Unknown Origins

Thais Fonseca on Brand Strategy

October 09, 2020 Unknown Origins Season 1 Episode 8
Unknown Origins
Thais Fonseca on Brand Strategy
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Thais Fonseca provides perspective in turning strategic thinking and creativity into brand love, where she has brought this to life across a diverse Brazilian client portfolio, including Grupo Boticário, Beleaf, Beautybox, and Itaú. 

Creativity Without Frontiers available at all relevant book retailers

Stay in touch with Unknown Origins

Music by Iain Mutch

Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/unknownorigins)
Roy Sharples:

Hello, I'm Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast series, the purpose of which is to deliver inspirational conversations with creative industry experts on entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion. Today's focus is on brand, which I have the pleasure of chatting with tyese Fonseca, who is a brand strategist and the head of strategy at Marcus calm Sal, from designer to brand strategist specializing in turning strategic thinking, and creativity into brand love, brought to life across a diverse Brazilian client portfolio, including group or body or county or belief, beauty box, and a toe. Hello, and welcome to ECE.

Thais Fonseca:

Hi, Roy, how are you? Thank you for inviting me or just chat.

Roy Sharples:

or trust me the pleasure and privilege is absolutely mind. So thank you.

Thais Fonseca:

Thank you. Thank you. I'm a huge enthusiastic of any conversation about creativity and bread. And so I expect to be a pleasure to talk to you.

Roy Sharples:

Oh, fantastic. So what what inspired and attracted you into the profession of being a brand strategist?

Thais Fonseca:

Um, well, I have to say before all that, that I have a 15 years acting as a performing as a designer, before becoming a brand strategist. So I think that I was really, I was really lucky to be inspired by people were really working around me very close to me, me as a designer at that time and working very close to the Strategy Team. So I think I was very curious about what they were doing and finding the right links between our works together. So I think I was really lucky to be at first inspired by people who was really close to me. And then, I think my curiosity about the whole process when thinking about how to build a brand, not only about it, the expression, the identity, but about what Rado that, you know, that human, the behavior, the consumer, so everything was really interested in that time.

Roy Sharples:

That's excellent. And what does being a brand strategist mean to you? And who are some of the inspirational examples in the industry that stand out for you? And why?

Thais Fonseca:

This is a good question. Because I think I always thought about strategy and brand is, you have to solve some problems, you have to become a real problem solver. Everything is changing so fast that clients and brands and companies looking for different answers. So I think that part of what we do every day is trying to understand human behavior, trying to solve some problems to to, to generate real positive impact in the end of all that. So I think, again, curiosity is a very important ingredient to solve some problems.

Roy Sharples:

Excellent. And so segwaying into your creative process. How do you make the invisible visible by building brands to ensure a compelling and effective brand message, what the brand stands for the the promise that's that's delivered? And also the brand personality that's conveyed?

Thais Fonseca:

There are many different ways of looking to the right, but I think that there are some, some patterns, some, some paths that you choose that make everything clear. Yeah. So I would say that my first move is to try to frame the problem, no, trying to really listen to the client and trying to listen to the real pain points or sometime to be sensitive about things they're not saying. But trying to understand what motivation what what are the motivations behind the project. So everything begins with a real research. No, I when I start a project, I say to myself, Look, don't assume that you know everything. You're here to learn a lot to listen a lot. And then you're going to do your links, and you're you're in trying to really find the answer. So it's the first move for me is always about going deeper and try to open your mind to understand everything that is there. And sometimes I say I have a joke. I say I really believe in the beauty of the chaos, you know, because a lot of information is beginning and then You try to link to have some insights and try to you start to see some some patterns. Looking to the project looking to the the answer. So I think the first move is to research. And then there's something interesting you say, like trying to, to make things really visible. So I'm a very visual person. So I really have to find some frames to find some way to organize all this information. You've asked me about some inspiration like people. So I am a huge fan of Simon Sinek. Because he was so simple and explained the why, how and what the Golden Circle. So it's a very good example of how to organize some information, some thoughts, After gathering so much information and trying to see the information visually. So this is an important move. And, and there are some tools that you can use, right? So nowadays, we have a lot of apps or our digital platforms like Nero, that always helps you to make the information more visual. Another thing I really think about every time I'm really building different cards, it's the sentence again about Simon Sinek that start with why no, because everything begins, for us everything begin with this question. So it's, it could be about knowing the real reasons for that motivated project. But talking about brands, if you have a really consistent and true purpose of your brand, then everything else will be much easier, you know, used to say that when you find this verbose or if you reveal it, it will really serves as a tool to make better decisions. Yeah. So once you gather all the information once you start to see the patterns and and the first answer the first insights, I think the first conclusion, when you really look into like branding project or trying to find an answer is to, to search for this, why this is a very important part of our job as well.

