Brand Makeovers: “5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image” With Laurel Mintz of Elevate My Brand

Fotis Georgiadis
Jan 23 · 9 min read

Brands always need to reinvent themselves. It may be that they are looking to launch a new product or service or going into a new market, or, it might just be that they are stale and need a refresh. Either way a re-brand is a great way to breathe new life into a brand. It creates opportunity for PR/Media outreach and can really help lift a brand up that may not have been doing well historically.


As part of our series about “Brand Makeovers” I had the pleasure to interview Laurel Mintz.

Laurel Mintz J.D., M.B.A. is the CEO and Founder of award-winning, Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency Elevate My Brand. Laurel’s gift is connecting with people and their stories. After all, companies are made up of people, and stories are just narratives that are the foundation of great marketing. Laurel’s energy has been the driving force behind the agency’s growth since it launched in 2009. Her awards include: 2017 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award; 2016 Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Company; Los Angeles Business Journal 2016 Women In Business Award; and more.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

If you had asked me in college where I saw myself in 10 years, I would never have predicted that I’d ever run my own marketing agency. I was in my twenties and I had just earned my J.D. and M.B.A., and I was getting my start in the legal world with a myopic focus on partner track.

I fell into entrepreneurship when I had to run our family business right out of school. My father had become ill and I had to make sure that our family could survive. I was 26 and had a team of 60 and ran two 20,000-square-foot custom retail shops. It was definitely a trial by fire, but I learned about buying, merchandising, marketing, sales, advertising … you name it. I even baked cookies in store for big events.

When my dad recovered and I was able to step away, I was asked to consult for other retailers I had developed relationships within the time I ran the showrooms. In 2007, I partnered up with a friend in San Francisco who ran a venture fund and we worked to put together projects for our clients and get them off the ground. It was really exciting.

A few years later, I was asked to be a founding member of the Los Angeles Consulting Group (LACG). That was a great partnership, but the firm was focused on financial services, so I exited and started Elevate My Brand. At that point, I realized what I was good at and, more importantly, what I wanted to do and for what kind of clientele. And I never looked back.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing or branding mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

We built a plush toy brand a few years ago called Squishmallows that we are extremely proud of. When we first started executing social from them, we were using the hashtag #squish or #squishsquad. Thanks to the Jersey Shore show, we came to find out that this hashtag was definitely not family friendly at least at that time. Of course, our whole demographic was kids and families. We had to pivot pretty quickly and clean up the channels. The lesson we learned was that even if you think you have a totally unique product, that doesn’t mean the social avenues haven’t been explored by others who are not necessarily aligned with your brand. Luckily it was in the early days and didn’t damage the brand. That was a funny, somewhat inappropriate and definitely comical lesson.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

I’m still waiting for that tipping point. As an entrepreneur, I always do what I call “moving the goal post”. That means that every time I hit a benchmark, I move the goal to something grander. That way we are never complacent and are always striving for more as an agency. The lesson though truly is that it is important to celebrate the small wins because those incremental moments are what add up to greatness.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We will be celebrating 11 years in February which is a huge milestone internally at the agency. We are also thinking about fundraising to grow the agency exponentially which is a really scary and exciting project we are currently working on which would also include building out a digital product as a part of that to scale the agency, take on more clients, and work our magic with more brands.

What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?

Being in a creative mindset is crucial to success in the marketing business. When the team is burnt-out, they are not excited about the projects they are working on, so they won’t be putting their best foot forward. In situations like these, it is my job to shake us out of it and get us back into a creative mindset.

A couple things we like to do here to avoid burn-out is to step away from our work and go outside for a walk. Sometimes we’ll even play some games in office to get the energy and creative flow back.

Part of our value proposition here at Elevate My Brand is about play and creativity, which is why bringing that back to the team when we’re having a little bit of a stale moment is so critical and important. If we’re not creative and if we’re not being playful and having a good time doing it, it’s going to really show in our work. So, make sure go get out there, play with your team and have some fun doing what you’re doing.

