I'm Grace Lanuza, CHO - Chief Hive Officer of Brand Apiary, where brands buzz to life! Ask Me Anything about branding, strategy and how your brand can authentically stand out from the rest!

Grace Lanuza
May 15, 2018

When you hear about branding, there are many things that come to mind and can be overwhelming. Having clarity in branding is the first step in building a solid brand foundation. There are many facets to having an effective brand - awareness, recognition, positioning and where the rubber meets the road; conversion.

Ask me anything about how you can take your brand to the next level!

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Do you, as a matter of course, replace the management of companies you acquire?
May 21, 9:02PM EDT0

I haven't personally acquired companies but have been involved in several mergers and acquisitions from an employee perspective. I think it depends on the intent on why the company is acquiring someone else. If they are acquiring another company because it's a piece of the pie they don't have then I don't recommend replacing the management (at least not right away unless something is crazily wrong) as that's part of the package and the culture that they are buying into. The greatest asset a company has is their people so put people first.

May 21, 10:00PM EDT0
What activity specifically falls into managing a business reputation?
May 21, 8:21AM EDT0

Managing a business reputation falls under a few different silos:- Is it the reputation as being the leader in the industry?- Is it the reputation of having a great employment culture / brand?- Is it trying to manage the brand's reputation from a PR perspective? It will vary a bit in every situation but some tips are: 

- Under promise but over deliver

- Put people first 

- Act in the best interest of the brand, consider short term and long term impact

May 21, 9:58PM EDT0
How do you resist the temptation of paying “over the odds”?
May 21, 4:05AM EDT0

Well, "over the odds" means differently to everyone. I think what I go back to is, "Is this aligned with our values?" and then determine if something is over valued. In the long run, it's best to invest in a professional vs an amateur so I think of both long term and short term strategies. Also, if something has longevity, even if it seems like a high ticket spend, the ROI you will get will be worth it / pays for itself over time. 

May 21, 9:55PM EDT0
What have been some of the high points and major milestones you’ve recorded in the years of running your business?
May 21, 12:17AM EDT0

Some of the major milestones are actually something that's not too "showy" or what someone might not consider as a milestone but we definitely do! These are just some of them: 

- Hiring my 1st employee

- Pitching on a high ticket contract and winning despite being a new agency

- Having clients recommend and refer us to thier network --> this is HUGE!

- Seeing a brand we're working with achieve and surpass thier goal! The client's success is our success!- Opening offices in Las Vegas and LA

- Securing business in new industrties we haven't worked with before 

May 21, 9:53PM EDT0
Do you ever feel discriminated as a female CEO in this industry?
May 18, 1:04PM EDT0

It’s 2018 and sadly this still happens. I find this happens even when working with women as well and not just men. In the industry I’m in though, I have experienced discrimination not so much with gender but with age. For someone like me to have worked in an agency for that long, I was considered “past my prime” and not to mention things changed when I became a Mom. The perception some had was that I shouldn’t be gunning for a promotion and to just “take it easy” as now I’m a parent.

That’s the biggest load of crap that I have ever heard, and actually being a Mom empowered me to do bigger things, to aim and action my major goals and dreams. If I can make and birth a human, I can do anything!

May 18, 2:22PM EDT0
Is there a low budget - no budget way to come up with great branding for a startup?
May 18, 12:23PM EDT0

Yes! There are many resources available online to get you started and also don’t forget to look into your network to see if there are others who are willing to support you on this. Maybe you have an acquaintance who’s in marketing or a graphic designer or a copywriter… lean on those subject matter experts. It’s amazing how much you can get from having a coffee or a beer with them. To get started, on your own, do a stream of consciousness writing exercise and write all the words that you associate with your brand and the imagery you associate with it. Then go from there to distill the info!

May 18, 2:21PM EDT0
How can new clients reach out to you for consultation?
May 18, 11:43AM EDT0

New clients can send me a direct message on this platform!

May 18, 2:21PM EDT0
What’s the most difficult branding case someone consulted you with?
May 18, 9:16AM EDT0

There are challenges with each brand and that’s the beauty with what we do! We thrive on creating solutions for our clients that are aligned with their goals. It depends on their vision of what “success” is as to what challenges crop up. Some brands want to have hard conversions with a specifc metric from their target audience and some brands struggle with deciding on a logo. It’s different for everyone.

One time I was working with a client who had a time sensitive event (a HUGE event) and at the last minute we couldn’t find these custom made menus… it was a race to the end but I literally got on my hands and knees in the storage room and found them under an old couch as the box with the menus had been kicked under it accidentally. Challenge solved!

May 18, 2:21PM EDT0
Where’s your consultation company currently based?
May 18, 8:30AM EDT0

We have offices in Vancouver (Canada) Las Vegas and Los Angeles. However, we worked with global clients, branding has no borders and we’re ready to jump into projects as long as it’s a value match for us.

May 18, 2:20PM EDT0
Do you offer consultation services online or must one visit you in the office?
May 18, 7:09AM EDT0

Both! Thankfully technology these days allows us to be portable and mobile.

