Embracing Change: A Dynamic Approach to Branding in 2024

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Embracing Change: A Dynamic Approach to Branding in 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of business, 2023 emerged as the year of transformation, marked by a surge in companies redefining themselves. In a world shaped by the profound impact of COVID-19, companies across industries recognized the need for change. Market research firm Hanover reported that 75% of companies revamped their visual identities post-2020, while UpCity’s 2022 survey highlighted a 51% shift in brand strategy due to the pandemic. This shift, fueled by both necessity and opportunity, has become a defining trend, and our agency, Geile/Leon, resonates with this dynamic approach to branding.

Necessity often arises from mergers, leadership shifts, or public perception crises. Meanwhile, opportunity stems from growth projections, substantial shifts in products/services, or market-driven company restructuring. Regardless of the motivation, companies are finding various reasons to embark on the rebranding journey.

At Geile/Leon, we understand the importance of staying relevant and dynamic in today’s fast-paced world. Our approach to dynamic branding revolves around the concept that brands must respond and adapt to changes in the marketplace and market conditions to maintain their relevancy. Dynamic brands, as we define them, have one common attribute – they understand their customers and adapt to changing consumer behaviors and market conditions.


Our Dynamic Branding Philosophy:

Distilled Thinking™

Ideal Applications: Development of new brands, major brands, major re-branding

In the world of liquor, distilling is the process of getting to the essence of a spirit by eliminating impurities to achieve high quality. Similarly, Distilled Thinking™ is our time-tested process for helping clients discover or rediscover their brand essence. This process brings clarity to brand messaging, digging deep to find the unique claim of distinction that makes a brand truly relevant. 


Brand Refining

Ideal Applications: Brand refreshes due to triggering events, changes in market conditions, evolving consumer behaviors, and competitive pressures

Change is inevitable in the world of marketing. Changes in consumer behavior, corporate vision, or market conditions can cause brands to lose their luster. Monitoring the health of a brand is crucial because loss of relevance can result in the loss of customer loyalty and market share. Our Brand Refining process involves making pertinent changes to improve a brand. It identifies where a brand has lost relevance and determines how to help the brand regain its standing by modifying brand positioning, messaging, visual identity, and more.

In the context of the rebranding trend of 2023, Geile/Leon’s commitment to helping brands stay relevant and dynamic aligns seamlessly. We believe that embracing change is not just about a new look but reflecting a company’s core values and vision for the future. Our processes are designed to empower brands to adapt, evolve, and thrive in a dynamic world.

Crafting the Perfect Podcast Strategy: Building Thought Leadership in Your Industry

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Crafting the Perfect Podcast Strategy: Building Thought Leadership in Your Industry

In a world saturated with content and digital noise, positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field is a game-changer. Podcast appearances are an excellent way to showcase your expertise and gain exposure across targeted industries. At our agency, we’ve been on a mission to build our reputation and support our social media efforts in various vertical markets, including education, construction/HVAC, non-profit/religious-focus, farm and ranch, and venture capital/private equity. In this blog, we’re going to share some key insights and strategies that have helped us make a mark in our industry

The Pitch is Key

First things first, landing podcast appearances is all about the pitch. Podcast hosts receive countless pitches every day, so yours needs to stand out. Craft a compelling pitch that outlines why your topic is relevant to their audience and why it’s timely. Demonstrate how your insights and expertise can provide value.

Remember that your pitch is your foot in the door, so make it irresistible. Personalize your outreach by mentioning specific episodes or topics from the podcast that align with your expertise. The more you can show you’ve done your homework, the better your chances of securing that coveted podcast slot.

Be Prepared to Do the Heavy Lifting

Unless you’re a household name, don’t expect the podcast host to do all the work for you. Be proactive and take responsibility for your episode’s success. This means you should prepare thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the podcast’s format and style and rehearse your talking points. Practice being concise and engaging, as a great podcast guest keeps the audience’s attention. But at the same time, don’t try and steal the show. Let the host be the host. It’s a conversation, not a monologue.

Furthermore, bring your own audience to the table. Promote your upcoming appearance on social media, your website and through your email newsletter. Encourage your followers to tune in and consider running a contest or giveaway to incentivize listenership. The more you promote, the more your episode will benefit you and the podcast.

