The Brand Audit Part 02

the brand audit


Photo by Lisa Devlin


In its most basic terms, a brand audit is an assessment of a brand’s strengths and weaknesses. When thinking about your own brand, it’s a two-way street. Ask yourself the following:

1. What’s the view from the inside out?

Are you actually coming across as who you say you are? How do YOU feel about your brand? Are you reaching the audience you’re hoping for? Is what you’re offering differentiated enough?

2. What’s the view from the outside in?

Who do your readers / customers think you are? What kind of feedback are you getting? Is there any sense of passion? Any sense of loyalty?

Here’s a challenge: gather up a solid mix of what you’ve sent out into the world over the last year. Take screen shots of your social media profiles. Of your bio page. Of your logo. A handful of blog posts. E-newsletters. Presentations. Gather up your collateral; business cards, stamps, stickers, products and so on. What does all this stuff convey about you and your branding? Is it consistent? Does is say what you want it to say?

What do you want your brand to stand for? This is your chance to move into action.


When it comes to my own brand, I had one key inconsistency between the online and off. While my name is Shauna, I often used a nickname online, Nubby. It was a holdover from when I was in high school — when I first made my way onto the internet in 1997, everyone I knew had a persona. Part of that was due to the fact that at that point, the world wide web was still a very big unknown. A lot of that mystery evaporated in the decade that followed but most noticeably, at least to me, with Facebook, where everyone is who they say they are (or at least we hope!) Now, with a constant internet connection on us all times, the online and offline have merged into the same reality. While I always valued having a distinct divide between the online and off, I’ve since realized that it’s all mashed together now and above all, I value consistency when it comes to myself, my brand and my business.

At the same time, over the last few months I’ve been doing a lot of growing beyond just Nubby Twiglet, my blog and studio. While this blog will continue on as it always has, I’m also thinking ahead to what the future holds: The Blogcademy continues to grow and I am working towards launching another business in mid-2013.

The one common thread between all of these projects I’m working on is myself. As you’ve probably noticed over the last few months, I’ve transitioned all of my social media accounts over from just being under Nubby Twiglet to being under my name, Shauna Haider so that as I grow as an entrepreneur, they will grow with me.

During my online brand audit, these are some things I took into consideration:

1. Naming.
Do all of your handles across your social media accounts follow the same naming conventions? I generally use this as my thought process: Nubby Twiglet is more well-known but I am the founder of my business and the voice behind the accounts. So for example on twitter, my handle is @nubbytwiglet but right next to it is my name, Shauna Haider.

2. Introductions.
Do all of your social media intros match? Think of this as your 10 second elevator pitch. How can you say as much in as few words as possible? Mine looks like this (and yes, I hate the cluttered background of the new Twitter headers so for now, black it is!):

the brand audit

In short:

a. Who are you?
What’s your name? What’s your company’s name?

b. What do you do?
What defines you? Is it a business? Is it a hobby? Being a parent? Something else? Tell us!

c. How can we contact you?
Include your email.

d. EXTRA CREDIT.
What’s something random you can tell us about yourself? What are you passionate about? What makes you excited? This makes you relatable.

3. Profile Photos.

This is a huge one. Do your images match across your profiles? A lot of people are very visual and though they might not remember your handle, they just might recognize you. For all of my accounts, I use the same photo of myself but if you’re a company with multiple employees, consider using your logo instead.

4. A Short & Long Bio.

When people visit your site, chances are that they’re curious as to who you are (I sure am — I always click on the About section!) When it comes to bios, I like to first get to the point. People are busy and chances are, they don’t want to read a novel about you so that’s where the few-sentence intro comes in handy. And then, if you want to read more, you can continue on.

5. A Consistent Voice.

I never, ever want to feel like I’m talking to a robot. While it’s important to be professional online, especially if you’re running a business, it’s equally as important to be relatable. How can you inform, help and entertain people in a style that’s true to you? The tip I’ve always remembered is that you should write blog posts (and social media updates for that matter) as if you’re talking to your best friend. Be natural.

6. A Consistent Image.

This is going to sound basic but I come across it often so here it goes: Does your website match your blog match your social media backgrounds? Does everything you do feel like it’s part of a bigger picture? If all your online brand components aren’t consistent, it can create a lot of confusion. If you can’t get on the same page with your brand, how can you expect others to? Think about the colors you’re using. The fonts. The logo. The backgrounds. The photos on all of your social media accounts. Everything. It should all tie back together. Whenever I complete an identity for a client, they receive a PDF guide with all of their lockups, fonts and swatches in one place. I’ve seen corporate identity guides close to 100 pages on length but for us small businesses and individuals, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. Just focus on the basics.

