Podcast Episode

How to Create a Memorable Brand Even if You're Shy

with Rachel Lee

Episode Notes

Rachel Lee is not just a branding expert—it’s the psychological depth she brings to the rebranding process that sets her apart. Understanding that true rebranding involves profound internal changes as much as external aesthetics, Rachel skillfully navigates individuals and companies through the introspective journey of shifting identity. 

Jeffro is joined by Rachel Lee, an artist, designer, and brand stylist, to discuss the complex world of branding and brand style. Rachel takes us on a deep dive into understanding the core of brand identity and why it is crucial for small business owners to focus on this before diving into visual branding elements. She shares valuable insights on how to differentiate your business in a crowded market and provides invaluable advice for establishing an authentic and effective brand style. 



  1. Start with identity.
  2. Embrace uniqueness.
  3. Focus on clarity.


Connect with Rachel Lee

Website: https://racheltylee.com/ 

Instagram: @racheltylee (https://instagram.com/racheltylee/

LinkedIn: Rachel Lee (https://linkedin.com/in/racheltylee/)

Connect with Jeffro

Website: https://www.frobro.com

Social Links: https://www.tiktok.com/@frobroweb


00:00 Brand differentiation is crucial for business growth.

03:15 Style reflects personality through clothing and presentation.

08:17 Invest in your brand to attract customers.

10:12 Business branding focuses on customers, not self-expression.

14:54 Embrace and own your unique vibe confidently.

17:01 Originality is subjective, but personal creation matters.

19:52 Start with brand identity before visual style.

23:54 Embrace your unique brand, cut out noise.


Rachel Lee [00:00:00]:
When it comes to style, I believe that even if you’re not a visual person, every person has a style. And one thing that I really like to do to sort of help people understand what their style is is to get them to open their wardrobe and take a look at what is inside it, because the way that you dress and present yourself in real life just as a human is actually a direct reflection of look what I might capture when I work with my clients. 

Jeffro [00:00:32]:
Welcome back to Digital Dominance. On any marketing show, you’ll hear people talking about branding and differentiating yourself, and we’ve talked about it before on this show as well. So why do we keep coming back to it? The main reason, in my opinion, is that people keep getting it wrong. Either they feel like getting a logo means they now have a brand, Or there’s something getting in the way of identifying and embracing the things that truly make your business unique and worth talking about. Or maybe it’s the worry that you’ll realize your business isn’t unique, and that’s a scary thing to admit. Maybe it’s the worry that If you let too much of yourself come through your brand, the first negative comment will deflate the little bits of confidence you’ve managed to muster up. Maybe your personality tends to keep you behind the scenes, or your upbringing has taught you not to draw attention to yourself. Regardless of the reason, like If you want to help your business grow, you can’t ignore this.

Jeffro [00:01:22]:
You need to figure out a way to move forward, answer the questions, and, yes, stand out. So to help me get this message across, I’ve invited Rachel Lee from Vancouver to teach us how to figure out what your brand style is, And we’re going to philosophize a bit on the idea of being original as well. Rachel is an artist, designer, and brand stylist that loves making cool things for cool people. Her friends know her as the Photoshop queen, but her clients know her as the wizard who brings, brands to life with a snap of her fingers, which is also known as a simple two step process. She specializes in visual rebrands for disruptive companies and divergent entrepreneurs who have outgrown their DIY branding and want a new look that’s as loud as their vibe. Welcome to the show, Rachel. It’s great to have you here.

Rachel Lee [00:02:03]:
Thank you so much. I’m excited to be jamming out with you today.

Jeffro [00:02:06]:
Awesome. And, you know, you just finished redesigning your own website at racheltylee.com. I took a look before we started, and I love it. It’s a fantastic example of a personal brand. As a visitor, I come to that site. I feel like I get to know you. I like I get a feel for your personality, how you do things. You like cats.

Jeffro [00:02:23]:
Oh, and by the way, it talks about your services and how to work with you. So great job on that.

