How to Grow A Sticky Brand with Jeremy Miller

How to Grow A Sticky Brand with Jeremy Miller

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.


How to Grow A Sticky Brand

By Yvonne Ivanescu

creating a sticky brand


Do you have brand clarity? Are you able to to describe your business and what makes it unique in 10 words or less? And if you have simple clarity do you know how to amplify that message? How can you create a brand that people know and trust? 

How do you get to the point where people trust and like you and not just finding you through Google? 

In this episode, Jeremy and I talk about his origin story, specifically how re-branding his family business not only saved the business but rocketed it to success while also discussing simplifying your brand messaging, and a couple of principles of a sticky brand, including simple clarity. 


Jeremy’s origin story is unlike other brand strategists, so that is where we began. When Jeremy joined the family business as the director of sales and marketing of a recruiting company. And right off the bat, the first year working at his family’s company was one of the hardest years of this life. Why? In the business, everything that they were doing was from a sales perspective, which didn’t work. At one point it got so bad, that they had to implement this idea called pit time, which meant that Jeremy spent six hours a week on the phone cold calling, hoping to get lucky.

At the end of that year he said to his parents that if this is what it was going to be like working at the family business, he didn’t want to be part of it. It was at that point that his father gave him the best advice of his career. He said:

It is not about the business you’ve built. It’s about the business you are building

From that point onwards Jeremy decided to invest in branding. He studied their customers, the market, and studied his competitors. It was at that point that he realized that they didn’t have a brand.

Their recruiting company looked like a law firm or an accounting firm. They were indistinguishable from the masses. It was at that point that he didn’t have a sales problem, he had a brand problem.

And so he embarked on a journey. A branding journey. He learned everything he needed to in terms of branding and he re-branded his businesses. And within nine months, the business turned a corner and rocked into growth mode. It was so successful that even though the 2008/2009 recession crippled the economy, their business grew and they were able to sell the company in 2013.

Now that is the POWER OF BRANDING.


When Jeremy was re-branding his business, the hardest part was brand messaging, a concept he talks about in his book: Sticky Branding. 

The challenge that he faced was that he hated the word recruiter. So he kept on trying to come up with clever ways to describe their positioning. He’d use words like sales, talent agents, or search consultant – what he describes are wishy-washy terms. 

The problem with this is when he started to study their Google Ad Words campaign, he noticed that there was a set of common words that were coming into their website. People were googling “sales recruiter” and “Toronto” and it dawned on Jeremy. That was the language of his customers. And so in three words, he could describe exactly what his company was, which was: sales recruiter in Toronto.

And when he put sales recruiter Toronto on their website, their positioning and SEO took off. And it was that positioning alone that really drove much of their lead generation because it gave people a label on a file folder in their mind. They could categorize them, they could understand them and most importantly, they could search for them.

And so their referrals went up, their repeat customers went up, their credibility with clients went up, but also their search traffic grew exponentially. All of that, getting that brand message, and getting that brand positioning right ended up putting gas on the fire that allowed everything to take off. 


WHAT IS SIMPLE CLARITY? The ability to describe your business and what makes it unique in 10 words or less. And the key to this is simple.

Clarity is very different from say a unique selling proposition or an elevator pitch because the purpose of a USP or unique selling proposition is to catch somebody’s interest  like melts in your mouth, not in your hands or a diamond is forever. Nobody Googles phrases like that. They Google for categories.

And what’s happened since 2000 is Google. And the search engines have got us to think in categorical terms and they’ve actually changed the way we navigate the world. So when you think of what makes a brand sticky, it’s the ability to go to Siri and ask for it. And when you can do that, then you’re increasing the ability for somebody to understand you.

Now, it doesn’t mean that you’re telling the whole story or demonstrating what makes you remarkable, but it is the clarity of communication that actually makes the brand memorable.


Simple clarity is the foundation of everything. And once you’ve got that clarity of message, then the second question is: how do you amplify this? Jeremy calls this a first call advantage, which is how do you get your brand so that people (1) know you (2) like you, and (3) trust you so that they’re not necessarily just Googling for you.

You have a relationship with them. Let’s forget the big guys for a big, but let’s look at a small business, let’s say your favorite restaurant that you go to on a regular basis. They all have that one thing in common   their customers choose them first, but it’s bigger than that.

They think of them first; they refer them first; they come back and back again. They do that not because they have the best product or the best price, but because they know the brand, they like it, they trust it.  And when your customers know you like you and trust you, they will choose you first.

But this is very much a marketing challenge. It’s relationship building. 

How do we connect with people early and often so that when they have a need, they choose you first? This is part of the long game but it creates a huge competitive advantage because now you’re not just spending Google ad dollars trying to be in the path of the search every day.

What you are actually doing is creating a brand that people know and trust. That is worth significant dollars when it comes down to the connection and value that you have with your customers. 

Remember this. If you don’t want to compete based on price, then you need to create something different. 

Relationship building will create that stickiness that will overcome just pure differentiation.



Your brand is built, not at the point of transaction, but before somebody buys or after they buy it. Jeremy calls this concept the 3% rule, which says at any given time, 3% of your customers are buying the rest are not. And so this means you have two kinds of customers, you have active shoppers and inactive buyers.

And when you’re selling, you’re dealing with someone who is an active buyer. When you are branding, you’re dealing with inactive relationships, either prospects or future customers. It is important to have that separation because if you really want to drive the sales needle, then you’ve got to build those relationships early and often so that people know you like you and trust you.

And what you’ll see from a sales performance perspective is you’ll generate more leads and deals will close that much faster. They won’t be just kicking the tires and trying to validate if you’re the right brand for them.


