How the h*** do you create a portfolio that reflects personal brand strategy in action? Turns out it's not that hard at all, you simply let the intros talk for you.
If you understand what they do and why it matters at first sight, that’s the stuff right there.
But go ahead, press the ‘read more’ button to learn about the struggles each of these brilliant individuals faced and how I worked with them to find the angle that helped them communicate with confidence.
Team Architect - Here to design high performing teams
Great teams don’t magically come together. I guide innovation leads to clarify their business challenge, define roles they need on the team and find the balance between business priorities and available resources to get the job done.
Ángel is the most brilliant guy I ever met. Ok, ok, I might be a bit biased considering he is my other half. Though there is something to say for an Aerospace Engineer turned Innovation Consultant and turned Entrepreneur. He has to have some brilliance to him.
As much as I love him, he has to be the most difficult of the cases on this portfolio. He is one of those that can say that you could hire him to do almost anything in a company. And though that is a blessing, it’s a brand strategist’s worst nightmare. After all, you can’t be everything to everyone. And Ángel is one of those that asking him to decide on something involving himself is like asking him to climb Everest.
Working with your other half is a roller-coaster of emotions, at the very least. One moment you feel like you are flying, making progress. And the very next moment, you are in tears wanting to smash his head against the wall. I do have to say that the suffering was well worth it. He’s my Team Architect!
“One moment I was cruising through life, living a young entrepreneur’s life. And then, out of the blue, bam! Maja came into my life. On a personal level, she has become my everything. On a professional level, she is that little voice, but loud, in the back of my head. She helps me think strategically and stay on track when it comes to developing my brand." - Ángel Figueroa Mayordomo
Ecological Engineer - Helping cities safeguard urban green
Urban planners are faced with the grueling task of making urban forestry decisions in the dark. I show them how to apply today’s technology, so they can make better decisions to secure a greener urban future for all.
I remember looking at Nadina’s LinkedIn and feeling slightly intimated by her extensive and impressive profile, one that most people are unlikely to build in a lifetime, and thinking “Could I really help her?”
Nadina knew that she was at that stage in her career in which positioning herself as a brand would accelerate her professional growth. The problem was that sometimes it’s hard to take so many achievements and find a way to group them in a coherent story.
Working with Nadina was one of those rare occasions in which there is too much brilliance to choose from. We had to go through many, many scientific accomplishments and create a simple message anyone could understand. And, more importantly, find that one topic Nadina could use to position herself as the expert.
“After finishing my Ph.D., I needed to hone in on the common thread that tied my work together: the Internet of Nature. Maja was instrumental in this process. Together, we chipped away at my core message until we knew it would strike a chord with the people I wanted to reach. Maja helped me develop my brand based on my personality and my values. I couldn’t have done it without her, and I continue to reap the benefits of our collaboration every single day.” - Nadina Galle
On that note, take a look at LinkedIn & website of this amazing ecological engineer who developed the Internet of Nature: a framework that helps urban ecologists and planners get the insights they need to make urban ecosystems flourish.
Brand Strategist - Helping companies develop a strong digital identity
Many companies don’t do themselves justice when it comes to digital. I help them define a clear message and identify the right digital channels so they can effectively communicate with their audience online.
Once upon a time, 3-years ago, Carole and I met in a virtual classroom. Two procrastinators paired up as peer-to-peer coaches who managed to meet every deadline a full 2 minutes ahead of time to become certified Brand the Change trainers.
Carole’s challenge was deciding which angle to take in her brand positioning. She was clear on what she loves to do but wanted to find the right balance between her rock-solid reputation, skills, and personal growth ambitions.
I was surprised that Carole wanted to join my training. After all, we followed the same branding course, and she was far more experienced than I was. But then I remembered that a year earlier I paid another company to build our company website. When it comes to branding and marketing, sometimes it’s just easier to see ‘it’ when it’s not your own.
Carole can take any brand and make sure their digital identity matches their offline reputation as they virtually engage with a much bigger audience. My role was simply to step into the shoes of the customer and challenge her choices until there was a story that felt right to tell and resonated with her clients.
