New Powerhouse Team Member

Crystal Toy is an ambitious and energetic Coast Guard veteran turned digital marketing specialist. She is a Coast Guard spouse and mom of two with several specialized college degrees, bringing over a decade of technical expertise to the Powerhouse lineup of independent contractors. Her robust career experience in learning and development, event coordination, and project management is a powerful addition to any team.

After transitioning out of the Coast Guard to support her husband’s active-duty career, she has remained committed to developing her multifaceted toolbelt by serving in several creative volunteer roles such as event coordinator, photographer, and social media manager. Fueled by her dedication to lifelong learning, and several professional certifications later, she has made an impressive pivot into the world of digital marketing, with specializations in project and social media management.

Crystal is a goal-oriented team player with a creative mind who thrives under pressure and is semper paratus (always ready) to roll up her sleeves and get the job done. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her family, staying active outdoors, and seeking out the best Baja-style tacos wherever she ventures.

2021-12-21T14:06:52-05:00December 20th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Beth Soto was born and raised in a small town near the north Georgia mountains. She attended North Georgia College and State University for two years before transferring to Lanier Technical College where she studied interior design and architectural drafting. She graduated in 2007 and worked in both residential and commercial construction as an architectural drafter, estimator, and project manager for 15 years. She is the current owner and lead designer of Coastal Peach Interiors in Melbourne, FL. Beth and her husband, Steve, returned to Melbourne after Steve’s military retirement in 2020 following his 22-year military career. They were married in 2013 and have a blended family of five children, Hunter, Chris, Emma, Savannah, and Dean. They enjoy traveling and making memories together as a family as well as playing board games and spending time by the pool.

Beth has admired the Powerhouse Planning team and their work for years. She is excited to join Powerhouse Planning as an architectural drafting and design consultant and is looking forward to being part of such an amazing group of people.

2021-12-21T09:14:37-05:00December 14th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Nicole is a milspouse of over 12 years and mom of a daughter, Itahlee, and two Dobermans, Luther and Lexie. Along with a love of traveling and exploring the country, which has been easily done as a Coastie wife, Nicole enjoys creating memories with her family. She grew up in Pennsylvania, but throughout their Coast Guard career, she and her family have spent time in New England, Texas, NYC, and NorCal. Professionally, Nicole has a passion for business, leadership, achieving goals, supporting a positive people experience, and organization. (Yay for spreadsheets!)

Nicole earned her B.S. in accounting and her M.S. in organizational leadership with a focus in human resources. She brings a background in retail management, both big box and specialty, as well as in recruiting and training in early childhood education to the Powerhouse Planning team. Nicole views the challenges faced as a career-driven milspouse to be developmental opportunities and is grateful to put that experience and drive to work for her clients at Powerhouse!

2021-11-02T02:17:29-04:00November 2nd, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Amy grew up in Macon, Georgia and attended the University of Georgia, graduating with a degree in education. She then pursued a Master of Education degree from Mercer University while teaching full-time in the public school system. After marrying her high school sweetheart, they began military life together, moving all around the world from North Carolina to Germany with countries in between. They have been married for over 20 years and have raised two children, both of whom are now adults. After Amy’s husband retired from the Marine Corps, they settled in Peachtree City, Georgia.

Amy joins Powerhouse Planning as a freelance project liaison. Between her teaching career and volunteer endeavors, Amy has worn a variety of job hats over the years. She worked many years as a full-time classroom teacher as well as a virtual ESL teacher. As many of the Powerhouse family know, military life brings many moves, deployments, and sometimes “single parenting” moments. Because of these circumstances, there were times over 26 years of military spouse life that Amy did not “work” but instead volunteered her time/talents. She volunteered in school settings as a classroom helper, reading tutor, and PTO board member. On the military side, Amy volunteered to organize and run several fundraising events for military-based clubs, as well as coordinate and advise families before and during deployments.

Amy believes that working as a project liaison will give her the opportunity to utilize skills/talents that she has developed from her previous positions. Amy’s instructional, organizational, problem-solving, and curriculum development skills have all been honed as a result of her teaching career and volunteer duties during military life. Amy enjoys working as part of a team and feels that she is at her best when she is helping others.

