The Design Business Show 169: Branding Advice That Goes Against the Norm

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | December 30, 2021

Hey friends! Melissa here. If you’re new here or if you’ve been listening for a while, as always, I’m grateful you’re here.

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a solo episode and this time of year a lot of people are taking time off, getting ready for the new year, and may not even know what day it is, so I thought it would be fun to do something different.

Speaking of different – I’m curious…. What could we do better / differently with this show? We’re in the almost-final stages of our rebrand and I want to know…

Do you want me to interview someone you admire?
Talk more about a specific topic?
Do more solo shows?
Talk more about sales pages?
Talk more about my business?
I’m open to any and all feedback.

You can email it directly to me at or DM me on Instagram @Melissaburkheimer.

When it comes to business, my dreams and goals look much different today than they did even a year ago. Can you relate?

One thing I’ve learned after 10 years in business is that my approach to branding is different.

I’ve even said on the show that I didn’t think I was good at branding, and I’m going to say for the record, that I was wrong.

I’ve spent the last 7 years really mastering the art of sales page design, and what that really meant was using design to brand my clients’ offers.

Sometimes the design is similar to their business brand. Or we go totally off brand.

I remember the time I designed a sales page for a client who was hosting an event in the same room as the Golden Globe awards. It had a very Kendall Jenner’s 2021 Met Gala dress vibe. Silver and sparkly. Elegant.

It was really fun to design that page. 🙂

It’s probably why I designed sales pages for so long. It’s fun. Different. Most designers I know don’t like doing them. Early in the new year I’ll be retiring my sales page design offer, and I’ve been thinking a lot about my own brand and what I want to do next.

I’ve launched + sold dozens of different offers since I’ve been in business, and the way I’ve built my brand goes against normal branding advice.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with normal branding advice. It’s just that my approach is different, and I think it works well if you have a freelance business, sell digital offers, and/or are building your own brand online. If you’re selling a physical product, I don’t think it would work as well.

I like to test my offers first to see if I like them, and then invest the time and money in the sales page + branding for them.

Here’s why: Deciding what your offers are going to be BEFORE you’ve tested them could be a mistake. Because what if you have an idea for something you want to do, and then you do it, and don’t like it?

It’s soooo important to really love and be excited about your offers and really understand the difference you’re making in your industry, BEFORE you build a brand around them.

Ideas for new offers are great. But you won’t know if you love them, until you try & test things.

And this is what I’ll be doing now that I’ve decided to retire my sales page design service. Testing new offers in new industries to get new experience. And then decide if I want to keep doing it.

Here’s a couple examples of what this looks like:

Example #1:

One of my clients and friends, Edie, is a talented designer. She wanted to update her website with new offers, and had an idea for people to hire her in a new way.

What did she do? She went out and sold her “beta” offer to 5 new clients without a working sales page or fancy funnel within a few weeks.

Again, there’s no magic formula here. It was her idea to work with clients in a new way. She told people who expressed interest in working with her about her offer. And then followed through to get the sale.

And guess what? She loves it! And she got paid to test out her new service before adding it to her suite of design offers.

Example #2:

One of my friends is a lawyer who works full-time and is building her business on the side (with 3 small kids at home!). She runs a 6-week branding bootcamp, and wanted to launch a membership.

She wanted to launch a membership, to create a follow up offer for the graduates of her 6-week program.

A membership is great. But it’s a long commitment, and when you’re limited on time (3 kids, a FT job, and a business!) it may not be the best long-term option.

My recommendation? Instead of launching a membership, offer a 3-month beta accelerator or mastermind for her bootcamp members.

She loved this idea for a ton of reasons. The main one: she can test it out to see if she likes it.

When I started designing sales pages in 2013, my clients didn’t have fancy websites or brands. They were following this exact process of testing their offers through launching. And when they refined their offers, that’s when they rebranded.

So clearly, it works!

When you don’t want to do something anymore, it’s okay to quit. Or pause. Or pivot.

Most of this year I spent pressing pause on a lot of things I’d normally do to decide where I want to press play.

While I was pressing pause I spent time doing another thing I love: decluttering.

I find it ridiculously satisfying to clear out + organize a space in my house.

I repeatedly walk by the newly organized space to admire my work. Again and again. Seriously so satisfying. I know. I’m weird.

My digital space, um, well, still needs a lot of work.

So far, I’ve deleted 3000+ emails, 3500 photos, and a bazillion files off my old computer. And I’m not done yet.

In a closet, decluttering creates space for a new summer dress or new pair of boots.

In a business, decluttering creates space for new design + launch strategy offers for new clients. <—- A peak at what I’m working on for the new and improved version of Melissa Burkheimer Studio. 🙂

Typically in this part of a podcast the we’ve been taught is to give you a 3-step process to test + brand your new offer. Or a how-to guide for decluttering your business.

Decluttering might help you. Or it might not.

I will share this: Decluttering is one of my favorite business strategies because it MAKES me to create space and energy for the things I want. I know for me, if I don’t declutter, I probably won’t get the guts to go after my bigger dreams.

I apply this strategy to my business, my closet, and even in my designs. Seriously. How annoying is it to navigate a website that’s messy and cluttered?

The Melissa Burkheimer Studio as you know it (if you’ve been here a while!) is getting a major re-invention. I’ll be sharing more soon, of course, after I test my new ideas.

If you have questions – you can totally ask them. Just DM me on Instagram. 

For today – I don’t have a business or design tip. Just sharing my branding advice that goes against the norm. And confessing about my obsession with decluttering.

Thanks for reading / listening!

Links mentioned:

Sales Page Superstar

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