Ok, let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

We get this question all the time. Marketing is an umbrella under which all the things you think of like social media, advertising, content, experiential, etc. lies. Branding specifically is the look and feel of a brand, the characteristics, values, tag lines, logos, etc. all the ways a brand shows up in the world and how you hope a consumer will relate and engage with it on an emotional level. Advertising is how you push that brand out to the world though paid media. That could be Google AdWords, social media advertising, outdoor billboard, the options are endless. We believe you truly need both to succeed, but you must start with a strong brand as a foundation before you push it out to the world.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

How much time do you have? It’s really about the old adage, “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” This is even more critical now in an era where there is so much noise on every channel and people fighting tooth and nail for visibility. There are way too many companies playing it safe and being a me too play in terms of building a brand. Those are the brands that might spend money on a lot of advertising but are seeing very little traction because they are just showing up as white noise. That’s why it’s critical to start with a strong brand that is 100% clear on its targets, differentiators and messaging.

Let’s now talk about rebranding. What are a few reasons why a company would consider rebranding?

Brands always need to reinvent themselves. It may be that they are looking to launch a new product or service or going into a new market, or, it might just be that they are stale and need a refresh. Either way a re-brand is a great way to breathe new life into a brand. It creates opportunity for PR/Media outreach and can really help lift a brand up that may not have been doing well historically.

Are there downsides of rebranding? Are there companies that you would advise against doing a “Brand Makeover”? Why?

Just because you’re doing a re-brand doesn’t mean it will naturally be successful. If a company hasn’t done the appropriate field work or homework to gauge interest and engagement with the new brand look and feel, that’s when a rebrand can fall flat. Or it could just be totally inappropriate or be so far from the original brand that the original customers don’t even recognize it, which means they need to build brand equity all over again which could be extremely costly and damaging to a brand. Companies should not take a rebrand lightly and definitely need to do the homework before going live with it.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. Can you share 5 strategies that a company can do to upgrade and re-energize their brand and image”? Please tell us a story or an example for each.

  1. Gauge interest — this could look like sending out a survey to your existing audience asking for real feedback/sentiment on the prior brand
  2. Do your competitor research — make sure you aren’t building something reminiscent of another brand in a different category, or, even worse, in your own. There’s nothing worse than a copycat brand
  3. Word Vomit — play on the board with all the decision-makers. Get clear on the brand values, words they want associated with the brand and, almost as importantly, words and sentiments they don’t want associated with the brand. This type of exercise can help with buy in and can also spark creativity and can and should be a lot of fun
  4. Get C suite buy in — building a brand is hard enough without the people who need to sign off on it disengaged. Be extremely clear from the beginning who needs to be involved and what the process looks like, otherwise you could be herding cats instead of executing a successful rebrand.
  5. Get Social — now that you know you are rebranding, get social with it. Ask you audience for real-time crowdsourced feedback. This is a great way to take the subjectivity out of the creative process and build brand evangelists along the way. There’s nothing more exciting for a consumer than feeling like their opinion has been heard and incorporated with a brand they are loyal to.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job doing a “Brand Makeover”. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

I think Mastercard did a great job. They built a ton of brand equity in their colored red and yellow intersecting circles. They knew that they could take away the wording and clean up/modernize the brand and that it would still be easily recognizable to their consumers. Dunkin Donuts did a similar rebrand to Dunkin. These are of course extreme examples with brands that were already prolific, but even smaller brands can do similar things by owning specific colors and shapes. I like to think we’ve done the same with the color purple.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’m all about empowering women and children. I think that I walk the talk by sitting on boards like Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and Women Founder’s Network. I also cover a lot of those topics in my personal social, my business content as well as on our new podcast “Elevate Your Brand” So if anyone reading has the same mission please connect with us!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The best advice I have received and also that I give on a daily basis is that everyone and I mean everyone is faking it! I don’t care how successful someone projects themselves to be, everyone is working as hard as they can every day to survive and thrive, so don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do and don’t let anyone intimidate you.

How can our readers follow you online?

Follow us on our social channels!

EMB instagram — @elevatemybrandla

EMB facebook — @ElevateMyBrand

My Personal Instagram — @laurelmintz

EMB website — https://www.elevatemybrand.com/

Thank you so much for these excellent insights! We wish you continued success in your work.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Fotis Georgiadis

Written by

Passionate about bringing emerging technologies to the market

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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