Turning Creatives into Strategic Thinkers - Anneli Hansson

Last Updated: 

May 25, 2024

Anneli Hansson is the Swedish sustainability award-winning Brand strategist and author of the best-selling course Brand Strategy Fundamentals together with The Futur. On a mission to create sustainable brands for the future, she now educates through her own programs, helping creatives transform into strategic thinkers. Her 20+ years of experience spans from both international client work and coaching start-ups, to being the CBO and CMO of Lantmännen, a multi-billion-dollar company and Northern Europe's leader in agriculture, machinery, bioenergy, and food products.

Connect on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/theannelihansson/
And follow Anneli on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/theannelihansso

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Key Takeaways: Turning Creatives into Strategic Thinkers

  1. Investing in Strategic Support - Surround yourself with experts who can guide your brand development, such as a brand strategist to craft a clear brand message and cohesive identity.
  2. Content Creation with a Plan - Identify content pillars, batch create content, and use scheduling tools to stay organised and ahead of schedule.
  3. The Power of Community - Engage on social media, find online communities, and collaborate with other creatives to build a supportive network.
  4. Social Media Strategies for Business Growth - Tailor content to each platform, use relevant hashtags, and experiment with different formats to keep your audience engaged.
Discover Real-World Success Stories

Building a Strategic Brand with Content and Community (and a Dash of Support)

This section dives into several key areas for creatives looking to build a strategic brand. Let's unpack each point and see how you can leverage them in your own creative journey.

Investing in Strategic Support:

The interview highlights the value Anneli found in working with a brand strategist like Dan. This emphasises the importance of surrounding yourself with experts who can guide your brand development. Consider seeking guidance from a brand strategist who can help you:

  • Craft a clear brand message: A strategist can help you define your brand's core values and unique selling proposition, ensuring your message resonates with your target audience.
  • Develop a cohesive brand identity: This includes your visual elements like logo, colours, and fonts, but also your brand voice and personality.

Content Creation with a Plan:

Anneli's struggle with a growing following highlights the need for a content creation plan. Here are some tips to get organised:

  • Identify your content pillars: These are the core topics you'll focus on, ensuring your content remains relevant and valuable to your audience.
  • Batch content creation: Schedule dedicated time for filming, writing, or designing content. This will help you stay ahead of schedule and avoid last-minute scrambles.
  • Utilise scheduling tools: Many platforms allow you to schedule posts in advance, freeing up your time to focus on other creative pursuits.

The Power of Community:

The discussion about the importance of a supportive community underscores the value of connecting with like-minded individuals. Here's how to build your community:

  • Engage on social media: Respond to comments, participate in relevant discussions, and host live Q&A sessions.
  • Find online communities: Look for Facebook groups, LinkedIn forums, or online communities specific to your niche.
  • Collaborate with other creatives: Partnering with others can expand your reach and introduce you to new audiences.

The New Podcast and Brand Expertise:

The glimpse into the upcoming podcast focused on coaches, consultants, and freelancers is exciting! This reinforces the distinction between a brand strategist (who focuses on long-term planning and brand development) and a branding expert (who might specialise in visual identity creation).

Social Media Strategies for Business Growth:

The conversation about the challenges of reaching an audience on LinkedIn and Instagram showcases the ever-evolving social media landscape. Here are some additional tips:

  • Tailor your content to each platform: Understand the audience and posting style specific to each platform.
  • Utilise relevant hashtags: Hashtags help people discover your content, but avoid overdoing it.
  • Experiment with different formats: Try incorporating video, stories, and live streams to keep your audience engaged.

By incorporating these strategic elements and leveraging the power of community, creatives can build strong and sustainable brands that resonate with their target audience.

From Creative to Strategic: Building a Brand for Business Growth

This section dives into the heart of Anneli Hansson's interview with Robin. Here, we explore how creatives can move from artistic expression to strategic thinking to build a brand that fuels business growth.

