Award-winning graphic designer and visual branding strategist, Johanna White, shares how a debilitating diagnosis inspired her to live life to the fullest including her luxury visual branding company, Design By Jo Studio.
Learn Johanna’s expert advice on how to maximize your impact in the market with her unique approach to luxury visual branding.
IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:
- Johanna’s health journey
- The key mindset to conquering fear
- The surprising hobby Johanna practices to relax
- The truth about luxury visual branding
- 3 steps to establish a brand identity
- Why luxury visual designs maximize impact
- Mounted Archery: http://www.historyofarchery.com/archery-history/mounted-archery/
- Three Amigos: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092086/
- Michigan Centaurs: https://www.michigancentaurs.com/
- Lume: https://bit.ly/3kaEoAt
- Building a StoryBrand | https://bit.ly/3LkGRUX
ABOUT JOHANNA WHITE
Johanna White is a multi-award-winning graphic designer and visual branding strategist who specializes in creating premium brand identities that leave a lasting impression.
She knows there are no boundaries to success, as she demonstrated several years ago when, despite battling a brain tumor, she grabbed life by the horns and launched three businesses in one year. When everyone else in her life advised her to stop working and rely on social security to pay her medical bills, she chose to defy the odds. As a result, she is now known as a “Dreamer Extraordinaire” for top performers, goal-oriented people, and businesses.
She has spent the last decade working with individuals, startups, and Fortune 200 brands all over the world to help them break through the noise, attract more of their ideal customers, and be as delightfully expensive as they deserve to be!
CONNECT WITH JOHANNA WHITE
- Website: Design by Jo Studio: https://www.designbyjostudio.com/
- Instagram: @designbyjostudio: https://www.instagram.com/designbyjostudio/
- Facebook: Design By Jo: https://www.facebook.com/Designbyjostudio/
- LinkedIn: Johanna White: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johanna-white-designbyjo/
I bring that example up before I go into what is my specialty, which is branding for high dollar sales and branding for luxury audiences, because I want the listeners to know that that is not the path for everyone. And that is okay. Branding is important for everyone, but branding for luxury is not always the answer.
Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on. Where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation. One imperfect day at a time. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast.
I am your host on a former today on the show we have Johana white Johana is an award-winning graphic designer, visual branding, strategist, and the founder of the luxury graphic design company. Designed by Jo studio. She has an incredible story to share. I can’t wait for you to hear it. Welcome design expert, Johana white.
I was mentioning how cute you look. I appreciate that. I’ve uh, been doing some fun exercises. For my own brand lately, I spend a lot of time working on my client’s style and I decided it was time to put together my own personal brand style guide and do some fun shopping. And this result, okay. I have to ask, is the chain a necklace or is it part of your shirt?
I’m like staring at your oh, cute. Okay. Your shirt’s adorable too. The way it looked though, it almost looked like it was all part of one piece. It does. I was thinking like, maybe I should shorten the chain so that it hangs like. I mean cute either way. It looked like it was, I mean, look at you. You can shorten it or not.
You still look adorable. Thank you. Well, I Johann and I were also just talking about, for those of you listening and watching here, we chatted before. And the first and hopefully last time it ever happened, I got a notification that we have 31 seconds of our interview. I was like, what? So we still don’t really know what happened.
We don’t know if it was a storage issue or what, but anyway, we are practiced. We’re like BFF now. This will be an interview. You’ll never forget. Well, Johana, you have such an incredible story at one of the things that you have said before that I love you said, I think my success in life all boils down to a combination of massive action and then total surrender the dichotomy of massive action.
And total surrender is really incredible. I’ve never. I heard it said like that before, but as people don’t know your story, tell us a little bit about that concept of massive action, total surrender your own health journey and how it ultimately got you to where you are today. Looking super cute and a luxury graphic design company owner.
Tell us a little bit about your story. Yeah, gladly. So first I love that you pulled that quote because I say so many things. Sometimes I forget some of the, the amazing things that you said, forget it. It’s like, man, I am good, but my story really began eight years ago when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
And at that time, In my work life, I was a designer working at an agency, but I was in a position that really didn’t maximize my potential at all. I would constantly look around and go, is this all I was made for? But I was afraid constantly like high levels of anxiety, decision paralysis, fear, totally drove the bus.
I thought I was just lucky to have a job and scared to try for more. And I might. Stayed that way for a lot longer, if not forever, if it had not been for a brain tumor diagnosis, I was like the healthiest person you would know, super strong, healthy fit, always working out, eating. Looked great felt great.
And then one day I just woke up with this debilitating migraine, which I’d never even had a little migraine before and it lasted for four days. And when it finally went away, I was left with partial paralysis on my left side, paralyzed, vocal chords. I couldn’t talk parallel. Like mess with the soft palate function.
And it was basically crushing the ninth and 10th cranial nerves. It was wrapped around them. And so it was taking away their function and obviously realized that something was going on worse than a headache. So that began the journey of going from neurosurgeon to neurosurgeon neurosurgery. Hearing, maybe they can help me.
