Nailing your brand identity is one of the most important things you can do to support your success as a content creator or business. It's the bedrock foundation for building an audience or market. And in today's noisy social media landscape, your brand message needs to be especially clear, concise, and bold!
This makes it a great time to sit down with Megan Gersch, an expert in website design and branding who has worked with clients such as Netflix, Live Nation, and Seatle's Pike Place Market, and built an impressive social media brand presence in her own right. In this episode, we talk about how to develop a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience through effective messaging and social media strategies. Check it out, and get ready to be inspired to embolden your brand!
Music and sound effects are licensed under Storyblocks. Opening and closing track: Disco Danger, by Jon Presstone.
This episode is not sponsored by anyone. However, links to Repurpose.io are affiliate links, which means if you subscribe to Repurpose.io via these links, then I'll receive a small commission.
Thanks for listening! Have a comment or question about a topic or episode? I'd love to hear that. Feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, check out the store link on my website for resources and merch for content creators.
[00:00:00] Tim: Okay, so let's say you've decided it's time to create or update your branding strategy. In principle, it seems like this ought to be a relatively straightforward task. It's just a matter of defining the key message and then aligning your website design, logo, brand colors, fonts, and so on, into a coherent brand identity.
[00:00:18] And finally, building a marketing plan with some sales channels around that should be done in an afternoon, right?
[00:00:26] Or, maybe not. As anyone who's tried this knows, it can be a lot more difficult to build a solid brand strategy and practice than it seems in theory.
[00:00:35] That's why in this episode I'm really pleased to be joined by Megan Gersh. Megan is an expert on branding, website design and marketing strategy, and she has more than 15 years experience in these fields, including working with major brands such as Netflix, live Nation, and Seattle's Pike Place, mark. And today we're gonna talk about what makes it so challenging to define a really strong brand.
[00:00:55] We'll also have some tips for beginners and some thoughts about what we all need to do to stand out more on social media and in the wider market in. All right, then let's get into it.
[00:01:07] So Megan, welcome to the show.
[00:01:09] Megan: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:01:11] Tim: No problem. I'm excited to have a chance to speak with you.
[00:01:15] Megan: Yeah, I'm so excited to be here. I know we've been online pals for so long and it's just nice to connect.
[00:01:21] Tim: That's right. Yeah, I started following your account on Twitter, and then I realized you've got uh, a presence uh, on TikTok, YouTube, and other platforms.
[00:01:30] So yeah, great to have you on the show and learn from your experience with web design and branding.
[00:01:37] Megan: Yeah, yeah. Definitely two of my favorite topics.
[00:01:39] Tim: All right. Well, can you start by maybe telling us a little bit about how you got into those fields?
[00:01:45] Megan: Yeah, definitely. So if we, this is gonna date myself, but if we go back to the MySpace days, that's kind of where I got my kind of start with, like customizing pages and kind of like I would work with a few bands that I knew to essentially make them, like customized pages on MySpace. I, I did go to school for Media Arts and Design.
[00:02:05] Tim: Yeah.
[00:02:05] Megan: And right out of college, I got a job at Live Nation. So this is basically working for 3000 different music clients, sports clients, all kinds of different entertainment kind of style clients.
[00:02:19] And then I wound up moving out to California, got a job at a radio station out here as an interactive producer. So basically I was working on any kind of website projects, app projects, any kind of like interactive components for the radio station. And wound up getting another job as the creative director for some music venues out here in Los Angeles.
[00:02:40] And four years ago I decided, it was time to kind of like take my freelancing business full-time. So essentially I've been freelancing on and off my entire career.
[00:02:48] Tim: That's awesome.
[00:02:49] Megan: And it just got to the point where it was like I was working a nine-to-five job, but then also coming home and like working until I went to sleep.
[00:02:56] Tim: Yes.
[00:02:57] Megan: And so I was like, this cannot, this is just not going to continue. Like, I just can't do it. So yeah, I've just been running my own thing for a little over four years now.
[00:03:07] Tim: That's great. When you were taking art, did you, did you envision becoming an artist or did it kind of just did you always have the plan of going into web design?
[00:03:17] Megan: I've always kind of been an artist, like since I was like the little kid. And so I, when I was growing up, I had the idea of like, how can I kind of merge my love of art and music into a career or make something like that happen. And I just happened to get really lucky, like straight outta college, got like, what I thought at the time was like my dream job.
