Dominique Hart gives us a fresh no-nonsense view on branding. It’s a different perspective, that’s easy to understand and implement.
-the direct correlation that affects your bottom line
-how you’re diluting YOU and your message
-why you need to make some basic changes today!
Dominique Hart is a Visual Branding Strategist and “Dynamik” Entrepreneur who is passionately creative and is no stranger to a challenge. Dominique also has extensive knowledge in marketing and social media for small businesses and advertising. She championed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising (Art Direction) as well as her certificate in Entrepreneurship from Temple University in the Spring of 2012.
In New York City, and now nationwide, she is currently working with some amazing business owners and public figures through her company, Dynamik Endeavors, pronounced like “dynamic”, by the way. Dynamik Endeavors is a boutique design agency that transforms brands to achieve accelerated profits and a “Dynamik” presence.
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Dominique Hart Podcast Interview v2
[00:10:16] Kris Ward: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of when the hour, when the day podcast I am your host Chris ward.
[00:10:30] And today we have Dominique Hart and she is here from dynamic endeavors and she is a brand strategist. And we’re just going to dive in super quick, because she is just chock-full of knowledge about branding and what we should be doing the do’s and do nots and why we need it and how it is far more interesting than most of us actually, you know, it’s not about logos, is that correct?
[00:10:52] Dominique? That’s what it’s not about. So let’s just dive in and start talking. So let’s see, you know what, Dominique, let’s just start with the basic, what’s the difference between what you’d call branding and visual branding.
[00:11:05] Dominique Hart: Yeah, I love that. You asked me that question because I really have to set the record straight.
[00:11:10] A lot of people have been misled to believe that branding is your colors and install the visuals and everything like that. And that is not branding. The core of branding is all about who you are. What your message is, how do you want people to feel in your presence, whether that’s a brick and mortar or online and, or your store, or even with your services when they’re interacting with you directly. Right? So that is all the essence of branding and all that. It entails visual branding is taking those elements and communicating that. Through design in a way that captivates your audience and brings them to you in a way where they want to find out more about you, where they feel that presence that you want them to feel.
[00:12:00] And that is what visuals create. It’s that visual, um, um, vision, right? That makes everybody see themselves in what you do.
[00:12:10] Kris Ward: Okay. So let me unpack this for a second. Make sure I got this clear. All right. So we’re me, I’m described by most people as a high energy or positive person, and I really do want your business to support your life instead of consuming it.
[00:12:22] Now it’s a new day and have fun and yeah, no, you’re not supposed to be grinding it out. That which, you know, it doesn’t kill you, I think makes you tired. So that would be my brand of, you know, whatever word you want to describe energy positivity results. No, I’m all about no fluff get results. Okay. So there then my visual brand, when I wrote my book, when they are, when the day, that’s what I said to the person doing the cover, I said, I really want it to be, you know, when you talk about team building or productivity, it’s very dry and it’s systems don’t sound sexy, but they are the backbone to your business.
[00:12:57] Let’s do something hopeful. So there’s this yellow and there’s like the sunrise and there’s just freshness. And there’s a light lightness to everything that we do. And we add a lot of color to it. So those would be, I am clear and understanding those will be what you mean and the two differences.
[00:13:14] Dominique Hart: Yeah.
[00:13:14] Yes, absolutely. So the vision and the mission and the message that you wanted to create was the brand itself. Right? You want it, people feel right at the end of the day after they’ve implemented their systems and everything of that nature. How did you want them to feel that is when those. Color is communicated that.
[00:13:32] So now, because of your intention in your vision for when the arrow in the day now, when people see that cover, they’re like, Oh, this might not be so bad after all. Oh, okay. Maybe I should be looking at this differently. Oh, this is different. Let me read more. Right. So that’s what visual branding does for your business and it reflects in your ROI.
[00:13:55] Kris Ward: So also this is where I think, and this is why we have you here where most people go, well, you know, King go rogue or wrong really quickly. And I know I did this years ago where, you know, uh, you would put your shoulders back and think, okay, all the book learning. And I paid for college and university.
