Top 10 do’s and don’ts for building your brand from Rachel Mielke

On May 21, 2015 we held our first Business Wise Seminar with Rachel Mielke, CEO of Hillberg & Berk. It was so inspiring. She spoke about living in the clouds, from 50,000 feet, and dreaming and envisioning what her company could be. As a visionary, she recognized the importance of hiring the right support people so that she can work towards her vision. As a dreamer myself, I have to admit that her words were resonating within me like a beating drum.

At Look, we are encouraged to dream and to shape our careers so we can offer the very best to our clients. In fact, it is for this reason that Business Wise Seminars were born: we want to help you be successful. We want to help you dream. We’ve offered this first session for free at the scenic Wascana Country Club in Regina to build on that vision and now we want to share some of that message with you if you weren’t able to attend, and to reinforce it for those of you who were.

What does it take to be a brand leader?

At our first seminar Rachel spoke about Brand Leadership and why it is important to your organization. She shared with us that being a brand leader means having the ability to inspire change within consumer thoughts, language, and actions.

being a brand leader means having the ability to inspire change within consumer thoughts, language, and actions. – Rachel Mielke

For Rachel, it all comes down to the why you are doing things, and not the what, or the how, you are doing it. Hillberg & Berk really took off when the vision was clearly defined.


Rachel Mielke, and Hillberg & Berk, believe in empowering women. The underpinnings of the brand is built on this vision. Employing over 60 women in Saskatchewan alone, and building a culture without gossiping and back-biting, these women are being empowered one step at a time. In addition, Hillberg & Berk commits to giving 2.5% of profits towards this vision and focusing philanthropic efforts on educational opportunities for women through an endowment award at the University of Regina and the Hillberg & Berk Foundation. Having a clear vision that speaks to the humanity of consumers is key to developing Brand Leadership.

Now here they are, the top 10!

Rachel Mielke’s top 10 do’s and don’ts for building your brand:

1. Do rebrand or redesign your logo.

If you feel your current one doesn’t represent who you are, try again. Get help and make sure you have a logo representative of your brand.

2. Do something big and crazy.

We all have to take risks to be successful. If we won’t take risks, we will slowly drift into insignificance. Learn more about risk taking and innovation here.

3. Do tell the media about your projects and promotions.

One brave move that Rachel takes is that she contacts the media when she is doing something new. When she was just starting out this seemed daunting and bizarre, but it paid off. Lunch interviews lead to full-page magazine spreads and now she is a highly sought-after public speaker and leads one of Canada’s top jewellery companies. Everyone has to start somewhere, but when you are doing something noteworthy, help others take note of it!

4. Do spend money on your brand.

We’ve all heard the old adage “you have to spend money to make money” and it is true. Establishing strong branding and marketing strategies is so important and hiring the right team is essential. Starting out, spending 10-15% of your hard-earned revenues on branding, marketing, and advertising can be scary—but it works (and it is normal). If you want to see a return on your investment, you need to invest in your brand.

5. Do hire professionals.

It is well worth the investment to hire professional support, especially in branding and marketing. Choose suppliers that you trust and that have the skill set to be able to elevate your brand and to carry out your strategic vision. They will be able to relieve your headaches so you can focus on what you are really good at.

6. Don’t keep doing something just because you’ve always done it that way.

If you keep repeating what you are doing you will get stuck in a rut. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Shake things up. Get innovative. Lean on your staff for ideas. You will be surprised by the bold changes that will occur as a result.

7. Don’t be afraid to narrow your focus: client demographic, service offering, or product.

Your brand does not need to solve the world’s problems by trying to be good at everything. If necessary, narrow your focus and hone in on one idea whether it be in your demographic, services or products. Refining what you do will differentiate you in the market and empower you to provide an exceptional result.

8. Don’t take it too seriously.

Live a little. Be human. Roll with the punches. If a tree is not flexible it will break with the blowing of the wind. On the other hand, if it flexes and sways with resistance, it’s roots will grow down deeper and it will be stronger in the end. Your company is not your identity. Laugh, flex, and enjoy the ride.

9. Do have fun.

There is comedy everywhere if you are ready to look. Laugh at yourself, have fun, enjoy the people on your staff and the work that you do.

10. Do get out of the trenches and into the clouds.

If you are a dreamer, dream. Get out of the trenches and into the clouds. Hire people who love to be in the trenches, and get into a space where you can dream. Having a staff you can trust to innovate and get the job done is essential so you can continue to be on the lookout for new opportunities, inspiration, and to continue to set the vision for your company.

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