Rachel Lee [00:02:27]:
Thank you. Thank you. I feel like when it comes to rebrands, it can be a touchy subject for some people because it’s not just about updating the wrapper of how you look. Like of course, I like hanging out in the world of visuals where it is about how you present yourself. But, honestly, there are a lot of internal and mental shifts that you have to go through when it comes to repackaging the way that you present yourself because it’s not just the stuff on the outside. It’s about how you see yourself mentally, what do you call yourself? What is your identity? All the pretty stuff on the outside is literally just a reflection of that identity. So I’m excited to be diving into our conversation today because we’re gonna be talking a lot about that.

Jeffro [00:03:07]:
Yeah. For sure. So Can you start kind of by just explaining what is a brand style? You know, what does that mean beyond picking a color scheme or a logo?

Rachel Lee [00:03:15]:
Absolutely. I feel like when it comes to style, it can be really ambiguous for people who are not visual people. Growing up, I was the art kid, so I think and I I see the world in color for the lack of a better way of saying it. And when it comes to style, I believe that even if you’re not a visual person, every person has a style. And one thing that I really like to do to sort of help people understand what their style is is to get them to open their wardrobe and take a look at what is inside it because the way that you dress and present yourself in real life just as a human is actually a direct reflection of what I might capture when I work with my clients and then translate that into the tangible stuff that you see on the website like with your logo, with your colors, and with your fonts, it’s basically just a different way of communicating, but it’s that same type of energy. So for example, for me, if you open my closet, you’re gonna see a lot of black and white clothing, sometimes with a little bit of pink, lots of t shirts, ripped jeans, skater girl stuff. Like, you’re gonna see a lot of stuff, that has that sort of energy. It’s casual.

Rachel Lee [00:04:23]:
It’s kinda fun. It’s kinda playful. I love wearing hats. You see a lot of hats even hanging on the shelf in the background, and that sort of helps capture the vibe that you see on my website. And I like to do this exercise with people where even if they’re like, like oh, I just wear whatever’s comfortable. They they don’t have a lot of stuff going on with their style. I’m like, alright. Well, what kind of brands do you like the vibe of? Like, we all have certain tastes and preferences.

Rachel Lee [00:04:48]:
So there’s, like, certain exercises that you can go through to sort of figure out and pinpoint exactly where your style is, where some of the brands, for example, that my clients really like, when I couldn’t pinpoint their style, I’m like, alright. Just list out a few brands that you really like and like all the brands that they listed out, like Apple and Rolex and a few really high end fashion brands gives me an idea that they are a person that they they have class. They like it minimalistic, but they have a little bit of an artsy flair. It’s sophisticated. It’s like luxury. And when you sort of lean on like the things that people like, you’re able to sort of stitch together a picture of what would their style be if I just captured it and communicated it a different way online through the colors and fonts and what types of elements do I bring in to help communicate that same thing. Did that answer your question?

Jeffro [00:05:40]:
It did. And and I like that you pointed out you can identify brands we’re drawn to, and that kind of reflects our own personality and preferences. Because there’s definitely people who don’t want you looking in their closet and then just seeing the cluttered mess of whatever happened to be in their hand me downs and and all of that. So one more thing I wanted to highlight before we, move on is just why this matters and why it’s worth spending time on. Because I think a lot of owners are eager to Just get the website done because they want more customers. And so maybe they decide to skip the branding process because it’s an extra expense or it takes more time or they feel like they don’t need it. So what happens to the end result if you don’t spend the time up front to figure out your brand style?

Rachel Lee [00:06:18]:
That’s a really good question, and I actually get asked this question a lot because branding can’t seem like a surface level face lift. They don’t directly see how it translates into, customers through the door, more sales. And if I were to put it simply, if people don’t see you and recognize your difference, they’re gonna go to the person next door who offers the same thing but for cheaper. And I don’t know how else to put it nicely, but like, it is very much about communicating your difference. And it’s oftentimes not because you offer a different product, but you offer a different experience. And I think the way that I like to describe it to people is that branding is a brand is not the same thing as a business. The business is the vehicle of delivering the product or service. A brand is the experience that you create as you deliver it.