[00:14:10] So I would try to come off. Not, I wouldn’t say professional, but when I met people, when I worked with them a bit, they say, Oh, you’re fine. You’re high energy. But I thought my initial presentation had to be more formal and dry because I’m a grown-up person trying to be professional. And so then really what was happening is there was a disconnect in the brand.
[00:14:28] And so people do that all the time where they think, Oh, but my competitors use a color red and they’re making a lot of money. So I should do that. Or I’m trying to act like a bigger company than I am. So there’s this disconnect. When you’re trying, when you’re looking around your environment and you think you should be acting a certain way, but again, I know it sounds silly.
[00:14:47] Just be yourself, but sometimes you think there’s different versions of yourself like this work, Chris home, Chris. Right? So that’s also an area where people go wrong is think thinking too much, I guess.
[00:14:58] Dominique Hart: Yeah. And here’s the thing about that, Chris, and I’m glad you brought that up because one thing that can’t be shaken when it comes to being the amazing service provider, especially everyone who’s going to be tuning in.
[00:15:09] You can’t fake being yourself. Eventually the real you has to come out. And when you’re providing your valuable services to your clients, the real you, and the genius that you share with your clients every single day, it’s eventually going to come out. So if you’re trying to personify this image of what you think.
[00:15:28] Think you should be, you’re doing your business and your brand a disservice because eventually that real you’s going to come out. So if you’re a really happy chippery person and when you speak initially, you’re really stoic and this and this, your clients are going to see a different side of you. And when they see that different side of you and if they really are your people and they see that real side of you come out, they’re going to be like, Oh, where have you been this whole time?
[00:15:53] I really like this. I love you.
[00:15:59] Kris Ward: Right. And you know, what, or, or the opposite would happen to me many years ago was I was going back and forth like a ping pong. I was making myself crazy because I would have something. So a lot of people, I think the kindness thing you can give people is the truth. I think it’s misleading and cruel to give them misinformation because then they’re chasing the wrong things.
[00:16:16] Right. So then I would have. People were I had to be who didn’t appreciate that, that they felt it was abrupt or blunt. Right. And so then I would be dealing with, let’s say client a and I would say things a little bit more polished, a little bit more flowery, really dancing around the Bush a little bit and seeing what they can handle and be gentle.
[00:16:34] And then I would go to my client B who were my people. And they’d say, Chris, what we love about you is you just get to the point, what’s all this stuff. Just get to the point, right? But I would be going back and forth to my appointments in a day and I’d be like, Oh, I’m sorry. Cause an hour ago that other person thought I was rude.
[00:16:48] And then I go back here and I’d be back to the point with person a and they think I was rude. And so really frankly, I was, I wasn’t finding my people and I was offending every second person because I was being the wrong dynamic with the wrong individual. And none of it was inauthentic. It wasn’t that I was being insincere, but I was watering myself down and therefore finding the wrong people.
[00:17:09] Dominique Hart: Absolutely. And here’s the thing about business Chris, when you are in business and you are a visioning, this amazing business that you want to have water, a water down version of you should not be a part of that picture, fully curve the world, and be dynamic in that service. If you are a watered down version of who you truly were meant to be.
[00:17:29] And so if you are watering yourself down, you’re not really serving your high achievers who really don’t want all that fluff. They like, I got, I got too much going on. I need, I don’t want anyone to waste my time. Chris, get to the point. We love that about you. That’s what your moneymaker is. Right. Okay. And what else he does like the fluff.
[00:17:47] So clearing all that stuff out, serves you so much in the
[00:17:50] Kris Ward: end. Okay, so then why is it important? And you know, to really then dive into the visual brand and not to just skip that step and say, okay, well it’s social media, so I’m going to hop up there and you’re going to see me be all Chris all the time.
[00:18:03] So at the end of the day, what, what difference does the color makes? Is it like me? I don’t know. I was gonna say. Is it like, this is very profound. We’re having a moment here. I was going to say, is it like me choosing a different top with differences that make what clothes I made, but I did make a big shift to the clothes I forced.