Maybe they can’t, maybe it’s too risky. All of the health journey that many people have similar stories. I’m sure. And so taking as much action as I knew how to take, because I wanted to live and I wanted to be well, but I took all of the physical pathways that I could. If this surgeon couldn’t help, they’d send me to the next one and I’d try them.
But then I was also. Really at that time diving into what I believe. And that happened because a very good friend of mine who wasn’t afraid that I would hate him, what I thought about what he said. So he told me what I needed to hear and not what I wanted to hear. Um, which was that this was my chance to stand on what I’ve said.
I believe my whole life that I believe the Bible, I believe God, I believe healing is a real thing. And he said, this is your chance to stand on that and talk like it and act like it. And so he really challenged me to take massive action in my faith and to go from just believing that healing is real. And as this nice, vague concept to go.
How do I get that in my life and doing everything I can. So I took massive action in my beliefs and I started, I put together every verse I could find about healing, made a list. I would play Psalms when I couldn’t sleep. I would sit at my desk working and I would play messages on healing and just try to drown out the fear because I started to notice also early on in the journey that well, the symptoms caused by the tumor were bad enough when panic and fear would be.
About, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to die. The symptoms would almost double. So I’d go from sort of choking. Can’t really swallow trouble breathing to pass out on the bathroom floor. So beautiful too. Cause I’m interjecting here for a second. I think even if you don’t have a health problem in your life, what I like about what you’re pointing out is that so much of this can be applicable to anything in life.
It’s that concept of what you’re believing. And then how it is manifesting. We see it in medicine all of the time, the power of almost speaking illness into your life, in a sense. And like you say, it’s going to be really bad. Guess what it is probably going to be really bad. So I’m also trying to help people connect the dots here.
Even if you don’t have something physically speaking in terms of a disease or just even in life, like you have a poor outlook in life, life is probably going to be more. Versus the person who for all intents and purposes looks like they have a pretty miserable life, but in their mind, they’re living with gratitude and they don’t actually feel like that miserable.
So I wanted to interject that there, this concept is not just for those of you that have a disease, but in this whole process, you were starting to pull away and kind of pursuing your own dream. In the design world. Tell us a little bit about that in the timeframe here you spent, how many years undergoing medical treatment until you are to where you are.
So this is a twisting and turning story on that. I will do my best to tell in a straight line, but it’s going to circle back to Nigeria. I started the business like within six months of the diagnosis. I sat up, looked around and went, the doctors say they don’t know if I’m going to live or die. I’m trying to stand in faith and leaning into what I believe, which is that I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.
But if that doesn’t happen and I die, which is where we’ll come back to the mass faction in surrender, we haven’t gotten to the surrender part yet, but if I die, I am not going out like this. I am not going out knowing that I have not tapped into my full potential. I haven’t even tried. I know I’m capable of more and I’m not doing it.
I’m doing work. That doesn’t matter for people who don’t care if I’m here or not, I’m not impacting anyone. And I’m not going out like this and what do I have to lose? So I literally looked around the office and quit my job and walked out and started knocking on business doors and saying, hi, I’m Johana.
I designed stuff. Do you need, I love it. I design stuff. Yes. It’s been a long journey with designed by dirt to get to the full VIP branding experience that I do today. I knew that I could do more and I wasn’t. So I decided to take the leap and I’m thankful I would not wish a brain tumor on anyone, but I’m thankful that it was the catalyst that pushed me into this and taught me so many things like massive action and surrender.
Equals an amazing successful life and that what you believe matters, but what you do about what you believe matters even more and that you can choose joy no matter what your circumstances. That joy is the antidote to uncertainty and fear. Because another thing that was happening in the early days as I was realizing that I had to conquer the fear because not only was it ruining my life on its own terms, but it was making the symptoms unlivable.
Like I was going to die. If I didn’t get rid of the fear, I didn’t know yet what I could do about the tumor, but I knew I could do something about the. And so putting in all those intentional inputs, it occurred to me one day that what I was really afraid of in the midst of all of this. Not death. I wasn’t afraid of dying.
I was afraid of losing my quality of life of maybe living paralyzed or in millions of dollars of debt and through losing my quality of life that I would no longer be here. And then I would no longer have joy. So when I saw that saw through the midst of the fear and realized that I wasn’t afraid of the circumstances, I was afraid of losing joy.
I suddenly realized that if I chose joy, no matter what was going on in my life, I had nothing left to fear. And that was where that surrender came in because when I was first standing on these verses and saying, no, I will be healed. And I do believe in it and telling my body, you will do this. I didn’t see results quickly.
And I would be constantly frustrated. Like I’m trying to be with my family and enjoy this time with them, but I cannot turn off my brain and stop thinking about how much I hurt right now and how. My body hurts. Why won’t my arm go up? And like, this needs to change. But when I realized I could choose joy, even if that was happening, it was like, I crawled onto this alter and just said, all right, Lord, I believe you’re going to heal me.
