Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of attending the Building a Brand Seminar, an event by Femena, a woman’s business and well-being network. I was really grateful that Sophie from Sweet Sienna Event Styling, who also attended, suggested the evening for us as it was definitely worthwhile.
Held at the Highline in Sydney’s inner south-west, the room was a perfect balance of being big enough to be able to accommodate a heap of people (it was full), yet with an intimate feel.
The Highline is a new and stunningly designed function venue in Bankstown. Located within an unassuming shopping centre, the location wows from the minute you exit the elevator.
It was a perfect event for a Monday night. When we arrived, we were greeted with some cute swag bags and made our way straight to the buffet, before some selfies at the balloon wall.
The panellists for the evening were Amani Youssef, Founder and Creative Director of So Social, Natalie Anne, Creative Director of Natalie Anne Hair & Hair Care, and Lillian Khallouf, fashion design and founder of Lillian Khallouf. The talk was facilitated by Samantha Khater of Kayter Co, Dessert Boxes and also Shark Tank fame.
It was a pleasure to hear from the 3 panellists, all wildly successful women. A range of topics were covered, especially during the Q&A. It was really refreshing was to hear the three women openly discussing their successes alongside their vulnerabilities and failures in business.
Amani from So Social, a creative agency specialising in branding, really did a great job of introducing the topic of branding, giving the audience excellent pointers. She emphasised how branding about a consumer’s is a holistic experience of your company, covering logo, style, products, services and marketing. One thing I took away from this was on the topic of re-branding. For instance, did you know this is better done in slow steps so as to ensure your audience can still connect with your brand visually? Makes so much sense!
Next was Natalie from Natalie Anne hair, Salon owner and AHFA digital influencer of the year, who has amassed near 500,000 followers on Instagram! Something she said really resonated with me, and it was on the topic of copying, which is a big thing right now. I hear a lot of people accuse others of copying them. And whilst direct copying of a business or brand is a definite no-no, there is room for people to apply ideas and develop them with their own twist. When Natalie was asked what she thought of her style being copied, she said she calls it ‘inspiration not imitation’, and she doesn’t believe people are ‘copying’ in a negative way. Words from a true trendsetter!
Finally, it was the turn of Lillian, founder of luxury clothing brand Lillian Khallouf, which is worn and loved by celebrities and influencers alike. Lillian spoke extensively about authenticity and staying true to one’s self. This in itself is so important to branding, because it brings out the things that make your company so original. One thing she said which I definitely agreed with was regarding trends – she said that she tries not to look at what others are doing, and looks outside of fashion for inspiration.
The connection between social media and branding cannot be understated, and the topic of Instagram was also discussed. I hit a light bulb moment when Samantha from Dessert Boxes said the key to being successful on Instagram is to offer value, and the value they offer is humour (check out their page). It really reminded me that this is something very important when creating an Instagram strategy, and something that is can be overlooked. Also, value does not always have to be tied into a discount or a sale, it can be an emotional reaction.
Getting me to leave the house on a Monday night is generally the most difficult thing ever, but I was really glad to attend this! There was a beautifully supportive vibe, and Elle, Founder of Femena is truly passionate about uplifting other women and it shows.