Rachel Lee [00:07:10]:
And, I think the best way of seeing that is when you look at brands like Apple. It’s not just a phone or a watch or a computer. It’s the experience that you have when you’re using it. It’s the experience you have when you walk into a store. All of those things are the brand, and that’s what you’re buying. You’re not just buying a computer. If you just want a computer, yeah, you could just go to the computer store next door. You could get a secondhand me secondhand hand me down computer, and it would, you know, do the same thing.

Rachel Lee [00:07:38]:
But when it comes to experienced and what people your customers are looking for, that’s the main differentiator. And the more clearly you are able to communicate like, the type of experience that you’re creating for your customers and also distinguishing yourself as we specialize in doing exactly this. Like this is our type of people. This is our community. We get you. Like, the more you’re able to build that rapport with your customer base, the more that you are going to stand out in their minds is they are the no brainer, person that I would go to. I wouldn’t go to anyone else because they they get me. Like, they’ve got all the stuff that I need, exactly the type of experience I’m looking for.

Rachel Lee [00:08:17]:
I couldn’t even imagine going anywhere else. And you wanna create that experience so that experienced so that you can not just attract the right types of customers, but you get those customers coming back every single time. So, Technically, having and investing in your brand, it directly correlates with return customers, people who would rave about your brand and get more of the same types of people, it attracts the right types of customers your way because people will self eliminate when they know your brand is not for them, and you are also able to present it with so much more confidence because, as we know, when you dress nicely, you walk into the room differently. Same thing with your business. If you have a kick ass website, a beautiful brand that you know directly translates exactly what you’re trying to communicate to the world, you will blast that link all over the Internet. You will not be shy about sharing it, you will tell people, like, go check out my website. It is awesome. Like, I want you to experience a band.

Rachel Lee [00:09:15]:
And when you just feel excited about it, that confidence shows and that in itself, from my experience, it sells a lot more than any really good salesperson, any good pitch. Like, like, just that confidence that you have in the way you showcase your brand, that speaks volumes in itself.

Jeffro [00:09:34]:
Right. So there is a return on investment there. It’s just Sometimes harder to articulate because you might not see it on day 1 or you know, it’s just a part of the package, and it makes the whole thing work a lot more effectively. So next question I had would be you know, you talk about figuring out a brand, like, by looking at your closet or what brands you like, but and that would work really well for a personal brand. Like What about for a company? Because the company isn’t necessarily the same as the person, especially if you’ve got cofounders, you got different personalities, or maybe you inherited a business from your dad. Right? And you’re looking at it like, hey. There’s no branding here. How do you start in that scenario where it’s not just directly you?

Rachel Lee [00:10:12]:
Absolutely. And that’s also a good question because when it comes to business branding, the game is very different from personal branding. For personal branding, it’s very much, who are you? How do you like to express yourself? It’s very much about self expression. But when it comes to business brands, the game is actually the very opposite. It’s about who are your customers? Like, specifically, like, your customer avatar and getting really clear on who that person is down to what are their tastes, what’s their personality, what are their pet peeves, like, really getting down into the nitty gritties of who that person exactly is, that will help you determine how you are going to be positioning your brand to be the perfect match. Because I like to think of brands as, brands are identities, and people connect to brands as if they’re connecting to people. If you construct a brand really well, the way that customers will interact with your brand, it feels very human. Like, they have, like, loyalty.

Rachel Lee [00:11:08]:
They will brag about you. They will spend a lot of time with you. Like, there it’s really interesting. There’s a lot of psychology that goes behind it but from a brand positioning standpoint, you basically take a look at your customers and figure out how do I package and present myself so that I am, like, the most logical fit for them. So if your audience is full of, like a bunch of, like, sneakerheads. They they love skateboarding, graffiti. Like, they they love a lot of that type of stuff. You’re gonna wanna present your brand as a very similar vibe because that’s just what they like.