Building a Strong Brand Foundation:

The conversation emphasises the importance of a strong brand foundation. This isn't just about a catchy logo; it's about establishing a clear and consistent identity that resonates with your ideal clients. A strong brand foundation allows you to:

  • Command Attention: In a crowded marketplace, your brand needs to stand out. A strong foundation lays the groundwork for effective marketing and communication.
  • Build Trust and Credibility: Potential clients are more likely to invest in a brand they understand and trust.
  • Attract Your Ideal Clients: By clearly defining your brand and target audience, you attract clients who are a perfect fit for your services.

Strategic Growth Through Targeted Value:

Anneli and Robin highlight the importance of defining a clear target audience and delivering value to them. This isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Understanding your ideal client's needs and challenges allows you to tailor your services and messaging for maximum impact.

Collaboration is Key:

The interview emphasises the power of collaboration and networking for business development. Building relationships with other creatives can lead to exciting opportunities, such as joint projects or referrals. Here are some ways to foster collaboration:

  • Connect with other creatives in your niche: Attend industry events, join online communities, or co-host workshops.
  • Offer complementary services: Collaborate with creatives who offer services that complement your own.
  • Look for mutually beneficial partnerships: Explore opportunities where you can both leverage each other's audiences.

Standing Out in a Crowded Market:

The discussion tackles the challenges faced by creatives and freelancers. In a competitive marketplace, it's crucial to have clear positioning and demonstrate your unique abilities to potential clients. Here are some tips for standing out:

  • Identify your unique selling proposition (USP): What sets you apart from other creatives? What specific value do you bring to the table?
  • Showcase your expertise: Create content that demonstrates your skills and knowledge. This could include blog posts, case studies, or portfolio pieces.
  • Network strategically: Attend events where you can connect with potential clients and industry professionals.

By following these steps, creatives can build a strong brand that attracts their ideal clients, fosters collaboration, and positions them for long-term success. We'll explore the next section of the interview, which dives into the world of social media marketing and the delicate balance between short-term gains and long-term brand building.

The Creative Mindset: Self-Awareness and Lifelong Learning

This section dives into the growth mindset essential for creative entrepreneurs. Anneli and Robin discuss self-awareness, continuous learning, and overcoming self-doubt to build a thriving business.

Knowing Your Strengths (and Weaknesses):

Self-awareness is key. Anneli emphasises objectively assessing your skills before taking on new challenges. This ensures you avoid overextending yourself and deliver high-quality work.

Experience Fuels Expertise:

Robin highlights the importance of experience in building expertise. This doesn't mean waiting on the sidelines forever. Start with smaller projects and gradually build your experience.

Confidence vs. Imposter Syndrome:

Finding the balance between confidence and self-doubt is crucial. Anneli discusses her struggles with communicating marketing ideas. Robin encourages her to overcome this – your expertise is valuable!

Surround Yourself with Success:

The interview emphasises the power of surrounding yourself with successful individuals. Mentorship, collaboration, and learning from others' experiences can accelerate your growth.

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone:

Growth often requires stepping outside your comfort zone. Take calculated risks and embrace new challenges to push your boundaries and develop your skills.

By embracing self-awareness, continuous learning, and a growth mindset, creative entrepreneurs can overcome self-doubt, build confidence, and achieve lasting success.

Anneli's Journey: From Advertising to Purpose Coach

Based on the information you provided, Anneli's story seems like a fascinating example of career pivoting and purpose discovery. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Evolution: Anneli's journey took her through different roles in the creative field, from advertising to branding and eventually leadership as a Chief Brand Officer. This shows a willingness to learn and adapt.
  • The Power of Influence: Robin introducing her to Guy Kawasaki's book "The Unfair Advantage" suggests Anneli is open to learning from others and exploring new ideas, particularly around design thinking and innovation.
  • Value of Diverse Skills: Anneli emphasises the importance of a diverse skill set. This likely helped her navigate different roles and eventually land a leadership position.
  • Shifting Priorities: The pandemic seems to have been a turning point for Anneli. It led her to re-evaluate her purpose and discover her passion for nurturing creative talent.
  • New Focus: Anneli's future plans to focus on coaching and teaching suggest a desire to share her knowledge and experience to help others find their own creative paths and purpose.