[00:18:20] So this pointless point. So as you just sit there, Dominique, and I’m going to argue with myself and tell you as I have all these revelations. Revelations connected to your topic. I’ll just answer my own questions. Okay,
[00:18:33] Dominique Hart: Chris, I’ll take it from here. Don’t worry about it. No, but it’s so important because here’s the thing that happens, right?
[00:18:41] You end up, even if you decide to you tell your designer and you say, Hey, yeah, I trust you. You get it. You go and do whatever you want to do. Just give me any color. I’m just going to show up and be amazing. Right? No, here’s the problem that happens. There’s a lot of frustration that ends up happening because even you, yourself, if you’re looking at a work that was not purely designed around what you had envisioned, you’re eventually going to feel that frustration, even if you want to bypass it and ignore it, eventually it’s going to get to you.
[00:19:08] And you’re going to be like, you know what? This just does not feel like me deal, like what I want to truly say. And that frustration, once again, when you are serving people directly, there is no place for frustration like that, especially when you are the steward of that vision for that company.
[00:19:27] Kris Ward: Oh, that’s a powerful word steward of that company.
[00:19:30] Okay. That’s a powerful word because I think you’re right. I think we’ve all done this at one time, but we’ve definitely experienced it where somebody would hand you something, right. Back in the old days, like a business card, and then they started apologizing or they send you to a website and they say, Oh, but we’re like, they’re splitting their energy.
[00:19:46] And they’re saying, Oh, but we’re working on it because blah, blah, blah. And they’re explaining, cause they did create it and now they realize it doesn’t look like them or the person you’ve now met in front of you. So they spend more time apologizing explaining. So you’re right. It’s going to rise to the top.
[00:20:00] Dominique Hart: Exactly. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten that. Especially when people find out, you know, and back in the only thing, when you’re at a conference, then you will find out that I’m a visual brand strategist. I get apologies galore. And here’s the thing. If you’re apologizing to me, you’re apologizing to your other potential clients.
[00:20:19] So that direct correlation affects your bottom line. And that’s not what you’re in business for. When you hand someone your card, when you show someone your website, you should be proud and not. Proud for the sake of being proud. I mean like, yeah, work represents me and I want to tell it to the world.
[00:20:36] Right? That’s the confidence. If there’s a disconnect in that confidence, if you’re questioning yourself, I’m going to question you too. Makes sense. If you’re not confident, I’m not confident that you might be able to help me to. Maybe I need to, I start thinking to myself, maybe I need to start looking elsewhere.
[00:20:52] Oh, nice to meet you. And you get the smile and then you never hear from them again, there’s a reason why that happens sometimes. And a lot of times how people meet you and how people see you online and in other different publications or platforms matters that that is all in unison, because that is a part of your message.
[00:21:09] You can’t leave that on the back burner and you can’t skip branding for the sake of design. You have got to go there first, before you come over into our world of design and visual branding.
[00:21:20] Kris Ward: You know what you brought up some really good points because competence is competence is competence and you don’t know where it begins and ends and you don’t know what topic it’s related to.
[00:21:28] Right. So it doesn’t matter if I’m standing in front of you and I’m nervous and shy and scared to use my words because I’m not confident at public speaking. I’m just not confident. I don’t sound like. I’m knowledgeable. So the confidence doesn’t have a indicator of where it begins and ends. So you’re right.
[00:21:44] Cause I know people, people will tell me when they see my cover, the wind, the hour, when the day cover them, say, Oh, your book look really like this a joke I heard when I was writing the book and they said, You know, if, when you hear that saying you don’t judge a book by its cover, clearly you’ve never tried to sell a book.
[00:21:59] Right? So, so when people see my book cover, it catches their eye and they say, Oh, this looks really interesting. And I feel like saying, I know I worked really hard on that. So I am really proud of that. I do think it catches your eye. I do think it’s dynamic. I think it’s really reflective of who I am and what’s inside the book.