Rachel Lee [00:11:44]:
Right? You’re on the same wavelength as them. And, also, it’s not just that, though. That’s one of the things that you consider. The other thing that you consider is all of the other peripheral brands that are your competitors want in your industry, take a look at what they’re doing and how they’re positioning yourself because you don’t want to be positioning yourself as was doing the same thing as the person next door. The whole point of a brand is to showcase your difference, and you might do the same thing from a business standpoint. You might also skateboards. Right, but the specific type of customer that you are selling that skateboard to might be different. Some of them might be hippies.

Rachel Lee [00:12:20]:
Some of them might be like gangsters. Two very different vibes there. Right? So it’s about sort of positioning your brand based on who your customers are and then taking a look at who’s in your peripherals in your industry and then seeing where the gap is. And, basically, from that point on, you get to be creative and asking yourself, okay. Well, this is what our brand identity is. Here’s how we’re gonna position that. Now how can we have fun with like, the way that we communicate that. And then that’s where we have a conversation about the style.

Rachel Lee [00:12:51]:
And oftentimes when we talk about like, colors and fonts and style, we basically pinpoint those things by eliminating all of the other options and taking a look at all the other things, clear cutting it, and then it’s often very clear, here’s how we need to be packaging your brand to be the most suitable based on the people that you’re looking to attract.

Jeffro [00:13:12]:
That was very clear and helpful, and it reminds me of you know, we always have to go back to picking who your target audience is, and you can’t just say, oh, this is for everyone. Right. Even if everyone could benefit from it, you need to decide who you’re going to focus on, and then you can work backwards from there like you talked about so that your messaging connects with that certain group of people, and you’ll find a lot more success when you’re able to focus like that. You mentioned looking at other competitors and things too to kind of get Ideas and kind of see if you’re actually different or not. It made me think of how a lot of brands that we see that we recognize are loud or ostentatious, especially if you’re in fashion, music, or entertainment, and that type of brand is everywhere. But that might not resonate with some people. Right? And they might not want to have their own brand be that way because it wouldn’t be authentic, and they would hate every minute of it. So What does it look like to have a brand that is more soft spoken or understated? Is that even possible?

Rachel Lee [00:14:10]:
Absolutely. And I think, and I’ll speak more in terms of personal branding because I think a lot of people, when they are more soft spoken I have clients, for example, 1 is a factual CFO and accountant. I don’t think you’ll want a very loud and crazy accountant because that’s just doesn’t lend blend very well with that industry. And it’s actually good when you have a specific type of personality that is actually a good fit for what it is that you do. Even if you happen to be more quiet in an industry that is loud, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get seen. It just means that you’re gonna attract a different type of person. From what I understand, if there’s 1 of you, there’s more there’s many more different types of people who are very similar than you. You just haven’t met them yet.

Rachel Lee [00:14:54]:
And if you fully step into and own the vibe that you have, loud or quiet, shy or obnoxious, whatever the heck your vibe is, I think the most important thing is is that you fully own that because the people who are going to come your way are going to be very similar to you. Like I mean, I have a lot of clients who like to come to me. I have a brand that is packaged very loudly, but I have a lot of clients who come to me, and they’re very, like, shy, soft spoken people, and they want to add a little bit of spice and flare to their brand, but at the core of it, they’re they’re very simple people. They’re like, I don’t need anything big or fancy. They’re like, I just wanna I just want people to know that I’m not super boring. Right? Like, I think that’s like oftentimes the conversation that I have with people, and that is absolutely okay because it’s I think it always goes back to who is it that you’re trying to attract. Like, your brand and the way you position it will attract people who are very similar. And I think the more confident that you are in the way that you package it, like, own it.

Rachel Lee [00:15:58]:
Like, if you are quiet, yeah, you’re gonna attract a lot of people who are also soft spoken, but you guys are gonna vibe because like that’s just you will not have fun if you attract customers who are super loud and boisterous. You’re gonna feel like a babysitter controlling a bunch of toddlers. Like, you’re not gonna have a good time. So I think it’s just about knowing who it is that you are and not trying to, like, look around at other people and try to do what other people are doing, it’s about really understanding what comes naturally to you, and then just fully owning that.