And I believe this is possible, but even if you don’t, I surrender and I not. It then things started to happen because it was like for one, it squished the fear. Now I’ve got nothing left to be afraid of. And I can focus on changing my thinking around this tumor. So that has been another lesson that has carried through into life.
And in the last two years, is everyone dealt with the same uncertainty globally. Uncertainty was equally tragic to our souls and our beings and our businesses and our lives as COVID like the fear destroyed as much as the disease, I think. And I was able to. To not just survive that time, those two years, but thrive.
My business grew by, I don’t know how many hundreds of percent, but I was able to take myself from. Selling branding packages for $5,000 to selling Brandon packages for a hundred thousand dollars in a time when people are like, everything’s uncertain. Why are people paying for branding? They don’t know what’s going to happen.
Like all of this, I was able to step probably cause they’re living with the same approach. Like, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, like I’m not going to sit around and wait. I’m going to keep moving forward. Yeah. Yeah. And that made me perfectly aligned to work with more of my ideal clients who are those bad-ass is those go getters, those like look fear in the face and do it anyway, people.
And so, because I could choose joy, I recognize this it’s a way bigger on a global scale, but it’s the same thing I felt during the brain tumor, which was sure. Maybe I can’t travel this year. I don’t know. I might try to go see family, or I might make plans and they might get shot down. Right. We’ll get an email notification at least a dozen times that your flight has been changed.
Yes. At least I think that’s still happening. Yeah. But if you know that, even if that happens, you can have joy. Like I was supposed to go to Prague about six months. And the trip was canceled because Switzerland changed their regulations. Like the day before I was supposed to go and I had this intense moment of frustration and then the same lesson clicked in and I went, I’m going to choose joy.
And during the week I was supposed to be improv. I still took the time off. I worked on my own business. I got contacted and gained like two more dream clients. And I found my dream horse, which I had been searching for a year because I changed my mind and said, everything is working out for me. I’m going to choose joy.
Doesn’t matter what’s happening. And when you do that, you are aligned to bring more of that into your life, too. Like you attract the other people, the go getters, the other people are ready to make things happen. Um, living with that attitude of gratitude. Yeah. And render helps now too, like still gonna make plans.
I’m still gonna say, I like to go here and I’m going to go full speed, but if it changes that’s okay. I’m not going to curl up in a ball of stress and give up on life. Yeah. They don’t live mutually exclusive of each other, the action and the surrender, they kind of live hand in hand, which is beautiful.
That’s hard. To fully be able to grasp, but it’s such a good, good example. Give us a quick health update. So where are you now in your health journey? Yeah, that’s a great question. Because when you said earlier, like how long were the treatments? I did not actually receive any treatments aside from a brain biopsy within the first six months they did a biopsy and once again, The results were inconclusive.
I heard that more than anything during this job. That’s so frustrating. Yeah. It was frustrating as a medical provider too. It’s frustrating for everybody. Yeah. And I guess that was just my lesson I was supposed to learn again, was like certainty is an illusion. I wanted the certainty of them saying we know exactly what it is and here’s how we can.
I never got that. I wanted the certainty of being able to show people that I’m healed and prove it by showing them the first scan and then showing them a clean scan. I never got that either. But what I did get was as I leaned into standing on what I believe my body started responding and the symptoms started getting better and better and better.
And even things that the doctor said. This symptom is probably going to be permanent because the nerve is damaged. They came back and my, my muscles went from atrophied to fully visible and functioning again. Hmm. I stopped choking and I could breathe and swallow and talk again. And I started to see these symptoms get better and better and better.
But then I would go for my next, like six month MRI where they had said there was another surgeon that could probably help because I still really wanted that certainty. I was like, well, sure, I’m doing better. I want it out. I want to know that it’s not there. I’d like to see those up there and I go and they do an MRI and they’d come in and they’d say, well, we did the scan and we’re not certain, but we think it’s the same or bigger.
We use a different machine. So we can’t be sure. And then they’d try to be very helpful. Prepare me for the worst. And they’d tell me all of these, like next five symptoms that were probably going to happen. Uh, your face is going to go numb. Your jaw is going to get pushed out. You’re going to lose vision in this.
And I would have come to the appointment feeling way better and healthier, and my body started to function again. And then they would say that. And because they’re doctors and I had them as the highest authority in my mind, even though they said they didn’t know results are inconclusive, I would hear what they’d say and I’d leave that appointment.
And all my symptoms would come back and say, Some of the new ones, like I’d wake up the next morning, my face would be numb and my eye would be blurry and I’d be like, oh, you’ve gotta be kidding me. And I know that they were just doing their very best job to help and to do what they knew. But what I had to do was finally, it kind of came to a head about two and a half or three years into the journey.
