Brand As Community

When I started my career on Madison Avenue years ago, I learned very quickly that a company’s “brand” was their alfa and omega, and therefore untouchable. Meaning, if you attempted to alter it, revise it, or change it, even a smidge, it was “off with your head!”

I remember working on a print ad for Aer Lingus, the Irish airlines, and my boss gave the Art Director their logo for placement in the ad. The Art Director, being the creative guy he was, played around with it a bit, changing the size and position of the tag line. OMG! Call in the troops. That poor boy crossed a line with their brand guidelines and there was hell to pay.

Thankfully with the advent of social media, I have seen corporations slowly create some wiggle room around what a brand can and cannot do. Some progressive companies these days are loosening the corporate reins and actually inviting their customers to co-create with them. Imagine that? Listening to your beloved customers – and acting on it.

That’s Brand As Community. A term Devi Records coined after reading my Brand As Soul post last week.

So instead of a top-down, “this is the way it is” approach, these companies have opened the gates of their highly-guarded corporate identities and agendas, and let the people in. Not with a two-way mirror and a pizza at a focus group, but actual authentic dialogue and engagement. I personally love brands that do that. I interact with them more, buy from them more, and I even would go so far to say trust them more.

Colleague, Elsie Maio, tells a story of global giant, Unilever, that does just that by seeing their customers “as people” and not “consumers of transactions,” she says. So instead of a me agenda, they strive to create a we agenda.

For instance, Unilever transformed crowdsourcing into crowd partnering and hosted a 24-hour line of dialogue with 2,300 people in 70 plus countries. That effort resulted in the Wonderbag. An inexpensive, non-electric portable slow cooker that continues to cook food for up to 12 hours without the use of additional electricity or fuel. This wonder product not only reduces the cost of cooking for poorer communities but reduces the health risks of breathing in dangerous fumes. Created by entrepreneur and activist, Sarah Collins, and turbocharged by Unilever, the Wonderbag product delivered “extreme mutual value with society,” as Elsie put it. And to boot, the overall project was twice as successful as forecasted. That’s Brand as Community.

For Growstone, a start-up horticultural products company my company, Mind Over Markets, worked with for many years, we continually invited our community to give us feedback, and out of that birthed some amazing ideas for products. When looking to name a new product, our Facebook community chose “Gnat Nix” hands down for our non-toxic topical soil cover that guards your indoor plants from destructive gnats. We ran with it.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist said, “The next Buddha may take the form of a community, a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. And the practice can be carried out as a group, as a city, as a nation.” 

And may I add….as a brand.

So how do you create Brand As Community? How can you rally your customers and get closer to them than ever before? Here are some questions to ponder:

  • What shared purpose or passions do you have (or want to have) with your customers or clients?
  • What values are they looking for from your brand?
  • How can you become even more valuable to your customers to authentically deepen the connection?
  • What can you do that will make others appreciate what your brand has to offer as a whole?
  • What is an authentic, brand-relevant way to harness the power of social impact?
  • How can you communicate that authentically?           

Take some time to go deep with these. I promise the path will fruitful. If you need a little help, join Devi and I for our 1/2 day Deep Dive: Creating From Core: How to Get to the Soul of Your Brand and Connect with your Customers More Deeply Than Ever Before. 


Brand As Soul

Brand? Soul? Sounds like an oxymoron putting these two words in one sentence. Outside of business circles and investor boardrooms, I have witnessed through the years that “branding” can be a bad word.

For instance, a potential client asked me to help him with his brand. He said it was “amorphous” and therefore he felt like his business was “floundering”. When I asked him what he thought his brand was he winced — then blurted, “Branding is just a way companies manipulate you into buying something you don’t want.”

No wonder he was stuck. But he had a point. And it was clear to me branding has gotten a bad rap. Thanks to the masterful minds of Madison Avenue with weasel words and imagery carefully crafted to lead you somewhere you may not even know you’re going – or want to.

I know. I was one of them.

But what if it doesn’t have to be that way? What if at the very center of your brand was “soul”? What if that was the core of your business’ purpose? Your reason for being?

Eckhart Tolle defines soul as “who you are in essence”. Well, that is exactly what a brand is too. The very essence of who you are. What you stand for. Your stake in the ground. And it doesn’t have to just be the bottom line.

A beautiful example of this is Toms, the $400 million company that gives away one pair of shoes to an impoverished child for every pair it sells.

So, what they do (manufacture shoes) is not who they are. Who they are in essence is a company that improves lives. They just happen to do it through manufacturing shoes.

