I’m kicking autumn off with a special client spotlight episode to highlight my Brand it! Group programme. For those of you who are new around here, Brand it! is an intimate group experience where I help you go from confusion to brand clarity → in just 12 weeks, as you discover and define your brand’s unique purpose and personality, find the confidence to own your sh*t, tap into your uniqueness to spark meaningful connections — and attract more of those omg, yes! 🤩 clients.
You see, people buy into a brand because it speaks to their emotions and makes them feel like they are part of something bigger, so a pretty logo on its own isn’t gonna cut it. When you have a clear purpose, and heartfelt brand values that your kind of people can get behind… they are much more likely to be drawn to you. That’s the power of a values-driven brand! To tap into that superpower, I’ll help you uncover the purpose, vision and values that define your brand – and craft a plan for how to put it all into action.
Brand strategy can sound a bit intimidating, but it’s really just the missing link between your business strategy and your desired brand image. I’m not saying you’re going to be able to go inside people’s brains to dictate how they feel about your brand – but you can create a deliberate action plan for how to connect with your audience in a way that resonates with them on a deeper level, so that they become clients, fans or loyal brand ambassadors.
And that’s exactly what I work with my students on inside the Brand it! programme. I guide them as they connect the dots to reveal the true essence of their brand; the innate qualities that will set them apart and lead to strong brand recognition – and a competitive advantage. Then, towards the end of our time together, we bring all those pieces together into a brand roadmap that they can keep referring back to as their brand evolves.
At the time this episode airs I’m in the middle of enrolling students for the second cohort of the programme, and what better way to give you an insight into what it’s actually like — than to invite one of my past students on to tell you about their Brand it! experience?
So that’s exactly what I did. Lynn Dutrow was a student in the first cohort of Brand it! and I’m really looking forward to interviewing her about her brand strategy journey. Lynn calls herself a Compassionate AssKicker, and has a background in psychology, education, coaching, and motorcycle sales. She specialises in supporting Empathic Entrepreneurs and Purpose-fuelled Professionals in enjoying their success with less stress. She’s also the author of the book ALIGNED as Fuck — transforming your inner assholes into allies. Yep, she’s pretty awesome, and I’m proud to be able to call her a client and a friend.
But that’s enough chit chat; let’s welcome Lynn onto the show!
Disclaimer: The following transcript has been auto-generated and then cleaned up – and while the general flow of the conversation is there, it’s probably not 100% accurate.
Petchy: Lynn, welcome to the show and thank you so much for being here with me to talk about your experience of being a brandit.
Lynn: Yeah, you’re welcome. And thank you for having me. I’m excited.
Petchy: So am I. And on such short notice as well. I’m so happy that you’re able to hop on with me. So we’re going to have a conversation today, around your experience of being part of my brand group program, but before we do that, I would love to invite you to take a moment to introduce yourself and tell us all a little bit about you and what it is that you do.
Lynn: Okay, well, thanks. I’m Lynn Dutrow. I’m a counsellor. I’m a licensed clinical professional counsellor here in the US. I live on the East Coast and I’m also a coach. And my area of expertise is working with people with high functioning anxiety, imposter syndrome. They have a loud voice of doubt. And I recently published my first book. It’s called aligned as fuck, transforming your inner assholes like anxiety into allies. And it’s all about how to get those nasty buggers in your brain, to get your inner CEO in charge instead of letting them run amok and keep you from enjoying your success. So I help people enjoy their success with less stress. It’s really how to get those voices and impulses to work for you rather than against you. And I’m really excited because a lot of the branding, a lot of the words that I use now came about from being a participant in your group program.
Petchy: So yeah, that makes my heart sing. I love your book. So many of my listeners, I bet we’ll love it too, and so many of us need that book. Yeah, I don’t think I know one single entrepreneur or business owner who doesn’t have an inner asshole or two — or ten.
Lynn: Exactly. With a fucking Mormon Tabernacle Choir in there.
Petchy: After listening to this episode, everyone should go and get Lynn’s book.
Lynn: There are several places… I know you definitely can get it on Amazon. I know there’s some people who are anti Amazon, so Barnes and Noble and even some of the little independents, I’ve seen that they’re picking it up online and stuff too. Bookshop.org I think is one. So yeah, find it where you can. It’s available in paperback, and the paperback is lovely because Petchy helped make it lovely. The design is partly my twelve year old daughter and a lot of Petchy in the design. There’s the Kindle version and actually I’m in the process, for those of you who like audiobooks, it’s still going to be a couple of months probably, but I am working on getting it recorded so there will be an audiobook as well.