There was probably like the fourth surgery night. Been sent to said, oh, this will be no problem. I think we can go in through your ear. We can shave it down, remove it. And the risks are very low. Like maybe some facial paralysis on your draw and come back in three months, we’re going to do the surgery. And even though my body by this point was functioning perfectly.
I still said yes, sign me. I want to know that I know that I’m never going to have to think about this again. And so we did this, went for the surgery and it was a really early morning one because it was going to be like a 10 hour surgery. They had me on the operating table with the anesthesiologists they’re ready to put me under.
And family was like saying, yay bye. And the doctor came in carrying my charts. I changed my mind. I can’t do this to a healthy person. I’m not going to do this surgery. And I lost it. I remember you saying that’s the last time, which is such a strange, highly unusual. I know, which is why I saved my life right.
The first time, what world? And you had three months and maybe peek at it again, very, very odd. But I look at that as just part of the miracle and that he was just. Uh, part of the tools that were being used to get me to say, okay, clearly my journey is learning surrender. And clearly my miracle is not going to happen through doctors, even though I love doctors.
And I believe that they help me. America has come to pass. I guess that’s not my story. And I guess that’s not my outcome. Cause he basically said that he reassessed and he decided the risks were actually maybe feeding tube for life in a wheelchair for life. Right. And he refused to do that to a seemingly healthy person.
I was mad at the moment now I’m very grateful that he had the guts to say that and to look like a fool. Yeah. So you symptomatically live well now, do you still have the brain tumor? Is there still presence of it? So they wanted me to keep coming back to do a watch and wait, but he actually told me that they weren’t going to do anything about it.
Based on the scans, they were only going to take action if the symptoms like reappeared and disabling. Exactly. And so I was like, wait a. I’ve been basing, like trying to live by faith, but basing my final belief on these stands. And you’re telling me, you also, aren’t really going to act on the scans.
You’re acting on my symptoms. Then I’m going to stop coming back every six months and getting the pants scared off for me. Cause I’m my faith. It just isn’t quite strong enough for that. It’s exhausting. I am going to instead walk in what I know to be true, which is that I am healed and just keep speaking that out and walking into it and I get to live a daily miracle.
I get an ongoing faith. I get to just keep walking in it because I never got that clean scan. The last one was six years ago and my body has been perfect. Mm, paralysis gone all the muscles back. No more migraines. Although of course, every time I get even a tiny headache, I’m like, right, right. That’s understandable.
Yeah. But it’s such a beautiful picture of, you know, I think the thing that. Sometimes hard to understand too about the physiology of our bodies is the fact is we’re all walking around with a degree of disease. I mean, it sounds like a very morbid thing to say, but we’re all dying. I mean, we’re all one step closer to Dane.
So what are you going to do today? How are you going to live today? There’s no promise of tomorrow. And what I love about your story is it’s a more physiological reminder that there is no guarantee. And so you do have to live with action while surrendering your future. But today is still up to you. The choices that you make today are still up to you.
So I think it’s beautiful. And I love that you mentioned horses pulling that out of your story. I know you have several hobbies that you love doing. I think it’s special when you have those moments where you’re reminded, like this is a privilege that I get to enjoy life. Tell me about some of the ways that you enjoy life.
I know you have a lot of things that you love to do. Some of these things I want to do. You like inspired me. I want to do these things. Tell us about some of your hobbies. What’s your horse’s name? His name is Romeo. Ah. And adorable little Roan quarter horse that I have been searching for for over a year.
I do mounted archery as one of those hobbies. Tell us what ma I know what it is, but if someone doesn’t know what mounted archery is, what is mounted archery? I treat from horses. And she’s basically like from the movies, you see people in the movies that’s Johann. Let’s see, let’s just face it. I want to be Xena.
I mean, she’s already getting started with her, like chain its shirt, and yeah, she is people real life. I have arrived. If your Miranda is set, she’s, you know, there’s a mounted horseback. If your last question of the day is what is success on? I’m going to say Xena, Xena, and I am their mission accomplished.
Lord, take me home. We’re good. I do. I am curious though. How did you get into a mounted archery? That is a very specific. I mean, not everyone like is like, yeah, I shoot things from a horror. Well, you’re going to laugh at the answer. Cause you would think it was some sort of like deep seated on track for the Olympics as a child or something.
None of that. But I have loved horses my entire life and I did not get my first horse until I was 16, but starting when I was six, I started showing. Other people’s horses and road. Everything that I could, most of them were terrible. Most of them would buck me off, trample me and run me through the mud. So I learned to stick to anything.
But when I was 16, my parents could finally afford a horse and they got me spirits and my best friend who is still my best friend today, since we were seven. And now I’m 33 and that has not changed, but she also loved. She did not live near me. She lived about two hours away and we would only get to see each other a few days in the summer.
And then a few days at Christmas, when she would come visit her grandparents who lived across the street from me. So when she would come, we would make the absolute most of our time. And this is still a very important life thing. I live by do all of the things on the weekend or during your didn’t do all the things.
