Episode 11

Creating a brand that people remember with Zoe Scott

Branding can make or break your business. It truly is that important! 

Zoe from The Design Order shares her secrets for creating a brand that wows.

 

In this Episode:

  • 01.30: Find out about The Design Order
  • 01.56: Why investing in an incredible brand or a beautiful website is a game changer for small business owners
  • 06.55: Why invest in a really great designer
  • 10.45: What the biggest mistakes people make with their branding 
  • 13.50: Zoe’s top tips for creating an amazing website that converts to sales
  • 22.20: Zoe’s business advice

Links

Zoe’s Bio

Zoe has been a designer for a pretty long time, in her 18 years she has worked for corporates, design agencies, charities, in the retail sector as well as heading up a small design agency. Her clients love her can-do attitude, her efficiency and her ability to make the experience a fun one. 

She believes that good design has the ability to change the world and has found her sweet spot helping small businesses get cut through in the market place. She loves everything to do with well though-out design from simple fashion, slow living and culinary mastery to comfortable living spaces, zero waste and a delicious red. 

 

Transcription

Episode 11

Branding can make or break your business. I seriously believe it can have that much of an impact on the outcomes your business can achieve. Today I chat to Zoë from The Design Order about creating a powerful brand that people will remember.

 

You’re listening to the Clare Wood podcast, where we talk all things business, finance, marketing, and mindset for entrepreneurs, sharing practical tips, and actionable advice to help you take your business to the next level. Introducing your host: me! I’m Clare Wood, I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, and a reality tv addict, and I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life, because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two. Now let’s dive right in to today’s episode.

 

Clare:

So today we have joining us Zoë, from The Design Order, now Zoë is an amazing designer, she’s actually who both my husband and myself use, we love working with her. So, wonderful to have you here Zoë.

 

Zoë:

Hey, thanks for the wrap, that’s awesome.

 

Clare:

What I want to do tonight is to have a little bit of a chat about what branding can mean for business owners, specifically talk a bit about what you do, so to kick off, Zoë, anyone that doesn’t know you, could you please share a little bit about The Design Order and what you do?

 

Zoë:

Yeah sure, basically we make brands and websites for businesses to help them achieve amazing things, so I’ve been a graphic designer for close to 20 years, and I’ve had several different businesses doing exactly this.

 

Clare:

Awesome, I have to say you are very very good at what you do! So, why do you think investing in an incredible brand, or a beautiful website is a game changer for small business owners?

 

Zoë:

Cool, great question, well let’s just say these days if you are working with consumers, everyone is looking for a really great experience, this often just starts with your visual brand, investing in your branding with a designer can help you tell your story and tell a great story as well. If you are working with someone who is really experienced as well, they can help you strategize your brand, that is just going to really resonate with your target audience as well as make you really unique and help you stand out. We all know there are so many different businesses out there and it’s really important to create something that is really memorable, as well as being a little bit different, so that people are attracted to you for a particular reason.

With websites as well, websites nowadays, that’s a no brainer, if you are working with the general public, if your friend refers you to any business, I know this is what I do, I will go away and look at their website, and if they don’t have one, I look at their Facebook page or whatever, but it’s so important, if you are a professional service especially, you need a website. You want your website to basically help make your customers or potential clients want to buy from you before they even speak to you. So that’s why a website is really super important these days for everyone.

 

Clare:

Yeah, and you know this is like the inner accountant and business coach coming out in me here, but I honestly believe branding and having an amazing website is absolutely pivotal to the financial success of your business. I’ve been through an example of the kind of client who invested in the kind of brand that up-levelled and double her results in a 12month period. If anyone wants to learn a bit more about that, I actually wrote a guest blog about it on Zoë’s website, at The Design Order, so make sure you check it out. I’m a massive believer in the power of branding, so couldn’t agree more.

