When I was a college student, I worked part-time at an ad agency. A friend of mine in the pre-med program worked there, too, as a go-fer errand runner. I was the media intern. I remember him asking me, "You're not going to stay in advertising when you graduate, are you?"

At the time I didn't think so. I wanted to get a PhD and teach English literature, with an emphasis on modernist poets. That makes me laugh today. What I do is not unlike writing poetry. Every word of what I do matters, and I have actually referred to copywriting as corporate poetry. And I definitely do a lot of teaching in helping clients understand the value of brand strategy and how to use it to drive business results. 

When it comes to sharing my experiences with branding, I'm an open book. I can happily (and frankly) speak of the projects I loved and dissect the lessons learned from the failures. 

Recently, Dr. Mathew Issac at Seattle University approached me to deliver a lecture to his upper level Brand Management class. I showed up at a time when the class was learning about qualitative and quantitative methods of brand measurement and valuation, and how brand design elements need to connect with a brand’s positioning and strategy.

He found States of Matter online in a search for Seattle-based branding agencies. When he reached out citing our Net Brand Effect as a resource for his students, I jumped at the chance to speak about States of Matter and our approach to brand strategy.  

I started my talk focusing on brand audit tools commonly used by our agency. I shared examples of customer segments and brand awareness research, and then discussed competitive audit and positioning recommends. The students were curious about the material, especially brand awareness surveys.

At the end of class, Dr. Isaac’s asked “What do you do when brand strategy isn’t enough to make a client comfortable with a big creative decision?”

What a fantastic question. In branding, this scenario happens often, even inside companies committing many thousands of dollars and months of their team's time to strategic brand work.  

My answer: Branding is psychology. You have to learn how to sell your work. You have to convince the horse to drink the water. Even after all the work you've done to get them to the well in the first place. 

That's when the emotions come out and the therapy sessions begin. Now that's another topic. 

Nevertheless, spending time with Dr Isaac's class makes me want more of that kind of dialog. So if you're looking for a guest lecturer or to fill a seat on a panel, shoot me an email and let's talk. 

Branding is psychology. You have to learn how to sell your work.

Britt Stromberg

Co-Founder & Strategy Director

Britt Stromberg is the Co-Founder of States of Matter and our Director of Strategy. When you put your business and brand in her hands, she will think crazy carefully, listen to her gut, sleep on it—then do the research to be certain.

Tagged with: Brand strategy, Seattle Brand Agency