When Amy is not teaching or volunteering, you will find her lunching and shopping with friends, exercising, reading books, and vacationing with her family.

2021-10-30T03:52:09-04:00October 30th, 2021|

Spotlight on Powerhouse’s Rossmery Oakes

We’re back with another entry in one of our favorite blog series and shining the spotlight on another of our powerful team members, Rossmery Oakes. Rossmery has been a part of the Powerhouse team since 2018 and serves as one of our web designers/graphic designers and as one of our proud military spouses. She’s been “doing military life” together with her Air Force spouse since 2014 but is excited to have an opportunity to pursue her career while supporting her husband’s service. Giving military spouses and veterans realistic, remote careers is one of our passions, and Rossmery is a prime example of how talented this underappreciated segment of our national workforce is.

Rossmery describes herself as a passionate critical thinker, communicator, and empath. “I think in everything I do,” she says, “whether personal or professional. It’s always important to me to connect with people, enjoy great conversations, and solve problems.” That’s probably why she cites the enthusiasm of everyone at Powerhouse as one of her favorite aspects of the company. “The genuine care and respect there is for everyone on the team and our well-being in the workplace” speaks to Rossmery and allows her a safe space to create and grow.

In addition to working with Powerhouse and being a passionate military spouse, Rossmery and her husband (very) recently welcomed their first baby (an absolutely adorable girl) who joins her parents and two furry “siblings.” The newly expanded family enjoys “getting to do life together,” and Rossmery says one of her favorite things is “seeing how all our unique characters and personalities just fit.” Rossmery and her husband love getting to explore and know the areas where the Air Force takes them, but when she’s at home, Rossmery loves solving puzzles. Add in the fact that Rossmery describes her family as “big foodies” and she’s got all the bases covered.

Being able to have a remote career with Powerhouse is something Rossmery loves, and she envisions Powerhouse growing its remote business practice to a point where it can give “hundreds of military spouses” the same opportunity she has. She says that it’s been a blessing to work with a “really great group that inspires [her] to want to do [her] best in all areas, not just work.” Powerhouse allows Rossmery to work on projects with people she connects with, something she says is vital to a remote career. If you’ve got the right people, Rossmery believes, then keeping an open line of communication and setting the right expectations are easy and allow everyone on the team to stay accountable to a work/life balance.

Rossmery purposefully creates equally unique and fun environments for both home and work. She suggests making enjoyable but separate spaces in the home to help ensure your head is “in the right space” for what you need to do. If you’ve got “work projects that light you up and you’re partnering with people who respect your time,” she says, then the sky’s the limit. Additionally, she recommends never being afraid to take a break when you need it. It’s something you might feel guilty for doing when working from home, but there’s a reason that offices have built-in break times.

That might be why Rossmery enjoys Powerhouse’s Power Hours, virtual get-togethers that are a mix of fun and work. “They’re a great resource,” she says, “especially for those of us who strictly work from home and get much less interaction than you might from a different job.” Whether coworkers are engaged in painting nights or workshops, Rossmery says, “It’s a nice opportunity for us to get different kinds of human interaction.” It also builds team camaraderie, which translates to fun, exciting, and satisfying work. “Recently I worked on a project for one of our clients, Dune Dwellings. I think the work of the team came together so nicely at the end, it felt like a Fixer Upper show reveal!” she says. When work is fun, life is better.

As always, we asked Rossmery to share a little tidbit that not many others might know. Hers came complete with a celebrity encounter: an old hotel job Rossmery once held meant she interacted with a lot of different people. Every Sunday night, former NFL wide receiver legend Jerry Rice would stop by the hotel for a drink and Rossmery would serve him. So, of course, we asked what his favorite drink was. Turns out Jerry Rice loves mimosas. We can’t lie—that fun fact may have made us love Jerry Rice a little bit more. But not as much as we love Rossmery. Sorry, Jerry.

