How to Build a Purpose-Driven Brand and Grow Your Business
Podcast speakers: Savannah McIntosh (Purplepass Marketing Director) and Meg Prejzner (CEO and Founder of Hackett Brand Consulting). Jump to the show notes below.
The EventBuzz podcast: Meg Prejzner
presented by Purplepass
Podcast Transcript: Purplepass + Meg Prejzner
Welcome back everyone to our 50th episode of The EventBuzz podcast and here to celebrate it with me today is Meg Prejzner, CEO and founder of brand marketing consultancy Hackett Brand Consulting. Her team helps build and grow purpose driven brands. Meg has led marketing for Fortune 50 enterprises, international organizations, national franchise brands and small businesses. Her work has resulted in multimillion dollar revenue driving marketing campaigns, nationally recognized social programs and award winning brand redesigns.
So welcome to the show and thanks for joining us today, Meg. Hey Meg, thanks for coming onto the show today. How are you doing?
I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. I'm happy to join.
Yeah, we are excited to have you and I did include a little intro about you. But I do want you to kind of introduce yourself to the listeners and maybe how you kind of found yourself in this space.
Perfect. So my background is actually in branded marketing and for a number of years, I worked at an agency and I went brand side before venturing out on my own. And as part of that, I really have done a little bit of everything in marketing, from public relations, to social media, to event marketing to nonprofit. And I've worked with more than 60 brands across more than a dozen industries. And along the way, what I've found that I really love to do is build brands and help help people grow their brands through marketing.
And so that's what I do full time running my own business these days. And I just love to help business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers be able to take all of these tips I've learned from working with all of these big brands and businesses and help them grow their businesses, for their audiences.
Perfect. And it sounds like you're in the right place. Because we have a lot to ask you specifically about marketing, because it's such a hot topic that also I feel like just has so many aspects and things you can do with it. And I feel like that makes people kind of feel lost, and they try to do all these different avenues. I'm sure you've experienced this with people you work with, and they don't really know where to start.
So I think one of my first questions for you, is when people start strategizing how to build out either like their brand or an event, in our case for the event planners where do you kind of recommend was starting? Because I feel like people are all over with this, whether it's like goals or finding their target audience? Or what would you recommend?
Yeah, and I love that question because I think there's analysis paralysis that happens a lot when people get into marketing, specifically, because you're right, there's dozens and dozens of channels that you can go on and different avenues. And then you kind of go down the rabbit hole of what am I saying? What what works best for me? What's my voice? And it kind of goes down this ramble, right?
So you want to pull that back. And I think get back to the foundations and I look at branding and marketing separate. And so for me brand is really the foundation of your business and what people come to know about you. And so when you're building a brand, I always say start from the heart. And by that I mean is to look inward at why you are throwing an event. And so the brand, the brand could be in event like a Lollapalooza or you know, something that's really recognizable, or it could be a business like an event marketing business. But when you're building that brand, it's to say, you know, what makes this unique? And that comes from your heart. And so answering the question of why, why am I different? Why did I start this? What's the value that I can bring to people? And what is that impact?
And now I know I kind of rambled five different questions and people here, but I think when you start to peel back the layers, it's like, of course, throw an awesome event, of course, make money doing that, of course, reach the community and the people.
But it goes a little bit deeper than that. And it's why it's like, what is that impact that you want to have? And so I think starting there, you can use that as the guiding light for why it is you do what you do. And then you build on that. And so then when you transition from brand and building a brand, whether again, it's specific to an event that's super branded like Lollapalooza, which is big and everybody knows the name, or you have a local venue or local chapter, and you're like just starting out. You build on that and you build the foundations, and then you start marketing and that's where you kind of get into goals.
And so when we are building marketing plans, everything aligns with goals, because if you don't know where you're going, then you don't really know what to do to get there. And so you may say, hey, we need to get a ton of traffic to our site to make people aware that's going to have different tactics marketing wise than it is to sell tickets, which may kind of fall into the paid media category, for example. So two answers there.