7. Define who you are and what you stand for.

Ask yourself why what you do matters through the following:

What value are you providing to your readers and customers? What makes your content unique? What’s your secret recipe? If you’re a blogger, think about your formula for developing original content — this is what differentiates you from everyone else.

I also like the idea of creating a slogan. My slogan on this blog is Design, Marketing and Style Magnified.™ I’m telling you upfront what this blog is about — not only design but also business-related content and “style” (lifestyle / personal style). To be fair, this is about four years old and probably could use some retooling to be even more specific but that perfect string of words hasn’t come to me yet!

So there you go. Brand audits are meant to test if you’re coming across as who you say you are, if you’re actually saying what you think you’re saying and if people are hearing what you want them to hear. It’s about creating a consistent message.


Readers: Is there something you’ve noticed about your brand that feels less consistent than you’d like? Have you ever overhauled one of your brands or shut one down? What did you learn from the experience?

2012: The Year In Review

2012 Recap


It seems like year in review posts (mine included) are always focused on the highlights which is only fair — who wants to dredge up and relive the bad? 2012 is different though. While it is (was) full of high points and memorable moments, even more importantly, it was full of major growth. And while growth is good in the long run, when you’re in the midst of it, it can be difficult. There were a lot of times behind the scenes this year where I was bummed out — I missed a lot of parties, a lot of time with friends and even time with family due to work. My 31st birthday hit a few days before I left for The Blogcademy and I’m not even sure I went out for that! But the payoff was immense. Every year up until now has felt like a steep climb and like I was just trying to hold onto the momentum I’d built. In my mind, it was a slippery slope but maybe that’s what your late 20′s are about…just trying to get some steady footing in life.

This year, nearly everything finally felt right — like my plan was clear and maybe the life I’d been wanting to live was actually a reality. There were still plenty of uneasy moments but more often than not, the good outweighed the bad. And that is something to be very grateful for.

Here are some of my favorite moments of this year. Taking a trip down memory lane…

2012 Recap

This was the first year I did D.I.Y. projects on the blog. I’m pretty open about my lack of crafting ability — on the other hand, Joey excels at it and he helped make a D.I.Y. skateboard and some custom Christmas ornaments. Thanks to your positive feedback, I’m already bothering him to come up with some new ideas for 2013.

D.I.Y. Posts:

Customize Your Own Skate Deck
Holiday DIY: Customize Your Ornaments


2012 Recap

It’s weird to think about but when my trip to Las Vegas with Gala rolled around in February, I’d never met Kat in person. She was a longtime client of mine but we’d never hung out as friends. I met Kat that first night in Vegas to hand off magazine proofs and her, Gala and I felt like old friends right away. I had no idea that a few days together would turn into the adventure of a lifetime with The Blogcademy launch just a few months later. Some things are just meant to happen.

Being in Vegas with two other ambitious bloggers and a few wedding photographers naturally led to completely insane photo shoots scattered across casino campgrounds and ghost towns. We hit the road with fresh bouquets of flowers and garbage bags stuffed with clothes along with wedding photographers Lisa Devlin and David McNeil for a day that felt very cinematic.

Las Vegas Shoots:

• An Afternoon at Circus Circus
Ghost Town Glamour Girls
Sequins and Smoke Bombs


2012 Recap

Laugh all you want but one of my biggest personal moments this year was traveling to Halfway, Oregon with my friend Joey to visit Nigel, a llama I love very much. Driving 8 hours to visit a llama might seem extreme but we have a long history together! And Halfway was amazing. We were left with the keys to a massive bed & breakfast on 150 acres and a plate of freshly baked cookies. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the country, that’s for sure.

The Journey To Halfway, Oregon


2012 Recap

I’ve been to LA a lot of times and it’s aways been great but this time, Gala thought we should mix it up. In June, we traded in our usual West Hollywood digs for The Viceroy in Santa Monica and it totally changed the way we saw LA. Walking everywhere and being a few minutes from the beach was a huge relief (on our past trips, we spent hours in traffic). We did yoga, ate yogurt for breakfast and rode bikes along the beach. By the end of our stay, we were feeling very “Californian” and digging our newly adopted lifestyle! The Made U Look girls came by The Viceroy and shot us with mostly film — I’ll always treasure the snaps they got.

Santa Monica Posts:

Polkadots in Santa Monica
The Library
Santa Monica Pier
The Viceroy
• The Week In Pictures: LA 2012


2012 Recap

I made myself a promise this year: no matter what, I was going to make time to visit the Oregon Coast. Neither Joey nor Rocky had ever been! Joey is a warm, California beach type of guy but to my surprise, they both loved it. We stayed in a suite overlooking Cannon Beach and that’s still one of my best memories from this year.