Let’s take another shoe company, Zappos, the billion dollar-plus online shoe retailer.

What they do (sell shoes online) is not who they are. They are a company that is dedicated to world-class customer service that “delivers happiness” to every person they sell to. Their customers are everything – and they live and breathe that every day. That is their stake in the ground. Their reason for being. The very soul of their business. They just happen to do it through selling shoes online.

Get it?

So, what is your brand’s essence? Its soul?

Here are some questions to help get your brand soul juices flowing:

·       Why do you exist?

·       Why is that important right now?

·       What shared purpose or passion do you have (or want to have) with your customers or potential customers?

·       What values are they looking for from your brand?

·       How can you become even more valuable to deepen the connection?

·       What is an authentic, brand-relevant way to harness the power of social impact in your business?

·       How can you communicate that authentically?

Let these questions steep deep inside. They are designed to squeeze the soul out of your brand. Share them with your team or key staff members to create a collective vision that will ultimately attract your ideal customers or clients.

When you approach your brand this way, and dig into its very soul, to serve not just sell, you are joining an invisible band of brands that believe business can be a force for good.

And that is good for everybody. 

Want to get to the soul of your brand? Join Devi and I for a 1/2 Day Deep Dive “CREATING FROM CORE: How to Get to the Soul of Your Brand and Connect With Your Customers More Deeply Than Ever Before” 


Find Your Tribe, Grow Your Tribe, Love Your Tribe, then Market to Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe, Grow Your Tribe, Love Your Tribe, then Market To Your Tribe from carolyn parrs on Vimeo.

When the head of marketing for a Big Green Brand asked me how I grew my Women Of Green audience so fast, I blurted, “I love my tribe, that’s how!” How unmarketing of me I thought at the time. But after writing literally hundreds of social media posts and articles for my tribe and my clients’ pages, and watching these tribes grow quickly, I realized how important this really was. Building your tribe has everything to do with resonance and passion. And when that’s strong within you, you’ll see that the more you give, the more you’ll get back.

Sounds like life, huh?

Well if this resonates with you, and you want to know more on how to build your tribe and reach your ideal audience, you are invited to my free webinar: Find Your Tribe, Grow Your Tribe, Love Your Tribe, then Market to Your Tribe. 

This is not another Marketing 101 class. I will be sharing my in-the-trenches experience and knowledge on:

  • Where to look to find the people that want to connect with you
  • How to capture their attention so you and your company are seen and heard through the marketing clutter out there
  • How to be a continual, trusted source that they tell their friends and colleagues about
  • Specific strategies and platforms to grow and market to your tribe without being perceived as a marketing machine

If you consider yourself a conscious marketer and feel stuck or bewildered on how to build it so that they will come, then come! I promise you will bring back some solid, tangible ideas and systems that can change your game for the better!

Register: Here

Get Brand Ready – Free Webinar with Carolyn Parrs

GET BRAND READY. Free Webinar with Carolyn Parrs, CEO of Mind Over Markets

Do this before you brand anything

A well-designed brand and position can put you light years ahead of everyone else your market. But before you invest a dime in creating a brand or going through a rebrand, listen to this video on how to GET BRAND READY. I explain what you need to do before hiring a brand professional, graphic artist or your cousin so that you can avoid the costly mistakes so many businesses make.

In my free webinar “GET BRAND READY: The 5-step process that marketing experts use for creating a high-impact brand that cuts through the clutter you will learn:

  • How uncovering the “why” beneath your brand is the most important first step you can take.
  • How to get to the heart of your brand message so you are not another me-too product or service.
  • The key ingredients to a creating a killer slogan that captures your unique value and sets you apart from the rest.
  • The importance of the “look and feel” of your graphic mark or typography in communicating your brand’s personality and mission. Yes, a picture is worth a 1000 words.

Click here to sign up for my free webinar “GET BRAND READY”.

Whether you are branding a product or service  – or yourself (I have done all three), don’t miss this content-rich webinar to learn how to effectively prepare so that you create a powerful, memorable green brand that cuts through the clutter and delivers!

Register Here

“Carolyn and Mind Over Markets have provided outstanding insights into the fast growing market of sustainable business for our members. Her counsel often means the difference between success and failure in this very competitive market.”

—Allan Oliver, Former CEO, New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce


“A golden recommendation for Mind Over Markets. They took our company to new heights. Their work is wonderful, creative, responsive, resourceful, and very reliable.”

–Amrita Reitz, President, BioShield Healthy Living Paints

Register Here

The Art of Collaboration Webinar Today!