“As a brand strategist myself, I enjoy helping people stand out online. But when the time came to revamp my own digital presence, I found myself struggling to decide what to focus on. Maja is not afraid to share her sharp point of view in a caring approach. Her magical touch helped me clarify both my brand and business positioning as a whole. It went so well that I continue to have a coaching session with her every month.”
- Carole Haine
Brand Designer - Designing graphics that brighten up your brand
Many great business initiatives get lost in the crowd. I help companies design a brand that radiates quality and trust, so they stand out and leave a lasting impression on the people that need them the most.
Elena is a super talented designer, no doubt there. In Russia, she always got work through referrals, her award-winning portfolio was enough to keep the projects coming in. But that all changed when she moved to the Netherlands.
The problem was that she all of a sudden lost the warm introductions, and she did not have a verbal story to back up her work. And without the words, she struggled to communicate the value of her work in a way that resonated with potential clients.
What was nice about working with Elena is that she knew what she wanted. She just needed to find the right words to explain it in a way that came across as strong as her portfolio. And that's exactly what we did. We rolled up our sleeves and got to writing until we found the words that could live up to her creative designs.
“Maja made me look at myself through the eyes of the client. I realized I was hoping that my designs would do the heavy lifting for me. We crafted a story that, combined with my portfolio, got potential clients talking to me.” - Elena Ivanova
Take a look at the result: LinkedIn & Website
Bamboonaut - Architect & Illustrator fascinated with bamboo
We all have an idea of something we dream of building. And yet, those ideas are in danger of losing much of their magic when they are forced into a grueling and restrictive design process. I make it my goal to turn your idea into reality, so you end up with the building of your dreams.
My husband and I dream of building Tortuga Haven, a one-of-kind business retreat on a hill of a tropical island, with an endless view of the jungle and close to the ocean. And, we're sure Willian will design it for us one day. Going through the first steps of the architectural design process while living in Bali made Willian realize that, though he loves working for great architecture agencies, he is ready to position himself as a freelancer and start building his own studio. And that meant it was time to develop a personal brand.
Willian is one of the most relaxed, easy-going professionals I have met. It was a pleasure to work with someone who can design his own brand. Bamboonaut reflects Willan’s personal and professional quest to keep learning and experimenting with bamboo concepts to fully grasp the limitless architectural possibilities of bamboo. He is an architect by day and an illustrator by night. And he decided to bring his passion for both bamboo architecture and his bamboo-inspired illustrations into one brand.
I helped Willian define his brand design guidelines, organize a photoshoot, and write the website story that positions Bamboonaut as the architect studio Willian envisions in the future. From there on, we left the design in the creative hands of Willian whose work speaks for itself. Take a look at the result on his LinkedIn & Website.
"It’s tough to find the time to think about your positioning. Sometimes you need someone like Maja to ask all painful questions and, more importantly, add that healthy dose of pressure to switch from thinking to getting things done. So proud of all I have done, and what is to come." - Willian González
Artie, Michelle, Rutger, Maria, Belen, Miriam, Laura, Brittany
Building a personal brand starts with deciding what you want to be known for. Finding that clarity is the first step in a long journey towards coming up with a story people can easily understand and the visuals that help them remember you down the line.
Here is what some of the people that took the first step towards building a personal brand thought about the training.
"Do you juggle way too many hats or struggle to separate your own identity from your company? AND recognize that for your business to succeed, people need to know what you do in 1 simple sentence? Well, this workshop is for you. Maja helps you tell the story of YOU! Not only to crystallize your vision, mission, and values but to understand what your overarching value proposition is. This is no small feat, especially if you’re an entrepreneur like me who is wearing too many hats." - Michelle Chakkalackal
"I enjoyed this workshop so much. I was struggling between telling my story vs the story behind my idea, but Maja helped me realize how powerful it is to dive deep inside yourself to find your core values (aka what makes you tick!). I loved the safe space and honest feedback I received from the group. It’s rare to have such a raw opportunity to learn and grow. It’s been months, but I’m still processing and growing from this experience." - Brittany Skara
A high-value workshop to clarify and write up your brand and mission. I did the workshop with an inspiring group that gives feedback generously, which is hard to get to these days! The dynamic of the program urges you to address and finalize something that might have been lingering in your mind for a while - this comes highly recommended! - Laura Talsma