2021-10-19T19:20:53-04:00October 19th, 2021|

Spotlight on Fritz Bertsch

Once a year we try to pin down Powerhouse Planning’s founder and president, Jessica Bertsch, and ask her to impart some words of wisdom, Powerhouse history, etc. for us to share with you. This year, we decided to take things in a slightly different direction and instead asked Jessica’s husband, Fritz, to sit down with us and give us a slightly different perspective on Powerhouse—how it started, where it’s going, and what sort of impact having an entrepreneurial wife has had on their family.

First, Fritz is actually the fourth of five Fred Stanley Bertsches, the name having been passed down through the generations. Fritz is an active-duty Coast Guard officer who recently celebrated his 20-year anniversary. He’s not slowing down or looking to retirement just yet, though. After recently finishing up a two-year tour as the commanding officer of the USCGC VIGILANT, a 210’ Medium Endurance Cutter, he is now taking up a fellowship that will see him spending a year studying at Carnegie Mellon University. After that, it’s up to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard has been a part of Fritz and Jessica’s story from the very beginning. Back in 2004, Fritz met Jessica when she was vacationing with friends in Nassau, Bahamas. He was deployed there with the Coast Guard and wandered into a restaurant/bar to watch a basketball game. As Fritz says, “Jess made the mistake of asking me who was winning. After that she couldn’t get rid of me.” Several hours later, knowing he was leaving the next day, he asked Jessica if he could call her when they were all back stateside. She agreed, and the rest is history.

Being married to a military member can make having your own career difficult, and Fritz says it was “extremely difficult” watching Jessica continue to juggle her career and sacrifice opportunities so that he could focus on making the most of his military service career. Even though they made their decisions together, the stress and frustration of juggling all the aspects of a civilian career and a military lifestyle isn’t easy. “It is awe-inspiring to think of the sacrifices she has willingly made in supporting me. In truth, she has served our nation as well through her support and efforts because I know I would not be where I am today without her,” Fritz says.

When Jessica hit upon the idea for Powerhouse, Fritz remembers most the passion she had for the idea. It wasn’t so much about finding a portable career or making money, but what drove Jessica was the idea that Powerhouse could “provide opportunities and possibilities for military spouses who were just like her.” The untapped potential in the military spouse community is incredible, and this talent is so often underutilized due to the uniqueness of military life. Fritz knew Powerhouse would be successful not simply because it was a “solid concept” but also because of the passion Jessica had to make this a reality for others like her.

It’s never easy to start a business, and even though the early days were stressful and meant lots of working at all hours of the day, the commitment to learn while doing everything the business required was “impressive to watch,” Fritz says. Although Jessica might disagree, Fritz says his role was minimal during this time: “I jumped in where I could, like dropping things off at the post office. I simply have tried to be supportive and return the favor of love and support that she continues to provide me.” Jessica has stated many times that his support role is what got her through those early years.

Today, Fritz and the rest of the family continue to provide support and expertise where they can. Fritz lends his knowledge and free time to the financial side of things when needed, but he claims his efforts surely cause his wife “more stress and consternation than I relieve.” Their three children help out as well, stuffing envelopes, keeping themselves occupied when Mom needs to work and Dad is deployed, and other tasks as their ages and skills allow. Powerhouse really is a family affair for the Bertsches, and one made even more so this last year as Jessica ran Powerhouse while simultaneously homeschooling her children with assistance from her mom, a retired schoolteacher. Fritz can’t imagine Powerhouse going forward being anything but successful. In fact, he thinks the next ten years will see similar growth to what the company has experienced its first nine years. He’s noticed the personal growth Jessica has achieved reflects the company’s growth. “She continues to refine her approaches to problems and has gotten even better at multi-tasking,” Fritz says. At the same time, Jessica and Powerhouse have learned to establish boundaries and limits to maintain a healthy balance. It’s not always an easy endeavor and can lead to increased stress levels at times, but in the end Powerhouse’s flexibility is key. Even while becoming an entrepreneur and growing and honing a business model that provides career opportunities for military spouses and veterans, Jessica has been able to be present with their children and be “an amazingly loving and supportive spouse, the nucleus of our family,” according to Fritz. While the Bertsches’ situation is unique to them, the flexibility Powerhouse provides for its freelancers is, as Fritz says, a “wonderful thing.”