Do all the things. So she would come. And when I finally got a horse, this was like our dream come true. And she would come in for almost 20 hours of the day that she would be there. We would be at the barn with this poor horse who got put through everything and we would like, let’s ride bareback and then English and then Western.
And we would do all the things. Well, one of those, all of the things, summer days, she’s in town. And we said, you know, it’d be fun. Like Cowboys and Indians and we will be the Indians. Yeah. We drew a life-size cowboy. This is not very politically correct, but real life people, real life, a life sized cowboy. I think we had just watched the movie, the three Amigos and the villain’s name is Wombo and he’s like, I mean old cowboy.
So we do a life-size cowboy, cut them out of this cardboard box, tied him to a fence, post down at the barn and then proceeded to dig out my dad’s old archery equipment, paint ourselves, and my horse tie nothing but a piece of twine around her jaw. And the set up of video camera and just went for it. Like we just started running, running her past the target and it turned out we were actually really good at this and then shoot each other or your horse or anything.
That’s a small miracle. Almost shot the horse one time, poor spirit, spirit, spirit. This is why she’s a little cranky these days. But I mean, I would be too. That’s fair. She’s been through a lot, but we just tried it and had a blast, which is what you should do with your business to like go back to being a kid.
Let go have fun. Try things, have a blast. And you’ll never know. No laugh. More people were too serious. Oh my goodness. Just joy. You’ll never know what comes out of it. And so we did this and it turned out we were actually really good. And to this day, I’m now better, much better at hitting a target from horseback on the run than I am standing on the ground and shooting a target.
I don’t know why, except that maybe I was made for it. So you are meant to be Johana Zena. Yeah. So the very best mounted archers in the world ride bare back in brown. Most of them are actually hungry in the U S they compete and they still have a bridal on, I real like competition that people there it is.
I mean, why am I surprised by this? I’m not full of years ago. I discovered that just a mere two hours away from me. There’s a group called the Michigan center. Okay. And so I put it on my vision board. Like I know this horse I have now spirits. She was getting too old and couldn’t do that kind of stuff.
But this is my goal. So I started searching for a horse. He’s still young. He still very much in training, not even close to bear back and brightest, but we’re working our way there. That is Romeo plus he’s just charming the internet with his cuteness. He’s so sweet. Like a puppy dog. Every time I post a video, everyone’s like, I want to meet Romeo.
I love horses. I, yeah, that’s come on out and you should come out. Yeah. I would love that. It’s actually on my bucket list to take horseback riding lessons. My mom grew up with the horse and actually my sister-in-law was an equestrian. Maybe. So she’s actually a trainer for a Olympian. Yeah. I love horses.
I’ve always said if I had the extra money, like I would love to have a horse farm. I’d rather a horse than a dog. You should do it sooner rather than later, because you would be amazed. Like some of my friends are CEOs and very successful and they’ve never done anything, like ride a horse and they saw videos of Romeo and they’re like, you, Hannah, I’m turning 40 this year.
Can I please come ride? So they, oh, and I was like, for you, I will make an exception and give lessons and they have fallen in love with it. And they have learned what I’ve known my whole life, which is. Mindfulness that happens when you’re riding a horse, because it takes all of your concentration. You can not think about work.
You can’t think about your problems, especially if you’re bare back, all you can think about is, and they respond to your thoughts. They respond to how you turn your head. They respond to the slightest thing. If you’re tense, you squeeze. And then they prance and they get all nervous and your energy channels through them very quickly.
And so. Go get them. CEOs are realizing that they can come to the barn and they have to leave work at the door, which is one of the few places they’ve ever been able to do that. And so during the brain tumor spirit was my therapy. I would, everything would be wrong. And I go out and grab her and jump on, bear back and just race through the field.
And for 15 minutes, everything was right. Like I was in the moment. Being alive and grateful for being alive then, and not thinking about what happens next. And I could just forget, and I therapy just put the money into a horse. That’s what I’m getting out of it. Oh, Probably don’t just get your own right from the get, go, go try some first there’s lots of places.
You can take lessons. They’re a big, not money, investment, although they are, but just like time, investment and lightly investment property, you need the, unless I guess you’re renting. Yeah. Horses are amazing. I’m on board with that. We will definitely have to figure out it’s on my bucket list. Like you said, your vision board.
I have a bucket list, so I’m slowly chipping away, but that’s what I want to chip at. We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, we’re going to play a quick speed round of this or that with Johana. And we’re going to dive into her expertise on leveraging graphic design to create maximum impact for your brand a high-impact brand identity.
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And start your own transformation story. We are back here with Yohana Yohana we’re gonna play a quick speed round of this or that two choices. Very straightforward. I also noticed that you like ballroom dancing. I saw that on your interests sheet. So let me ask you this. Would you rather waltz or swing back?
Definitely swing. Now, are you west coast or east coast? East coast. Typically I like west coast, mostly. I jive that, which is the faster version of east coast. Yup. Starbucks hotter, iced hot. What’s your favorite drink? Do you have a favorite? I do. And they finally brought back the syrup so I could have it. I like their salted caramel mocha.