There is nothing like finding the right partnerships and collaborations to expand your reach fast. If you do it right, you not only increase your influence dramatically but your income as well.

Within a matter of weeks, by partnering with a local non-profit that was close to my heart, my company, Mind Over Markets, won a 24K Branding contract from one of their members. And that’s not all. Soon after, I was invited to speak at an event produced by the non-profit. My 45-minute presentation resulted in a robust marketing project a few months later.

Yes, Collaboration Is Currency!

Come to my free webinar “Art of Collaboration: Creating Successful Partnerships to Expand Your Reach and Advance Your Vision”. I will share with you how I did this with my business – plus other successful collaborations so you can:

•   Get clear on what you want to achieve in order to attract the ideal partnerships for your brand

•   Identify the brands or organizations that can expand your reach and align with your vision

•   Leverage your social, relational and non-monetary assets to create cost-effective collaborations that achieve your goals

•   Spread your ideas across multiple marketing channels for the greatest impact and numbers

Click here to sign up for my free webinar “The Art of Collaboration: Creating Successful Marketing Partnerships to Expand Your Reach and Advance Your Vision”.

Collaborations and partnerships are one of the most affordable and easiest ways to expand your reach and align yourself with other companies and non-profits that share your vision. Don’t miss this content-rich webinar to learn how you can successfully do it too.


mom_logo_FB           WOG logo final 2016

Photo Source: !anaughty!/flickr

The Art of Collaboration Webinar: Creating Successful Marketing Partnerships to Expand Your Reach and Advance Your Vision


For those of you that know me well, you know that my main mantra is “We’re All In This Together”. That exact phrase has helped me win marketing partners and lucrative contracts for several years now. Why?

Because I deeply believe this. And so do others.

In fact, more than 60% of small businesses today are working together to find new customers because it can be one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways to grow a business. Actually, I feel we women are naturally wired to connect and collaborate. To work in community. To know we’re all in this together. And can do something about it.

But some of the mental roadblocks I often hear are “How do I find the right partners to work with, Carolyn? And then when I find them, how do I collaborate in a way that’s true to my brand while advancing my vision?”

That is what my free Art of Collaboration webinar is all about: Creating Successful Partnerships to Expand Your Reach and Advance Your Vision.

In my webinar, you will learn how to:

  • Get clear on what you want to achieve in order to attract the ideal partnerships for your brand
  • Identify the brands or organizations that can expand your reach and align with your vision
  • Leverage your social, relational and non-monetary assets to create cost-effective collaborations that achieve your goals
  • Spread your ideas across multiple marketing channels for the greatest impact and numbers

Click here to sign up for my free webinar “The Art of Collaboration: Creating Successful Marketing Partnerships to Expand Your Reach and Advance Your Vision”.

Successful marketing collaborations can quickly move your movement light years ahead when you join forces through a shared vision. Join me next Wednesday and learn how you can do this too.

Here’s to the game changer in you!

– Carolyn Parrs

Carolyn Parrs-Mind-Over-Markets

Carolyn Parrs has been working with game changers her entire life. She has trained them, coached them, launched them, and marketed them through numerous vehicles such as Mind Over Markets, her strategic marketing communications and design company that builds brands and a better world. For over a decade, she has helped emerging and established purpose-driven businesses and organizations excel in messaging, brand presence, social media, marketing communications and more.

Carolyn is also the founder of Women Of Green, an robust online community and multi-media blog dedicated to “Turning Up the Volume” of the feminine voice in green. And most recently, she hosted and co-produced the global online summit “Women As Game Changers” featuring 27 powerful women who are changing the game on the planet for good.

Purpose Equals Profit: How to Create a High Impact, Profitable, Purpose-Driven Brand that Can Change the World

Imagine if you could align your purpose with the work you do.

And imagine if that work resulted in a highly fulfilling, financially thriving business or organization?

Thousands of companies and entrepreneurs are doing just this — putting their missions where their mouths are and making money AND a difference.

You can too. Want to know how?

You are personally invited to my free online webinar, “Purpose Equals Profit: How to create a high impact, profitable, purpose-driven brand that can change the world.”

In this webinar you will learn:

  • What a purpose-driven brand is and is not
  • How to get to the why behind your brand and uncover your deeper purpose
  • How to transform your why into a compelling brand position and message that connects deeply with your customers
  • Case studies of how small and large companies are highly profitable from being purpose-driven

If aligning your deeper purpose with the work you do is paramount to you, don’t miss this content-rich webinar. It just may change your life.