[00:22:19] That’s very positive, easy read and. Quick takeaways. So it really does amplify confidence to me. And really you’re right. It’s about the cover and the colors and all that stuff.
[00:22:30] Dominique Hart: Right? Absolutely. And I noticed that when you got to that final cover and you’ve gone through the. Right steps. Right. You’ve done the work.
[00:22:39] You’ve done the research, whether it be you faking it one moment and then coming to that realization point that’s time and effort and research that even your team did on your behalf, right. That even your team did on the right on your behalf to get to that end result, where you look at it. And you’re like, that’s it.
[00:22:56] Even if you didn’t know what it looked like before you knew that at the end of the day, when you saw it, you’re like, yup. That’s it right there. Yep. That’s what we’re going with. And now the people that are coming to you, they want to win the hour and win the day. They want to feel that same effect that you are portraying in your work, on the website.
[00:23:15] That’s another important thing, keeping it consistent. Right? I can’t tell you how many times I will see a great book. Go to the website and the website looks nothing like the book, right. Or it doesn’t even have the same professionalism and quality. So that lets me know, this is a website you got done years ago.
[00:23:31] Never touched again, but you put some work into this book. There’s a disconnect there. There’s a lot of storytelling in how design plays out across the board. It’s like they talk to one another. They’re like, no, when you started,
[00:23:46] Kris Ward: because what happens is to me, if I looked in the book look really good and the website looks very dated, it looks like, well, first of all, obviously the data website, we can see the book because then you think, Oh, maybe they just got a good book cover, or you think maybe they just got a one off like, Oh, he did go to the book, but you know, whatever.
[00:24:02] And then there’s other products where you sit there and you think, Hmm, I love everything they do. I’m just sitting here waiting for you to give me something else that I can want. I’m just sitting here waiting to want something new. Right. I have to figure it out. So you’re right. It gets contagious when done well, and it’s very disruptive when not.
[00:24:20] And I think it must be hard, I believe in your industry. Do people not mint. I would suspect people minimize this a lot and think it’s just color. Like it’s what differences make. It’s like Crayola crayons, like we’re just messing around with color. So I think it’s, it’s wonderful. You’re so passionate about the message, because I think it probably is undervalued a lot.
[00:24:42] Dominique Hart: Yes, and it is, and it’s very true. Um, and especially given my background, I come from a corporate background, right. So I come from corporate advertising where image is everything. Right? And here’s the thing about our agency. We blend both of those worlds together with our entrepreneurs in our corporate backgrounds.
[00:24:58] Right? So you have experienced designers who know the ins and outs of how this is supposed to go because we get it, even though you’re the visionary, you know, you’re that, you’re amazing. And I believe that you are dynamically. So. People you have, who have never met you before. Do not know that. And people are judgy.
[00:25:15] We are all judgy, whether or not our mothers and fathers raised us to be that way or not. There’s some judgmental things about us when it comes to business because we don’t have time to waste. Right. And so often that gets misconstrued with, Oh, if I just slap a logo on it, if I, everything will be all better, I’m branded.
[00:25:34] Yup, yup, yup. I got it. And they come to me with that confidence and then I look at it and we go in deeper and they’re just like, Oh, there’s more to this. And like, yes. Yes. There’s actually more to this, because these are the elements that your audience is looking for, that you bypassed because you didn’t know, and it’s not your job to know.
[00:25:51] We want you to just beat them up and be amazing. Let us handle that. But it’s important that the education. Must be sounded from the rooftops because it is part of your job as a business owner and an entrepreneur. So yeah, absolutely. It does get lost in the sauce. For sure. It’s
[00:26:09] Kris Ward: interesting too, because you don’t notice little things as they’re happening.
[00:26:13] Like you could ski in Facebook or Coca-Cola so obviously a newer company and then much older company, but still even then both impressed me in the fact that. There’s a whole bunch of variations of their logo. So meaning that as time is moving forward, you know, even though Facebook has such a profound impact on her life, as far as you know, the innovation of that platform, what happens is like, we’ll look at how many variations there are to that logo.