Not All Podcasts Are Created Equal

Be selective about the podcasts you appear on. It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality. Not all podcasts are the right fit for your expertise or the right target audience. Focus on those that align with your industry and values and consider the size and engagement level of their audience. A smaller, niche podcast can often provide more value than a massive show with a less relevant audience. 

Content is King

To secure podcast appearances and establish yourself as a thought leader, you need content. Share your knowledge through various channels, such as LinkedIn articles, whitepapers and blog posts. These pieces not only showcase your expertise but also act as references for podcast hosts, helping them gauge your credibility.  Many times the podcast host will encourage you to offer some piece of content that is available for download and is relevant to your interview.

Promote the Heck Out of Your Interview

Once you’ve recorded the podcast episode, don’t stop there. Podcasters love guests who actively promote their episodes. Share it on your social media, mention it in your newsletters and even create clips or highlights of your appearance to share on your platforms. The more you promote, the more exposure you and the podcast will receive.

In conclusion, podcast appearances have the potential to be a powerful tool in establishing thought leadership. With the right pitch, thorough preparation and strategic promotion, you can maximize these opportunities. Stay focused on the relevant vertical markets, showcase your expertise and watch your reputation and influence grow.

If you want to discuss how a podcast outreach strategy can support your thought leadership and branding efforts, please contact Tim at [email protected].

Why the Big Idea Is More Important Than Ever for Brand Marketing

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Why the Big Idea Is More Important Than Ever for Brand Marketing

In today’s ever-evolving landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to capture consumer attention. With a constant influx of information and countless competing brands, businesses must find a way to break through the clutter and stand out from the crowd.

After recently reading “The ‘Big Idea’: Five Keys to The Future of Brand Marketing,” I came away believing more than ever in the importance of a compelling and impactful idea that can transform the way brands connect with consumers and stay relevant.

What does a big idea look like? Here are five key characteristics:

Connecting to Culture

To truly resonate with consumers, brands must tap into the pulse of culture. Understanding societal trends, values and aspirations enables brands to create messaging that aligns with the needs and desires of their target audience.

By establishing a connection with culture, brands can position themselves as relevant and relatable, increasing the likelihood of consumer engagement and loyalty. According to a recent Twitter study, a brand’s cultural involvement makes up a full 25% of a consumer’s purchase decision. The “big idea” should serve as a bridge between the brand’s values and the cultural landscape it operates within.

Commitment to Doing Good

In an era where consumers are increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impact of their choices, brands need to demonstrate a commitment to doing good. According to a recent IBM study, 71% of U.S. customers believe “corporations have a responsibility to prioritize their employees, the environment, and their community as much as shareholder returns.

Aligning with a cause or incorporating sustainability into business practices can help a brand build trust and establish an emotional connection with consumers. The ‘big idea’ should encompass a purpose-driven approach that not only benefits the brand but also contributes positively to society.


Authenticity has become a buzzword in the marketing world…and for good reason. Consumers can quickly detect inauthentic attempts by brands to capture their attention. The “big idea” must genuinely represent the brand’s identity and values. Authenticity builds trust, strengthens brand reputation and fosters lasting relationships with consumers. By staying true to their essence, brands can establish a distinct voice that resonates with their target audience.

Strong Brand Messaging

In a sea of advertisements, brands must communicate their message effectively and memorably. Their story should encapsulate the essence of the brand, its unique selling proposition and the value it offers to consumers. By crafting a strong brand message, brands can differentiate themselves from competitors and create a lasting impression in the minds of consumers. Consistency in messaging across various touchpoints enhances brand recognition and recall, reinforcing the “big idea.”

Full Integration Across Consumer Channels

To effectively stand out, the “big idea” must be seamlessly integrated across all consumer channels. In today’s interconnected world, brands need to meet consumers wherever they are, whether it’s through traditional media, social platforms or experiential marketing. A consistent and cohesive presence strengthens the brand’s impact and ensures a unified experience. By being omnipresent, brands can maximize their reach and engagement, effectively cutting through the noise of the crowded marketplace.