But I think separating brand and marketing is super important. And then starting from the why, and then making sure when you actually activate, you have those goals wrapped into it.
So do you think when you're developing your brand, do you think they need to consider their target audience at all? Or does that come later?
Absolutely. And for me, I, when it comes to branding, everything works together. And so when you start the foundation of building from the heart, what is your mission and your purpose and why you're here, ultimately, to have a brand you need to serve people. And so you have to consider that end audience when you are thinking of this story and foundational building. And so your audience should, or your target customer or your ideal client, whatever you want to call, it should be in the consideration set. And you should really narrow in on that and so sometimes people are like, well, we want to attract everybody, and you think well, that's a nice goal. But you have to really, I have to narrow it down into one person, like act like you're speaking to one person. Because you want to start with one customer, one end user and then build from out there.
And good analogy would be you know, if you can attract that one person to your event, they're probably going to tell their friends or their family about it. And then those people tell their friends and their family about it. And that's where you can reach the masses, but you really should narrow in on that one audience that you're trying to reach.
Yeah, I think taking the time to like, study and know who you're targeting is so important, because I feel like I see a lot of at least events that use us and stuff, where it's like what you said they want to reach everyone, which is great, but it's like, it's just so much more effective to really understand like their needs and wants, when like building out whether you know, it's your website, or your products or what not.
So do you have any tips when it comes to like strategies for how to identify your target audience?
Absolutely. And I would start with an analogy when people because sometimes when you're working on your own event, or your own business, you get too close to it. And so it's really easy to say, everybody or everybody in this community, etc. And if you were to pull yourself out of that, and say, hey, this is a business networking event. You don't necessarily mean everybody who doesn't run or start a business, right? Or if it's a marketing event, you don't necessarily need people who are outside of marketing and same for you know, music and sporting and things like that. Those are different audiences.
And so to narrow in on that is to pull yourself out of the event itself. And think about if I was going to this event, who would I want? Who would I be attracting? Right?
And some of the ways to think about this is certainly the quantitative demographic type of stuff like the age group, the the genders, the, what they like, what type of things they listen to, what type of things they watch what, what they consume on social media, and television, etc.
But the other aspect of this is the qualitative factors, right? What are those emotional needs states that people are pulling in when they're deciding on an event. And so it's not just always the demographic, it's what is that value, or impact or entertainment or education, etc, that they're trying to get out of an event that you may be able to hook them in with on an emotional level. And this really comes back to the branding and marketing from the get go standpoint. Because if you know what the impact is that you want from your brand, then you can start to John, those emotional needs states and start to connect the audience to that impact and that value that you can provide for them.
Yeah, that makes sense. So it's the whole picture considering the whole picture of that person and then becoming a resource for them, sorry.
Okay, and then my other question, I wanted to see if there were some common mistakes that you kind of see among people that first come to you. So your clients, basically because their company or product isn't really getting the attention it needs. Are there common elements you see as to why people are having branding issues or marketing issues?
Yeah, the most common, one thing that I see with branding issues is not showing up consistently. And that could be a couple of factors. So once consistently in your brand, maybe your brand visuals, your brand voice, what you're telling that story about your brand is all over the place, and you're kind of ping bombing people around. It takes eight times of seeing a brand before people start to recognize it.
And so if you can imagine that you're like changing your fonts and your colors, and your voice and your story and your purpose and your mission so much, that every time they see you, that becomes almost a new brand and you're starting from scratch.
And so you definitely want to show up consistently.
But the other side of consistency is routinely right. So not just consistent in your brand voice look, feel, but in your marketing, you want to make sure that you are showing up regularly, we all we'll get those emails where it's been a year since you've heard from someone and you're like, holy cow, I forgot that I signed up for this email newsletter, I'm just going to unsubscribe from that. Like, it's more of like a prompt to disrupt your day versus if you're hearing from someone regularly. And you're following this journey and story from them, whether that's on social media or public relations or email, you become more attuned to what they're saying and you receive that information more regularly, more consistently. And so I think that is, number one, start there with your brand and how to show up for people in that manner.