[00:03:38] Tim: That's awesome. Yeah. And then it must have been very interesting working with all those different bands and learning a lot about, you know, design of different approaches to web design and branding. And just wondering if you had any tips for anyone listening, if they are getting into designing their own website, or they have a website up and running, what would be like a quick win for them that, that you think they could do to bump up their site presence?
[00:04:05] Megan: So, one thing that I always recommend is getting extremely clear on who you want to speak to. So like most people go too broad in the beginning.
[00:04:15] Tim: Right.
[00:04:15] Megan: And when you get more specific with who you want to serve, whether that be via services or products, it's gonna be much easier to speak to that target person when you go to create your website. So, for example,
[00:04:27] Tim: Right.
[00:04:27] Megan: If I say, you know, like, I wanna speak to Midwestern moms, let's say, that's gonna speak to that one specific person as opposed to someone who might live somewhere else.
[00:04:37] Tim: Yeah, I think so many content creators struggle with that because they feel like, oh, well, that'll limit my market. I'll cut out other people who might be interested. But like you say, then if it's, if it's too broad, then nobody's really interested.
[00:04:51] Megan: Exactly.
[00:04:51] Tim: Yeah, what about pet peeves when you come to web design? Is there anything that, like when you look at a site, you're like, oh, why are they doing that?
[00:05:00] Megan: I mean, I think like most of my pet peeves come on the side of like, there's a lot of website designers out there who technically know how to create websites, but they don't know the strategy side of things.
[00:05:12] And so to me, if you were to go to like Fiver, or something like that, there are a ton of these designers on there that, yes, they can build you a functioning website, but is it going to convert? Is it gonna get you the right results that you're looking for? Like kind of 50 50 depending on who you get.
[00:05:29] So that's kind of like my biggest pet peeve when it comes to like, you know, a lot of these designers out here. For lack of a better kind of way of looking at it, or just kind of looking, trying to make a quick buck and, you know, just get it done and collect the bag and move on.
[00:05:47] Tim: So, yeah. You see that with templates on places too. Like, like you say there are templates, they'll work, but are they really gonna get a result? It's a tough thing to, to combine like artistic skills and technical skills. Like not, not a lot of people have that combination.
[00:06:04] Megan: Yeah, I would say marketing skills on top of that too.
[00:06:07] Tim: Like, right.
[00:06:08] Megan: You know, knowing the marketing side of things is so key, especially if you're trying to like sell a product or service.
[00:06:14] Tim: Yeah, exactly. So I just wanna ask you a this or that question, cuz this is something that I've seen coming up with a lot of content creators thinking about creating an online store, which is, you know, one of the main ways that many content creators use websites.
[00:06:28] So if you had a choice between like a single page sales funnel or a multi-product store, where you're kind of driving all the traffic to that one site, what methodology would you choose if you could only pick one of them?
[00:06:42] Megan: It's hard because like, in my mind, they're just for different purposes, right?
[00:06:47] Tim: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:47] Megan: Like, because, in my mind, you should have both.
[00:06:50] Tim: Right.
[00:06:51] Megan: Honestly, in your ecosystem, like the multi-page website should be more of kind of like your home base where you host all of your different products. But if you have like a certain marketing initiative, like that's obviously better suited for a single page funnel, so I don't know that it's like one or the other. Like, they just kind of serve like different purposes.
[00:07:10] Tim: Yeah, yeah. I agree. The part that gets tricky is where you have those sites, like Instagram, you can only have one link, and a lot of people choose to do link-in-bio, which I think is fine.
[00:07:21] But, then you really still have to limit the choices, right? That you see some people have like 20 or more links, and then nobody's reading all of those . So then that's where I thought, okay, maybe the multi-page store or the multi-product store is better, cause it kind of creates that one central hub.
[00:07:39] Megan: Yeah. The approach that I kind of take with that, especially, I know you mentioned the kind of link-in-bio, I personally use Stan for my link-in-bio. But, I love centering my content around one specific topic for the month and then building that page, like my Stan store, around whatever I'm gonna be talking about that month.
[00:07:59] Tim: Yeah.
[00:07:59] Megan: So even if I have 20 products, like the only products that are gonna be in there for the month of January, are the things that are associated with whatever January's topic is.
[00:08:09] Tim: Yeah, it's a great point. Like, it can be dynamic. You don't have to set up once and then walk away.
[00:08:15] Megan: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:16] Tim: Yeah, that's good. I used Link-in-Bio for a while and then I tried Sleek Bio, which was just a lower-cost alternative cuz it's like 19 bucks for a a, a lifetime deal.
