Cheale is the CEO and visionary rabbit of Visual Caffeine and for 25 years has stayed true to her authentic self and worked exclusively through her branding agency to help clients magnify and broadcast their message. Currently, visual caffeine continues to bring companies and communities’ goals to fruition, not only by building messages and magnifying voices but by building and magnifying a relationship.
Let's talk about Instagram a little bit. What is one of the biggest mistakes that people are making on Instagram?
Honestly, it's amazing to me, it seems to be the same mistake people have been making since Instagram started. It's the over promoting! People tend to stay really imbalanced with the amount that they're driving really quality-driven content that feeds their credibility, feeds their brand, and instead, they make their channel about sales.
What are a few ways for a company to put their brand out there to exemplify their brand in social media?
I honestly think it's two C's, it's content and consistency. Being consistent about who you say you are and who you are trying to be out there in the world and being perceived in an authentic way. But then also putting out quality content that you know your target market would be interested in and freely give it, don't hold back.
So let's talk about the websites a little bit. What mistakes do companies make with their website that affects the user experience?
First off, people approached the website, a lot of times as just kind of this online brochure, that is how the website started. I was in the midst of the web boom, that's when I started my company and it was all about making your website this online brochure like it was so great to even have a website. But now and for a long time, your website needs to be this fluid, organic space that you're nurturing your users that are coming in, because that glimmering back button is always there, and you have a very short period of time that you have to pull them in. Once they get there, they want to be pulled into a culture that is your brand, want to find what they are seeking and why they're there. So they want to be understood, they want to find what they were looking for when they found you. If you don't quickly give that to them, you are going to lose them as fast as they came in. Part of that is making things as easily communicated as well. I like the term "frictionless as possible", meaning that they have the least amount of steps to get what they want, and also for you to get a sale with them.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
Well gosh, I've had so many! I basically built my business on networking and relationship and I would say, it is one of the best ways to grow your business organically. I mean, yes, we would love our businesses to grow at an exponential speed. But to have relationships to build loyalty amongst groups of people, and to nurture that over time, and as well as that adds the circle is just an amazing thing, and I've been that is how I've grown for over over 25 years. But I would say my best networking experiences have been recently when I got involved with Highbury. It's an organization that was actually a co-working space in San Francisco. I read about Grace, who had started the organization several years ago, but when the pandemic happened, it was solely in San Francisco. When the pandemic happened, I was like, "Oh, I wonder if they have created a virtual space," and she has successfully created such a community of women and trust in her circle with everyone who is a member, and she did open it up into a virtual space. Ever since I've joined that community, I've just had these amazing connections with very like-minded women and I've actually even pulled some other people in my own network over there because I thought that they would love the experience as well. Of course, it gives me the feeling of obviously, a West Coast culture is very much in there, but it's in a great and fantastic way. To me, it all has to do with Grace's leadership as to why that has happened. Even our zooms are just very engaging, and where we've seen a lot of tiredness with doing zooms, she has successfully continued to implement zooms that are engaging, and you feel like you're always coming away with inspiration. It's just been truly incredible.
I love that you've identified a community with like-minded individuals, that can be so powerful. I'm sure it's helped to maintain a positive mindset to be around some like-minded individuals, but I would imagine there's been some growth to your business from that as well.
Oh, absolutely. I feel like one of the key things that I have done through my years of networking is diversification. So always diversifying the circles you're in because one of the values you deliver relationships is having relationships that they don't have. Well, the only way you can have that is to be always diversifying the circles and relationships you're building. By doing that our virtual sense has allowed us to expand our circles globally, which is really one of the best ways to help connect your existing contacts with new contacts that could be across the ocean, but they still would be great opportunities for them. That's something that I've always sought to do in my relationships. It's never about what I'm going to get out of it, it's about what I can do to serve others. I feel like when we approach relationships with a self-serving mentality, we're really no different than that sales guy at the carwash, you know, it's kind of putting a relationship face on while I'm just trying to sell you.
So regardless of the size of your network and your community, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?
That would be taking the extra time to connect and check-in. Even if it's just an email, or if it's a DM on social media, or it's sharing something they have going on in social media, there are ways that you can continue to nurture those relationships and keep that connection alive. It doesn't always mean that you have to be taking 30 minutes aside or an hour aside to have a coffee meet up or something. There are always ways that we can show that we support and we are trying to serve them in our relationships.
What advice would you offer to business professionals looking to grow their network?
First, I would say to think about what type of relationships are you really wanting to build. Some people's goals are to obviously grow their business, get more clients, then you need to look in areas where are those potential clients. Then start looking at those places to start networking, to start nurturing. I mean that's even the wisdom of you know when we are in social media. Where should we be having and starting conversations? Well, it's where our target is. But if you're looking to, I don't know, get into a publication or something like that, then you're going to want to start building relationships with journalists and people of that nature. So really to me, the choices, you may have to do with the goals you have. I have always wanted to make sure that where I'm building relationships has a lot to do also with community give back and where we can best serve the community as a whole because that's where we always should start is supporting our local community. Sometimes the best people you can meet are also ones with that community-minded service and you find your people there. If you're minded that way, you're going to find your tribe that way and then expand out from there.
Let's go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I first would tell myself to trust my instincts. There are many times where I ignore my instincts, because I heard something that influenced me differently, or I allowed someone to sway me differently. My gut has always been the center in which I have best-made decisions and moved forward. By trusting that those were always where I look back at my history, and that's always where I was on the right path. The things that I would tell my 20-year-old self to avoid doing is making sure that you are always continuing to lead in a heart and service and never veer away from that road as well.
So we've all heard of the six degrees of separation, who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with, and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
Sophia Amoruso from Girl Boss. I actually looked her up on LinkedIn and I am three degrees away from her. That was really cool because she is someone who would really be an amazing coffee chat with.
What would you ask?
I would ask about her soul and the passion that drives her. Digging Deeper into what has driven her all of this time and also about her tenacity to keep herself always shifting and doing what she needs to keep moving forward. I have a lot of admiration for her. I think she's an amazing woman, and she's someone I feel like, has even more wisdom than she has put out there that a really deep conversation would reveal.
Do you have any final word or advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I would say, just continue to be authentic, transparent, be of service, always think with a service mind. This is how we best serve our clients, this is how we best can show love to everybody that we engage with a meet. And never treat someone with your preconceived judgments, always treat everybody like they're Oprah Winfrey. Because when you make preconceived notions about people, it does affect how you will treat them and you always should treat everyone as if they are a superstar.
Connect with Cheale:
Visual Caffeine’s website: https://visualcaffeine.com/