Yeah, and I think that also brings up a good point, when it comes to let's say, specifically email marketing or social media. People get kind of confused in terms of consistency, right? So you want to be consistent, you want to have this flow of posting, but then there is also that line of where it can become spammy. You know what I mean?
So how would they, how would you recommend finding like that, you know, not going over that line of constantly showing up in their inbox?
Yeah, that's a great point, actually, because I just signed up for an email newsletter earlier this week, and I got so many emails, unsubscribed. I was like this is so overwhelming for ya. And then also, you know, and that's just particularly specific to email. But you can see the same on like social media type of stuff. And so the way that you can break through that is really going to be tested, learn approach to it. And so there's some best practices that you can put into place, but best practices are more of a guide and they're not a hard and fast rule.
So I have seen in some industries, where email marketing, people will get emails three, four times a day from a company, and it actually helps with their sales. And in other industries, people get annoyed, and they opt out and they lose subscribers. And so what I would say is to kind of cut through that noise, because that's a non answer that I gave, right? I'm like, oh, it's wishy washy.
Is to be very specific, and say, okay, we're going to email people X amount of times a week, and then have a flow in place where you follow up with ones who maybe didn't open that email, and have a different flow for people who maybe did open the email, but didn't take an action from you, and start to understand their learning behaviors. And when you can dive into kind of the insights from whatever platform you're using on open rates, or click rates, call to actions and the output that you want going back to those schools is you can start to tweak what's working. And that's where you might be able to see oh, if I send an email on Wednesday morning, that way, I'll perform something on Wednesday afternoon, after people have left work for the day, and maybe they're checking emails in the morning, or maybe it's reverse.
And so that's where you kind of get in and you start to understand your particular user behavior. And use that as a guide to make the right next step for your business. And so you can start to see oh, if I send an email every day, my open rate drops off. What happens if I do it three times a week, and play with those numbers to find what that right balance is for you. But don't be afraid to make mistakes either when you do that, and so just a test and learn approach to really get into the numbers and pay attention to what they're telling you.
Yeah, it's crazy the like, you don't really realize as a consumer and before I even got into marketing, you don't realize what's going on in the back end. It's crazy, like all these small details and the amount of work that goes into marketing and advertising. Like sometimes I'm like, what? This is so much?
Oh, yes. And I know too much. I'm like one of those where I'm like, Oh, they're marketing to you. Yeah, exactly. But it's amazing. So what, what I will add to that is the tweaks that you can make, it's not just like time of day of sending an email, it's color choice, right. And so a blue email button, that's a click through call to action may be more effective than a red one. Or, you know, the kind of those colors choices, or it could even be the subject line, it could be the headline, it could be small tweaks and saying, I'm in Denver, 'Hey, Denver,' versus 'Hey, you' right? Like it's these small tweaks and that's where you want to really keep an open mind to like, what works for your audience. Because you are, right, there's so much information and data coming at you. And marketers on the back end are tweaking every little piece to see what works. And that includes, you know, down to pricing like that 99 versus an even pricing gives a different illusion of cost then other people BOGOs versus $10 off, etc. So really play with what works for your brand.
Yeah, so I guess everyone listening that feel overwhelmed. I guess this is why you kind of will turn to, you know, marketing consultancies, like you. So you can have someone else do it for you.
Yeah, I love that you said that because it is overwhelming. And I don't want to overwhelm people. So what I'll add to this conversation is that, yes, you can hire people like myself, who can help do that for you. Like, I'm not gonna be like, No, don't do that. But if you're feeling overwhelmed, what I don't want people to get caught in is that over analysis, paralysis, analysis paralysis that we talked about a little bit earlier.
