Erin Brennan on Small Business Branding


**  posted on Wise Pops blog

If you don’t know Erin Brennan, you should. She’s the force of nature behind Brennan Brand with a mission to help companies make a difference in the world.  She’s based in San Francisco and works with lifestyle and tech companies to create creative campaigns and communication strategies to grow their business.  

Her favorite projects are the ones where she combines for-profit campaigns with non-profit causes. “It’s amazing how much ROI a company adds to their marketing efforts when including cause marketing into their strategy,” she says, “especially when targeting millennials.”

Her clients have included: an Oscar nominated production company, a Digital Marketing instructor for General Assembly, the largest independent real estate firm in San Francisco, and some super cool technology startups.

What’s your favorite marketing hack?

Asking my clients “why should your clients care about this?”

This refocus changes the conversation. Marketing becomes so much more effective when it’s focused on the emotional payoff.

Marketing becomes so much more effective when it's focused on the emotional payoff. Click To Tweet

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I walk my dog, James and put on an audiobook, podcast, or rocking playlist to get my creative juices flowing. This is the best time to think through my client projects and get clarity about what I’m trying to achieve. I take notes on my phone so I can sort through the brainstorm later. Once I’m home I make a list of projects or meetings for the day. I try to plan of meetings and calls first so sometimes it is noon until I’ve even looked at my email.

What’s something everyone loves, but makes no sense to you?  

Social media marketing. It is the “duck face selfie” of the marketing world.

Social media is the “duck face selfie” of the marketing world. Click To Tweet

Social media is not a marketing strategy – it is a marketing TOOL. And while it can be effective, it doesn’t work for everyone. Does your client even use Facebook? Are you adding value or just adding noise? Does this really add value or are you just asking them to buy something and because it’s on Facebook you think it will work? 

Just like anything, good things take time. So if you do want to use Facebook, be prepared to invest the time it takes to create really good content people actually care about. Just like many other marketing tools, social media is what you make of it. 

What do you enjoy most about your work?

My favorite part is putting together the puzzle. Finding the intersection where the business is getting their goals met (aka show me the money), the client is getting their needs met (aka show me the love), and it is being done in a way that is interesting and adding value to the world. Two out of three just doesn’t cut it for me.

What excites you about marketing right now?

Anything is possible. For the first time there aren’t many rules you can’t break. With the addition of new tech you have even more ways to create unique experiences and reach a global audience. Put those two things together and if you can conceive it, you can probably achieve it.

What scares you about marketing right now?

How little businesses understand what it is and what it should be doing for your company. There are so many types of marketing that can be misused. I understand why so many clients ask me “What is the ROI of my marketing?” If branding is your bible and sales is your closer, marketing is the action hero connecting the two.

Most people want a pretty logo and the most qualified sales team, but without a strong bridge connecting the two you might as well wear white gym socks with your suit. 

What’s your office like?

I work from a lot of different places. I have a home office and I try to visit my clients on-site a few times a month. The personal interaction with their team sparks a lot of insight. I also search out new places for inspiration. Being stuck behind a desk can leave me feeling isolated from my client’s target audience so I try to work from areas that they would go to and get inspired.

WiseTalks is a weekly interview series with awesome marketers and creative entrepreneurs who share their tips, stories and frustrations. Have someone you want to recommend? Leave a comment below!

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