Petchy: Awesome. We could all use a little Lynn on our shoulder.
Lynn: I did have somebody say to me that reading it was like having me sitting next to them. So I’m going to actually read it so you can really feel like I’m sitting next to you when you’re listening. I get that a lot, I guess. Clients often tell me it’s like you’re sitting on my shoulder, I heard your voice in my head and this is how it helped.
Petchy: Right. Let’s dive into things. So first up, I am curious about what it was that made you decide to join the Brand it! programme. So what was it that made you confident that “this investment is a good next step for my business”?
Lynn: Oh wow. So I was in the process. Well, first of all, I met you. I think that was a big part of this, that I had gotten to know you through a group that we were in together. And whenever I was bringing things up, you just had great ideas, you had great solutions. So there was a personal component to this. And the more that I heard about your program as you were talking about it and then launching it, it just was great timing. It was great timing because I had recognised that one of my inner assholes, my imposter, had been really holding me back from getting this book out to the world. And there were several things about that, the book itself, but also just the visual component and knowing how to get the people that I knew I would want to read it, making that connection. And what I came to realise is that the branding component of this, that I wasn’t feeling confident in how I was presenting myself to the world, to my ideal clients and decided that this was an opportunity, this group, and I liked the idea of the group programme. I’ve tried so many just DIY programs where you’re in it by yourself and as introverted as I can be, I knew that I needed the accountability, I needed to be able to bounce ideas off of other people. That that was going to get my inner assholes off my back or it was going to get me to use them in a different way by having other people calling me on my bullshit. I think it was the timing of it. I knew that I couldn’t keep hiding, and I needed to be more visible, and I wanted to be visible with confidence. And having met you and worked with you in another group, I felt like you were the one. You were the one and this group programme was going to be what was going to get me to be visible.
Petchy: This is such an ego boost. I’m going to soak it up like a sponge.
Lynn: There you go. Please do, please do. You earned it. You earned it.
Petchy: But you say the timing was right, and I think that’s probably going to be true for a lot of people. It’s like this program is maybe not what you go for towards the very beginning of your journey. Because a lot of the people I’ve worked with. They find that they’re okay DIYing things at the start and the beginning. And it’s actually good for them because they’re figuring out how they want to do things and how they don’t want to do things. And then they get to this point where they’re kind of realising that there is something more than this and there is more to uncover that’s going to help me build a stronger brand. And then they’re ready to take that next step. So would you say that’s the stage where you were at — because you’re not a newbie in business?
Lynn: No, I’m not a newbie in business. And this was, in some ways, a rebranding. I had a brand for years. I was auntie anxiety. And I’ve still known people will still call me that. It’s a play on words where it’s A-U-N-T-I-E. So I would help people like your fun aunt, helping you deal with your anxiety, the Cool fun Aunt. And I’d had some professional work done with that as well. But it was time to grow up. It was time to do something slightly different. And so, yeah, I would agree with that. I wouldn’t discount that somebody just getting started… They would definitely benefit from this. I benefited from it more because I already had an idea and I already kind of knew how the process worked.
Petchy: Yeah, this is interesting. So as you entered the programme, what would you say was your main challenge or your main challenges at the start?
Lynn: At the start, I didn’t even know what they were at that time. I think it was that feeling of almost desperation, like, I have got to take an action step. And part of this is walking my talk, because action is the antidote to anxiety. So when your inner assholes are holding you back, it’s figuring out how to take that action stuff because they want to just keep you spinning in a stuck place. That was kind of it. I was just really stuck and didn’t know what I didn’t know. But again, knowing that I’ll go back to that original piece, which is that I knew that I wanted more confidence to be visible, and I wanted more confidence. And the way to get confidence is to feel competent. So this group programme seemed like a place where I was going to be able to do things, take action in an intentional way that would then allow me to start feeling more confident about all of it. Again, going back to having people in the group so that I could bounce things off of people before I put it out there, so other people can give me feedback and say, that looks like shit, or that looks good, or what are you talking about here? I don’t understand this. But I will say I had no idea how much work was going to be involved in this. It was great. It was great. But yeah, going really deep and it was important because if we hadn’t gone deep like that, I wouldn’t have gotten so much, I wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have with my brand. Does that make sense?