Ooh. So they didn’t have salted caramel for. For awhile, it has a toffee net syrup in it. And during COVID, I don’t know if they couldn’t get it or they just decided to fresh menu. They took it off and it was devastating. Devastating Starbucks. You have no idea from every Starbucks, from California to New York.
I was like, do you have it until finally they did. It is devastating when you like, are so excited about a coffee drink and they don’t have it, or like the shop will randomly close. I think COVID did do a number on some of the Starbucks coffee. Would you rather be a ninja or a pirate man? That’s a hard one.
The pray about it. Probably a ninja. Yeah. And ninja that lives on a boat. This the conversation I’ve been having lately, we’re trying to combine the two. I want the bad-ass martial arts skills, but I don’t want to live like a monk in the jungle. I want to sail the seas. So. Can I choose ninja who lives on a boat?
Yeah, I think we can have both. I agree in a positive, or I forget that this or that we want all of it. Would you rather wear flats or heels? Or comfort or looks either one, like, are you more likely to any given day pull out flats or heels? If you’re going to go out and have to dress somewhat nicely dressing, nicely, always heels.
But if I’m going to do anything else, flats for endurance so I can walk or run. So I can walk when I’m 50 years old. Okay. Would you rather run in the woods or at the beach? At the beach? Yeah. It’s funny. I always like that. One’s always a challenge for me because I hate running on sand. Yeah. But I like running at the beach.
Some people love running on sand and it’s miserable to me. You only like running down on the hard packed stand, like right. Yeah. And the edge of this. But I just love that you can, you’re like I see the ocean right now versus running in the woods. You’re literally being chased by mosquitoes.
Well, that is fair. If you’re in a mosquito infested forest, that would not be super fun. Again. I would pick both, but minus the mosquito infested forest, that’s fair. Well, we’ve chatted about a lot of things. Let’s get to your expertise. You are a luxury brand design. Something that our listeners have heard of a lot now.
And I think people are starting to understand when we talk about brands, we could be talking to anywhere from a virtual brand. So like I would be a virtual business. I don’t really have like a brick and mortar business or a brand could technically also be a brick and mortar business. If I’m understanding correctly, you’re ultimately helping people put a face on their brand.
That is so much more than just a logo. What you’re passionate about is helping people put together an entire aesthetic package that creates a high impact. Tell us a little bit about what that entails and for those of us who are business or brand owners, what are things that we need to be thinking about from an aesthetic standpoint to communicate what we want to communicate?
Well, I would say the first thing I would remind them is that as you mentioned, a brand is so much more than your logo, a brand is about building perception. And what I do is I work with clients. My ideal clients are people who are the best in the world at what they do, but they don’t look like it yet.
Their visual brand doesn’t line up with their value. So I take people who have an awesome product or service and make them look as good as they are so that they can be as delightfully expensive as they deserve to be. And I love that as delightfully expensive, as you deserve. And that is the power of branding.
So a lot of times people will find a designer, maybe just a graphic designer, or even someone who does full brands. And they’ll say, I’m building a business or I’m refreshing my business. I need a new logo and new colors. Can you help and I will bring them and say yes, but that’s only a tiny piece of the puzzle of these perceptions that you are wanting to do.
You are wanting to position your brand in the mind of the consumer with things that they already think of as premium and luxury. If in fact you are wanting to do a premium brand, not everyone is, and that’s okay. I find that forest people may not know what is a premium brand, for example. So. Luxury brand like Louis Vuitton or Chanel, or like some of those designers.
They’re a great example of a luxury brand rolls Royce, Don Pantheon. They are products priced because of their name and the significance that people get from owning them or feeling they get from owning them. They are far more. Margin built into their prices than say a company that is branding for mass market.
For the, every man, someone who wants to sell a lot to a really wide audience luxury brands are that because they don’t have a wide audience because they are dealing in exclusive. And so both are totally viable strategies. Brand positioning is a very important part that comes in when you’re building your brand.
And it doesn’t mean that everyone should position next to luxury. If you have a funny vibe or a woodsy outdoors men vibe, like there’s this. Deodorant. Have you thought any of this? Yeah, I have. They are doing very well, but they are intentionally positioning their brand almost in, um, making fun of previous products.
Right. Or making like comedic commercials and because of. It’s going very well. Their emotionals get shared as like just a funny ha ha. And that is a brand strategy. So brand positioning is where do you want to fall in the market? And speaking to that audience by using imagery and styles that align with what they already think of that.
So there’s this men’s soap brand called Sasquatch. We’re going to talk about luxury. And right now I’m talking about not luxury, but sometimes the point though is still well-made for people listening and trying to put the pieces together. Especially if you have a brand or a business. Really what Johana is saying is that you need to consider what your angle is in terms of positioning your brand.
