Marike Braybrooke on Building an Authentic Brand | MP 12

Marike Braybrooke on Building an Authentic Brand | MP 12

What is your vision and mission? How are you going to communicate your core values to your potential clients? How do you manage expectations when working with a designer?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Marike Braybrooke about building an authentic brand.

Meet Marike Braybrooke

Marike Braybrooke is the owner of Paper Planery, a Pretoria-based digital marketing & design studio. Paper Planery started as a side business in 2016 and has grown to a full-time endeavor in 2018 with a focus on start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Marike is passionate about working with clients on the amazing brands they’ve built up from a bright spark and a big dream. What she enjoys more than anything is building a lasting relationship with like-minded creatives.

Visit Marike’s website and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

In This Podcast


  • Ideas and perspective on branding
  • Things you can do to improve your brand
  • What to expect when working with a designer
  • Branding on social media

Ideas and perspective on branding

  • Branding is not a logo. Branding is deciding what your core values are and how you’re going to communicate it to your potential clients, from your logo to the way you speak in emails. Your corporate identity is simply one avenue of expressing those values.
  • Branding is not about YOU, your competitors or your company. Branding is about who you want to serve.
  • Don’t be afraid of creating your brand for a niche, instead of trying to be everything to everyone

Things you can do to improve your brand

  • Re-evaluate what your company’s core values are and then measure each aspect of your company against those core values.
  • Focus on the platform you enjoy the most and where you are seeing the best results

What to expect when working with a designer

Even though designers are objectively trying to create a design for you, design is still a subjective thing.

  • Do your research to get a feel if the designers’ style is in line with what you are looking for
  • The more guidelines, information, and feedback you give a designer, the better results you will get
  • If you’re not sure what you want, make a list of what you don’t want. By excluding certain things your designer can already have a better idea of it is that you would like.

Branding on social media

Remember to be human. The reason brands do well on social media is because they get to connect with clients in a more personal way.

Wherever you are marketing your business on social media, make sure that people will always end up on your website, your mailing list or a contact form. Also, remember that people relate more to brands being authentic and not just pushing marketing all the time.

Click here and use the coupon code BRAND30 to get 30% off Marike’s online templates.

Useful Links:

Meet Sam Carvalho

Samantha Carvalho DesignSam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to

Thanks For Listening!

Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media by clicking on one of the social media links below! Alternatively, leave a review on iTunes and subscribe!

Podcast Transcription

Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to

Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho, where you will discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand your business, visit And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign.