[00:26:39] So what’s that about it. There must be a significance to that and a power to keeping fresh or that they’ve grown in, you know, who they are and same thing with Coca-Cola you think? Alright, here’s the Coca-Cola sign. It’s done. You’ve been around for over a hundred years, you should be securing your position, but clearly there’s a purpose to this branding.
[00:26:58] Dominique Hart: Absolutely. And that’s really big and that’s, this is something that not a lot of people know, and people are often shocked when they come to work with us and we’re like, yeah, you’re going to get three different versions of your logo. They’re like, wait, what, what, what? Huh? Three there. And then I always get, is it more for that?
[00:27:12] Like, no, it’s a part of, it’s a part of the cost and then like, Oh, and I said, it’s a part of the cost because that’s what you should have been getting in the first place notice. And I want to go back to that Facebook example. There’s about three or four different variations for Facebook. There’s the icon.
[00:27:28] There’s a first up a primary logo and a secondary logo. Dominic, why do I need so many logos? You are not going to have a fair shot. Wherever your logo shows up. Sometimes your logo is going to have to stand out in a place where people, well, can’t read all of that text in such a small finite space, right?
[00:27:50] So you need an icon that represents your vision and your brand. This is why that research phase is so important and can’t be missed. Right. Do you have to have that stamp that represents your brand and your business where words cannot explain it for you, right? Where people can’t shake your hand and learn more about you.
[00:28:09] You need that stamp. That’s that icon. Now you have your primary logo. Okay. That’s the premier logo. This is the overall. Overall arching, whenever majority of anyone sees your logo, that’s what they’re going to see. But guess what, Chris, sometimes that primary logo is not going to look its best on different platforms.
[00:28:29] Sometimes you let’s say you’re working with an organization and they say, Hey, we want to feature you in our publication or you maybe you’re sponsoring an event and say, Hey, we need your logo so that we can put it on our materials. All of their materials might not be friendly. Design-wise to your logo.
[00:28:46] Do you need a secondary logo so that it can match whatever platform they put it on? What do I mean by that? Sometimes, sometimes some of you have logos that are, are lined up one underneath another, some publications can’t really fit all of that text in that space. So what is a secondary logo come in?
[00:29:05] Maybe it’s a longer version elongated version, right? Of that logo now,
[00:29:11] Kris Ward: lateral versus horizontal or something. Yeah.
[00:29:15] Dominique Hart: So now your logo, your mission, your vision, and everything is still being communicated, even though it shifted a little bit, Coca-Cola does the same thing. So. If the larger brands, and this is my message here.
[00:29:28] If the larger brands and corporations are doing it, why shouldn’t you do that? When we’re talking about growth and, and business growth and scaling and having all these conversations, I automatically start clenching my pearls because I’m just like, they have no idea that when it comes to scaling that this is also a part of that conversation.
[00:29:47] And I don’t want you to find that out after the fact I want you to know now, and that’s why I’m here.
[00:29:52] Kris Ward: Yeah. So also you bring up a really good point too, because we’ve got a few minutes left, but what I would say to people is, you know, what’s the time to refresh your brand because, Oh my gosh, I’ve been in business over 12 years now.
[00:30:04] And. 12 years seems like 40 is far as all the things that have changed in the last 12 or 15 years with it, you know, with the platforms or social media, the technology, I mean, my having is when I started, I needed a logo for print and one firm, one for online. And one for print, not saying you still don’t print, but it’s much smaller, right?
[00:30:24] So, you know, you change the technology changes how every, like everything’s a lot more relaxed. It’s all about being you and get yourself out there as opposed to being the professional. So would you say every five years we should be looking at this.
[00:30:38] Dominique Hart: I would say about that both three and five years. And why do I say that?
[00:30:42] Because that also matches the natural stages of growth with any business. Okay. So at every level that you are growing, whether you are, maybe you’re expanding your services, maybe you’re in with the expansion of services, come time. Sometimes it also embodies an expansion of vision. So with that expansion of vision comes a new identity to match that also.