Do you want to stand out because your brand is funny? Do you want to stand out because your brand is pretty or homey or. Who is your target market? So I think it’s a great clarification. What you’re saying, you are niched into luxury. You’re specifically helping luxury brands, but it’s helpful. I think for people to understand that need to position their brand in some way, shape or form.
Right. I guess I just wanted that like Sasquatch when they. No, no, but they’re funny. They pair themselves with masculine things like the woods and plaid shirts and axes, you know, and they know their target market target market is probably not the rolls Royce. Exactly. I bring that example up just before I go into what is my specialty, which is branding for high dollar sales and branding for luxury audiences, because I want the listeners to know that that is not the path for everyone.
And that is okay. So branding is important for everyone, but branding for luxury is not always the answer. However, that is my specialty. So I’m going to answer the rest of your questions through that lens. Perfect. So Johana specialty is luxury brand. And make sure that you know, how you want your brand to align.
So one of the things that you mentioned a little bit earlier, and again, you’re speaking through the luxury brand niche, if you will, but you also mentioned. That there are some people who focus on graphic design as opposed to a brand identity. Again, before we speak specifically to luxury, flesh that out a little bit for us, the difference between it’s not just graphic design, it’s also creating a brand identity.
Give us some practical examples. Yeah. So graphic design is a very important part of a brand because people connect to visuals. But for my clients, I like to teach them that step one in building a brand is to know your value. Step two is to show your value, which is where the brand positioning and the design comes in.
And then step three is to always find a way to add more value, which is where you go above and beyond in building those raving fan clients. But before you can show your value to the world and be as delightfully expensive, as you want to be, you have to know what that value is. Yeah. So step one with my clients is diving into their brand messaging, identifying their X factor.
What makes them special, identifying their ideal client? Who do they serve better than anyone else? And why, how, how do they serve them better than anyone else? Because until you know who your ideal client is, You’re just talking to the whole world and you’re basically throwing spaghetti at the wall.
Right. You’re just speaking in bits and pieces and your message will resonate a tiny bit. But you’ll still get far less attraction and clients. Then if you have a very clear message that addresses the problem that you solve specifically for your most ideal client. And so have you ever heard of StoryBrand.
Donald I’ve heard of it. I can’t even tell you exactly the process, but I have, yeah, he is one of my favorite, just kind of grassroots on brand messaging. So for your audience to be helpful, if they want to something they can do today, as they’re starting their brand, I recommend getting his. Building a StoryBrand and read that.
It’s awesome. But it helps you talk about you and your brand in a way that directly relates to the problem that you saw because people don’t buy products or services. They buy solutions to their post. Right. And so the brand messaging portion, knowing your value is identifying what that is and how you solve it uniquely.
And people will panic and say, I can’t be unique though. Like every idea has ever been had, and every problem has been solved. As you probably have heard Rory say in brand builders, your lens, your story takes what you do and makes it unique. And it’s like the lessons that I’ve learned through the brain tumor about massive action and surrender or about taking action on your belief.
I apply those to my clients and to what I teach. Makes it powerful to my audience. I also teach them that it’s now or never. And why not go for the highest level that you want and never stop it? No, like just keep going. And so your lens makes it unique. So don’t worry that you cannot be unique in a space you can’t.
And we find that. And during that, knowing your value, we really draw that out of you and figure out what that is. So that. Then once you are confident that you are worth more, that you have what it takes, that you have this solution. It’s very easy for you to begin to show that value where the clarification that we was talking about for those of you listening, is it can’t just be graphic design.
That’s where she’s going to elicit more of what it is to create a brand identity, to use the visual impact. So tell us a little bit about that. So know your value and now show your value. How do we value our brand value? And this is why the design that I do is so impactful because I’m not just having a client come to me and I say, what do you want?
And they say, well, you like dogs and be like, And I go off and make them a load with it’s a purple dog and they love it. But does their audience love it? Is it appealing to their market? Is it communicating their value maybe, but probably not. So that first step of knowing the value, identifying that, doing the research, writing the messaging, we know exactly the story that we want to tell.
And then we design the visuals that tell that story. So it makes a huge difference. It’s two sides of a coin that go together and we bring them together in the process. And then we take those same messaging and visuals and we wire frame them into a custom website and we don’t start with temple. Because too often, when people start with templates, they simply fill in the boxes that were already there.
And it may not be the best way to tell their story that might not be the content that really speaks to your audience. So we always start with a blank sheet of paper, essentially, wire frame it, and then we sketch it out and say, here’s the story we want to tell. Here’s how it rolls down the page. And then we go.
Back into the visuals. And we do a photo shoot for their personal brand. If they have one, if it’s relevant to their business, if they are the face, the founder of their company, if a personal brand can help them grow, which in most cases, these days it’s very relevant to most businesses, but we go back and then we style the person and we craft a visual brand for the person, the personal brand that aligns with who they are.