And so if you're feeling overwhelmed, I really, really highly suggest starting with one to two tactics or strategies that you can play with. And so you don't have to be all things, all people. So if you're looking at 27, different marketing, tactics, and you're like, I gotta build a business and a brand and get people to my event, like, your mind starts to roll and so peel it all back and just say, what one to two things can I do today or can I start with, that's going to make an impact on my business goals?
And then just streamline it right? And then once you have a handle on those one to two things, then add to your plate, if again, if you don't have the resources, or don't know how to use don't have the team to delegate to you, then you then you add to your plate. And so if you're thinking about this in terms of marketing, like social media, right, don't try to jump on seven channels at once, focus on doing one to channels really well. And once you feel like you've got that handled, then add to the players say, oh, maybe I can repurpose this tic tac for an Instagram real, yeah, and get more bang for your buck. And so there's so much you can do but don't overwhelm yourself. Like really just focus on what one to two things are gonna move the needle for your business? And then add on top of that.
Yeah, that's a great segue to the next question I kind of had was when it comes to the content, content marketing. Not every type of content works for every brand, or their audience type. So how do people know what type of content marketing they should be using for their business? Like, how do they kind of go about figuring that out? Whether it's just starting with in one or two spots? But I guess, figuring out where they should focus on first?
I love that question, because it goes back to the point about the audiences. And so if you're deciding where to show up, or where to put out content, and content can kind of be all encompassing, it could be a blog, on your website, it can be social media channels, it can be email newsletters, it can be videos, podcasts like this, etc.
What you want to do is think about where your audience is spending their time. So where are they already spending your time that you can capture their attention, and you don't have to fight for that. And so that may be maybe you do go on social media, because your audience is there. And then it asks a question of well, which channels? LinkedIn is a much different channel than Instagram, right? And so if you're thinking from a business lens, you may be on LinkedIn, and that's the spot. But if it is something more entertainment based, TikTok or Instagram may be the way to go for those.
Yeah, so like you said, knowing your audience. And then, again where they're at now and what matches your brand. So a lot of research Yeah.
I think meet me, your audience where they are. So you, you have an uphill battle ahead of you or you're like, hey, I really want to reach as many people as possible meet them where they are. Don't make them come to you, eventually they will, right? So and that includes something like Google.
Something like search, if people are searching, meet them in search, right? That's where they're gonna find your website and come to your blog. So there's different elements, but meet them where they are spending their time and don't necessarily reinvent the wheel with something that, yeah, it's not going to reach the right people.
And so to wrap up kind of this meeting, did you have any, let's say standard advice for event planners out there when it comes to aligning their events with their brand, if that makes sense.
Yeah, absolutely. And so I, when it comes to your event, my advice is to be yourself and go back to kind of the basics of why you're throwing it. What is the impact of value in that take away that you can build a brand around, and don't be afraid to go bold towards that right or after that. I like to think of it as really owning your own brand. So don't necessarily like turn your neck looking at whether other people are doing you know, you want to hold your brand and you want to stand out and don't be afraid to go for that.
And that really starts with the heart and soul, the why of why you're here. And so as much as possible, if you can lay the foundation for answering the question of what is the value and impact for your consumers, then you can stay true to that North Star that Guiding Light, whatever you want to call it. And you can wrap your whole event around that and really promote it accordingly. And then give people a reason to like buy into that story that you reinforce at the event itself.
Yeah. Awesome. Well, before we go, of course, I want to mention everything that you do and the services you provide. So for the event planners listening that might want to work with you. How would they reach out or where do they start?
Yeah, so you can find me online of course, so hackettbrand.com, that's H AC K E T T brand.com. Or on social media all my handles are @megprez with my last name is a doozy. So that's meg.prez. So if you follow me on social media, I'm connected to my websites and businesses there as well as again Hackettbrand.com.
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today and providing all this this really helpful insight because again, marketing is just there's so many elements to it, that it can be so overwhelming, so I really appreciate it.