May 18, 2:20PM EDT0
If one wants to become a professional in branding, what college course is best to take?
May 18, 1:51AM EDT0

Take both business courses (Commerce, Stats – sorry no one likes this course but me!) and creative courses (art, graphics) so that you have a well rounded foundation. School is important but real life application is where you can really learn a lot. Intern in an agency and be ready to do the dirty work while learning at the same time.

May 18, 2:20PM EDT0
Is the business name part of branding? Does the name play a role in the brand’s success?
May 17, 12:19PM EDT0

Yes absolutely! We challenge our clients who are in this process to think of a name that conveys their brand message, memorable and unique to their brand. Also a great idea to search if the url is available and if not have a plan or solution on how to circumvent this challenge

May 18, 2:19PM EDT0
What’s one serious branding mistake startup business owners must avoid doing at all costs?
May 17, 10:35AM EDT0

Analysis paralysis! Most often they are “too close” to the brand in order to take it to the next level. Get different perspectives and be open to new ways of potentially evolving the brand.

May 18, 2:19PM EDT0
What is the one tip you would give to an entrepreneur who wishes to brand themselves online?
May 17, 5:50AM EDT0

Be consistent and just get started. Roman Atwood, a YouTuber said “Just keep uploading” and he’s right. There’s never a “good time” to start and if you think you’re ready, often times, it’s too late. Start today and get messy, it’s ok to evolve and reinvent to stay relevant.

May 18, 2:19PM EDT0
How can an individual determine the type of values his/her brand stands for?
May 17, 4:59AM EDT0

We usually start with a stream of consciousness writing exercise. Write down every single word you can think of about the brand and get some imagery of what you think it represents then you can go from there.

May 18, 2:19PM EDT0

Our company, Hiddeniceland.is, is growing it's brand with similar and strong images being posted on instagram and facebook as well as being written about in various articles. What advice do you have for improving our following on instagram? We are already posting at the best times, daily and commenting and liking every post we have. We are also connecting with local photographers and seeing some growth when connecting but still it is a slow process. After 6 months we only have 6,500 followers. 

May 16, 9:20PM EDT0

First of all, you’re doing a great job! 6,500 followers after 6 months of organic growth is good. Keep posting and be consistent. Also I love the strategy of connecting with local photographers, this is a great way to tap into quality content and having your brand be seen by audiences that might not have been in your network. The more eyeballs on it, the better.

As for improving the following on Insta, what is the goal for this? If conversion, then you will need to focus on that target. I have a client who had 16k followers and I asked her, “Who amongst these followers are buying?” and it was literally 4 people. Well this doesn’t work as her goal was conversion so again, go back to the goal and then you can craft the strategy from there. The one thing I would do now is to put your social buttons above the fold on your website (upper right hand corner) and ensure that most of your online efforts is to drive people to Instagram and then from Instagram to drive them back to your website. Good luck and keep going!

May 18, 2:18PM EDT0
How has the brand marketing and awareness changes in last five years? What are the things that might use to work but not anymore?
May 16, 8:34PM EDT0

Trends are moving faster now with the available technology that we have and that’s amazing! In the last 5 years, what I have seen is the shift from the way consumers want to receive the marketing message. The ads on TV or radio are now passé and most viewers fast forward. Even the online ads on YouTube or other platforms there’s a “Skip Ad” option which is also measured as well. Consumers today prefer to receive the messages more as a “peer recommendation” from influencers vs being “prescribed” by brands themselves. And I’m so excited to see what role block chain and AI will have on the future of branding.

May 18, 2:18PM EDT0
How would you personally measure the ROI of personal branding?
May 16, 5:13PM EDT0

ROI is something we get asked about all the time! I would go with going forward to the end goal of what the personal brand wants to accomplish. This can be both short term (next 90 days to a year) and long term (1+ years) and then work back from that. Is it awareness? Is it consistency? Get clear on the end goal and then you can measure against those with the efforts put forward.

May 18, 2:17PM EDT0

How does a strategy plan fit into building a brand? Is is necessary to have a strategy plan and a marketing plan?

May 16, 10:51AM EDT0

A strategy plan is the road map in building a brand. I like to say road map because just like an in real life road map, it can take turns, detours and maybe even full stops (to reflect on the next move). It's neccessary to have both a strategy plan and a marketing plan because the strategy is the overarching plan while the marketing plan is a detailed, calendar driven plan that can zero in on different silos depending on the end goal for each brand building activity. Then on the post project review, you can divide the data gathered from each one and see specific ROIs for each segment. 

May 16, 11:24AM EDT1

How much weight do you place on color choices and the psychological impact of them?

May 15, 3:06PM EDT0

Color choice and i's psychological impact is definitely an important factor when building a brand! We challenge our clients to select color that is both authentic to them (and that they can be proud of!) and one that conveys their brand values. The most common ones are primary colors but we have seen an increase in more curated / customized colors as well. A great example of color choice and brand recognition and perception would be: Tiffany & Co., Hermes, and Christian Louboutin.

May 15, 3:18PM EDT1