The Design Business Show 232: Embrace Your Zig-Zag Path to Tell Your Brand Story with Susan Meier

Director : Melissa Burkheimer | June 12, 2023
Check out episode 232 of The Design Business Show with Susan Meier to learn how to tell your unique brand story.

Susan Hamilton Meier is a branding expert and career coach who helps women find the through-line of their work history, write a focused, memorable elevator pitch, and design a vision and action plan for the next phase of their journey.

An alum of Harvard Business School, the Boston Consulting Group, and 20 years as a Fortune 500 brand strategist, Susan is now on a mission to empower other women to own their stories and unlock their promise.

Here’s what we covered on the episode:

Susan’s Background + The Zig-Zag Path 

  • In college, Susan was an art major but shared the story of how she took a leap of faith to join a management consulting firm 
  • Susan left management consulting to run a nonprofit theater for a couple of years, then went back to business school and worked for Boston Consulting Group when she discovered branding, which she found fascinating 
  • 12 years ago, Susan started her own company, and about 3 years ago, she started coaching to help people share their brand’s story 
  • When Susan was working for different agencies, she typically worked in strategy roles, which she liked but missed the visual communication component 
  • Strategy is really about vision – being able to close your eyes and envision where you are today, look at yourself honestly, and think about where you would like to be 
  • We talk about how important it is to integrate strategy and design, which is one of the reasons Susan wanted to start her own company 
  • In Susan’s coaching work, she has a wide variety of clients because her coaching is focused on personal brands
  • On the corporate side of Susan’s business, she went from working with consumer goods to healthcare technology
  • The zig-zag path Susan describes is the ever-winding road life leads you down and how more people in the working world are discovering that you can have multiple interests instead of sticking to one specialization and moving in a straight line
  • The benefit of the zig-zag path is that you meet more people, you have more ideas, and you encounter more things, which will make you more innovative 
  • When it comes to making better decisions for what you want to do in the future, Susan’s process starts with self-reflection about who you are and what your values are, then they dive into who your audience is, next you write your story, and then you can decide what’s next 
  • Susan likes to ask her clients what they got out of working with her, and a lot of them say confidence, which you need to make decisions and get rid of your fears

What to Include in Your Story 

  • Deciding what goes into your story when you’ve done a lot of different things is based on a little science and a little art – Susan shares that she has a template people start with and how they then ask different questions to dive deeper and get their story 
  • You don’t want to tell your whole story in your elevator pitch, but you want to share just enough and hint at what makes you interesting and unique so people ask you questions – Susan says it’s also important to be super clear with what you’re doing and asking for 
  • There is scientific research that shows that humans take in information first through their eyes 
  • Susan built the tools of her course to be very visual to help people use that side of their brain and says that it has been fun to watch people discover things about themselves through visuals 
  • If people are ready to dive deeper into designing their website or other deliverables, Susan helps them with a style guide 
  • You can work with Susan one on one or in a group, but the 5-week course is where everyone starts 
  • Susan says that she became a Fortune 500 brand strategist by working at big consulting companies and building her network 
  • Check out Susan’s website to learn more and get some free resources and connect with her on Instagram 


Links mentioned:

Susan Meier Studio Website

Susan’s Free Resources 

Connect with Susan on Instagram

Connect with Susan on LinkedIn 


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