[00:08:26] Megan: Nice.
[00:08:26] Tim: Then, ultimately I decided to try and use the podcast website as the central hub. Cuz, it's kinda like, it goes back to what you're saying, you kind of have to think about what's the central purpose. And, I think, like the central purpose of my social media right now would be to promote the podcast. So, that's where you have the link. And then, yeah, other content creators, they have to kind of go through that similar process and say like, am I selling a digital product? Well, which one am I profiling?
[00:08:50] Megan: Yeah, yeah. Makes sense.
[00:08:52] Tim: And then how can content creators create a brand? Or rather, let's start with your overall approach, cuz you talk about bold branding on your website. But what does that really mean?
[00:09:04] Megan: Bold branding is essentially brands that aren't afraid to take risks. They aren't afraid to kind of step outside the box and kind of look at what everybody else in their niche is doing and kind of go the opposite way.
[00:09:16] Tim: Right.
[00:09:17] Megan: Like, really not afraid to like differentiate their brand from other brands in the market.
[00:09:23] Tim: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:23] Megan: And that is ultimately what, you know, kind of goes into making a bold brand for themselves because it's gonna contrast from everything else that's out there.
[00:09:33] Tim: Yeah. And so I guess you mean like the approach, like the, the aesthetic and all of it? Or is it, mainly like the mission?
[00:09:41] Megan: It's all of it. Yeah. We always start with the mission and the core values and I really make it a point to only work with brands that I really align with, and that really kind of see that vision.
[00:09:51] But yeah, it, we always start with the mission, the core values and all of that winds up feeding, feeding into all of the aesthetics. So the color palette, the fonts, right. Different patterns, all of that good stuff.
[00:10:02] Tim: And, and you must run into folks who are like, Gee, I don't know. That's, that's like too bold or it's I don't know if I want to take it that far. Is there process you go through with them to help them, like get to the clarity and then overcome the hesitation to do it?
[00:10:16] Megan: Yeah, definitely. So one thing that I always go through with my clients is it's so helpful for me as a designer to see visual examples of what they're looking for in their brand. Like, how they envision their brand looking, even if the examples that they give me are outside of their niche.
[00:10:32] Like let's say you're a fashion brand, but you really look up to Pepsi, or something like that.
[00:10:37] Tim: Right.
[00:10:37] Megan: Like, something super iconic. I can take a look at that to see, and kind of dissect it, to see what's really working in that brand. And try to infuse some of those elements into their brand. So, I mean, I've not really had that problem come up with clients before.
[00:10:51] Tim: Yeah.
[00:10:51] Megan: Just because like I have an application process to work with me. We chat right before we kind of get into any agreement. But I mean, you know, I assume like it's a collaborative process when I'm working with clients and so like, they give me feedback, I integrate the feedback.
[00:11:06] Tim: Yeah, and you're probably dealing with people who are, maybe they're at more an advanced stage. Like, they know what they want and they also, like, they can tell from your site the kind of service that you're offering.
[00:11:17] Megan: Exactly.
[00:11:17] Tim: Yeah, but I think in like beginning content creators, that's definitely a hurdle I see sometimes is that they're kind of holding back. Same with like defining a niche, like having struggling to do that. But they're also in some cases struggling to put themselves out there more, cuz they're not really, you know, sure about where, where their messaging is. That, I guess that goes back to why the mission's so important, right? Because once you know what you're doing it, why you're doing something, it helps you push through some of those things.
[00:11:47] Megan: Yeah, absolutely. And I think like, in general, I know we're kind of talking about content creation, but it takes time to kind of grow into your, like, online personality, right?
[00:11:56] Tim: Right.
[00:11:56] Megan: Like, and it takes time to, I always call it like embracing your weird. Like, everybody's like a little bit weird about something and like figuring out what that is and like really harnessing it for good, because like a lot of those people that are similar to you will be drawn to that cuz essentially the audience just wants to see themselves in you.
[00:12:14] Tim: Right.
[00:12:15] Megan: So like figuring out what that is, like, what that special magic is, is gonna be the, the element that goes into your bold branding.
[00:12:23] Tim: That's a great point. Yeah. And then can you, can you tell us a little more about what, what some of the services you offer are?
[00:12:30] Megan: Yeah, definitely. So I offer full custom branding as well as custom website design. And so both of those services are done-for-you services. And we work together closely to, you know, come up with the bold branding or come up with the website design. And then I basically execute everything for you. And you walk away with either the branding with templates, or you walk away with the website design or both.