In an era where consumers are bombarded with a constant stream of information, brands must find innovative ways to break through and capture attention. The “big idea” serves as the driving force behind powerful storytelling and consumer engagement. By connecting to culture, demonstrating a commitment to doing good, being authentic, crafting a strong brand message and integrating seamlessly across consumer channels, brands can break through the noise by engaging consumers and inspire brand loyalty. In this ever-evolving marketing landscape, the “big idea” remains a vital component for brands looking to make a lasting impact.

Reference: Forbes Article dated June 29, 2022 titled The ‘Big Idea’: Five Keys To The Future of Brand Marketing

Should You Be Using Employer Branding? Its Effect on the Workforce Will Surprise You.

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Should You Be Using Employer Branding? Its Effect on the Workforce Will Surprise You.

You may or may not have heard the term employer branding. Some explanations can be somewhat convoluted, but it doesn’t have to be. It all boils down to the way an organization portrays its reputation as an employer and the value proposition it offers both team members and prospective employees.

An employer branding strategy should focus on communicating the company’s mission, culture, values and brand personality. And it would be a huge mistake to make this an afterthought or to simply copy and paste existing content. A compelling brand story is absolutely essential to attract top talent.

A recent Randstad survey showed that 86% of workers would not apply for or continue to work for a company with a bad reputation with former employees or the general public. Looking internally, a Glassdoor survey showed that 69% of employees put great importance on whether they take pride in their employer’s brand.

Need more proof? TalentNow found that 84% of job seekers say a company’s reputation is an important factor in deciding whether to apply, while 59% of employees say that employer branding is a key component to the organization’s overall HR strategy.



Employer Branding for Recruitment Campaigns

As a marketer, you must influence how your brand is being represented in recruiting efforts. After all, you have a brand positioning and value proposition developed for your target audiences (at least you should!), so it is important to implement your brand messaging in any communications to employees and prospective employees.

And while employee recruitment efforts may be driven by human resources, marketers should be included in the marketing and communications. The messaging, graphics, and tone should be on the brand. While most of the job seekers might take help from experts (such as Career Climb), as an employer, you have the opportunity to educate, inform and motivate these prospective new employees. In addition, you need to provide them insight on what your brand stands for, what makes the brand compelling, and their role as ambassadors of the brand’s value proposition.


Employer Branding for Your Workforce

In terms of employee retention, employees are critical to building a strong brand. They are on the front line of delivering the brand experience and fulfilling the brand promise both for customers and prospective employees. It’s imperative to train and motivate employees to embrace and live the brand values, not to mention finding prospective employees whose values reflect those of your brand. In our brand development work for clients, we always stress the importance of communicating to employees about the role they play in the brand experience. 


How to Implement Employer Branding

For Your Employees:

  • Provide ongoing training for employees on all aspects of your brand
  • Clearly define each employee’s role in delivering your brand promise
  • Develop an ongoing employee communications plan, including newsletters, social media posts, events, internal PR, internal and external signage, etc.

For Your Employee Recruitment:

  • Develop an ongoing series of employee testimonials to use in print, digital, website, etc. Hearing from employees at the organization about what the culture is like, the advancement opportunities available, and their work experiences are all important messages to deliver.
  • Roll out a recruitment campaign theme that is in alignment with the current brand positioning, brand graphic standard and messaging. This is accomplished by marketing and HR working together!
  • Create brand messaging that internal HR can use in their recruitment advertising and for doing introductory meetings with candidates.


Check out Employer Branding in Action

We developed a recruitment campaign for our client, Harris Products Group, built around a look that is consistent with the customer-facing branding creative while using the theme, “We Make the World Run Better.” The campaign provided Harris with a uniform, bold look that connected to their brand promise and conveyed energy and excitement about the important role employees play in keeping the world running. Creative included brochures, images to be used within job postings on LinkedIn, recruitment booth signage for job fairs/tradeshows, and a corporate overview video to introduce new employees to Harris Products Group.

Of course, each brand is unique, requiring its own unique solutions. That’s where we come in. We have over three decades of branding and marketing communications experience, so we are well suited to creating an employer branding plan and executing it. Get in touch to see how we can ensure that brand consistency and brand experience are woven into your employer branding efforts.