Thanks for joining me on the Marketing a Practice podcast today. We have Marike Braybrooke joining us. She is the owner of Paper Planery, a Pretoria-based digital marketing, and design studio. She started Paper Planery as a side business in 2016 and has grown it to a full-time endeavor in 2018, with the focus on startups and entrepreneurs. Hi, Marike. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Hi, thank you so much for asking me. I feel very honored. [SAM]:
No, it’s great. So, I came across Paper Planery on Instagram and I started following you because I really loved your work and your style. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your story and how you ended up starting your business, and getting into branding and design? [MARIKE]:
Okay. Firstly, thank you so much for the compliment. So basically, my story started in my final year of studying design. I started doing branding and websites, for clients, freelance while I was studying. And then once I started working, I continued doing this on the side. But then soon I realized that my passion wasn’t… Or my passion was working with small businesses one on one and helping them tell their brand’s story, instead of working in a bigger company. So basically, that’s when I decided to take on Paper Planery full-time and help small businesses establish their brands. [SAM]:
Yeah, okay, great. So, essentially your ideal client would be someone that’s just starting out; that doesn’t have any brand identity yet, and you help them from the ground up. [MARIKE]:
So, initially, when I started out that was my main focus. But I also regularly help clients who already have an established brand but want to refocus their brand and find or rediscover their brand. So essentially, it would be an established brand. But still, almost creating a new brand. But I do mostly work with startups and small businesses, and the majority of them are new companies. [SAM]:
Yes. Okay. And so then do you find that you are required to give your clients quite a lot of input in terms of helping them identify what they want to communicate to people? So, you offer advice over and above just the visual side of things, like helping them create their mission and vision? Or do they come to you with that, and then you just focus solely on the design aspect? [MARIKE]:
So occasionally, there are clients who already have an established brand and don’t need any input. So, then I would just offer design services. But what I do enjoy is to start with a brand from establishing what their core values are, and then not necessarily advising them, but just giving them an overview of what’s out there and how they can approach finding their core values and establishing their vision and mission. So, it depends on the client’s needs. But I do enjoy working almost as if I’m a part of their team and an employee of the company giving input rather than an outsider, just providing certain services. I don’t know if that makes sense. [SAM]:
Yeah. No, that does make sense. I think it’s probably part of what makes you great at what you do, is that you immerse yourself into their brand and become a part of it. And obviously, that’s going to make a difference to the design and the input that you give, because you’ll obviously be able to represent a brand a lot better than, as you say, someone who’s more of an outsider. [MARIKE]:
Yes, I think it’s important to try to put yourself in the client’s shoes and see what they trying to achieve. So, I think that’s what I try to do. I hope it’s working. But yeah. [SAM]:
I’m sure it is. So, can you share with our audience some of your ideas on branding or your perspective on branding? [MARIKE]:
Okay, so the first thing I’d like to say is that branding is not just your logo or your corporate identity, branding is figuring out who you are as a company, what your core values are, and making sure that every aspect of your business communicates that. Whether it’s how you answer the phone, or your email etiquette, or, including your corporate identity, but that’s not all you need to establish yourself as a brand. So I think that’s important to realize; that a brand isn’t necessarily just the design aspect of it, but it’s also how it’s carried through in every aspect of your business, whether it’s visual or not. [SAM]:
Yes, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And I think a lot of people don’t necessarily realize that when they start their company, or they get a designer on board that, as you said, that process kind of starts way before actually coming down to designing everything. It starts with more of the theory stuff. So, your vision or your mission or, as you say, your core values, and then that needs to then be represented in all the visual communication. So, yeah, that’s a great point. Yeah. [MARIKE]:
And also, I think once… it starts way before that, and also then once you do have your corporate identity, it doesn’t end there. Just because your logo’s in line with what you’re trying to communicate to your audience, it doesn’t mean your branding is achieved if that makes sense. [SAM]:
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think, yeah, that highlights another area that I think some people will fall into. They’ll maybe hire a designer at the beginning of their business to set up everything. And then, you know, it’s like a once-off thing, and then they carry on with their business and forget about that visual identity that was created. [MARIKE]:
Yes, that does happen. [SAM]:
So, I think, making sure to keep it consistent is obviously going to ensure that your brand makes more of an impact from a visual perspective. But also, as you say, you’re then re-emphasizing what you’re trying to communicate the whole time, which is so important. [MARIKE]:
Yes, no definitely. And then, just to get back to your original question about my perspective on branding, the other thing I wanted to mention was that when you do approach, specifically, your corporate identity or your branding, you should… although you are, or someone is, the owner of the company, the logo and the corporate identity shouldn’t necessarily reflect your tastes or your preferences; you should try to think about what your audience would relate to, and what your audience needs from you, and how you would like to serve your audience. So, I think that’s also important; to not design a logo based on your personal style. Sometimes that does align – sometimes your personal style is what your audience is looking for. But that’s not what you should base your decision on. [SAM]:
Yes, absolutely. So, for our audience – they’re obviously mainly private practice owners, and a lot of people will start their business under their name. And I know that this is something that Joe Sanok of Practice of the Practice doesn’t recommend, because in the event that they then want to grow into a group practice, then they have to rebrand and rename their whole company. So yeah, I think, as you say, structuring your business around the people you serve – structuring your branding around the people you serve – is so important. And obviously, if you do that, then you’re more likely to attract your ideal clients as well. [MARIKE]:
No, definitely. And that is, at the end of the day, what you want to achieve. [SAM]:
Yes, absolutely. And then, was there anything else with regards to your perspective on branding? [MARIKE]:
Yes. So I think the last thing I’d like to say on that is that when you’re creating your brand, and you’re trying to establish what your audience will relate to, don’t be afraid or don’t try to be everything to everyone. Don’t choose a color because you think everyone’s gonna like the color or it’s not offending… or not necessarily offending, but it’s… no one can say anything bad about that. Don’t be afraid to niche down and base your brand around the specific audience you want to serve. So someone might see your logo and immediately know, this private practice isn’t the one for me, but someone else might see your logo and your corporate identity and immediately know, there’s something different about this company and the way they serve people and I’m the person they want to serve. So, basically what I want to say is, rather try to be specific about who you are or what your company is and who you want to attract, rather than trying to be everything to everyone, and then you disappear away between all the other branding out there which is trying to be everything to everyone. [SAM]:
Yeah, I think that is such a great point. And I think all of your points are really important. And yeah, definitely are going to help you establish yourself as a unique brand. So just to repeat those points. The one was that branding is not just a logo, it’s deciding what your core values are and how you’re going to communicate that to your potential clients. The second point was branding is not about you, it’s about the people you want to serve. And the third is don’t be afraid of creating your brand for a niche instead of trying to be everything to everyone. And if you’re traveling at the moment, or you’re listening to this at a place where you’re not able to take notes, we’ll have all of this in the show notes as well. So Marike, if business owners were to take action on improving their brand, what are some of the first things that they should look at? [MARIKE]:
So, I think the first thing they should… or where they should start is, they should start working from the inside out. They should start re-evaluating what their initial core values are as a company and then measure each aspect of their company against those core values. So, like I mentioned earlier, they should look at how they answer emails, how their systems work, and how they look on social media, for instance. Everything they should measure it against those core values and decide, is this achieving what we set out to do in the start? And then based on that, they can prioritize what aspects of the business their clients get in contact to the most. So maybe it could be their website, or their social media and they know a lot of people see that every day. So, their logo and their website needs to be the first things to change. Or maybe it could be they get more walk-in clients, so the interior of their office space, or the way their receptionist speaks to the clients, is a first thing that needs to be measured to their core values. [SAM]:
Yeah, I love that. I love always remembering to really look at your core values, but then also focusing on what works and how you can enhance that. I think a lot of times members of the audience will maybe be trying to be successful across all platforms, specifically with social media, for example. They’ll try and be successful at Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter. Whereas we advise that if you find that you’re being… if your audience is responding to you more on Instagram, for example, than Facebook, then, do what you can to focus more on that platform and let the rest go. So I think it ties in with what you were saying earlier about trying to be everything to everyone, and just focusing on the parts of your business that are actually doing well but then again, going back to your core values. [MARIKE]:
I couldn’t agree more. And I also think, for instance, if like you said, if you’re trying to be on every platform, or you’re going to rather than produce quality content for one platform, you’re going to produce average content for all your platforms. So instead, focus on, like you said, the ones where you get the most engagement and often that will also be the one you enjoy the most. Because if you enjoy spending time on a certain platform, you’re probably going to put more effort into the content you put out, and then in turn attract more people – like-minded people. So I think it’s important to rather focus on, firstly, what you love doing, but also, where you’re seeing results, rather than following a checklist of where you think you should be doing things. [SAM]:
Yeah. And it all then ties in one, because then it’s, as you say, it’s what you enjoy. So, it’s what you’ll naturally be good at. It’s not going to be necessarily a mission for you or something that you keep procrastinating on. But then it’s also going to be where you meet your ideal client the most. So yeah, that’s awesome. So, what is the process that you make use of when onboarding a new client who’s either seeking a rebrand or is starting a business from scratch? [MARIKE]:
Okay, so once a client has contacted me and we’ve set up a meeting, I usually give them a bit of homework to do before we meet. So, I’ll send out a welcoming document with certain questions about their brand and certain tasks. For instance, one is to create a Pinterest board; not necessarily about what they want the logo to look like, or the color palettes they like but also what… anything that they feel associates with their brand, whether it’s a photo of a cup of coffee or interior design, just because they feel this communicates the feel I want people to feel when they look at them, or when someone looks at their brand. So I’ll give them a bunch of homework like that, because I think sometimes people realize they need to, or want to rebrand, and reach out because they’re not sure how to rebrand, but they are not exactly sure how to communicate what it is that… they know they need something but are not exactly sure what it is. So, I just send out a document like this to guide them through the thinking process of establishing their values and what exactly their requirements are. And then, after we’ve met, then we’ll get to the nitty-gritty paperwork and deposits and so on. And then that’s basically the onboarding process. [SAM]:
Okay, that’s awesome. That’s such a unique way. I’ve never heard of that before; getting them to complete a Pinterest board. But that’s awesome. It’s such an awesome way… It’s such an easy way to help them to, as you say, put what they’re thinking into a visual medium for you to use as inspiration. So that’s really cool; it’s a very unique way of approaching it. [MARIKE]:
Thank you. [SAM]:
So, what are some general guidelines or advice that you can give that our audience should expect from working with a designer. [MARIKE]:
Okay, so what I think is important to realize about design is that even though designers are objectively trying to create a design for you, design is still a subjective thing. So, one designers work will be loved by some people and absolutely hated by some people. So I think before working with a designer, do your research and make sure that you already get a feel that their style and skills are in line with what you have in mind, just to make sure that… because I think there is a designer for each person. [SAM]:
Yes, absolutely. [MARIKE]:
So make sure you’re on the same page of your design and before even starting the process and then, once you have decided to work with the designer, the more guidelines, information and feedback that you give a designer, the more results you’ll get. Because I think sometimes someone will tell a designer, I trust you, do whatever you want. But, for instance, I like yellow, so then I’ll design a yellow logo and they actually, you know, but none of… neither one of us did something wrong, but we’re not on the same page. So, almost, the more limitations and guidelines you give a designer, the more they’ll be able to create what you’re expecting. So, what you put in is what you’ll get out. [SAM]:
Yeah, that’s actually so well put. Yeah, I think vague briefs are probably something that designers don’t enjoy at all. And so, I would say yeah, that’s very well put. What you put in is what you get out when it comes to working with a designer. [MARIKE]:
So, I just thought of one more thing I’d like to add. [SAM]:
Oh, sure. [MARIKE]:
A lot of times people are not exactly sure what they want. So, the advice I can give is, if you’re not sure what you want, write a list of what you don’t want. For instance, you don’t know what you want your logo to look like, but you know you hate the color yellow. And you know you hate script fonts. And you know… I don’t know what else, but often when you just exclude certain things, a designer can already start painting a picture in their mind of what you may… you might like. So, if you’re not sure what you like, try to write down exactly what you don’t like. [SAM]:
Yes. The process of elimination kind of thing. [MARIKE]:
Yes, exactly. [SAM]:
So, based on the fact that your business is relatively new, and obviously a lot of our listeners are also starting their businesses, what is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in growing your business and taking it from a side gig to a full-time venture? [MARIKE]:
Yeah. Okay, so I think one of the big lessons I’ve learned is that if you’re starting your own business, or going from a side hustle to a full-time job, is trying to figure out what your vision is for your business. Because there’s this whole culture of entrepreneurs growing at the moment, and that’s amazing, but maybe your goal doesn’t necessarily have to be that I want to build this empire with 20 employees and I don’t know what; maybe your vision is only to work a certain amount of hours and only make a certain amount of money each month. So, I think what’s important is, establish what your vision is beforehand, and do the math about what you need to do to achieve that vision, and then base your choices on that. So, you don’t have to take on every client that contacts you that exceeds what you’re trying to achieve or get. I don’t if I’m making sense right now, but I think… [SAM]:
You are. [MARIKE]:
Every decision you make go back to that vision and decide, is that serving, at the end of the day what I want to achieve here, or moving away from that? [SAM]:
