Designer Brand

LIVE Brand Audit at the Designer Experience

At the Designer Experience on September 9, global brand maverick, consultant, speaker and product designer Mary van de Wiel will be treating one luck designer to a complimentary brand audit. It’s a service she loves to do and it is part of our Duets sessions. Designers who register for the DX by August 25th may opt-in for the audit. Van will review applicants and make her selection.

Van’s career in branding began when she was in her late 20s working in advertising as a copywriter in Sydney, Australia. Realizing how potent communication could be with the right combination of words and images, she moved to New York for a stint before returning to Sydney in her late 30s to open VAN DE WIEL, her own business. In 2000, she opened a satellite agency in Brooklyn. Van now lives and works in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I met Van in Atlanta at the recent Atlanta Market where she was exhibiting her new venture, Black Line Crazy, a collection of wearable art and homewares. We had featured one of her rugs in the July/August issue, and I made a note to go by her booth and see this new exhibitor because I really liked the piece.

We spoke for a bit. Van told me the idea for the collection, based on her art, the concept originated when she would host dinner parties and fabricate abstract tablecloths out of white butcher paper and black tape. Then, as we chatted some more, I discovered that she had a whole other business. I liked her vibe and passion and I invited her right then to participate in the Designer Experience.

For all of you wondering about the Brand Audit session, Van answers some of your questions below.

Q: What is the process?

A: My process is: I review your language online, prowl around your offline and digital presence, identify the emotional clues embedded throughout your world – including the invisible triggers that might be telling your audience go away, don’t buy or stick around awhile. I evaluate your messaging and create some initial findings around the tone of your site. I’ll pick up a sense of the fundamental points of pain around your brand, so we’ll move quickly and make sure you walk away with some high-value information. I help you identify the underlying invisible clues, issues, and intentions behind those dialog snippets. And encourage you to just be more human!

Q: What will you be looking at?

A: I’ll be looking to see what kind of transformational experience you’re offering your audience. If it resonates with them, people’s eyes will be gleaming, their hearts will be beating faster. Confused minds don’t buy. So if you’re mindful about what people are longing for and make it easy for them to work with you, collaborate or buy from you, you’re way ahead of the rest.

What’s more, the possibilities and opportunities out in the world right now, mixed with noise and information overload, are expanding at a staggering rate. That means you just have to have a keener sense of clarity around what you do and why you do it, and the ability to make more meaningful, emotional connections with people. So, I’ll also be looking at your emotional quotient (EQ) around your brand’s messaging.

Q: Will you have a brief intro call with the designer that you choose to work with?

A: Yes, I’d like an introductory chat with the designer. And I want to hear what they most need to walk away with after the session. Also, most beneficial would be, if they’d be willing to share their fundamental points of pain around their brand.

Q: For those who have opted in for the live brand audit, how should they prepare?

A: Your brand is really just a feeling people have about what you do, why you do it and why anyone else should give a damn. So think about the language on your site, for example. Does it actually reflect your personality? Sound like you? Sound like a human being?!  Or are you keeping people at arm’s length and trying to sound so professional that you don’t sound real at all?!

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in 30 minutes at the Designer Experience?

A: After our time together, they will walk away with a clearer vision of their brand and business’ undeniable value – and ideas regarding how to re-think their values and their story so clients lean in closer and want to come back for more. They’ll have creative ideas for a more synergistic and emotional brand dialog that will provoke and captivate your audience. This can provide the foundation for creating powerful, highly effective marketing programs

Q: Why do you love doing brand audits?

A: It’s such intuitive work for me. I love picking up on those invisible clues across a site that might not be serving people well.  And love encouraging people to dare to show up (like they mean it), dare to get out of their comfort zone and dare to own their own genius talent!

Van will also be gifting away one of Black Line Crazy‘s limited edition zippered sleeves at the event.