Jeremy and I talk more about the Sticky Brand principles, looking at two interesting examples of brands in Canada that have focused on creating a community around their products, and then we discuss the difference between values that you believe in and ones that can provide your company a competitive advantage, finishing off with Jeremy’s #1 fatal branding mistake a business can make. 

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on principles of a sticky brand, strategic content, examples of how to create a community, and a conversation of the importance of brand values. 


◼ Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn

◼ Follow Jeremy Miller on Twitter 

◼ Check out Sticky Branding, the website

◼ Listen to another episode: Finding Your Business Why Your Brand Purpose with Yulia Stark

The Importance of Color in Branding with Alison Engel

The Importance of Color in Branding with Alison Engel

the branding lab podcast

Tune in as we explore what it takes to build a truly strategic, heartfelt brand.



By Yvonne Ivanescu

Is color really that important in branding? According to this week’s guest, Alison Engels, YES it is. In fact, according to research compiled by Colorcom, consumers “make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on colour alone.”


Alison Engel is a quirky creative designer with a deep unfiltered love for typography, layout and web design. Her background is in personal fashion styling, but when she decided to return to her graphic design career, she wanted to bring in those principles of personal styling and merge the two worlds together. 

In this episode, Alison and I talk about colour theory; the overlap between branding and personal styling and why she chose her particular brand colors when launching her vegan delivery app, 


When designing a brand, every element has a purpose and the color or the images you use, they only need to leave the person wanting more of you. For example, when you go home at the end of the night, after attending a party, you’re probably thinking about the people you met. And in that cause, you are probably remembering specific details.  

You’ll probably remember that guy who wore a really quirky shirt, that girl whose glasses were really cool, or, that person with the bright and quirky hair. If you translate that into branding, it’s exactly the same. You want people to remember you and to take away something from their experience with you. You want to stick in people’s mind because they remember certain things about you and your business. 

Today we are constantly bombarded with advertising on a daily basis, so you really need to capture and keep a person’s attention


As outlined by 99Designs, color theory “is both the science and art of using color. It explains how humans perceive color; and the visual effects of how colors mix, match or contrast with each other. Color theory also involves the messages colors communicate; and the methods used to replicate color.

There are many sides of color — cultural, religious, personal and even emotional. Colors can spark an emotion response, so when you are choosing your particular brand colours, it is important to think about the type of emotional response you’d like to your target audience to feel when they see your brand colors. And if you tie that back to the styling aspect, it’s all about being remembered. 

Known no one remembers the boring ones. No one remembers the Plain Jane. You need to be remembered and your brand needs to pop. You want to pop on the screen or pop on the page when someone is scrolling through Instagram, for example. So if you think about colors, 

And the truth is that each color can represent something different. There are three primary color/emotional categories to consider when selecting colors for design in marketing: warm, cool, and neutral.

Blue, greens, and purples are colors in the cool category and typically evoke emotions of professionalism, authority, and trust. This is why many corporations and financial institutions select cool colors in their branding. 

➡ Neutral colors are often used as secondary colors in branding or design. These colors include white, grays, browns, or black and can be used to “tone down” colors that may otherwise feel overpowering.

➡ Warm colors like bring emotions of joy, happiness, energy, and heat.

Let’s take the example of 🟥 🟥 🟥 — it’s quite a fierce color. It’s powerful. It is the color of blood and fire. The color is often associated with meanings of love, passion, desire, heat, longing, lust, sexuality, anger, danger … you get the point. It’s kind of important. And if you think about it in a real-life situation, you think about red carpet events. So if someone’s rolling out that red carpet, you know that important people around  instantly you’ve got an association. 

But let’s look at the cultural significance of red. In China, culture red represents joy, luck, and happiness. So that is where the spiritual and cultural aspects of color come in. In real life, a lot of brands use red in their branding: Netflix, Youtube, Virgin Airlines, and the American Red Cross.

Brands should also be wary of color pairings. Red-white, for example, evokes medical-related imagery, red-green is all about Christmas and red-yellow are the go-to colors of McDonald’s’.

In the end, it is important that you think about yourself as a brand, while also putting yourself in the shoes of your target market. Your brand needs to obviously attract your target audience. If you think about it in fashion terms, your vibes attracts your tribe.



who we are. | is the world’s first vegan food delivery app. 

It is a new concept in today’s kind of world. You’ve got your key players, you’ve got your Uber eats, you’ve got your Glover, but nothing like exists out there. So when founders Alison and Craig decided to launch their business, they wanted to stand out — to get noticed. 

So the colors that they chose, might not be the kind of colors you would imagine when you think of vegan food. You probably thought green right? Well, the colors of the brand are yellow and black. Why? Well because of what those colors represent.

Branding is all about telling a story, and with those colors, Alison wanted to tell a story that was cheeky. is meant to be a disrupter — edgy, slick, strong, and cool. They wanted to create something that would disrupt the market and go against the norm. 

So they eschewed the typical colors that are often paired with words like healthy and vegan. Instead they chose black and yellow. Why?  First off there is a bit of rebelliousness to black. It’s also got that kind of an underground feeling, and that’s exactly what is. It’s kind of more the rebellious kid on the block. It’s a little bit more underground and the smaller player. But small doesn’t mean I’m less effective. Then there is yellow. Yellow was choose because it is bold, energizing, playful and happy. It’s all about good vibes. 

In this way Alison 


Alison and I talk more about color, understanding that there are a number of things that you need to figure out before you move on to your brand identity and also talking about the importance of mood-boards or vision boards in crafting your visual identity.

Hit play on the episode above for the full conversation on marketing, messaging and more as we step into a new year.