Here are some additional thoughts and questions that might be helpful:

  • What specific challenges did Anneli face in her career transitions?
  • How did her diverse skills benefit her as a Chief Brand Officer?
  • What specific aspects of coaching and teaching excite Anneli?
  • Will she incorporate design thinking and innovation into her coaching approach?

By exploring these questions further, you can gain a deeper understanding of Anneli's journey and its potential impact on others. It's also a great example for anyone considering a career change or simply looking for ways to find more purpose in their work.

Anneli's Sustainability Mission: Empowering Creatives

This conversation highlights Anneli's dedication to sustainable practices and her passion for empowering creatives. Here are some key points:

  • Sustainability Expertise: Anneli has extensive experience in coaching and supporting startups, specifically those focused on sustainability. This suggests she's a valuable resource in this growing field.
  • Mentorship: Anneli's mentorship under Christo likely played a significant role in her development as a coach. It demonstrates her commitment to continuous learning and her belief in the power of mentorship.
  • Community Focus: Anneli's efforts to empower the creative community showcase her desire to give back and help others succeed.
  • Brand School Vision: Her vision of creating a brand school for sustainability-focused creatives is an innovative approach to combining her coaching experience with sustainability principles.
  • Supportive Network: Robin's encouragement and openness to discussing pricing suggests Anneli has a supportive network that values her expertise.

Here are some additional thoughts and questions:

  • What specific challenges do sustainable startups face, and how does Anneli's coaching address them?
  • What kind of curriculum would Anneli's brand school offer?
  • How can Anneli leverage her own experience of needing a mentor to create an effective coaching program?

By exploring these questions, you can gain a deeper understanding of Anneli's impact and the potential of her brand school for fostering the next generation of sustainable creatives.

Anneli and Robin: Cultivating Growth and Embracing Shadow

This conversation dives into the importance of personal development for both individuals and professionals. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Growth Mindset: Both Anneli and Robin emphasise the importance of personal and professional growth. This includes self-coaching, trusting one's intuition, and surrounding oneself with positive influences.
  • Shadow Work and Imposter Syndrome: They delve into the concept of shadow work, exploring its connection to imposter syndrome. Shadow work involves acknowledging and integrating repressed aspects of ourselves, even if they trigger us. They view learning from people who trigger us as an opportunity for growth.
  • Collaboration and Future Exploration: Planning a future discussion with Madison suggests a collaborative approach to exploring these topics further. This indicates a commitment to continuous learning and open dialogue.
  • The Power of Podcasting: Their podcast highlights the value of sharing knowledge and experiences through accessible media.
  • Positioning and Niching: Discussing positioning and mistakes in this context suggests they use their platform to educate others about branding and self-presentation. Anneli's interest in niching further emphasises the importance of strategic positioning for success.

Here are some additional thoughts and questions:

  • How do Anneli and Robin incorporate self-coaching practices into their own lives?
  • What specific aspects of shadow work do they plan to explore with Madison?
  • How can their podcast be used as a tool for helping others overcome imposter syndrome?
  • What resources might they recommend for listeners interested in learning more about positioning and niching?

Redefining the Brand Strategist: Core Strengths and Building Expertise

This conversation highlights Anneli and Robin's focus on defining the role of a brand strategist and developing personal expertise. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Elevating Brand Strategy: Anneli wants to reclaim the value of brand strategists by emphasising their role in marketing, branding, and product development. This suggests a desire to broaden the public's understanding of this profession.
  • Focus on Core Competencies: Robin emphasises the importance of identifying and focusing on core competencies. This is valuable advice for anyone in a service-based business, including brand strategists.
  • Building Expertise Through Frameworks: Anneli's development of frameworks for personal branding and client work showcases her ability to translate experience into actionable strategies. These frameworks could be the foundation for a valuable book.
  • Strategic Book Writing: Robin's experience highlights the importance of writing a book that aligns with your target audience. A brand strategist's book should attract and educate the type of clients they want to work with.
  • Standing Out in a Crowded Space: They acknowledge the abundance of personal branding resources and the challenge of creating a unique book. This requires a clear value proposition and a specific audience focus.