Chatting with Randy on Peer Groups and Relevancy

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Chatting with Randy on Peer Groups and Relevancy

For many of us, the past couple years have been the toughest times of our lives, both personally and professionally. No one has gone through anything like this. We all had many considerations. “How will I respond to isolation?” “How will I handle this new routine?” “Is my product or business still relevant?” And one of the most frequently asked questions, “Am I even in the right career?”

As millions of people were leaving their jobs, I knew one thing. I wasn’t going anywhere. I loved what I was doing and the people I was doing it with. As a matter of fact, I wanted to do it better than ever before. But some things were creeping into my mind. “Is business going to be the same?” “What do I need to do to ensure we’re still relevant?” “What are other agencies doing?”

Then, out of the blue, one of the partners at our agency asked if I’d want to be part of a peer group for other agency executives who are involved in running their businesses. I couldn’t believe it. It was just what I was looking for. Having access to a network of like-minded folks has never been more crucial. So without hesitation, I said, “Yes, please.”

Before I knew it, I was signed up and headed off to Chicago to meet my group. What a great group of professionals. It was three days I’ll never forget. Smart, engaged people who were facing the same challenges as I was. I couldn’t believe I had all these resources at my fingertips.

After three days of discussions, presentations, discussions, challenges and maybe a few more discussions, I headed back to St. Louis with the comfort of knowing I had a great group of people that I could always reach out to—for anything. I wasn’t alone.

So, if you’re thinking of joining a peer group, do it! Here are a few reasons why.

Safe Space – Confidentiality allows people to be totally open about issues they are unable to discuss with others. Commiserate over loses and celebrate over victories.

Honest Feedback – Like it or not, you’ll receive nothing but honest feedback. It’s good to hear different opinions that challenge you.

Guidance – You don’t know it all and a little guidance can go a long way. Listen and learn from other execs. 

Motivation – When you leave your meeting, you’ll be more motivated and excited than ever. You’ll have a list of new ideas to implement. It’s awesome!

Give it a try. It won’t hurt. You’ll discover new business and financial strategies, best practices, new business development ideas and you’ll make some new friends. And one thing for sure, the process works. I will attest to that.

Video Strategy Predictions for 2022

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Video Strategy Predictions for 2022

I’m sure you’re out there. Still uncertain if video content will benefit your company so you keep putting it off. You’ll get to it later…well, guess what? You’re losing out right now. Those that doubled down on video in 2021 are for sure seeing the benefits. 

Companies that are proactively using video to keep their customers connected and engaged are winning in 2022. But like all things, video continues to advance. Taking your video strategy from reactive to proactive will ensure your content and experiences are taken to the next level, according to Socialive founder and CEO David Moricca.  

In addition to this strategy shift, here are a few more predictions that are definitely worth exploring.

Be your own content distribution company

While virtual events were hot from 2020-2021, we’re now heading in a different direction. In 2022, we’ll be moving from large-scale virtual conferences to shorter-form, video-content-driven experiences. These condensed videos will allow you to use on your own channels, are easier to measure engagement, and push leads through your digital marketing funnel. Gone are the days of sending audiences to third-party platforms.

Shoppable videos are hot

Driving sales through social media channels like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook has become impactful. The “shoppable video” is quickly becoming mainstream, and companies should include this in their video and e-commerce initiatives.

The “do it yourselfers” will emerge

As technology enables more people to create and distribute video content themselves, we will see the emergence of more people and companies producing video on their own. While the real estate, financial services, and travel and hospitality industries have dabbled in video content usage in the past, 2022 will be marked by a better ability to scale video creation as a new standard for engaging with their audiences.

Crowdsourced, peer-based learning will become the standard

As many companies struggle with employee retention and engagement, businesses are forced to find better ways to document and distribute knowledge to their workforce. Employees learn best from their peers because they can relate to them. As a result, training videos or written content will be heavily crowdsourced from their peers’ direct experiences in order to most effectively learn the on-the-job skills required for their positions.

