Photo by Ashes Sitoula on Unsplash

To serve: (according to Google) to perform duties or services for another person or organization.

The word implies giving of oneself, a responsibility to deliver what was promised as well as an entitlement to receive something of perceived value.

If we look at the concept of service through that lense, it reveals its value as an act of give and take.

In our current business culture of co-working, freelancing, and collaboration it seems that the idea of service based industries would increase in value and our products would become more desirable.

However, it rarely works out that way. Perhaps it…

Imagine pulling content from an entire warehouse inventory of ideas!

I loathe the term content calendar. I get that it is an easy to sell format of content creation. I will even consent that it is a simple road map for beginners to follow. And I am well aware that large, successful businesses have the business model and long term plans to back up this strategy.

The problem I have with the concept is that for brands in development, this approach, more often than not, leads to content that does not create value for the brand or its audience. There are, after all, ads from “marketing pros” who promise you…

We remember things that are designed to be different. Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” Gabrielle Chanel

Chances are you’ve come across this quote in one form or another. There are many quotes attributed to Mademoiselle. Some are accurate, not all are. I’m willing to bet that this one likely is.

She was extraordinarily different. A rule breaker, an innovator. She solved unique problems in unique ways by embracing modernity and dramatically changed fashion for women in the process. In doing so, she founded one of the world’s most enduring and prolific brands.

Many startups come to me with the idea that their brand is…

What seems overwhelming from where we are, is an accomplishment to those ahead of us. Keep your gaze forward and up! Photo by Mathias Jensen on Unsplash

Years ago, a very savvy businessman told me: “If you want to be successful, then you have to spend time with people doing better than you.”

At the time, I was an itty bitty seedling startup — and rather intimidated by this idea. Why would experts in the field I aspired to be part of want to spend time with me?

“What should I do,” my insecurities replied, “just call up the top expert in my field and see if they will talk to me?!”

“Yes!” was the answer.

“Yeah, OK,” was my reply.

Fast forward a few years when…

A Lesson in Brand Development

Man walking past glass double door that reads: Hello Startups
Man walking past glass double door that reads: Hello Startups
Hello, Startups! Come on in!

One weekend, while reading The Wall Street Journal, the front page of the business section caught my eye. The two lead stories, “Goldman Sachs’s Messy Move to Main Street” (Liz Hoffman and Peter Rudegeair) and “The Trouble with Torid Growth”, (Heather Somerville and Rolfe Winkler) (Weekend Edition, Exchange Section, B1, Saturday/Sunday September 28–29, 2019). Both are interesting examinations into why some of the world’s most popular brands were forced to go back and do their homework.

We Co., Juul, and Goldman Sachs’s Marcus all share the same issue: they are facing serious problems as a direct result of not taking…

Gears that read: Efficiency, Plan, Quality Improvement, Process, Strategy, Goals, and Growth set on a lilac purple background
Gears that read: Efficiency, Plan, Quality Improvement, Process, Strategy, Goals, and Growth set on a lilac purple background
Never have I ever used the first image that comes up on Canva. But this one nails it.

By Susie Ippolito, Brand Strategist at Susie Ippolito Brands

There are changes brewing in social media land that aim to forever alter how we engage and (hopefully) how it affects us emotionally. Changes like the possible (and highly likely) elimination of public access to our beloved Instagram hearts and comment counts. And the pressing need to grow our skills in the ways we show our skills. Ultimately, these changes will lead to a need to increase the level of quality in our content.

So what, exactly, defines quality?

Is quality defined by the absolute best product, service, or social post I am capable of putting…

Photo Courtesy of Joshua Peacock via Unsplash

Baseball players get paid bajillions of dollars to play the sport, which is often hard to wrap our heads around because, in the eyes of the fans, a player’s value fluctuates from game to game. When our favorite player hits one out of the park and the crowd goes wild, the player is the darling of the day and he is considered worthy of the lofty price of admission to pay his salary. However, when he strikes out or makes an error, the player becomes less worthy of his enormous price tag.

Luckily, that’s not how baseball really works. It…

Women’s Power Fashion in the 1800s

I had an interesting experience today when I brought a few pieces of antique jewelry to a lovely shop in Rochester, New York. These tiny treasures had been hidden in a shoebox only to glimpse the light of day when I passed them over in favor of another piece to wear.

One of the items is a small gold broach in the shape of a tied bow, dotted with pearls with center cluster of a mine cut diamond, ruby, and sapphire in the center. A charming piece, for sure but not something I would wear.

This tiny gem brought great…

This journey does not look like a journey you or anyone you know has taken. Even if they are entrepreneurs themselves, they did not walk this path with your unique professional heritage.

Almost every person who comes to my office for brand strategy services cries. Sometimes it is a small welling up of tears out a relief that they can share their fears about their business with someone who can help them solve their problems.

More often than not, it is a big, half of a box of tissues cry. Because the fears around entrepreneurship are real and they go beyond concerns about making enough money. They go deep into our internal dialogue and they love to engage with our insecurities.

And we are grateful to these fears! Yes! Because without them…

Indelible, iterative brands endure.

The Inside Out Approach to Branding

Susie Ippolito & Lea Skrinjar

Define, “brand”.

What is the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe you consider the word brand to be a noun, maybe even a proper noun, and the word conjures thoughts of something iconic, a covetable product that is easily recognized around the globe. Perhaps an image of a logo or two pass through your mind. Or, maybe you consider brand to be a verb. To you, a brand has action. To brand something is to make an indelible mark upon it. This mark is intended to identify ownership…

Susie Ippolito

Brand Strategist and Creative Non-Fiction Writer Developing Intelligent Creative Content

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