Jeffro [00:16:29]:
Like So my, I mean, that’s a good way to think about it. Because, obviously, it it it doesn’t matter how loud you talk or the colors how loud the colors are. It is about connecting with that target client. It goes back to that. Right? And so that’s why people would remember you because they felt connected to you, like Not necessarily overwhelmed by you. Right? So, another question would be Well, I’m curious in your opinion. You know? As someone who does all these brand styles and you help people figure this out, what does it mean to be original?

Rachel Lee [00:17:01]:
Like, that’s a really hard conversation that I think people are really fixated on, especially since like, we are in the age of the Internet. We’re in the age of AI where I could just type a few words and then poof, something magical gets created, and I think if you were to ask me, there’s no such thing as like, originality, like, in terms of ideas, concepts, styles. There’s nothing that you can create that hasn’t been created in some similar way, shape, or form. All of our ideas got inspired from somewhere. But when it comes to originality, I do believe that if it’s something that you created, by yourself like and it was from your own ideas. It might have been inspired, but it was something that you just wanted to put out into the world from your own personal, lens through your own experiences. Like, all of that can be original because it was created by you. You made you put conscious decisions into how you phrase a certain thing, like, how you shape something.

Rachel Lee [00:18:05]:
And that is the closest thing that I could say to that to you being original. I think a lot of it goes down to you being really clear on what is it that you’re communicating and making sure that that is something that comes from you and you’re not just regurgitating something from other people, which is very easy. There’s a lot of things that are being repurposed. But I like to, go with the analogy of steal like an artist because, yeah, there is nothing out there that’s original. Artists steal from each other all the time. I get inspired from this person. Like, there’s people in the music industry. They do remixes of each other’s songs all the time.

Rachel Lee [00:18:39]:
Nothing is original, but you can put your own spin on something. And I think that’s something that we all just need to get a little bit braver with where, like yeah. Like, there’s a lot of brands out there who might have a similar vibe, but they are not you. And understanding your difference and your identity is what will allow you to create content that I’d say that you just fully stand behind. Nothing is original original. I have air quotes around this as I say this. And I think it’s important that we remove that kind of pressure from ourselves because, honestly, like, there isn’t. That that doesn’t exist, the best thing that you can do is just really stand behind the work that you put out there, know the place that it came from, and then trust that that is enough to do its job.

Jeffro [00:19:25]:
Right. And, yeah, it’s okay to take that inspiration from it, but There are lines you shouldn’t cross. Like, obviously, you don’t wanna plagiarize and copy stuff word for word or use the exact same logo and change the colors. Like, that doesn’t work. Like Like, you’ve gotta put a little bit of you into it, and that’s where it gets that fingerprint. Right? Your own version. I like that. So what would be your most important piece of advice for small business owners who are trying to figure out their brand style?

Rachel Lee [00:19:52]:
When it comes to your brand style, most business owners usually start with what’s my logo and what are my colors. They go straight to the throat with all of the visual stuff, they look at all of the logos of their competitors around them and, you know, like, they they go straight to the visuals, and then they realize they get stuck because they don’t know what colors work best for them. They don’t really know what their logo is. And I actually tell people that you actually have to start from the very thing that most people don’t start with, which is the identity. You have to know what your brand is before we figure out how it’s communicated. And I know that that’s could be a big ball of confusion because branding itself is a very complex love, Jack but if I were to put it simply, a brand is what is what is the difference between your business and the person next door and get really clear on what that identity is. If your brand was a person, what would they be like? And once you get really clear on that, it actually helps eliminate all of the possibilities of what your brand could be. And then the decisions for the style, it becomes much easier.