Petchy: That’s a really important thing. Yeah, but it’s really important that we talk about that because a lot of people only view branding as the visuals, and they don’t see all of the work that goes into actually discovering who you are and what you stand for. That’s then going to influence what those visuals will look like so that you’re communicating the right things to the right people. And I really just want to give you a huge big round of applause because you dove headfirst into all of the hard work. I know it was tough at times. I know it’s really challenging. I know this from watching clients, obviously. And I know this because I have to do the work myself as well. I have a brand that I’m building, and I know how hard it is to kind of pull back the curtain and go into the depth, so to speak, and ask you asking yourself all of those really challenging questions that maybe you don’t really even want to answer because you feel like, oh, but if I say it out loud, then that’s how it is. And that’s scary.
Lynn: Yeah. And you bring up a really good point. I think when I jumped in, this is exactly what you said, I was like, oh, this will help me get those visuals. All the fun, the eye candy stuff. That’s what I’m going to get, my fonts, and I’m going to figure out colours and things like that. And oh, it was so much more. And I think from a business perspective, I think you did exactly what people there’s that whole idea of you have to give people what they want. You have to sell people what they want. And so that’s how I bought in. I bought in because it’s like, oh, okay, well, I can get this visual thing that I think that I want. But you also knew what I needed, right? So that’s what you delivered as well. So it was both. So I got both out of it. I just didn’t know what I needed until I got what I wanted. And you delivered both. And you made a good point. I did dive in. I did take the action. And like I’ve been in other groups with people, that’s the only way it’s going to work. But I think too often you get people who think, oh, if I just buy this thing, then somehow this is going to magically happen. It’s going to be easy, I’m really not going to have to put any effort into it. And you didn’t let us get away with that at all. Right there pushing and dragging, it was all good.
Petchy: I did it with the best of intention.
Lynn: You delivered it well. You did. Yes.
Petchy: I think also because I was lucky enough to then be able to help you out with tweaking your visuals after we completed the strategic group programme. What I think a lot of people don’t understand is also how much easier it becomes to create those visuals once you have the strategic foundation, because you know what personality you’re trying to convey. Because I’d gotten to know you over the course of twelve weeks, and also, obviously before in the other community that we were both in, I was able to take what you had worked on and translate it really easily into some visuals. I could just tweak some of what you already had and we were able to pick a font that really reflected your spicy personality, has a bit of a bite and a bit of an edge to it. And if we hadn’t spent that time together, or you didn’t spend that time working through your brand values, your brand personality, like all of those fundamental pieces, that would not have been that easy for me, because then I would be working in the dark, basically fumbling around. So I think that’s also something that people can take away is once you’ve got your fundamentals sorted out, you can hand it over to any graphic designer, you can hand it over to a copywriter, a web designer, and they will be able to get the essence of you and communicate it via their medium, like what they do. So it should save you some time and some money.
Lynn: Yes, I absolutely agree, because I have worked with designers and marketers in the past who just didn’t get it, and we had to keep going back to things. And so that was such a benefit to this programme because I had gone through it, because you got to know exactly like you said, that it made getting those visual pieces of it sorted out. It was so much simpler and efficient. I guess you could say that and that’s what I felt. I left feeling like, okay, Petchy’s got my back. Petchy is my person. I heard it again recently. I think it was like, attributed to Henry Ford where you got to have your person. Like, you don’t have to know everything, but you have to have your person for every aspect of your business you want to know. We’re not even just your business, your life eventually. That’s part of the whole networking process, is to have people who are experts in their field that you can connect with, and when you’re connected to them, then they get you into the whole process. Works like a well oiled machine. And so that was my experience because I did this and we spent this time together, then when I came to you and said, okay, I’m not going to figure this part out on my own, what can you do for me? It was such a painless experience to get those. Yeah, it was fun. It was exciting. Like, every time I’d get a file from you, it was like, yay, you hit it. Like, this is me, though. Yeah, it was a great experience. I appreciate it.
Petchy: So looking at your main challenge then and now, how do you feel about those initial challenges now? What was the transformation that happened for you during that brand strategy journey that you were through?
Lynn: Oh, I think the thing, like, I even have I have sticky over here next to my desk that have all of my brand values on them and a lot of the words. So when I communicate with people now, I’m not sort of all over the place with the words. Like, I can really hone in and communicate much more effectively by sticking to those brand values and the words that I came up with that represent them. I’m definitely much more confident in sending people to anything visual with my website, the book, all of my visuals, they’re all in alignment with my brand values and how I want to present myself. So, yeah, I think the confidence piece that I haven’t worked out, that I have things dialled in, and also recognising that it’s an evolving process as well, letting go of that perfectionist that would make me hide because it wasn’t perfect, that there’s just always an evolution that I can tweak this and I can tweak that, and allowing myself to do that.