Speed to market will continue to increase

As brands continue to embrace a digital-first approach to reaching customers, the speed with which marketers must respond to trending online topics keeps getting faster. When more companies begin adopting this approach, the demand will skyrocket for video content creation tools that enable marketers to more rapidly create a constant stream of fresh assets.

At Geile/Leon Content Studios, we understand how to concept and produce video content and how to use it throughout the funnel to engage your customers. If you’re in need of assistance with any video content we’d love to assist. If you’d like to talk or see samples of our videos, please reach out. We can definitely help.

-Socialive Video Predictions 2022
-Cielo Top 22 Video Trends of 2022, Jan. 3, 2022, Mitchell Parks

How to evolve your target personas in higher education post COVID

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

How to evolve your target personas in higher education post COVID

As most of you know, your target personas should be a living document. Because society experiences shifts in attitudes and external factors, these personas should change as frequently as necessary to ensure accuracy. Markets can change quickly, and effective marketing must evolve with it. Many industries have experienced a dramatic shift in response to the past year, but perhaps none as much as higher education. 

As higher ed marketers continue to battle for students, especially after the COVID pandemic, now is the time to take a look at your personas and realize what COVID has changed in the mind of your students. It seems all but certain that the way they look at the world and their criteria for choosing their college education has changed. What are their motivators now? What are their pain points? Here’s a few ideas to help when taking a fresh look at your student personas.

Where Is the Line Between Online and Traditional Learning? 

If you haven’t done it already, we’d recommend developing personas for both online and offline/traditional students. Many students who adopted online learning because of COVID will continue down that path, but there will always be the need for offline/traditional student personas. Each of these two students’ personas have different motivators in their higher education experience. Online students are looking for a convenient way to earn their degree without disrupting their current lifestyle or career, while offline/traditional students evaluate campus life, college experiences, etc. as part of their selection process. As you can see, your message and approach to each will be completely different.

It’s Time to Rethink the Enrollment Journey

With the immediate future a bit unknown, students are still deciding on their best approach to higher ed. Still, many students are progressing towards applying for college selection, but the typical enrollment journey is most likely different. Our recommendation would be to review your persona’s enrollment journey and draft additional personas that account for changes in your audience, e.g. short-term vs long-term leads. 

The “Typical” Student Is Anything But 

More than ever, there is no such thing as a “typical” student persona because COVID has changed what that student looks like. With the loss of jobs and livelihoods during COVID, it’s possible that your students might become older since many people will be starting over or trying out new careers. Additionally, younger students might be looking for more online classes than they had previously. Either way, you need to develop new student personas.

Financial Concerns Will Become More Common

With so many temporary or permanent layoffs that will hinder the ability for many students to attend college, financial concerns will become a much more important consideration for a large number of students. This barrier to entry should be taken into consideration immediately across all personas.

New Safety Concerns Must Be Addressed

Last, but certainly not least, is the safety of all students. Will your students expect smaller classes? Redesigned classrooms that include social distancing? Sanitary processes to help with the spread of COVID? You better believe these are top of mind with possible students. It is very important to convey to students all the measures that you’re taking to protect them so they can continue their learning in a safe environment.

At Geile/Leon, we understand how to write the most effective personas across many different categories. If you’re in need of assistance updating your student personas, we’d love to assist. If you’d like to talk or see samples of our personas, please reach out. We can help.

Reference: Higher Education Marketing – “What will your student personas look like after COVID-19?”, May 2020

Lifting Up Our Community

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Lifting Up Our Community

Make it Mean Something is our guiding principle here at Geile/Leon. And not just in the work we produce, but rather in all facets of our lives, including how we communicate with others, how we help improve our communities, and how to make the world a better place both individually and as a brand. When the stars align and we work with a client that also understands the importance of making it mean something and giving back to our neighbors and the city we love, we relish the opportunity to fully pursue our mission. And we couldn’t have asked for a better match than our client and our partner, Club Fitness.

Let me try and paint the picture. Club Fitness is a locally and employee owned company that has 20+ locations and over 130,000 members. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they temporarily closed all 20+ locations throughout the St. Louis Metro area. And you don’t need a calculator to realize that means zero income. With that in mind, they’ve had to reduce their staff, rethink their operations and maintain consistent and timely communications with all of their members.