Register for “Purpose Equals Profit: How to create a high Impact, profitable, purpose-driven brand that can change the world.”

Let’s change the world for the better!

Turn Your Purpose Into a 6-Figure Business

A message from Carolyn:

I know making an impact in your world is important to you. I also get how hard you work to build your business or launch an idea or project so that it can generate the income and the influence you dream of so you can give back BIG.

I want to make sure you don’t miss this event for visionary entrepreneurs just like you. I’m joining 28 transformational leaders who have built 6 and 7-figure businesses on exactly how they were able to achieve massive impact with their businesses. I will be speaking on “Creating a Million Dollar Message to Maximum Impact”.

My friend Lorna Li is the producer of this summit. She is on a mission to inspire 100K entrepreneurs to build businesses and create projects that make massive positive impact – it’s called 6-Figure Purpose to 7-Figure Impact on October 16 – October 31, 2015. All the speakers are going to share with you actionable, authentic, heart-based business strategies on how you can:

  • Inspire millions of people through social media, elevate awareness and transform our global culture
  • Adopt the success-oriented mindset that millionaires attribute to creating prosperity
  • The keys to overcoming failures and obstacles that have stood in the way of your big, beautiful vision
  • Cultivate leadership qualities you need to have if you want to be a world-changer
  • Take the first steps towards attracting a tribe of ideal fans, prospects and customers who will joyfully invest in your products and services
  • How you can create income NOW, if you are just getting started with your business or community project
  • The ONE THING you need to do if everything you’ve tried just isn’t working.


Click here to join this FREE event:

6-Figure Purpose to 7-Figure Impact, October 16 – October 31, 2015

In this global, virtual event, I will share with you exactly what I did to grow my business, and how I love to give back. The world needs more heart-based entrepreneurs who are building businesses and creating projects for good, that generate profit…with principles.

You are the one the world is waiting for. Won’t you join this movement to turn business into an unstoppable force for good?

See you there!

The Most Astounding Fact month we had the most AMAZING moon didn’t we?  A Super Moon combined with a Lunar Eclipse.  When I actually take time out of my busy life to stop, breathe, and look up in the night sky, I am always in awe.  I feel small and big at the same time. Small compared to the vast universe we live in… like a speck of consciousness in the grand scheme of things.  Yet, inside that speck of me is the entire universe.  It’s mind-blowing.
Now if you really believed that – that you have within you the same stuff that rests within stars – and if you found a way to tap into that light, that greatness, then what can you not accomplish?  I mean really?  This, to me, is the most astounding fact.
So grab a cup of tea, and watch this three and a half minute video by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It will help you connect to the truth of you.
And if you need a little help in realizing that, I invite you to check out my Women As Game Changers Coaching that is designed to call forth women in powerful ways to awaken their feminine energy in order to be the change in their world. For entrepreneurs and green business owners, there’s Mind Over Markets Green Business Coaching that will help take your business to a new level.

2 Musts For Getting Your Message Heard

Never before in history has it been more challenging to get your message out there. We’re smack in the middle of mobile madness and everyone’s got something to say. There are over a billion people on Facebook chatting away about their love life, their dog or what they had for breakfast. So how can your brand be broadcasted in a way that is meaningful to your potential customer? Before you go out and buy the next piece of software that promises to do that, let’s get back to basics.

Distill it

The most memorable brands in the world didn’t just happen. They dove deep into the core of their business. What they stand for. How they serve it up. Why their fans (customers, advocates, etc.) just love them. And why others don’t. Then they take all that juicy information and distill it down down down into a simple, super tight, highly memorable phrase that says it all. That’s called a branding line.

This Bud’s for you

We bring good things to life

Coke is it

The Ultimate Driving Machine

Please don’t squeeze the Charmin

They’re Grrrreat!

Remember these?

Moral of this message: Do the in-depth, hard work of knowing who you are and what you stand for. It will pay off in spades.

Fulfill it

Now after you get your brand tight, you have to repeat your message over and over and over again. I promise you will get so sick of it and that’s a sign of a job well done. Consistency is the name of the game. But make sure (this is important) that everyone in your company or organization is crystal clear about your brand message — and drives it in all their communications, in all departments. Mixed messages get neutralized — as if there are no messages at all. So get everyone on board.

Moral of this message:  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But make sure everyone knows what you are repeating.

Now, that’s how you get heard. 


brand aid

If you are having some brand befuddlement and want some relief, sign up for a free Brand Aid session here.