Petchy: I love that you brought that up because, yes, this programme is based around a framework that I have, but it’s not a rigid framework, and that’s deliberate because a brand is not static. It shouldn’t be static. It’s constantly evolving. You can’t just do it and then be done because you’re going to get stuck behind then again. And that’s why I wanted to create a framework and a programme that would allow people to have that foundation, but that would also be able to grow with them and that they could keep coming back to iterate on. And then if something’s out of alignment later, you can tweak a segment of the framework of your brand, and then as you do that, you might find that other areas are affected by that tweak because everything is connected. But when you have that framework, you can see how everything is connected and how one part will influence the other and vice versa. And I’ve seen it too many times, actually, to count that. You have these Internet gurus, and they’ve got their framework, and you have to do things their way, or else you will be a failure. I don’t think it works that way. That pisses me off, actually, when I see that, because we’re all different. I say, my clients are not cookies. We don’t need a cookie cutter. I don’t want to push people into a square little box where they feel stuck. I want to give people the tools that they can use to develop.
Lynn: You had it, that’s one of the things that I appreciated about the program. It wasn’t like, Here it is, do the work. You being unavailable for the most part, or just being there, going, you gotta do it this way. You were there, right in there with us saying, yeah, this is your version of outside the box, and this is your version of outside the box, and all of them are good. That guilt of, oh, this didn’t work because you didn’t follow it 100%. I think there’s too much about it, and I think people are really getting burned out and tainted from this idea that, okay, well, when I buy a course, I’m not getting there. I’ve bought all these courses, but this, by far, was one of the best. You have the framework, and the framework was fabulous. You were right there holding us accountable. I wouldn’t say holding our hands. Yes, there was some hand holding, but holding us accountable and guiding the way for us to really dig into this for each one of us personally and how the framework could support us each.
Petchy: Credit where credit is due. You all did the work, which I think is the reason why you had such a good outcome afterwards. It was a great group. That’s something I will never promise, that I can do the work for people. Because I can’t. Because you’re the only person who knows your brand inside out. You are your brand. And especially for the smaller business owners or maybe solo entrepreneurs, we kind of become our brands. You can’t just expect someone to come in and take over because it wouldn’t be your brand anymore. So it’s more about facilitating and enabling people to pull out the essence of their brand. And to really own it.
Lynn: Yeah, I agree.
Petchy: So now that you’ve completed the programme, was there anything about the whole process that surprised you along the way? I mean, you probably had some expectations beforehand about what branding is and what brand strategy is and what would you say we are biggest eye openers during that time?
Lynn: Attempting to think back on this, I think the first big eye opener was, oh, this isn’t just going to be the eye candy stuff. That I’ve got to go, I got to go back and revisit who’s my audience, who is my ideal client. But even before then I was getting to know myself. Like, really having another bringing it back around to the values. I think that was an important part because I’ve certainly been in courses that say, like, okay, that are very thorough. I’ve had ones that aren’t through. I have ones that are just like, okay, kind of almost like demographic information about your ideal client instead of the psychographic. So that wasn’t different. It was just a reminder that you have to kind of continually go back and look at that because things change, our technology changes, things are moving pretty quickly. So going back to the psychographic information, but really staying clear about what my values are, what my brand values are, and my ideal clients and how that all just stays so connected and revisiting it. So just that deep dive that we did into that, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but as we were doing it knew it was exactly what we needed, if that makes sense.
Petchy: It makes so much sense. It was really kind of moving for me as well. Seeing everyone going through that process and seeing the kind of hard moments happening was pretty amazing, to be honest, and to know that it was all inside each of you to start with. And we just had to get it out and down onto the paper so that you could define it and use it as a tool rather than just some kind of random thoughts in your head.
Lynn: All of us dragging it out, kicking and screaming.
Petchy: It wasn’t that much kicking or screaming.
Lynn: No, there really wasn’t. But yeah, you did a great job of helping us facilitate getting past the guards at the gate that don’t want you to bring that stuff out because then you’re vulnerable and all of that because that’s what those inner assholes are there for. They’re there to protect you. They’re just very often protecting you from shit that’s just not that scary. It’s just making you think that it is.
Petchy: We spoke about how the framework is supposed to be a tool that will follow you into the future as one that you can keep referring back to. So before we round off, I’m just really keen to know what direction you see for your brand moving forward. I mean, what’s next?
