondesign.com.

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Melanie Watson, Brand Expert smiling at the camera
Tricia laughing, looking at the camera

Hello! I’m Tricia, and I help consultants get online with websites that aren’t only great to look at, but that reflect the quality service you provide and do the heavy work to get you booked!

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