When these types of setbacks happen in St. Louis, we don’t run from them. We stand together, lend a hand and do what we can and ensure that we’re doing what’s right for our communities and neighbors. That’s exactly what Club Fitness is doing. They’ve chosen to continue to #LiftLocal, be empathetic and support our communities by partnering with the Red Cross by opening up five of their clubs for local blood drives. 

If you’d like to #LiftLocal and help your community, click here and enter the sponsor code provided below to make an appointment, or just call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Date | Location | Sponsor Code
April 21 | East Alton | ClubFitnessEastAlton
April 22 | Maplewood | ClubFitnessMaplewood
April 23rd | O’Fallon, Illinois | ClubFitnessOfallonIllinois
April 28 | St. Peters | ClubFitnessStPeters
April 29th | St. Charles | ClubFitnessStCharles

It would have been easy for Club Fitness to focus on their own problems without considering the greater good of the local community that has supported them for over 35 years. But at their core, that’s not who they are and that’s not what they believe. They are determined to pay back the support that the community has shown them for over three decades, no matter what. This is just another example of them being there for every BODY!  Thanks to Club Fitness for realizing that when we support each other, we are all stronger.

For the rest of us, let’s give them our support. Please help save a life and give the gift of blood.

Trending from G/L: How to break through a creative block

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

Trending from G/L: How to break through a creative block

Creative block is definitely a real thing in the agency industry. It happens to the best of us, at the worst times possible. So, if I told you that you could end your creative block by playing a card game would you give it a shot?

Well, Matt Vojacek, agency principal at Zwelly in Columbus, OH has developed a card game, called “The Game of Creativity,” to help jar loose those new ideas.

The Game of Creativity was developed to enhance one’s own sense of creativity. So often in this industry we “research” what others are doing instead of developing our own creative thought. This is definitely something I’ve seen a lot in the 25 years I’ve been doing this.

Vojacek was really interested in finding ways to bring creativity back to peoples’ lives and/or introduce them to creativity. It all started in college where he kept a journal with creative thoughts. And now, through a Kickstarter campaign, he’s introducing it to the world.

And it appears the kickstarter is paying off. His goal was met within 24 hours with pledges exceeding $32,000.

Give it a try and see if it works for you. Nothing to lose – except maybe creative block.

When Subpar Branding Just Won’t Fly

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

When Subpar Branding Just Won’t Fly

For horse owners, summer is the time for peaceful, early morning rides before the sun heats up the day. It’s a time to spend washing, treating and connecting with your horse. Unfortunately, it is also the season of the most heinous insect on the planet…flies!

And, as all horse owners know, it’s a never-ending battle. You try everything and they just keep returning. Not only are they frustrating to you, they’re even more irritating to your horse. Imagine the way the horse feels as the summer heat kicks in and these pests will not leave them alone.

As we’ve learned from recent client focus groups, many horse owners are convinced there’s not much that can be done to effectively repel flies. Sure, some have regiments that are partially effective but many said during the heavy summer season protecting their horses from flies and other biting insects was a “losing battle.”

Here are a few tips on becoming more effective in the battle against flies and other insects:

  • Eliminate places where flies and insects inhabit and breed such as standing water, old water in a bucket, dirty gutters, or road ditches.
  • Provide your horse with additional protection during peak fly season and avoid being outside during these times.
  • Limit your horse’s exposure to flies and insects by using a fly spray specifically designed to kill and repel a broad spectrum of insects on contact.
  • Implement a fly control program that uses multiple products. Combining fly sprays, fly masks and premise concentrate and bate can provide complete protection for your horse.

Manna Pro partnered with Geile/Leon to introduce a complete line of equine fly control products for all applications, including sprays, masks, face and body wipes, and premise protection. Our knowledge and expertise within the equine category provided the framework to help us build a memorable brand, increase awareness of the new line, and drive sales of Force products.

Check out the launch campaign and the results generated: Drop Dead Powerful

Geile/Leon is a brand-driven marketing agency based in St. Louis, Missouri that specializes in equine marketing and new product introductions. If you’re looking to refresh a brand or launch a new one, let’s chat.