[00:31:04] It also goes with where your budget is, right. That’s also stages of business growth. So let’s say you’re starting out and you don’t have a massive budget to really fully brand yourself, do what you can with what you know. And now, because you guys are listening to this now, you know what to look for with any designer, any agency that you’re working with, Hey, I need a, I need an icon.
[00:31:24] I need a primary. I need a secondary logo. Can you do that for me? Fantastic. Nope. You can’t gotta go, right? Because you want to make sure that it’s. Fitting for the growth you want. So, and as you grow and, and your budget becomes larger now, you know, I have a larger budget now I can really brand the way that I want to now.
[00:31:43] So there’s a lot of different reasons why you want to look at your brand every three to five years. But also because you, especially, if you’re the service provider you want to and make sure that your brand is growing with you. Cause you’re not, I’m going to stay the same forever, nor should you. So it doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your look.
[00:32:02] It just means that you may want to freshen it up a bit. You may want to add some different elements. I’m not telling you to change completely. You are, who you are, your brand is your brand. Your business is your business, but it should shift and change with you as you and your business as, and your business continues to grow and change.
[00:32:18] Kris Ward: And you may also be looking to, or already attracting higher paying clients. So that’s for sure. Okay. Dominique, you have been a blast. We are so thrilled to have you here. Where can people reach out and learn more about you and your, your wise wisdom and all that you knew about branding?
[00:32:36] Dominique Hart: Absolutely. So if they want to know more about me or even have me speak at their event or podcast or anything like that, head over to Dominique hart.com, that is Dominique with a H a R T like Kevin Hart, except we’re not related.
[00:32:50] So that’s Dominique hart.com. And then if they want to actually work personally with my agency, dynamic endeavors and working with me and my amazing team of designers. Yeah. It can absolutely do that by going to dynamic endeavors.com and in my world, dynamic is always spelled with a K. So that is D Y N a M I K, endeavors, E N D E a V O R S.
[00:33:12] That’s for all of my Europe, my Europe family out there.com. So that’s dynamic endeavors.com. And Chris, I do have a little free gift that I can give you. Yes. Okay. So here’s an important thing. We were talking about this. Chris talked about this a little earlier about consistency, right guys. So I definitely want to make sure that you are keyed once you’ve gotten that logo.
[00:33:36] Even the one you currently have and blah, blah, blah, save. When you talk about when the hour, when the dam about to save you a lot of time. So I want you to go to Dominique hart.com/. Style guide, right? That’s a little bit easier for you guys. So I’ll let you go there. Dominique hart.com/style guide, and you’re actually going to get a good, awesome representation of the style guides we give to all of our clients.
[00:33:59] And you’re going to get a chance to do that for your exact logo. Dominique, why do I need a style guide? Because a lot of you guys are working with designers and consultants and you’re wasting time explaining what you want your brand and logo to be like when they’re using it. So whether you have a VA. A designer or design team or any kind of creative work, even videographers.
[00:34:21] You want to hand them this guide and say, Hey, here’s our colors. Here’s our exact colors, hex codes. Right? If you don’t know what the heck, we don’t have time Google that is right there for you, but you want the exact. Colors. Right. You want the exact logo? You want the exact placement? No stretching of logos.
[00:34:39] No more doing that. Stretching of logos, no pudding, all kinds of fancy stuff on it. Treat the logo worth, respect, and use the style guide and you’ll see exactly what it’s a template. So you can just pop your colors in there, pop your logo in there. It’s so super easy for you guys. We made it easy for you, but when working with dynamic endeavors, you’ll get a really, really good one, but we gave you a really good start for any type of logo that you have.
[00:35:06] Okay. No matter what stage of business you’re in, this is for you. And it’s for free. Just tell us where to send
[00:35:11] Kris Ward: it. Well, we love all kinds of free. Thank you so much, Dominique. Thank you. We appreciate you and everyone else until the next one. When the hour, when the day, this is Chris ward. Thank you.