Be honest, have a defined brand voice, and show what you stand behind. Brands that communicate clearly and transmit their personalities connect much more than those who don’t. If you can connect with your audience, not only are you building a brand, you’re building a community.
As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Celina Nogueras.
Celina Nogueras is an entrepreneur, Brand Strategist and Founder of Muuaaa Design Agency. She possesses over ten years of experience conceptualizing and implementing efficient brand growth and recognition strategies for new or existing brands or companies. Her career as a passionate brand growth strategist led her to develop a proprietary traction methodology for companies to stay culturally relevant and achieve economic success. Over its ten years of existence, Muuaaa Design has helped launch more than 300 brands.
Celina has a kickass reputation as a goal-getter that can visualize a project or a business and create the strategies needed to make it happen and take it to the next level.
In 2019, she launched the Jefas y Jevas Podcast. As a promoter of wealth creation in women and connector of millionaire women, her mission is to create a network of one million millionaire Latinas.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have so many interests! During my Masters and Bachelors I studied almost everything available in the Social Sciences and Humanities departments, and that was the start of my career as a cultural entrepreneur. I created a Contemporary Art fair, Graffiti Festivals, Design Symposiums, Art Books among others. At that moment my goal was not to create a business but create a culture. After a few years and with my life and business partner Miguel Miranda, we pivoted from a culture studio to a design and branding studio. We create a multidisciplinary model which integrates architecture, branding and marketing — and that’s when Muuaaa Design Agency was born.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Just thinking about it makes me burst into laughter! Before creating a brand growth strategy for a client, we conducted a strategic session with the client that helps us understand the operational details of the brand and business in order to establish the objectives based on their needs and build the strategy. In this case, our client was a medicine delivery service company and they told us they had a 100 vehicles to get the job done, and so, we built a strategy with those 100 cars in mind! In the end, the client only had two vehicles!! Mind you they had to spend a lot of money to get the initiative running since they pretended their business was bigger than it was at our session… they got VERY frustrated and cancelled the initiative in one month!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our company is made up of multidisciplinary talents. None of the founders come from advertising or marketing backgrounds, nor have we ever worked at an agency! We come from the world of arts and culture, which gives us a different edge when it comes to design and marketing strategies. Our model takes a lot from the architecture discipline and its process: lots of research and iterations… we simply don’t believe that inspiration is a magical thing that just pops up while playing ping pong, creativity is worked on and nurtured.
On the other hand, we are research and concept based, from the creation of a brand, to the conceptualization of a photoshoot, the media strategy, stems from a concept and extensive research. This gives a lot of dimension, depth and storytelling to our work.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
As a company, our main purpose is to help the economy grow and we achieve that working with Small Business Owners, from those who are starting their business to those who have been in the market for many years. We bet on Small Businesses as a big part of global economic development. We help them become successful. Our client’s success makes us successful.
On a personal level, I aim to Create a community of 1Million like-minded women with my podcast Jefas y Jevas. The Podcast encourages women who want to learn about how to achieve a turnover of their first million in their companies or in their personal finances. As Latinas we are a fierce workforce but we need to formalize our tools to reach those goals, and what better way than seeing the example of others who have achieved it.
Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?
I always like to ask people: Why do you think Starbucks can charge $7 for coffee? Why would a person who is thinking of investing in a business consider buying a franchise of burgers instead of creating their own brand?
The answer to this is called the Power of Branding or Brand recognition. Branding is what makes your brand get recognized as the first in the mind of the consumer in its category, that the person knows the attributes of the brand, and that they prefer to align themselves with its values and are willing to pay more for. Without branding, businesses do not generate brand loyalty. Advertising or product marketing is advertising aimed at moving a specific product or service, for example you have a new product launch and you want to sell it in greater quantities, so you build advertising strategies aimed at that objective.
Branding is a long term game, while product marketing is short term.
Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?
It’s like spending money and energy building a car and not spending money on gas. The car would look beautiful but wouldn’t run! Brand building is a process that requires continuous efforts and investment, it is ongoing and will define your growth as a business. Wondering why your business or brand is stalled? Take a good look at what and where you’re investing on! Surely branding and marketing will come up. It’s time to change the conception they can exist separately.