Our Trip To The Oregon Coast:

• Cannon Beach


2012 Recap

I’d been wanting to redesign my blog and update my branding for a long time but it just kept getting put off. Finally, there were no more excuses — my five year anniversary was quickly approaching in August and I made the deadline just in time thanks to Star’s responsive dev skills.

Anniversary Post:

Cheers To Five Years


2012 Recap

One of the biggest shifts I felt in my career came with attending the Design Life retreat in Palm Springs. I still remember when the invite landed in my inbox a few months before — I had to let it sink in for a few days before I even responded. The list included a lot of people I admire and I was a little freaked out. I finally said yes and it was one of the best things to happen all year. Being around so many of my female peers and having an open dialogue where we could openly share tips and talk about our struggles really impacted my mindset for the better moving forward. Star came along for the ride and we ended up having crazy conversations about pickup artists, tarps and Burning Man late into the night. Oh, and The Ace had a photo booth that accepted credit cards. Always dangerous. Haha.

2012 Recap

Palm Springs Posts:

The Week In Pictures: Palm Springs
The Parker Palm Springs
The Saguaro Palm Springs


2012 Recap

We didn’t do any major house renovations for most of the year but some of the small updates were pretty awesome. We added a new light to our dining room, a dreamy blanket to the living room but most exciting was the crawlspace Joey remodeled and miraculously turned into a shoe closet.

House & Decor Posts:

• Notes on Making A House A Home
• The Shoe Closet
Adventures With Flat Files and Serious Organization


2012 Recap

Once or twice a year, I come up with a style direction. It helps me stay motivated with dressing up and inspires me to switch things up. To me, personal style is just another form of art. It’s all about layering, combining textures, pulling together color combos into something that feels uniquely you.

Style Posts:

Style Direction: Ladylike Urban Warrior
Style Direction: School’s Out Forever
What I Wore: Future Nurse
What I Wore: The Streets Of Soho
What I Wore: Playing Tourist


2012 Recap

Since a good majority of my life is spent doing design, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite projects from the last year. The most ambitious by far was the second issue of Rock N Roll Bride magazine which clocked in at 80 pages. I did all the design and production and it reminded me why that one year I spent at a studio here in Portland doing all production for 8 hours a day was worth it (I think). I also did some fun stuff for Luke Copping and The Blogcademy.

Favorite Design Projects:

Rock N Roll Bride Magazine Issue 2
Luke Copping Print Portfolio
Luke Copping Magazine
The Blogcademy Website
• Solestruck Retail Projects


2012 Recap

Towards the Fall, I’d started making some realizations about my brand. The Blogcademy was going strong and with another project launching in mid-2013, I needed to get real and make some changes. I’d started blogging in 2001, began this blog in 2007 and knew it was time to do a brand audit to get my online and offline lives aligned. In the process, I realized that using a nickname online was limiting me since I was now managing projects beyond just Nubby Twiglet. I started transitioning my social media profiles and about page over to using my name, Shauna and creating clearer processes to deal with multiple businesses. I’m almost there…there will be a follow-up post on brand audits very soon!


Personal Business & Design Collateral Posts:

• The Brand Audit
• Rubber Stamp Crazy
Make Your Own Stickers
Media Kit Insights: The Who, What & Why


2012 Recap

This was my favorite picture of Rocky all year. I never knew that a 9 pound creature could make my life so much better. I always joke that meeting Joey was like a 2-for-1 special. I couldn’t have one without the other! He’d already had Rocky for a few years and they were totally inseparable. For those of you that are curious, he’s a powderpuff Chinese Crested. But he sometimes resembles a dwarfed goat. Or a tiny pony. Haha.

2012 Recap


If you know me or read this blog regularly, you’ve no doubt gathered that I love shoes. I worked in shoe stores for five years before becoming a designer and it put me on a path of obsession! Luckily, I’m friends with the folks at Solestruck and they invited me to do a feature with these spiked sneakers. My friend Shaun at Mutt did the shoot and it was my chance to show just how in love with these shoes I really was. ;)

Solestruck Collaboration:

• Solestruck and TBA: A Tale of Obsession


2012 Recap

One of the funniest moments this year was heading out to the Mötley Crüe and Kiss concert in another state with my brother, totally spur of the moment with no tickets. It was a Sunday night and The Blogcademy was going live the next morning but I knew it was a once in a lifetime chance. We showed up, grabbed general admission tickets and walked in right as “Shout At The Devil” was playing. It was pretty perfect. I rolled home super late, wrapped up the last of The Blogcademy graphics and we launched on time!


