Entrepreneurs are not strangers to obstacles, but it’s no secret that women tend to face more challenges than their male counterparts. Add being a woman over 40 into the mix, and ageism, skepticism, prejudice, and underestimation from investors, customers—or even their peers—become additional hurdles.
Leading brand designer Cyndi Carlson says, “Despite many hurdles, these women can build aligned brands that counteract obstacles to build credibility, connect with people, stand out in crowded markets, and, ultimately, achieve business success.”
Carlson is a transformational branding expert, founder of Inner Compass Branding, and a branding mentor who applies her 25 years of experience creating and designing brands to help women—especially women over 40—have a harmonious inside and out brand.
She says, “I want women over 40 to know the brand strategy, and good design isn’t just for younger tech-savvy entrepreneurs or mega-corporations.”
The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that 70% of consumers consider brand trust more important today than in the past. Statistics like this are why Carlson says she believes women must have a tailored brand strategy and design.
After a full career of working with other creative firms, Carlson set out at 45 to start her agency, only to have the world greet her emerging business with a global lockdown. It was a hard season for many, and in the process, Carlson found herself with a brand and a business that, while successful, wasn’t led by her inner compass.
Despite years of helping others with their branding, she says she committed the mistakes she saw others repeatedly repeat. “Now, I understand first hand. I had to take my own medicine, and doing that transformed my business.”
The process lit a fire within Carlson to help other women like her. “It’s a personal growth journey to build your brand and business, starting internally.”
When asked if it’s easy to get brand strategy and design steps out of order, she affirmed, “It’s commonplace for women to dive into colors or fonts while only having a vague idea of why they are running a business or who their ideal customers are.”
Carlson teaches that women must be clear on two key things before creating a brand’s visual identity.
She states, “Firstly, they must clearly understand who they are and why they are doing this.”
This is what she refers to as your inner ‘true north.’
Carlson adds, “Secondly, they must identify just as clearly who the people are that this business is meant to serve.”
She compares this to when the sunrise shines light out of the east. “We have to shine a light on these people to properly build a brand.”
Carlson explains that after clarifying those things, creating the brand’s visual foundations and future intentions flows naturally.
“Women with centered and congruent brands find they have the balance and confidence to face entrepreneurial obstacles, such as ageism, while at the same time, they are able to build credibility, connection, and recognition. It’s a transformation both inside and out,” she adds.
Carlson’s experience emphasizes the power of branding for female entrepreneurs in their 40s and beyond and how it can help them overcome challenges, differentiate themselves, connect with their audiences and reach business goals.
If you’d like to learn more about how to have an aligned brand built for you by Cyndi or how to sign up for brand mentorship, visit InnerCompassBranding.com.