 

Zoë:

Yeah, I’ve helped a number of businesses with re-brands as well and I’ve just seen the massive growth that it has helped create for them as well. I’ve helped a hairdressing salon, re-brand a few years back and it propelled this lady’s business to new absolute heights, so she actually won a small business of the year award in 2007 for her hairdressing salon. And she’s gone from working in the business herself to hiring staff, and she just manages the business, and it’s a well-known salon in Sydney now, in the northern beaches. And she’s not the only one either, I’ve helped heaps of small businesses to refresh the look and feel, and really create a new branding that will attract the right type of clients that you want in your business. Another girl I helped, she’s a beautician, and she was really stuck with a lot of her clients, and she really needed a really high class brand that would attract people with more money, who would come in a buy those bigger services from her. 5 years on now, she is going gangbusters, she has a great thriving business where she is doing what she loves every day, she’s got lots of clients coming in to her door, and I think a lot of it was a lot to do when she rebranded she started being able to tell a better story about what she could do for people, how she could help people and also of course, had the working interest to back up the awesome products and services.

 

Clare:

I think a big part of it too is about confidence and I know Zoë’s been working on my husband’s rebrand at the moment, but with his old website and his old brand, when people would say, “what’s he’s website?” I would try and direct them away from it. And he’s about to launch, and he is itching to get out there and show his new brand to the world. It’s such a confidence thing as well and that helps translate into potential new customers when you are loud and proud and want to get your business out there.

 

Zoë:

Yeah, I 100% agree with you, definitely, and if you are excited about your brand, especially your visual brand, you want to tell people, you want to show people and show it off, that’s just where it all starts isn’t it?

 

Clare:

Exactly. Now, on the spectrum of branding, there are lots of different price ranges that all different designers charge. I’ve love to know in your opinion, what is the difference when you invest in a really great designer?

 

Zoë:

Wow, yeah, I think it’s important to not only find a great designer, but also find a designer that is going to be a really good collaborator with you. There are so many really great designers out there, and it’s important to note before we talk about why its good to use a good designer, it’s also finding the right designer for you is so important, and making sure you have a good synergy with their style and with them, as it’ll make sure you achieve the best results possible.

I guess working with a qualified designer, especially one that has been around and served their time, with experience brings so many benefits for the clients, so a really great designer will not only produce good work, but also be really collaborative, and have the right processes in the backend to achieve those good results. I’ve made so many mistakes in my time, I think everyone does in business, and the more you go on the more you learn from those and build on them and grow from them, so I think working with someone with experience behind them as well as great talent, will just make so much difference, not only get a really great end product, but the product with resonate with the right people and speak to the right sort of people without having to utter a single word. You could even say working with someone who knows what they are doing, the process is much more enjoyable, there are no hassles that come along with it and the finished product is normally just perfect and you don’t need to do much more with it after the work is over.

 

Clare:

Definitely. Following on from that, have you found that your style has evolved over time?

 

Zoë:

Yeah, I don’t know, I always used to say that I didn’t have a style but since we’ve started working together you have brought it to my attention that I do have a style, I guess everyone’s work is going to evolve over time. I’ve spent a couple of years off the tools and then come back to it recently, and I think in that time, I’ve learnt to work a bit differently and get amongst designer and that influences a person’s work. I guess overtime for sure my work has changed and developed and I’m sure it will continue to change 5 years on as well.

 

Clare:

That’s really cool, and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, as there are a couple of key components to finding a great designer, and part of it is obviously the work, and personally I think at The Design Order you have a really elegant and sophisticated style that I really resonated with, and I must say Zoë didn’t actually do the brand for me, but has been doing some design work that I can’t wait to share with you.

About the style and the design though, it is about how you work with that person. You know, if you don’t have that click, then it’s as equally important component and obviously yours too Zoë.

We’ve spoken about why investing in an amazing deign is money well spent, but lets flip it over, and talk about what the biggest mistakes you see people make with their branding?

 

Zoë:

That’s a very good question, I think knowing when the right time to invest in your brand is really important. I’ve guess I’ve seen people throw a lot of money into their branding when they are maybe not at that stage yet, to do that. So I’m a big believer in making sure you have a really viable business behind you, before you spend too much money on the ins and outs of things including your brand and the rest of it as well. I’ve seen people spend 10’s of thousands of dollars to have a business that doesn’t make any money and its gone belly up. I always say try and be original. I see lots of trends coming and going and it’s really hard not to get caught up in that when your consumer wants that from you. But one of the biggest mistakes is copycatting of other people and not being very creative or original, and cutting corners with it as well. I’ve got to the point now where I am pretty good at saying no to people who try to cut corners but it’s good to make sure you get it done once, and get it done properly and it’s not done in pieces. I’m a big believer if you want to invest in the brand, get the whole kit and caboodle done at once, by the same person as well, because it can tend to look at bit like Frankenstein. A bit bitsy. I’ve seen that happen before.