When explaining this, a wonderful analogy comes to mind: “If Marketing is the equivalent of asking someone out, Branding is the reason they say yes”.
Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.
1.) Be honest, have a defined brand voice, and show what you stand behind.
- Brands that communicate clearly and transmit their personalities connect much more than those who don’t. If you can connect with your audience, not only are you building a brand, you’re building a community.
2.) Be conscious
- Understand the context your brand is operating in, and provide a service, product and experience that reflects on it and excels.
3.) Take a stance on social causes
- Again, social responsibility brands build stronger communities! Giving back as a brand and being a voice behind causes is more important than ever. They are part of a bigger picture and are not afraid to get involved. Mega Brands like Nike are a good example of how brands can get involved while maintaining consistency.
4.) Be consistent
- Not only does your brand need to be consistent visually, but in purpose, message, and execution. Evolving with time takes skill and is necessary for growth, however, your brand’s essence needs to be preserved! Keep your purpose in mind at all times and protect it as you navigate through.
- A visual identity takes your product or service and sends it on its way to become a BRAND in capital letters. This includes refreshing your image from time to time and staying dynamic for generations to come. Now more than ever companies are seeking to keep up with new consumer trends and that includes visual projection.
Replicating these strategies can be achieved by defining your brand purpose, having a kickass brand, investing in meaningful marketing strategies that CONNECT! And place innovation first when it comes to products and services. No easy task, but achievable nevertheless.
In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?
When you do branding, you aspire brand recognition and that is not something you create in a year or two. It needs time and budget. You need to connect with the client on an emotional level, your service or buying experience needs to be good.
Success is measured with Brand Recognition and Brand positioning.
What role does social media play in your branding efforts?
Today, brands that are not on social media are losing a large segment of the market. The Digital Native generation (who grew up with a device in their hand) are known to move primarily in the world of the web, so the traditional advertising outlets like newspapers, magazines, TV or radio advertisements have lost a lot of ground. We can say that if your product is aimed at millennials, or Zillenials, even Gen X’ers it is essential to be on the platforms they are on. Right now, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with all of them, since we are in the generation of content creation, you have Tik Tok, Club House and each one has its own public!
What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?
For me, physical and mental health are super important. It’s important to be well aware of how we treat ourselves, because in this industry it is very easy to fall into a burnout. I for one enjoy working a lot! The passion for the things that I do drives me. I am thinking and strategizing about work all the time. While I don’t see it as a burden, I understand the burnout is real. That’s why I make time for myself… I exercise five days a week, I visit a psychoanalyst regularly, I journal, I listen to classical music every night to unwind, and most importantly, I constantly visualize my goals. On Sundays, I rather stay at home to think, cook, and read by the pool.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Through Jefas y Jevas, I aim to create a network of one million millionaire Latinas. I want to empower them in their personal finances as well as their business journeys. As women, we are not taught at an early age to delve into finance as an interest. Understanding and having a good relationship with money, helps us be more independent. Jefas y Jevas challenges the notion that finances are a playground designed only for men.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
There are two quotes that have definitely helped shape the path for me and they are “Hay que tener ganas de comerse el mundo” which translates to “you need to feel the urge to devour the world!” and “El que trabaja duro no tiene derecho al fracaso” which means “Anyone who works hard doesn’t have the right to failure”.
Both quotes speak to me on a personal level as I carry them like mantras. Hunger for the world is what drives every single one of my endeavors and I am a firm believer that if you work hard success is going to come to you. I live by them every day.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I have a list of many women that I admire a lot, especially in the world of politics, but definitely my first choice is Emily Weiss. What she has built with Glossier in terms of branding is something that I admire and respect a lot. For some time now I have observed their branding and growth strategies, and they are definitely a fan favorite! As a beauty and skincare brand they challenged a very competitive industry. She set a great precedent for a generation that did not feel identified with any of the brands, even though there were hundreds of brands in the market. She identified the need and knew just how to tackle it. She is definitely a Jefa y Jeva I want to meet.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thanks so much for the interview, you can follow me on FB or IG and listen to Jefas y Jevas on your favorite podcast platform.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
Celina Nogueras of Muuaaa Design Agency: Five Things You Need To Build A Trusted And Beloved Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.