[00:12:54] Tim: Turnkey solution, right?
[00:12:57] Megan: Exactly.
[00:13:00] Tim: Perfect. And then in addition to advising organizations and brands, you're also a content creator yourself. And as we were talking before, you're on multiple platforms and I saw you're almost at 1,000 subscribers on YouTube. And congratulations on that. I know that's hard to do.
[00:13:17] Megan: Thank you. Thank you. I've been working hard on that.
[00:13:20] Tim: It's hard.
[00:13:20] Megan: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:13:22] Tim: How long have you been at it on YouTube?
[00:13:25] Megan: Oh, I don't even know. I think I'm at over 600 videos at this point, so it's. It's a grind.
[00:13:31] Tim: It's amazing. You're almost there.
[00:13:34] Megan: Yeah.
[00:13:35] Tim: Keep, keep going. And then on TikTok, you've got 70,000 followers and over a million likes. It's very impressive.
[00:13:43] Megan: Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. I love TikTok.
[00:13:46] Tim: Yeah, is that your favorite platform?
[00:13:48] Megan: It is, yeah.
[00:13:50] Tim: Yeah, interesting.
[00:13:51] Megan: What about you?
[00:13:52] Tim: Yeah, like I used to be on Instagram a lot, but I'm tending to do a little bit more Twitter right now, just because I find it's a better alignment with in my ability to promote the podcast.
[00:14:03] And then, I like YouTube a lot. I, I've kind of gotten more into making video and I enjoyed the, like the long-form content format where you can dive a little deeper into topics.
[00:14:16] Megan: Very cool!
[00:14:16] Tim: I also use, love It, I've started using TikTok, as well as kind of like a distribution platform, cuz you can take, take those longer videos from YouTube and send them on the TikTok.
[00:14:27] And it's such a better platform in many ways for reach like you can get, so you can get your content seen by and known by a lot more people.
[00:14:37] Megan: Yeah, yeah.
[00:14:38] Tim: Yeah, so what would you say is the biggest thing you've learned from being on social media for, I guess a long time now?
[00:14:45] Megan: Yeah, I mean, everybody says this, but consistency is really the sauce. I mean, that's, that's the thing that's really gonna help you to create community, help you to really connect with people online and you know, get your content in front of the right people. And also I would say testing things like testing everything under the sun, until you find a formula that works.
[00:15:05] Tim: Yeah, and that's kind of the process I've been going through, like, and I found that with Instagram it was just taking too long to create content and be consistent on it, plus do the other things. So you kind of realize, okay, I have to make a choice. I've gotta pick like a few priority platforms and, and focus on those. So yeah, that's what I've been doing.
[00:15:26] Megan: Yeah, I kind of just try to focus on like getting content done instead of it, perfect, and like, you know, I, I really try to focus on speed of creation.
[00:15:36] Tim: Right.
[00:15:36] Megan: Just because it's just like, you know, I feel like content kind of comes and goes so quickly that it's like, you know, I just, I just try to focus on that, that quantity.
[00:15:45] Tim: Yeah, you seem to do really well with like the, more of the spontaneous stuff. I've struggled with, with doing it that way. I, I like, I always like to have to plan everything but I'm trying to work on that a little bit too, cuz I know, like you say, like the content, especially on TikTok or Instagram, Twitter, it doesn't live very long, right? So you really you wanna make sure it's good, but also it doesn't have to be perfect cuz it's really more about the message and also being top of mind and staying within your audience's frame of reference, yeah.
[00:16:18] Megan: I think there's something to be said too about like the imperfect kind of nature of content. Like, I feel like that's true. That makes you like a bit more relatable and like it makes you, like, it helps to humanize your brand a bit.
[00:16:28] Tim: That's true. And then like you're also I see repurposing content. I've seen some of your content on TikTok and on Twitter, for example.
[00:16:38] And I'm kind of going through the process of developing a repurposing strategy. And I was interested, like, do you have a, a platform that, okay, I always post first here and then distribute elsewhere, or do you kind of mix it up?
[00:16:53] Megan: I always post on TikTok first.
[00:16:55] Tim: Yeah.
[00:16:55] Megan: Because I always like to use the in-app features on TikTok because I know that, OK, the organic reach is the best there in my opinion right now. And then I repurpose everywhere else
[00:17:06] You can repurpose Reels and YouTube Shorts and to Stories and Facebook and all of, you know, everywhere. Pretty much. But I love using the TikTok app, just because the video editor is much more robust than any of the other apps
[00:17:20] Tim: I've been noticing that I, as I've started to use it more, and I saw you could even add captions natively was in the app and they're actually pretty decent, whereas, like other, other platforms, it's not as easy to do that. .