What else can I say, I guess just not using professionals as well is an important one. It really depends where you are at on your business journey. Places like 99 Designs and Design Crowd have their place in the world, but it is important to know when you actually need to invest in a proper design and use a proper designer, as it can really hinder your business growth, and if you are working in a particular market where you are expected to look professional and on-trend and in style, people aren’t aware first of all the money they need to spend to get a really good end product, but also that they really need a good end product, and the reason why your business is not growing is because the branding is no good.

 

Clare:

Great tips, and it’s good to know the things not to do! When you are looking at your brand. So Zoë, what are your top tips for creating an amazing website, that doesn’t just look great, but also converts to sales?

 

Zoë:

Great question, I love talking about this actually. Really what you want to do with your website, the most important thing of all, is to really get to know your target clients, and make your website all about them, not all about you. I know in the past, it was on fashion to tell people about you, tell them all about why you do what you do and blah blah blah, and it’s still kind of important, but it’s not the main focus anymore. You basically just need to make sure your website is all about what your target audience wants to see and structure it in a way that makes their purchasing behaviour really easy to happen, and ensure everything they want to know is there and easy to find. And you kind of build up the process from there. Ensuring you have the proper credibility on your website, to back up any statements, whether you’re able to have testimonials on your website is a must these days. I was reading an article the other day, that said something like 86% of people will use online reviews to help make the sale for them, so if you’ve got good reviews make sure that they are front and centre on your website, so everyone can see not only you have done heaps of jobs before and the majority of the jobs, people have been happy with. Also making sure any credentials that you have, are quite visible as well. If you an accountant for instance, make sure all your certifications are visible on every page. If you have been seen in certain publications before, all those sorts of things, help show people you are really good at what you do and in demand.

 

Clare:

I love that. All such great tips, as I think the great thing about having a commercial aspect of the website, as well as looking pretty, it is ultimately there to drive business, so you have to have that commercial perspective in mind when you are designing your website.

 

Zoë:

Definitely!

 

Clare:

I’m going to take a side step here and make it personal for a bit. Now, you actually used to run your own agency, you were one of the head honchos at Saltwater Collective, so why did you decide to leave and go out on your own?

 

Zoë:

So I have to do a little bit of back peddling here, so its really important to know that I have 2 small kids that are both under 5 at the moment, and they were one of the biggest factors in walking away from that business, was the fact that I originally started my business many years ago and always wanted a firm, and I started my business to be in control of my time and have the flexibility to be with my kids a lot. So when I started Saltwater Collective, I didn’t realise the time commitments to run an agency. We were dealing with clients who expected us to be there all hours of the day, and it was quite a stressful job, and the type of client we were attracting there were not the ones I was necessarily so passionate about. I really love working with small business, because I feel like I can make such a big different for them, and really help them do awesome things, like my tagline says. It was out for me, a lot of the people who we worked with were large corporates who didn’t have that same passion and drive that the clients that I work with now do. I just love being 100% in control of my own time again, once again, and I’m not saying I won’t grow this business, but at the moment it’s just me, and I have few people help me on the sidelines but no actual staff, and as a mum it’s a really great solution for me, as I can work when I need and work when I want to, and of course be here while my kids are young, because that is when they really need me, when they are young.

 

Clare:

So true, as you know I work with lots of mums myself, and one of the big reasons why women decide to start their business, in a solopreneur sense, is because they want to be present mums but they also have that passion and have their own career. I think being in an agency, even though you were running your own business it was still a corporate capacity still, so I can totally understand why going out on your own was a more attractive option.

 

Zoë:

Yeah, definitely. And I think I missed being creative, my job had evolved into managing projects and managing people and the office, and I didn’t actually get to do any creative work and I really missed it! It was funny too because it was hard for a creative to build a business as well, you do need to work into more of a manageable role, so I was quite to leave that role and be happy to do what I loved doing.

 

Clare:

Awesome, and so operating as a solopreneur versus managing a studio, you had quite a team at Saltwater Collective, how are you finding the difference?