2012 Recap

The biggest highlight of my year by far was starting The Blogcademy with two friends, Gala Darling and Kat Williams. Blogging has played an important part in our lives and it’s how I connected with both of them. We’d all been individually talking about doing workshops (and Kat had already had one, School Of Rock) but after meeting in Vegas in February, we realized we’d be much stronger as a team. Creating a strategy-based blogging workshop just felt right. We’ve all had a great number of successes and failures and learned a great deal along the way and it was the right time to share that knowledge with other bloggers. Flying to New York and teaching that workshop was a game changer. Meeting 30 ambitious, excited women and making friends with a lot of them, not to mention getting to travel with two of my closest friends made me incredibly fulfilled. Not to get all cheesy…but it was a dream come true.

The Blogcademy Highlights:

The Blogcademy 01: New York City Recap
The Blogcademy Website 2.0
The Blogcademy Magazine
• The Blogcademy: A Branding Workshop


2012 Recap

As a blogger, I believe that we all have life experiences and insights that are valuable and that can help others. Even though it’s not as often as I’d like, doing an advice column and helping aspiring creatives is one of my favorite parts about this blog. My goal is to do a lot more of these next year.

Advice:

• Does Blogging & Self-Promotion Make Me Vain?
11 Tips For Acing Your Next Design Interview
More College Degrees?! What Do You Really Want?
• What’s Your Secret To Shooting Great Photos?
• How Do I Build My Font Library?


Thanks for joining me for this (very long) recap. I’ll see you back here on January 1st — in the meantime, catch me on Instagram. Any big plans or projects you’re working on for the new year?

Happy Holidays, Friends!

Happy Holidays 2012

Hi everyone, I hope you’re having a great holiday break so far! I’m stopping in to wish you lots of love from myself, Joey and one very grumpy dog in a Santa suit (Rocky). We had our family gathering and opened presents last night — feeling very thankful at the moment. I’ll be back tomorrow with a year-end recap. See you soon! xo

The Week In Pictures: 12.21.12

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Welcome to the last Week In Pictures of 2012! Let’s make this a good one! It seems like everyone is going on vacation this last week of the year and I’m doing the opposite — this is the first time in 3 or 4 years I’ll be home. In a way, it’s a nice relief to not travel and just enjoy some quiet time around the house because I know how fast the new year (and a 2 week trip to both Paris and London) will be creeping up. I’ll be posting a 2012 recap in the next few days but for now, the focus is on recent happenings.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

A year-end gift to myself: I’ve loved these weird oversized male and female bust vases for a long time (affectionately referred to as Hipster Chia Pets by many) and it didn’t help that they kept popping up on other blogs I admire like Oh Joy! and Making It Lovely. Our house is mostly filled with IKEA furniture and random vintage finds and we were in need of some “statement pieces.” These are huge and strange and people either love em or hate em. I say, go big or go home!

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

A little while back I visited the Portland Bazaar and there was a screen print poster exhibition across the street. One that caught my eye in particular was this beauty from 1996 by Sandstrom. Their style is pretty recognizable — you probably know them best from their work for Tazo. To me, this looks just as fresh over 15 years later.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures
I love this sweater. LOVE. It’s like a bad 70s couch in the best way, right?

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Last week, I stayed up late helping Miss Darling with a very special project that she’s been working on for a long time. I knew how important it was to her and I wanted to help her succeed. And the next day, to my surprise I came home to the most unique, modern floral arrangement that she’d called in all the way from New York. Gala is so considerate and thoughtful — this surprise totally made my week.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Over the weekend I had to finish up my Christmas shopping and it was a little unnerving heading out to Clackamas Town Center a few days after a shooting where random people were gunned down. But I got through it and picked up a few treats. I’ve been wearing MAC now for over 15 years! Crazy. Here’s the lowdown: Studio Fix (foundation and power in one), Sheen Supreme in Supreme Style (soft, shimmery neutral), Cremesheen in Shanghai Spice (great for everyday wear) and Cremesheen in Ravishing (a soft peachy-orange). I’m a big fan of their recycling program, Back 2 MAC: trade in 6 empty containers, pick out a lipstick.

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Finally, a recent favorite look (please excuse the grainy phone photo!) Our old house can get very drafty so I’ve enjoyed wearing this check midi skirt and loop stitch cardigan (which very much reminds me of late 90′s Marilyn Manson).

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I’m always tacking up fresh inspiration next to my desk. Feeling intense blues at the moment.