We asked Fritz, “If you could be Powerhouse president for a day, is there anything you would change?” After assuring us he’d never take that job as he knows he’s not well-suited to it, he said that if he ever did find himself in that position, there is one thing he’d do: hire Jessica and make her the president! “She thrives in the areas that Powerhouse needs from its president and that’s why she has been able to make Powerhouse so successful.” Entrepreneurship is a fantastic opportunity for military spouses as long as the opportunity “meshes with the family dynamic and the setup of the family’s life,” Fritz says. It’s certainly worked for the Bertsch family.

We asked Fritz if there was anything he was willing to share that not many people knew and we offered bonus points if it was something Jessica didn’t know either. After assuring us that there isn’t anything Jessica doesn’t already know, he offered this one last insight into the story of their meeting: “I actually had to call Jess three times after meeting her in the Bahamas before she returned my phone call. Since she wasn’t ready to date at the time, I waited six months to officially ask her out. I have known how special she is since I first met her. Now, of course, she’s stuck with me and can’t get rid of me.” Given the amount of support Fritz has given Jessica and Powerhouse throughout the last nine years, we’re glad they’re stuck with each other.


2021-09-16T00:39:25-04:00September 13th, 2021|

Checking in with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick

As dedicated readers will know, we like to shine the spotlight on some of our amazing, talented Powerhouse Planning “powerhouses,” aka the freelancers who are responsible for making Powerhouse what it is. Occasionally, we also like to direct that spotlight on the leadership team that consistently grows and shapes Powerhouse in the direction founder and President Jessica Bertsch envisions. This time around, we sat down with Powerhouse’s Jennifer Kirkpatrick, who recently took on yet another title—Experience and Project Manager

Jennifer started with Powerhouse over five years ago when, as she puts it, “Jessica invited me into her brain.” Originally signing on to be Jessica’s executive assistant (and, let’s be honest, right-hand woman), Jen has spent the last five years on “an inspirational, busy, challenging, soul-searching, fun, and amazing ride to personal and professional growth.” It is a journey Jen is grateful for and one that has given her so much more than she ever expected. She quickly went from “just an executive assistant” to assuming the responsibilities of Powerhouse Operations Officer, though it took Jessica a lot of convincing for Jen to accept the official promotion. Since then, Jen has added duties to those of operations officer, earning her the title she currently holds of Experience and Project Manager.

Jen is the one who maintains a working knowledge of all Powerhouse’s clients as well as of each Powerhouse team member, working tirelessly to strategize, lead, support, and manage as needed. In addition, she checks in with team members and clients to ensure that Powerhouse is exceeding their expectations, “whether by the services we provide or as a place to work,” she says. It is not where she thought she might end up when she first accepted Jessica’s offer to come work with her, but it is not an experience she would change at all. “Jessica is a natural born leader and truly inspiring woman,” Jen says. “Her strong discernment and huge heart continually provide me the push when I need it and a safe place to land when I start to fall. She sees the gifts you have when you may overlook them.” Jen adds that this leadership style, where she is constantly pushed to discover the depths of her abilities, is one of the best aspects of working for Powerhouse. It keeps the team dynamic, always looking toward growth potential, and that is why team members continue to succeed and exceed even their own high expectations.

For those who may not know, Powerhouse is a military spouse owned and operated business and one that largely employs military spouses and veterans, along with several who just love the Powerhouse mission to create a work/life balance for freelancers and entrepreneurial spirits. That is why Jen would highly recommend entrepreneurship to military spouses. “There is no easy path,” she says, “but with hard work, a passion for excellence, and the right team surrounding you, you will do well. The growth mindset really is the secret sauce to maintaining a positive attitude, which leads to wisdom and growth.”