Rachel Lee [00:21:00]:
So if you figure out that your brand, is more quiet, it is clean, like, you a lot of the clients that you’re looking to attract are looking for a stable experience. They don’t want somebody loud and crazy and erratic. They want stability. They want to feel safe. They want clarity and confidence. Like, they they’re looking for a certain type of thing, and that is exactly the person that you are. Like, that’s the experience that you provide, then most likely, your brand is gonna have a pretty clean vibe. You might have, like, a clean white background, a simple font for a logo, maybe the colors that you pick aren’t gonna be, like, bright and garish.

Rachel Lee [00:21:37]:
You’re not gonna pick neon colors, for example. You might pick something that’s, like, a teal or, like, like, a dark gray. Like, something that is more steady and grounded. So, like, just from an example like that, you could basically see how I draw the lines between them. But I always say start with the identity first. Figure out what your brand really is first. And if you’re not really sure about how to get to that, that’s where I recommend having a conversation with a branding professional just to even get that initial clarity, figure out what your brand is. And then when it comes to the way that it’s translated, that’s where, like, if you have a low budget, for example, a lot of small business owners and start ups are in that position.

Rachel Lee [00:22:16]:
Like, honestly, like, go to Fiverr. Go find, like, some, like, like, freelancer who’s just starting out. And as long as you have the clarity, you’re gonna be able to communicate with that, graphic designer exactly what it is that you’re looking for. Where things usually go sideways is you know that you need a brand. You go to the designer right away. You have no idea what to communicate them. You tell them whatever the heck you want. I trust your judgment.

Rachel Lee [00:22:42]:
They go off into the wilderness and come up with a whole bunch of different things. They give it to you, the sample platter of different designs and visuals, like and you as a business owner look at that and you feel lost. You’re like, oh my god. I have no idea. Like, all of these look great, but which one’s the right fit? And then that’s where usually most business owners, they chalk it off. They’re like, branding doesn’t work. That’s not for me. It was a total gong show in a mess.

Rachel Lee [00:23:05]:
Wasted my money on that. Whereas if you just started with the clarity first, you’ll know what to communicate, you’ll know what you’re looking for, and it’s very easy to refine your decisions from that point onwards.

Jeffro [00:23:18]:
That was really helpful. Thank you for you kinda brought it full circle back to where we started, right, of Knowing who you’re talking to and figuring out your identity, the random, go from there because otherwise, you’re just guessing and, you know, picking stuff arbitrarily. We are near the end of our time here, so I did wanna thank you, Rachel, for sharing with us today. Congrats on the new website. I can tell you put a lot of work into it. And for everyone listening, go to racheltielee.com to learn more about Rachel and connect with her. She’s a great resource, especially if you do wanna go big and bold with your branding. But even if not, like we talked about, if you’re a little more shy, that’s fine too.

Jeffro [00:23:52]:
Rachel, do you have any final thoughts

Rachel Lee [00:23:54]:
before we end this episode? Absolutely. I just wanted to encourage people that in the world of business, you’re going to come across a lot of pressure to present yourself the same as everyone else. I, myself, am a recovering people pleaser, so I struggled with this immensely in the 1st few years where I thought I needed big and shiny branding in order to attract clients at all, period. And I presented myself in a way that was so out of integrity that it really messed up the confidence that I should have had coming to the table when I was networking and talking to clients. So I would say getting to the core of really understanding what your brand is is the best thing that you can do for your business no matter what stage you’re at in your journey because that will cut out a lot of the lack of confidence and a lot of the indecision that you will have later on down the road when you’re looking around at everyone else and asking yourself, how should I be positioning myself? Cut out the noise. Focus on you first, have an idea of what it is that you wanna communicate and then just iterate on it from there. So that’s the last note that I want to leave. Celebrate your difference.

Rachel Lee [00:24:59]:
It’s okay to be different in the world of business because that’s how people are going to find you.

Jeffro [00:25:03]:
Awesome. That’s great advice. Thanks again for being here, Rachel, and thanks to all of you guys for listening. Want Take this episode as a nudge to make sure your branding is on point so that you can dominate your niche, and I’ll see you next time.

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