Here are some additional thoughts and questions:

  • What specific challenges do brand strategists face in conveying their value proposition?
  • How can Anneli's frameworks be effectively presented in a book format?
  • What unique perspective or insights could Anneli bring to the personal branding discussion?
  • How can they target their book towards a specific niche within the brand strategy field?

Anneli's Evolution: From Broker to Sustainable Brand Champion

This conversation highlights Anneli's evolving career path and her desire to make a positive impact. Here's a breakdown of the key points:

  • Shifting Gears: Anneli's transition from broker to brand builder showcases a significant career change. Perhaps the world of finance no longer aligned with her values, and building brands offered a more creative and human-centric approach.
  • Focus on Small Business: Her desire to work with smaller businesses suggests a passion for helping underdogs and fostering authentic connections.
  • Sustainability Spark: Anneli's growing interest in sustainability highlights her commitment to social responsibility. Perhaps she sees an opportunity to combine brand building with creating a positive environmental impact.
  • Collaboration with Matt: The desire to collaborate with Matt's sustainability podcast suggests she's looking to expand her reach and contribute to the conversation around sustainability.
  • Content Creation Powerhouse: Both Anneli and Robin discussing content creation and public speaking showcases their understanding of the importance of sharing knowledge and building an audience.
  • The Power of Vulnerability: Anneli's experience with vulnerability in public speaking is interesting. While it can be a source of growth and connection, it can also attract criticism. This highlights the courage it takes to be authentic in a public forum.

Possible areas for further exploration:

  • What specific challenges do smaller businesses face when building their brands?
  • How can brand building practices be adapted to incorporate sustainability principles?
  • What message does Anneli hope to convey through collaboration with Matt's podcast?

Anneli and Robin: Building a Supportive Network and Leveraging Key Person of Influence

This conversation focuses on professional development and strategic goal setting. Here's a breakdown:

  • The Power of Mentorship: Both Anneli and Robin mention Chris Do , highlighting the importance of having a supportive network for professional growth.
  • Building a Strong Network: Glenn, Mike, Reece, and Kathy are likely additional members of their professional network who contribute to their success.
  • KPIs for Growth: Their discussion of KPIs suggests a data-driven approach to achieving goals.
  • Robin's Niche: Solopreneurs: Robin's focus on helping self-employed individuals, particularly one-person businesses, reach specific income tax thresholds demonstrates a well-defined niche within financial coaching.
  • Client Success Stories: Robin sharing success stories adds credibility to her program and showcases the value she provides.
  • Financial Coaching Program: The details about Robin's program, including weekly calls, role-play exercises, and a $500 monthly fee, give Anneli a clear picture of the service offered.

Navigating the Brand Strategy Landscape: Challenges and Collaboration

This conversation dives into the world of brand strategy, exploring the challenges and opportunities Anneli and Robin face while offering their services. Here's a breakdown of the key points:

Client Landscape:

  • Startups and Agencies: They discuss working with both startups and agencies, highlighting the need to tailor their approach to each client type.
  • Anneli's Client Success: Sharing her successful client call demonstrates Anneli's effectiveness in providing brand strategy services.

Service Evolution:

  • Packaging Services: Exploring the idea of packaging their services suggests a desire to streamline their offerings and potentially scale their business.
  • Brand Strategy Training: Offering training for creative agencies positions them as thought leaders in the field and creates a new revenue stream.

Industry Shifts:

  • Structured Approach: Their emphasis on a structured approach highlights the importance of a well-defined brand strategy process for achieving client goals.
  • Direct Sales: The shift from proposal-based sales to direct sales calls suggests a more efficient and client-centric approach.
  • Confidence in Pricing: Their discussion about building confidence in sharing prices indicates a potential hurdle for some brand strategists, particularly during client calls.

Collaboration and Support:

Helping Chris: Their willingness to help Chris with self-promotion showcases their commitment to supporting others in the field.

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