That spirit is what leads to the Powerhouse difference. The commitment each team member has to each other and to clients results in dynamic performance and growth. Powerhouse offers many internal growth opportunities to its team members, such as book clubs, mentor sessions, and encouragement to grow not only in areas of expertise but also in areas of interest. Jen’s favorite internal opportunity is the monthly Power Hour, a time when team members come together in both professional and personal ways. Power Hours might include a guest speaker discussing some professional aspect of virtual work or a trivia night, but it’s a time for the virtual team to come together no matter where they are in the world in order to truly feel like a team—even without a physical office space.

Jen’s favorite Powerhouse program is the Share the Goodness campaign, a direct correlation to her servant’s heart. Jessica started Share the Goodness as the charitable arm of Powerhouse, but she didn’t just focus on things that were important to her. She opened the program up to all Powerhouse’s freelancers so that the company can actively support the causes that are personally meaningful to the team. The program has spurred the formation of an entire professional branch for Powerhouse: working with nonprofits. Jen says, “The work we do with nonprofits has given me tremendous insight into the struggles of these organizations as well as compassion to work with the nonprofits I volunteer with to try to help them succeed.” To work with other people who have servants’ hearts just as strong as Jen’s gives her joy.

“I genuinely can’t think of anything to improve [about Powerhouse],” she laughingly says when questioned about what she would change if given the opportunity. “The best things about Powerhouse are its clients and its people. We work so well together. Everyone works hard, is amazingly talented, humble, kind, helpful, sincere, caring, compassionate, encouraging, and FUNNY! Also, we’re heard,” she continues. “Jessica listens to every suggestion, and even if it’s not implemented, we’re given reasons why it’s not in the best interests of our clients and/or team.” That openness is part of why Jen thinks Powerhouse will continue to grow, because Jessica has created a company where every voice is heard, which keeps Powerhouse growing and dynamic in the communities it serves.

Jen always thought her dream job would be to return to work for the Disney company, where she worked during her college years. It is, after all, “the most magical place on earth.” Since starting at Powerhouse, though, Jen’s changed her mind. She’s already got her dream job. “The way my job [at Powerhouse] has evolved is truly magical. Not to mention, when you live the military spouse life and are surrounded by military families, which I worried I’d miss when my husband retired from the Coast Guard, it’s a small world after all.”

We’re just glad that Jen has chosen to make Powerhouse part of her world. With her as part of Powerhouse’s stellar leadership team, the sky truly is the limit.

2021-09-04T22:15:29-04:00September 8th, 2021|

New Powerhouse Team Member

Anne Jeanene (AJ) McCoy Bengoa loves design, data, and working with a team of positive people. She is excited to begin a new journey of learning and growth with Powerhouse Planning, contributing however she can.

AJ grew up in Miami, Florida and moved to Washington, D.C. upon the completion of her undergraduate degrees. There she worked full time for a small business government contractor and pursued her first master’s degree. She then moved to Florida’s Space Coast to pursue post-graduate opportunities. There she met her amazing husband, a real-life rocket scientist who works for NASA, and they have been married for over 15 years. She has been busy raising their two kids, working part-time, and volunteering while enjoying the beauties and wonders of Central Florida’s waterways and all the joys of living where rocket launches may be common occurrences, yet are a marvel every time.

Never one to be idle, up until she had kids, AJ was almost always managing at least two jobs and volunteering on the side. Her life and career have been guided by her heart more than any goal, and she has constantly tried to embrace the many amazing opportunities that have come her way. Therefore, her experience is peppered with all sorts of jobs: graphic designer, teacher’s assistant, research scientist, dive master, and GIS specialist, just to name a few. Her two primary focuses have been science and design, but other interests and skills have managed to employ her as well during her life. These broad and diverse interests keep her happily engaged and learning all the time, as the pace of the career landscape is constantly changing.

AJ’s most recent degree was a master’s earned from the Geographic Information Science & Technology program at the University of Southern California. AJ has three additional degrees from the University of Miami and the University of Maryland, in marine science, biology, and graphic design, which allude to the dual careers she has maintained throughout her life. Over the years, she has worked for NOAA, University of Central Florida, NOVA Research Company, National Park Service, Disney’s Animal Programs, University of Miami, Brevard County Public Schools, the Florida Department of Health, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. She has been involved in all manner of graphic design; data collection, management, analysis, display, and distribution; as well as every aspect of publication, from literature reviews, writing, editing, and printing, with a particular focus on the visualization of data.