And who they want to be to their clients, combined with who they are when the cameras stopped rolling. So you’ll find my Xena coming out because that’s who I am. And I couldn’t not be that to my clients, but also I’m not showing up in barn clothes with hay in my hair. And that kind of thing, which that is me maybe on a Saturday, but we create that personal brand that we do styling and shopping and picking outfits.
And then we do a personal brand photo-shoot that captures the images that. The story we’re telling on the website on the website. So rather than just sending them off on a photo shoot and saying, get pretty pictures, look kinda like this, come back and then I’ll have this library and I’ll pick them and I’ll put them on the site and I’ll try to say what this image is doing.
We do it. We love that we create what the image needs to tell. And then we have shot lists and art boards and say, this is exactly the story we’re telling, create this kind of like art boards before an animated film, tell the story. And then they create that. So we do it a bit like. In cycles and it weaves back and forth.
But that whole brand that end result is that there’s excellence across all touch points that it feels consistent and quickly and clearly communicates their value to the world. So for an existing business, for example, a lot of my clients are service industries, like coaching for a coach. I’ve had clients come where they had an okay website.
They had some pictures of themselves. They had some sporadic. Copy that maybe a copywriter wrote their best version of, but this coach is struggling because they are trying to sell packages, not even that much for maybe three K for a six month package. And they can’t get people to see their. They’re talking to them, they’re sending them to the website.
And when people land on the website, there’s this disconnect, this disjoint, like, you sounded great on the phone or on the zoom call. But then I got here, this looks unprofessional. This looks like you’re new at this. This looks like you don’t know what you’re doing. And we take. We strip that we start over with the messaging and finding who they are and then the visuals and the website and the results are these coaches go.
And the day the website is launched, they can do a sales call and charge six K for a program. And people are saying yes, like this actually happens because they no longer just have to use words to try to convince people of their value. They can show. But also they have the words to use. Now. They aren’t just sending them to a website and saying, draw your own conclusions.
They have this message, this branch that they speak the same way as you’re going to see it on their website, as you’re gonna see it on their LinkedIn bio, as you’re gonna see it on their social media posts, you’re going to start hearing the same words and phrases and the way they talk. Like if you go to my website, you’ll see about being delightful, expect.
And, but when people ask what I do, that’s what I say. And that’s on LinkedIn and that’s on Facebook and you’re going to see it in a lot of places because the message is a key part of the brand. But so are the visuals, like if I talked about being delightful, expensive, and sent you to my old website that I had four years ago, which was just a portfolio.
Because that’s what designers did you do? A portfolio? You say, here’s my work, draw your own conclusions and hire me. Right, right. You’re moving way too much to the ideal client to have to understand no, et cetera. And when that was the case, when my website was just a portfolio and it looked like everybody else’s, I couldn’t sell packages for $5,000, it would say, oh, and I would get lots of.
And then when I did everything, we just talked about, took myself through the process. I was my first case study on making this work. Then immediately I could sell packages for $10,000 and if people couldn’t afford it, they would say, but I can see why it costs that. And you’re going on my vision board.
And then they’d come back in a year. And by that time it’d be like $30,000. But Hey, I like quantitative bunny leaping growth that. Me and my clients level up, but because I had the visuals to backup what I’m saying, I say, be delightfully expensive. And they go to my website and they see marble and dripping golden Lou Baton and Louis Vuitton.
And like all of those things that in their mind already equals luxury. It’s a much shorter distance for them to form that perception. Yeah. I would say one of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to branding is not. Like they think it’s not time yet, or that I need more answers before I create perceptions and all of these things.
But in reality, branding is happening. It’s either happening to you or by you and people are forming perceptions. Whether they’re the ones you were hoping to communicate or not, all of them are not. Well, what I love that you do is you really taking somebody through. It’s a very organized, streamlined process to creating that brand identity.
I think about my own journey over the last three years, and really what has taken me probably three years. And I have no doubt my brand could use a lot of work, but. From where I started, where I am now, you’re really offering in a organized package where everything that you just mentioned for me was probably five to six different people, creating all those different things.
And what you’re offering, somebody is a very organized. Luxury premium experience to create it in a very consistent, streamlined way, which I love. If somebody is interested in hearing more about what you do, getting a consult, finding out, if you would be a good fit for their business to help create a high impact brand identity, where can they find you?
Where should they go? They should start with my website, which is designed by Joe studio.com. That’s designed by J O studio and request a free consult, and we’ll talk about their brand and where they are, where they could be, what are their opportunities to stand out. And if this might be a good fit for them, they can also follow me on Instagram.
It’s designed by your studio and the same for Facebook and LinkedIn. And you guys will have all of these links, of course, on the show notes, Joe, it’s such an honor to hear your story. I just continue to pray. God’s blessing over your heart, your home, your sweet horse, your family, all, all of it. And you’re an inspiration.
Thank you so much for being on the show. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate the redo.
Me too. This was quality. Yeah. We’re seeing the positive in this. It was meant to be a second time. Meant to be so I could talk about Romeo. That’s it. All right. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. So grateful for each and every one of you.
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