Have a happy holiday and thanks for hanging with me this year! It’s been a ton of fun and I’m looking forward to many more with you. See you next week with a recap. Much love!

Link Love: 12.20.12

link love

link love


Elle Fanning for Bullett Magazine


• Anil Dash has some great insights on the web we lost.

“When you see interesting data mash-ups today, they are often still using Flickr photos because Instagram’s meager metadata sucks, and the app is only reluctantly on the web at all. We get excuses about why we can’t search for old tweets or our own relevant Facebook content, though we got more comprehensive results from a Technorati search that was cobbled together on the feeble software platforms of its era.”

• Just in time for the holidays: a collection of celebrity Santa magazine covers!

• Bond Creative Agency was brave enough to rebrand Santa Claus!

• Someone asked Cary Tennis why people in L.A. are so mean. I liked his response and the comments were also really good. In my opinion it’s probably more of a generational gap — and it’s never cool to write off an entire city based on your own bad experiences. Some of my best times have been in LA! It’s all about perception and who you choose to surround yourself with.

• Gala has some advice on what to do when you feel like your heart has been ripped out.

• If you’re a photographer (wedding and otherwise), here’s some solid legal advice.

• Breanna Rose shares what creatives should consider including in their contracts.

• Have some extra time on your hands before the holidays hit? Make your own hand-painted wrapping paper!


• The Dare To Play campaign by Sephora is so beautiful in its simplicity.

link love

The Typofiles #122: Jan V. White Books at Your Fingertips!

Jan V. White Books Graphic & Publication Design


An outtake from a Jan V. White post, 2008


I’ve been posting about magazine guru and design consultant Jan V. White since the beginning of this blog, ever since I discovered his best known title, the Graphic Idea Notebook.

He’s a hero of mine because he has spent the majority of his life making a whole world of design techniques and ideas accessible through his many titles, all painstakingly thorough. These books were groundbreaking at the time because most were released before designers had widespread access to the internet and the world’s collective inspiration at their fingertips. Books like this were the gateway to learning about great design.

To this day, I still use his his titles like Editing By Design and Designing for Magazines when I’m working on publication-based projects like the Rock N Roll Bride Magazine from earlier this year — they’re timeless and are a great way to jog your memory when you’re trying to come up with unique, original page layouts.

Jan V. White Books Graphic & Publication Design

The big news is that Jan V White’s books are now all available under the public domain in their entirety, completely free on his website! This is amazing because a lot of these titles are no longer readily available.

Upon the completion of the digitization of his books, Jan wrote, “This 84-year-old thanks you for your gift of remaining extant forever.” His works now have the chance to become cultural artifacts, not just design relics. And for that, I’m very grateful. A whole new generation of designer can now access his books with ease. I hope you love his content as much as I do!

Jan V. White Books Graphic & Publication Design


You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

Holiday DIY: Customize Your Ornaments!

3M ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


With Christmas fast approaching, I decided it was well time for an ornament DIY project! This is our first year with a full-size tree and I wanted it to have some personal touches. Store-bought ornaments are perfectly fine but we all have unique tastes and my goal was to find a way to spice up our tree with a few of my favorite patterns and symbols.

Joey and I got to work with a handful of simple, graphic designs we are so happy with the way they turned out! Now it’s your turn — we promise that this is super easy and much more manageable than the shakeboard D.I.Y. he came up with last time!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


Let’s get started! First, we found these oversized silver ball ornaments at Target. Have you seen their Christmas decor section this year?! It’s AWESOME. Since these were going to be the main accents for our tree, we wanted them to be larger than the rest of our ornaments.

Supplies needed:

• One roll of ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape

• Krylon X-Metals Spraypaint

• An X-Acto Knife

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

For designs, it’s best to stick with angular, bold shapes and patterns that can easily be masked off on spherical surfaces. Think along the lines of varying stripes, symbols, letterforms, chevron patterns. To customize your ornaments, first mask off the ornament surface completely. Secondly, trace on design. Next, cut design out of tape. Once that’s finished, spray in design in the color of your choice. And once it’s completely dry (we let ours sit overnight just to be sure), peel off tape. See, that was easy!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

I am SO excited to finally have a cross ornament! And a Helvetica A! I’ve used both elements in my design projects for a long, long time and it’s nice to have those special additions to our tree. I’m sure we’ll come up with even more for next year.

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

This is the first year that we’re all ready for Christmas early enough to actually sit back and enjoy the decorations!! How about you? Have you decorated yet?

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


scotchblue, scotchblue painter's tape, painter's tape, tape

A huge thank you to ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape for collaborating with us on this post! All thoughts and ideas are our own. To join the creative community, visit Facebook.