AJ loves camping, crafting, and any activity that involves water. AJ’s favorite place in the world is floating in an inner tube down one of Florida’s many spring-fed rivers, and scuba diving anywhere is a very close second.

2021-08-26T18:57:44-04:00August 26th, 2021|

A Few of Our Favorite Things

Have you ever checked out the Resource Library on our website? It is full of helpful, free resources that cover everything from small business start-up to coloring pages for your kiddos. We’re dedicated to providing resources that provide the most up-to-date information to help you make the best decisions possible for your careers, your life transitions, and more. Here are a few of our favorite resources.

Small Business Resources

We’re all about small businesses here at Powerhouse (being one ourselves, after all). Having been through the entire process herself, Powerhouse President Jessica Bertsch wants to do her part to make the process easier to navigate for others. So, if you’ve ever even thought about opening your own small business, you should check out these resources.

  • Starting Your Small Business is exactly what it sounds like—a resource that will take you through the initial steps necessary to get your small business off the ground.
  • Business Plan takes you through the process of setting up your own business plan to ensure you stay on the track you want.
  • Branding Your Business introduces you to the basics of marketing your business.
  • In-Office Team Building and Virtual Team Building are resources designed to help you build and maintain a strong, dynamic team whether your business have in-person employees or virtual ones.
  • Business Refresh, Goal Brainstorming, and Spring-Clean Your Business will help you redirect your goals and discover what’s working and what needs a little tweak.
  • Direct Sales is for all of you out there who are thinking of starting your own direct sales business. This resource even has tips for those of you who have been doing direct sales for a while.
  • Need to attend or plan a conference? Check out our Conference Attendance Checklist to ensure you don’t forget or miss a thing.
  • Nonprofits, do you need to start writing grants? Our Grant Library and Checklist for Grant Writers are exactly where you need to start.

Bonus resource: We even have a handy calendar of notable American holidays and military dates to help you plan your year.

Career and Life Transitions Resources

We all experience those times in life where we’re preparing for, or in the midst of, a life change. Whether it’s a career change, a personal change, or an organic transition from one phase of life to another, we’ve got you covered. Most of us at Powerhouse are veterans in the transition game, and we want to help others by providing some resources based on our “lessons learned.”

  • Moving soon? Check out our Move Binder. This handy resource will help you keep track of every part of the moving process. From deciding how and what to pack, to scheduling movers, to making travel plans, the Move Binder keeps you organized during a traditionally chaotic time.
  • Do you find yourself faced with becoming a military spouse? Don’t worry, a lot of us did too once upon a time. Our Transitioning to Military Spouse Life resource will demystify the transition period and help you gain an understanding of an utterly unique, and rewarding, life change.
  • Retiring soon? Check out our Transitioning Toward Retirement Designed specifically with our active-duty military families in mind, it helps you keep sane during a stressful time. With checklists to guide you through the process, beginning one to two years preretirement through to the “other side,” this resource gives you timelines and tips for dealing with all aspects of the process.
  • Finally, no matter what your career stage, we’ve got resources to help you find the right job for you. From resume tips and samples to interview checklists, we’ve got the resources to help ease the process, whether you’re changing careers, reentering the workforce after an extended leave of absence, or transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce.

Bonus resource: Want to do something simple to support our military families that doesn’t cost a thing? We have a 30-day calendar of ways to pray for those families who sacrifice so much for all of us.

20 Tips Series

In 2020, we created a “20 Tips” resource every month that focused on a different aspect of small businesses. These are some of our favorites:

  • “20 Tips for Time Management”
  • “20 Tools & Resources for the Small Business”
  • “20 Ways to Measure Business Growth”
  • “20 Tips for Freelance Success”
  • “20 Tips to Have Fun at Work”

Find them all here, including one particularly relevant to today, “20 Tips for Leading Your Business Through Challenging Times.”