[00:17:33] Megan: Exactly, yeah.
[00:17:35] Tim: Yeah. And do you ever worry like, oh somebody's already seen that content on TikTok and like, may, maybe I should post something different to Twitter
[00:17:44] Megan: No, I don't, I don't worry about that just because, I mean, I always think back to like, how many people do you talk to that say like, oh, I'll never get a TikTok account.
[00:17:52] Tim: Right.
[00:17:52] Megan: It's like, okay, well where can I reach that person?
[00:17:55] Tim: Yeah.
[00:17:56] Megan: I just don't worry about that as much, just because like there's different people on every platform. Yes, there may be crossover for people that follow me on multiple platforms, but I'm also trying to integrate more than just my repurposing videos into my strategy on other platforms.
[00:18:11] Tim: Yeah, I think that's the key. I think that can be helpful. And then I've also, in some cases, I've mixed up the timing of it. Like I'll, I'll keep one back and then post it a little bit later on TikTok or something. But I've really, it really, for me, I usually start with YouTube and then now repurposed to other sites. And then I can mix in some of my old videos, or like you say, mix in a bit of original content and then that can be repurposed somewhere else.
[00:18:37] Megan: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.
[00:18:39] Tim: And then, one of the questions I like to ask content creators about your favorite tool to work with, like software tool or, or hardware. Do you have a particular favorite?
[00:18:48] Megan: Well, we're talking about repurposing. Repurpose.io is top of mind right now. I don't know if you've used that tool?
[00:18:54] Tim: I just, I just started using it. Yeah, it looks like it'll save a lot of time.
[00:18:59] Megan: Yeah, one of my favorite parts of that tool is you can, as I said, I start all of my content creation on TikTok, but there's a function where you can automatically download all of your TikToks to Google Drive.
[00:19:10] Tim: Okay.
[00:19:10] Megan: So that is a huge time saver in itself. You also have the option to repurpose the other platforms, but I do a lot of repurposing manually onto other platforms, just because. I have a few on autopilot, but then a few I do manually because I like to use the native text and sounds and stuff like that.
[00:19:28] Tim: Okay. Yeah, that's good. I tend to do it like I don't do it automatically, but I do it through the app, so it kind of gets rid of the, the watermarks if there are any, and then, and then it just saves a bit of time. I think I'm gonna get good use out of it.
[00:19:45] Megan: Yeah, for sure. It's, it's helpful. It's saved me probably hours per week.
[00:19:49] Tim: Well, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk today. And I just wanted to mention too, like you also have a podcast, right?
[00:19:55] Megan: I do, yeah. It's called your Sparkly Brand. And yeah, it's basically a branding, marketing, web design-centered podcast. And we just aim to inspire and uplift entrepreneurs and help them with tips and tricks and strategies and all the things. So
[00:20:10] Tim: That's awesome. Well, people should check that.
[00:20:13] Megan: Yeah. Thank you.
[00:20:15] Tim: Well, thank you very much.
[00:20:16] So my takeaway from this episode is the value of what Megan calls bold branding, which is that ability to define and really lean into what makes you and your brand distinctive. That's not something that's easy to define, especially when you are a beginning content creator or entrepreneur. It involves some deep thinking about who you are, who your content serves, and what your mission is in terms of how you and your content or product helps your audience or market.
[00:20:43] This is not something that can be defined in a single afternoon as much as we may want to do that, it takes time, and in many cases, it takes multiple attempts with trial and error mixed in.
[00:20:54] So if you're struggling with this, take heart. Many content creators, myself included, are working through the same thing.
[00:21:01] And the good news is that we can get to having a clear and bold brand in a number of different ways. First and foremost, by sticking with it. Whatever stage you're at, just keep on continually refining your key message and brand kit. Secondly is by seeking insights from your audience, your data, and your fellow content creators as to what's resonating or not. And thirdly, by hiring some expert advice like the kind Megan provides, when you're ready to do that.
[00:21:29] It's an evolutionary process that's probably never fully complete. But that's part of what makes the business of being a content creator so interesting and dynamic. Your message and your brand will evolve and grow with you as a content creator over time.
[00:21:43] So be bold and keep at it. I hope you found this helpful. If you did, be sure to check out Megan's website, her social channels and podcast, and also you can find my content on YouTube and various other social channels. Until next time, we'll see you around.