Roy Sharples:

Is there any kind of tools and techniques, methods and technologies that you apply as an enabler to your creative process?

Thais Fonseca:

I really consider myself a lifelong learner, you know, so, in the beginning, I fell look backwards, I say, look, I really learned by doing, I studied communication, I didn't say to design at first so but my first formal job was as a web designer in the 2000s right before the.com bubble so it was a very interesting time to to start all these. And I think another another another, Borden directories to anyone who thinks about becoming a brand strategist is to understand that everything is changing so fast. You can say that projects have this place in my life, you know, every project is is a chance to learn about something different to learn about some different subject so I try to balance some technical reading to inspirational reading manual activities, like you can select drawing with my kids or going to a museum. I really like to walk on the streets I know that now it's it's not what we should do in a pandemic moment but walking on the streets, trying to push yourself from from your own bubble. You know, you have to it's almost like practicing diversity in your only your own daily life. Yes. So I think this is this is the some techniques, I guess a method that I use to to balance the what is technical to everything you cannot lose when you're dealing with so many so many concepts and you have to have so many insights about some problems.

Roy Sharples:

Absolutely. I love your point there around the human aspect of it in forcing yourself to detach yourself from the bubble in the status quo so that you can look outside in and I think that your other point around getting out and just observing every day, life and things and infusing that back into to your work in the right way. I think that's a really compelling aspect.

Thais Fonseca:

You know, you know, right what I love to do when I travel, I love to go to the supermarket. Yes, yeah. Different drug products, the way people behave in the malls, what they buy, and all the feeling of all that walking on the streets go into cafes. Yeah, sometimes I get myself, okay, we're going to different CD to vacation and oh, their displays to go another place to go. And if you if I could say, Look, I'm really interesting walking in the streets and into to, to know what people what they eat, how they talk how they dress. So I love to pretend at the very Airbnb lifestyle, I like to pretend I live somewhere else,

Roy Sharples:

to your point around the supermarket, that's a great way of really understanding the culture of a place, not just from a brand perspective, but your point around the food that people eat, because the food is so quintessential of a culture.

Thais Fonseca:

And you know, another perspective is that, that if you think about clients and companies, it's almost the same thing. Because it's like when when you go for the first time to, to to client's office, for example, you have to be very aware of that place people. And that plays, how they communicate the culture of that organization. So it's a, it's a very interesting point of view as well.

Roy Sharples:

What would you typically say that those core skills are this needed to be a brand strategist,

Thais Fonseca:

when we think about a designer, it's easy to say that you have different profiles, probably, you know, some designer that they're very good at doing a logo, because he has a very synthetic way of thinking or another, another designer that you may know that it's really good tutorial, because he's very good in gathering information and give it to the right hierarchy of all that. So I like to think the same way for strategist, you have different profiles. So it's very common that sometimes people who come who come from advertisement or more creative fields, they would be very good in writing in telling stories, in finding good insights to really make a brand become a real inspiring brand. And you also have some another different profile, that it's more almost like an engineer, you know, they're very good in brain architecture, they're very good at making decisions and, and decision trees and things like that. So I would say, again, I think for the first for the third time, that curiosity, I think it's a very important soft skew. I like to say that it's very important to organize your thoughts and know how to tell the story, how to make some powerful story behind that brand. And of course, you have to do help your claim to make all of all that story become true, you know, like, okay, so after you have that good platform for your brand, how do you help your client to, to turn all that into something concrete and to real real initiatives and real actions around that brand. So in the beginning, you have to be very conceptual and very sensitive about everything you're learning. And in the process. It's like becoming more concrete and trying to make all those things becoming true. One thing that we say that in life is concise is that we hate when a project our worst nightmare is when a project stops on the keynote, you know, it's very beautiful on the screen, but what we really like to see and it's our everyday mission, it's to bring things to real life. Yeah, real impact. So I think Alison do skills of Okay, we're very conceptual, very creative. And but once you got there, you have to make things concrete. And so there are different skills to, to, to manage here. And sometimes they're not, they're not going to be to have all these skills. So it's very important to collaborate with other people in your team to find people who, who will complete your skills to make a better project and better a better work in the end.

Roy Sharples:

If you were 18. Again, a new what you do now, what would you do differently if I told anything?