Military Kid Resources

Finally, our military kids are some of America’s smallest heroes. In honor of the sacrifices they make, we have created a gallery of Military Kid Hero coloring pages. Perfect for those long hours in the car during PCS season, or just to keep your youngest “office assistants” busy and productive while you check out our other resources, download and print out all these coloring pages.

Newsletter and Blog

Powerhouse produces a quarterly newsletter delivered right to your inbox. Full of stories for inspiration, business tips, and tons more, this is one of our favorite resources. Sign up to receive our newsletter and check out past editions anytime. In addition, we are always updating our website’s blog, which is full of tips, additional resources, and lots of information on the Powerhouse team.


We’d love to hear what resources have been most helpful to you. Please contact us, and always remember, the resources are here for you to use whenever and as often as you’d like (or share with a friend). But if you find yourself in need of more help, Powerhouse’s team of freelancers stands ready to assist you.


2021-08-08T21:47:50-04:00August 9th, 2021|

The Importance of Brand Consistency


If you’ve ever done a branding exercise—designed a logo or rebuilt a website, for example—then you’ve already begun to embrace the idea that branding is an important part of business. And yes, the visuals of your brand, like logos and websites, are important. But your brand is much bigger than the aesthetics.

Your brand is everything that a customer or perspective customer encounters when it comes to your business. It’s your mission statement, your values, your written communications, your commercials or print ads, and, of course, it’s your products and services.

If your brand were a person, it would be the equivalent of its personality. There’s even a term for this: your brand identity. And the people interacting with your brand make purchasing decisions based upon emotion, not logic (even when they think they’re being super smart about “doing their research”).

Your job as the creator or manager of your brand is to make sure the emotions your customers feel include sentiments like familiarity—they recognize and know your brand—and dependability—they feel like they can rely on you to be the company you present yourself as. If you don’t care about your “brand identity,” if you think that’s a bunch of fluff that has no substance, you send that message too (one that’s better for your competitors).

So, what’s the secret to sustaining a brand that’s easily recognizable and trustworthy? Brand consistency is everything. And yes, you can hire very expensive consultants or teams to support this effort, but if the budget’s not there for the pros, you can also still be mindful about brand consistency and reap the rewards.

Get team buy-in. Your employees should be experts on not just your products/services, but also the story your company tells—its value proposition. This is true whether their job description includes sales or not. When everyone working for you is clear on your “why” and “how,” they’re better able to support your brand consistency efforts from within.

Refer to the manual. Create and enforce brand guidelines that are to be used by everyone involved with the business. These are the colors and fonts we use. Here’s our origin story. This is the tone/voice we write with. These are our target demographics. Mapping out the visuals and storytelling choices you’re committed to as a business in a set of brand guidelines means everyone has and can easily follow the same set of rules. That translates to greater brand consistency.

Pro Tip: Your brand guidelines can be an informal document or a beautifully crafted packet. Either way, they are (should be) a living, breathing thing that is regularly revisited, reviewed, and updated as needed. If there are changes made as you do business (e.g., new product offerings, new graphics, etc.), make sure those are reflected in your brand guidelines and then implemented across all platforms and branding assets.

Promote accessibility. The best way to get everyone on the same page—your best chance of having consistent brand promise and delivery—is to make sure your branding assets, including your brand guidelines, all live in the same place and can be accessed by the content writers, web designers, and marketing specialists who need them. This way, everyone is pulling from the same agreed-upon sources. And it’s an easy way to avoid version confusion too. This folder/file/drive should always house the most recent versions of any branding collateral you use.

Pro Tip: Worried about losing or deleting the older versions of things? Make a sub-folder in your branding assets collection for archived materials, and you can easily go back and reference what has been used in the past.

Whether you dive in and fully commit to revisiting and revamping all the elements that together make up your brand identity or decide just to dip your toe in, like with one of the suggestions above, it’s worth the effort. Your customers and potential customers will get to know you better when what they see is consistent in all the places you interact with them (social media, website, etc.). As that happens, you’ll show yourself to be familiar, reliable, and trustworthy. And ultimately, that will allow you to share more of your special brand of value with the world.

2021-08-01T21:06:08-04:00August 1st, 2021|
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