Lynn: What’s next? Gosh. Yeah, let me pull it out because it’s right here. You can see this, of course, your listeners can’t, but I have this, right, my Brand it! notebook here, the workbook that you printed out, which is lovely. I keep referring back to it and what’s next for my brand is probably speaking. I’ve got the book written and so I’m going to expand into maybe doing some group programs and doing some speaking and so coming back around to the values. Because one of my values that I came out of is compassionate connection. And so really diving deeper into that and then how I can reach more people in my community and more people online and all of that. And so I’m going to just keep referring back to it and growing this. My compassionate connection, my responsible integrity, wisdom, wit and words, those are core values for me. And then taking inspired and intentional action so that’s my next step is continuing to grow and help these people. Help everyone. Well, not everyone. Help people who like my salt, my salty language and my sassy demeanour, or whatever you want to call it, to deal with their inner assholes.
Petchy: I love your spicy language.
Lynn: Thank you.
Petchy: So if people now are thinking, oh, wow, Lynn seems awesome, I need to connect with this person — where can they find you? Where’s the best place to find you online and connect with you?
Lynn: Yes. It’s pretty simple. You can find me at my new website. And please be gentle with me as I’m still working out a few of the tweaks there. But, yeah, my website is www.lynndutrow.com. And of course I’m on social media, I kind of come and go there. But yeah, you can find me @lynndutrow and I’m on LinkedIn too. And actually, if you go to my website, you can get a free chapter from the book if you’re willing to give me your email. And in that free chapter, you will see a lot of the branding work and some of Petchy’s magic to make that chapter look fantastic.
Petchy: I’d say that’s your magic.
Lynn: You can get a nice little taste of my salt and sass from the book there.
Petchy: There you have it. Go and get some salt and sass, people.
Petchy: Thank you so much, Lynn, for being here and chatting with me today. It’s been an absolute joy.
Lynn: Yeah, I enjoyed it. Thanks for having me. And thanks for doing the Brand it! group course. It has changed my life and certainly my brand.
Petchy: Wow, those are big words. Thank you.
Lynn: You’re welcome.
Wow, that was quite the glowing review! Now I’m worried you’re all gonna think I paid her to say nice things. I promise I didn’t. And credit where credit is due: Lynn showed up, she did the work — even the challenging parts — and she saw the results she did because of her own commitment with guidance from me and the group as a whole.
If hearing Lynn’s story has made you eager to embark on that same journey for your brand, it’s important to me that you know that this is not one of those cookie-cutter programmes where a so-called expert forces you through their rigid framework at all cost. The work I do with my clients, whether it’s 1:1 or in a group setting like this, is based on my Brand it! framework — but, and this is an important but, this is a flexible framework that is adaptable to fit your brand and your circumstances, and that will evolve with you. Because your brand is not a static thing, it needs to be agile and able to adapt and evolve over time. So, not a one and done thing, but a tool to keep revisiting.
If you want to find out more, head on over to petchy.co/group for details of the Brand it! programme and how to apply. For this round there are 12 spots available, and the last date to get your application in is the 31st of August 2022.
If you’re tuning in after that date, and you’re thinking “Dammit! I missed it!” you can still visit that link, and you’ll be able to leave your name on the waitlist for the next round. And just so you know: the people on that waitlist do get first dibs and a very generous discount.
And if the thought of having to apply feels daunting, please know that it’s not an exam and you don’t need special skills to get in. There are a couple of reasons why the enrollment is application based and not first come first served:
1: I want to make sure you’re in a position to get value from your investment. We’ll be digging deep into your brand’s core, and that requires focus and time to mature. Both your brand and your fellow brandits will rely on you to show up and do the work. That’s not going to work for everyone at any given time, because no matter how much the dudebros tell us that “if we’re not hustling we don’t want it enough” — life happens. I don’t want anyone to sacrifice friends, family or their mental health to take part in this group programme.
2: I want the group to be curated because I want us to be on roughly the same page in terms of our overall world view, so every participant feels safe, valued and respected. Equality, diversity, inclusion and respect are important to me. We’ll be sharing about our businesses, ups and downs, so the group culture is key — and quite frankly, I don’t wanna have to kick someone out mid-way because they turned out to be an asshole 🤷🏼♀️
But if you’re listening to this podcast, I bet you’re not an asshole, so that won’t be a problem 😉Anyways, if you have any questions at all: do reach out to me, either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or in a DM on Instagram or Linkedin. Maybe I’ll see you on the inside?
Until next time,
Pssst! If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one! I’d also be super grateful if you’d share my podcast with a biz friend or two, or leave me a review.