And I think when you’re starting out, trying to maintain that can be difficult because you can be tempted to want to take on everybody that comes your way because you’re obviously trying to get your business going. But at the end of the day, as you said, is it going to be adding to your vision of where you want to actually go? Or is it actually just taking you down a path that you don’t necessarily want to go down? So I think, as difficult as it may be in the beginning, sticking to your guns on that and, as you say, knowing where you want to be and how many hours you want to work, and sticking to that, even if it’s difficult in the beginning, [MARIKE]:
Yes, because I think everyone who owns their own business knows that it can take over your life. [SAM]:
Yes, yeah. If you don’t put down those boundaries. [MARIKE]:
Yes. And you might… You can take in every client that contacts you; there’s nothing wrong with that. But just always go back to, what do I picture my life to be like, and is this serving that? [SAM]:
Yes, yes. And so, part of your offering is digital… includes digital marketing packages as well. So, what are some tips that you can offer business owners with regards to their branding on social media? [MARIKE]:
Okay, so I think the first thing to remember is that social media’s goal or any marketing’s goal, or end goal, is to get them to your website or to some call… to achieve some call to action. Like, obviously you should post things that are… that have a purpose of being entertaining or funny or giving a behind-the-scenes. But, if you’re going to blog or if you’re going to create podcasts or free downloads, make sure that the reason you’re doing that, and the place those resources live, get potential clients in contact with your website or with a contact form, or with an email signup and not just, for instance, being a free download with the link on your Facebook page, not really achieving any further step that connects them to your brand in the longer run. [SAM]:
Yes. [MARIKE]:
So, I think that’s the first thing. And the second thing I would say is just to remember to be human. This may sound strange, but the reason brands do well on social media is because they get to connect with their clients in a more personal way. So, they also need to be vulnerable and show their human side, whether it’s perfect or not perfect, because people tend to relate more to brands being authentic than a generic marketing message that just sells to them all the time. [SAM]:
Yes, absolutely, and I think specifically when it comes to private practice and counseling and that, it is a personal service from the beginning. So, if I’m somebody who’s searching for a therapist online, I want to know that I’m going to be able to relate to that person on a personal level because I’m obviously discussing… I’m going to be very vulnerable with them. So, if I get to see some of their personality through their social media, then I think that’s going to help to draw me in as well. [MARIKE]:
Definitely. And also, you don’t want your social media to… your social media is, in essence, an extension of your brand. So you don’t want your brand to communicate that you’re a certain way, and when they meet you in person and they realize, okay, wait, no, you’re like, completely different – not in a bad way, but maybe you’re very formal on social media, but then in person, you’re this casual, happy-go-lucky kind of person. You want your representation on social media to be accurate when they actually meet you in person. [SAM]:
Yes, that’s so true. So, can you share, what are some design trends that you’re in love with at the moment? [MARIKE]:
So I think the first one-design trend I’m really liking at the moment is that a lot of brands are starting to become more personal, which sort of relates to your previous question, but people are sharing their personalities more, their perfections, their imperfections, their bloopers, and showing who the person is behind the brand and this actually strengthens the brand, because people feel a personal connection to it. So, I love that a lot of brands are incorporating their vulnerable side in order to show who they are to their audience and, in turn, allow their audience to be vulnerable back. [SAM]:
That’s awesome, and I think it takes a lot of bravery to do that. [MARIKE]:
No, definitely. It does take a bit of guts, but I think the payoff is worth it. [SAM]:
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So, Marike, you have a giveaway for our audience? And can you share what that is and how they can go about getting it? [MARIKE]:
Yes. So, at the moment, I have a coupon for you to use. If you go to my online shop at then you can receive 30% off on any of my design branding templates. The coupon code is BRAND30. [SAM]:
Great. So, thanks so much for that and we’ll be sure to include that in the show notes as well. And how can people reach you? [MARIKE]:
They can follow me on social media @paperplanery, or they can visit my website, or they can listen to your podcast. [SAM]:
Great. Again, we’ll have all that information in the show notes. And, last but not least, if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [MARIKE]:
I would want them to know that, Oh, goodness, this is hard. I would want them to know that they should just be brave and approach their branding in an authentic, sincere way and not try to be something they’re not. But rather embrace who they are because their clients are going to love them for who they are – not for a brand they’re trying to put out there but isn’t aligned with what their core values are. [SAM]:
That’s awesome. And again, such great advice. Thanks so much for being on the Marketing a Practice podcast. You’ve really given some awesome tips and advice that I know our audience is going to be able to use in improving their branding. Thanks so much. [MARIKE]:
Thank you so much for inviting me. I really enjoyed chatting with you. [SAM]:

Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want to have a print file designed, head on over to And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram @samanthacarvalhodesign.

Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests, are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.

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