After fifteen years in the TV production industry, Michelle wanted to create and share the human stories behind the business world, “Show & Tell has a real focus on telling immersive and authentic business stories. I also run workshops for business owners so they can learn how to create their own video content for social media,” she shares.
Michelle Sokolich, founder of Show & Tell
Michelle approached The Icehouse after hearing about business coaching through a women’s networking group she belongs to. “I decided to reach out to The Icehouse because I had been thinking about rebranding for a while. I had done some business coaching before and I was quite disillusioned by it, but I knew with The Icehouse there was going to be some tangible outcomes.” After speaking with an Icehouse Customer Growth Partner and securing funding from ATEED, she was introduced to Carollyn Chaplin, a marketing, brand and value proposition expert.
In September 2016, she started business coaching with Carollyn with an aim to work on a brand strategy for her business, “back when I first started, I was making family movies and I got asked more and more to do videos for businesses. It was kind of around a similar time where video was becoming really essential for businesses, they were learning to talk in a new way and with the age of social media being so important, they wanted to tell stories that were less corporate and more real. I saw that there was a really big gap for authentic story-driven content for businesses and at that time, video was also really male dominated.”
As her services expanded, Michelle wanted to cater her brand to a wider audience, “at the time my website was created for mums and it was very family-oriented and whimsical. Carollyn and I started brainstorming what my brand was exactly, how I wanted to portray it, talk about it and market it.”
Creating a brand strategy is more than just recreating the brand’s look or logo, a common misconception. “I remember my husband being quite confused when I signed on, he said, ‘really? You’re spending that much money trying to find out what your brand is?’ but it’s more than just a logo. I did quite an in-depth questionnaire about leadership styles, and that was important because my brand is based around me and the service that I provide. I wanted people to get the right impression of me, because when I on-board clients, I’m in the one that goes to the shoot. Then, Carollyn encouraged me to reach out to family, friends and previous clients to get their perspective too. That questionnaire and the brainstorming afterward got me really analysing and thinking a lot about myself and my company.”
“Carollyn had this great way of getting down to the nitty gritty, making you look at everything from the big picture to the small details – we ended up thinking about everything, and because I was reasonably new to business, we touched on a lot of things like pricing, my packages and financials.”
As Michelle reflects about her brand strategy journey with Carollyn, her biggest learning was the importance of creating a solid foundation that allowed her to pinpoint and articulate exactly what she wanted her brand to be, “I’ve learned what makes me unique and it’s just helped a lot, not only through my website but through all of the ways I market my brand, for example my brand video, which is really based on the work Carollyn and I did together, and in the conversations and networking opportunities I have with people. Having the language that her and I came up with together about my brand essence gave me confidence to talk about my business a lot more and feel very cohesive about the whole thing.”
Show & Tell's Brand Video
Alongside working on Show & Tell’s brand strategy, Michelle and Carollyn created a strategic plan which outlines business goals for the following 6 months, 1 year and 3 years after the coaching period, “this morning I pulled out my strategic plan and realised that I’m totally on track with the goals I set out to achieve, which is great. I think I’ve really been able to grow the business and do a lot more business development because I have a clear sense of what I do and what I want to do.”
On the collaborative journey she had with Carollyn, Michelle describes her as someone who “completely understood what I was trying to do and where I was coming from very quickly. She’s just lovely, really warm and the right mix of really professional, onto it, clever and also really relatable. I feel like without Carollyn’s advice I would have spent a long time chasing the wrong things. I’ve recommended her to lots of people because it’s the kind of thing you really need to invest in and get right in the first instance and then you can build everything you want to on top of that.”
For anyone interested in working on their brand strategy or working with a business coach, Michelle’s advice is to make sure you’re willing to do the work, “It’s a commitment, I was really busy and working with my clients but I made sure to prioritise my time with Carollyn. I didn’t realise how important and how hard it was to work in your business as well as on your business but with a business coach, I was held accountable and that was another real bonus.”
“If you’re thinking about getting help from a business coach – just do it and you will very quickly realise the benefits of it. Having that support and expertise around you is probably one of the best ways to grow a successful business, it’s just vital.”