Want my job? with founder of EMBR Brand Agency Melissa Matson

"If I ever doubt myself, I always go back to the reason WHY I started the agency. There’s always a personal ‘why’ and a larger business ‘why.’ But your ‘why’ should always give you the motivation to keep going through the tough days. If it doesn’t, then it’s not the right one."

Want my job? with founder of EMBR Brand Agency Melissa Matson

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hey, I’m Melissa (35) living in Hertfordshire, with my two firecracker girls and fur baby Harvey. I’m the Chief Brand Architect and founder of EMBR Brand Agency. 

What does your job involve? What happens on a typical day?

I help ambitious entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses by creating powerful scroll-stopping brands that stand the test of time. Our unique strategy development, design creativity, and brand activation approach provide small businesses & SMEs with the tools and resources needed to build a legacy. Whether it’s a brand-new venture, an existing business that needs a refresh or support taking an existing brand to the next level, EMBR is here for it all.

A typical day in my job doesn’t really exist because there are always so many new and different projects and opportunities to explore. As well as building an online presence, it’s also really important that I focus on building a solid offline brand presence as well. Therefore, I do spend a lot of time building ‘real life’ relationships, as well as guest speaking and creating authority-positioned content. 

What’s great about what you do?

I love the variety and the fact that no day is ever the same. Each business we work with comes with a new challenge and a different set of market dynamics. I love getting under the skin of a business and really looking at developing a brand that doesn’t just ‘look pretty’, but one that actually builds a legacy and stands the test of time. Once we then build the visuals from that strategy (colour palette, fonts, logo etc) and get a website that really connects and converts an audience, there’s no better feeling! 

What are the toughest parts of your job?

When you run any business, building up a solid sales pipeline can be quite a tough challenge, especially at the beginning. There’s no such thing as an easy ride. It really is all about consistently putting in the hard work to build up credibility and authority in your field. Becoming a master of your craft and delivering outstanding results. There’s no shortcut to that! 

What are the highlights of your career to date?

Launching some incredible client brands that quite literally have made my clients cry happy tears! When a brand feels as good as it looks, you know that you’ve got something special. I’m also super passionate about educating and empowering entrepreneurs with the tools and confidence to build their own powerful brands. That’s why I love guest speaking and being featured in the press because it impacts people on a much wider scale. 

What’s been the biggest challenge so far in your career? How did you overcome it?

As with any new business venture, keeping the belief in your vision and building consistency even when you might not see results immediately, can sometimes be challenging. You can sometimes feel like you’re creating content and sharing your message without getting much initial feedback. But it’s important to remember that building a brand takes time.  It’s not about the short-term wins, it’s about building a long-term sustainable business. It’s about consistently repeating the same things (visuals, messaging, etc) over and over again so that you start to build up brand recognition and ultimately brand loyalty.

If I ever doubt myself, I always go back to the reason WHY I started the agency. There’s always a personal ‘why’ and a larger business ‘why.’ But your ‘why’ should always give you the motivation to keep going through the tough days. If it doesn’t, then it’s not the right one. Your ‘why’ is usually pretty deep. It speaks to a core intrinsic motivation that keeps you showing up day in and day out because your reason for doing what you do is bigger than any excuses that you make. 

What was your career path into this job? Have you also worked outside of your industry?

My background is working in business development for some of the big brands (Mars, Starbucks, 20th Century Fox). I’ve also supported entrepreneurs as a mindset and business coach, helping to build confidence as well as providing brand strategy, because if you don’t have an unshakable belief in yourself and in your business, then you’re going to find it much harder to unlock your business potential. 

I have also run a brand strategy agency before and more recently, I’ve sharpened my skills by taking further brand strategy courses to ensure that I’m on top of my game. 

Have you noticed any changes in the industry in recent times? If so, what?

In terms of brand building, there’s definitely been a shift towards prioritising real human connections. Gone are the days of faceless corporate brands. Today and moving into the future, brand building is personal. Whether you're a personal brand or a business brand, consumers want to get to know who YOU are.

Social media has made it so much easier for an audience to connect directly with the brands they are buying from and as such, brands now have to become much more personal. They have to have opinions. They have to stand for and against things. To be HUMAN in their approach and to connect to their audience at a deeper emotional level. Any brand that doesn’t prioritise human connection will find that they very quickly get left behind vs competitors who do prioritise it. 

How has your background, upbringing, and education had an impact on your artistic

career? 

I was always super creative at school, so after doing a law degree (the least creative thing you can do!), I knew that I wanted to work in an industry that actually lit my soul on fire.

My dad was a fruit & veg wholesaler and my mum stayed at home, so it wasn’t like I had anything handed to me. But I built my personal network, prioritised real relationships, and always said yes to opportunities that presented themselves. I also sought a mentor and got as much work experience as I could working for big brands, before securing a graduate job with Mars. 

I always had the ability to try new things and I was never afraid of rejection. Any setbacks were simply an opportunity to learn something new, so I think that this growth mindset supported me in carving out my creative path. You can start off down one path and then it’s totally fine to have a change of heart and go with something else! 

After 10 years in the FMCG and entertainment industry, I now run a boutique brand agency and I absolutely love being able to use my creativity every single day. 

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?

As a fairly academic teenager, you think that it’s really important to do something with your good grades because that is the ‘expected’ path. But just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean to say that you should. Listen to your heart and lean into your strengths. Trust your intuition, it’s usually right! You only get one shot at this life, so take risks and make mistakes. There’s no ‘one-size fits all’, so define what success means to you and make sure you follow your path towards it. 

Do you have any advice for young people interested in your field?

The education system is structured in a way that squashes natural creativity. We're taught to conform and process information in certain ways to 'pass' exams. But true creative independent thinking is what will change the world. I encourage anyone who colours outside the lines to be brave, bold and challenge the norm.

If you have a desire to create something from nothing, to make an impact through your thinking or ideas, go out and just do it. Get a mentor, work for experience, surround yourself with other creatives who see the world as you do, and never settle for less.

Your future self will thank you for it.

Where can people find you and your work online?

www.embrbrandagency.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/melissamatson-brandarchitect/

Instagram @embrbrandagency 

Header Image Credit: Melissa Matson

Author

Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

Saskia is the Deputy Editor of Voice and has worked on campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Anti-Bullying Week. Outside of Voice, Saskia is a published author (Hairvolution) and has guest featured in various other publications (The Women Writers’ Handbook/ Cosmopolitan/ The Highlight). She has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. She is a mentor for Women of the World Global, has guest lectured at the University of Roehampton and has led seminars/panel talks on Race, Equality and Diversity. She was a 2022 Guest Judge for Dave (TV Channel) in search of the 'Joke of the Fringe'. She is 27-years-old, based in London, and loves to cook and explore new places in her spare time.

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