Thais Fonseca:

Good. Oh, I think Never assume that a project is similar to another one may look like but you can read similar results by following different paths. So never assume you already know everything about something. So that's why curiosity, it's a very, it's a, it's important for me. Another thing that I learned that it's the the, we can say the shadow of being very curious is that don't go too deep. Or you can drown in our own information, you know, sometimes less is really more. So keep to the client, to the team, all the information they need, but only what they need, which is completely different from giving all the information you have, you know, I can I can when I look backwards, I made it some mistakes when fallen in love with all the data I had. And, and sometimes I have deserted you one yard is to not fall asleep, right? You want your ideas to fall in love with your ideas. So be curious, but take care of this information to tell the best story. The only what's in front with information people need not all the information. No, that's a great insight, I guess. And when I look backwards, I would tell myself not to worry too much about stability. You know, I think I grew up in a family where everything was very stable in terms of no works, jobs and salaries and everything. So it doesn't exist you never do. Of course, the models are changing a lot, you know, the models, the business models of agencies and advertisement and everything. But probably many young creatives will never have a formal jobs, but projects, you know, like freelancers, it's more and more, it's happening. But when I look back, I think I really explore different fields. And I feel very happy with what I did studying as a web designer in the 90s and never feeling 100% satisfied in a good way. I was pushing myself to something new. So that is as a web designer and becoming a brand strategist. I think it's a it made all sense for me in my in my career.

Roy Sharples:

What's your vision for the future of brands?

Thais Fonseca:

I think I've always seen brands very connected to to people behaviors, you know, it's a reflect of what people want what people need and when people leave, or it should be very connected to what people believe. So I think before the Coronavirus, we were already saying a lot that we couldn't hear dissensus anymore, like the world is changing. Yeah. Okay, we already know that. But everything was really accelerated in the last month, right, because of the crisis and everything. So what we already see is that I think that maybe for the first time of this, this conversation about rent purpose. For the first time, I really side, working, having a really important role in our CEOs and companies to make some decisions, some hard decisions. It's like for the first time ago, let's look to everything we did until now everything we believe everything we said we believe and we truly believe, to make better decisions and for making better decisions. I'm saying like buying 2000 people or the seat, decide if we're going to launch a new project or a new service. How are we caring about our our employees? And so I think it's the first time I heard from a client, she said, Guys, look, it's the first time that I told my client that Okay, we're going to deliver everything you need in two days. And the question she got back from her client was Okay, thank you. But let me know. How are you taking care of your employees so they can deliver me everything I need in two days? Yes. So she said this is new, you know, people are. I'm not naive to say that everything will stay as it is. Maybe we will forget part of it. I hope not. But I think as everything in life, we're going to have good changes and not many changes as we wanted to. What we're seeing right now is it's I think it's a very interesting era for brands. I see people looking for brands and looking for the companies they work for example, with a very hope of press, you know, yeah, looking forward something that is While everything is changing and moving so fast around, maybe the place I work or maybe the brains I really feel connected to, are going to be going to play this important role in people's life to, to, to make good impact. it for me that I worked with brains, I have to believe this in this as a future not only as a dream, you know, it's, it's time for when you say, brands have a positioning, it's like, I love for example, the some brands here in Brazil, like Neruda. It's a cosmetic very important in with a very an excellent working not only in branding, but in positioning, about sustainability about diversity in giving to their they have a huge sales, Harkness direct sales operation. So it's like more than a million women that work for and selling their products. So they have a very important role in their lives. And, and they're really intrapreneurs. You know, yes. If we, if we another example, I love it's Ben and Jerry's, you know, it's an ice cream brand. It couldn't be more simple, but the way they they, they positioned ourselves in some important things for them, like diversity and everything else. It's a it's very inspiring. And I really wait for a time where we're going to see more brands like that. Yes. And not only because it's profitable, but also because it's profitable. And also because it's it's doing, it's doing change for good. Thank you, ty. So that was really interesting. Thank you for this conversation. It was a huge pleasure to talk about things that inspired me every day and to share with your audience. Thank you so much.

Roy Sharples:

For more information about Thais:

https:

//www.linkedin.com/in/thaisfonseca/. For more inspirational conversations with creative industry experts on entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film and fashion - please go to the unknown origins website at unknownorigins.com

What inspired and attracted you to becoming a Brand Strategist?
What is your Creative Process?
What are the key skills needed to be a Brand Strategist?
What are your lessons learned: pitfalls to avoid and keys to success?
What is your vision for the future of Brands?