 

Zoë:

It’s great and so much easier to track profits now, which I personally love, I also love having a whole lot of time back to pursue the really important things, so with running an office comes a lot of admin and paperwork, there’s a lot of crap, basically, that needs to happen for the office to function, and you know, there were days were I was answering emails all day long, whereas nowadays I sit through and I am a lot more in control with everything, and it’s a lot easier to manage little projects I do, because I am the one doing all the work, and I have a realistic idea about how long it’s going to take, and what the client wants. I found that working at the agency, there was a lot of lost in translation happening especially with creative projects, because the person who was actually working on the project didn’t really talk to the clients, so I feel like I’m in this kind of sweet spot where I’m able to fast track projects and project success, and I love being in control of my own time.

 

Clare:

It’s obviously a big advantage.

 

Zoë:

Yeah such a big advantage, I’m just working at home which is great for me, not having to commute anymore, I’m in my ugg boots all day today, it’s a really good lifestyle, I love it!

 

Clare:

I totally agree with you! So how long have you been in business for now?

 

Zoë:

I went into business just over 10 years ago now.

 

Clare:

Ok, so I guess a lot of people listening haven’t been in business that long, so what have been your biggest learnings, or what is your advice for people who haven’t been in the business game for as long as you?

 

Zoë:

Wow ok, I guess I know this will sound cliché as you are a business coach, but one of the biggest game changers for me was working with a business coach. My first business coach helped me triple my income in 3 months, so that was a big thing for me, and I guess just really investing a lot of energy and effort to learn about business. I never did any business studies at school, I did basic maths, and all of that stuff is really important to keep yourself educated about everything, and the bigger picture as well so you have something to build upon, in terms of your actual skill, whether you are an accountant or copywriter or designer, or whatever it is, just keep learning about business really, and about marketing, and always always always, always, make sure you know what is happening with your money! That is a really important thing. And it can be really fun having lots of money coming in but it is important to make sure you track your money. I invested in Xero quite early on which I think was a really smart thing to do, as it’s really easy to see where your money is going and where your money is coming from. I think that’s probably it. Have I missed anything?

 

Clare:

I’m sure there are lots and lots of things you can share from over the years, but I think those are some of the biggest things that you can share with those who perhaps haven’t been around as long as you. And you know that business is a tough gig, isn’t it?

 

Zoë:

Yeah it can be, I know another thing that saved me in business was going out and networking a lot, and you are really good at doing this. I think when you are working at home by yourself as well it’s important to get out there and socialise and it’s really important to get out there and build a community around you of small businesses that you know and trust and that you can share experiences and knowledge with as well, so I think that is another really important thing for small businesses, to find a group of people or several groups, so that you can continue on that education and support, because it can often feel quite alone running a business by yourself. So it’s good to have the kind of people around you who are in the same position, so you can been there for one another when you need to be.

 

Clare:

Yes, such great advice! And I think mindset is one of the biggest things in business and I think when you are around people who understand what you are going through, they can relate and empathise a lot more, and help remind you about the amazing stuff in business and where you are heading, and keep you motivated towards your own goals.

 

Thanks so much for your time. For anyone who is listening, Zoë has done my husband’s re-brand and she is also doing a piece of design work for me that just looks incredible, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. So she has my big gold stamp of approval as a designer.

 

Zoë:

Thank you Clare!

 

Clare:

If anyone wants to get in touch with you, how can they find you?

 

Zoë:

Of course I have a website which is thedesignorder.com.au or you can find me on Facebook or Instagram as well with the same tag, and yeah, if anyone has and questions or anything, you are welcome to upload it on Facebook or Instagram or chat through it with you.

 

Clare:

Thanks for joining me!

 

Zoë:

Hey it’s been great, thanks so much for having me!

 

Thank you so much for joining me today, if you enjoyed this episode, please make sure you subscribe to receive future episodes, and I’d be so grateful for a review on apple podcast! If you’d like a copy of the show notes or any of the links mentioned today, please jump over to clarewood.com.au/podcast and remember that Clare is spelled CLARE, have a wonderful week and look forward to chatting to you again soon!

About your host

Hi, I’m Clare Wood – I’m a numbers geek, a travel lover, a reality tv addict, and a passionate business coach. I’m here to empower you to create an extraordinary business and an amazing life; because I believe you don’t have to choose between the two.

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