Now more than ever, podcasts have the power to move and transcend the way we digest and integrate information into our daily lives no matter what it is. Local brand strategist and designer, Haylee Jordan, does just that in her podcast, Brand Rebellion. Jordan’s podcast unites several of her core values and beliefs into her work while informing listeners of brand strategies. Brand Rebellion is a platform where listeners will learn how to tell a good story through branding while using those tools and techniques for good. Recently, Jordan spoke with 303 Magazine about why she chose to start a podcast, what it takes to make a good “branding” story and why spirituality is part of her toolkit.
Haylee Jordan: The Brand Rebellion podcast covers a variety of topics including brand strategy, graphic design as well as spirituality. I love how branding and spirituality cross over and I crave conversations that address this. Now, keep in mind –spirituality is not religion. Spirituality is defined as having a connection to something bigger than yourself. If you build brands, you almost always have to be connected to what moves the human spirit.
I am always trying to figure out how to create beautiful brands that are also altruistic and strategic. This podcast is an exploration of these things. We are learning together from artists, designers, spiritual leaders, scientists, and entrepreneurs.
303: Do you feel the freedom to practice your spirituality in your work environment?
HJ: My spiritual practice isn’t a traditional spiritual practice so I have a lot of freedom to express myself in whatever way I see fit. I grew up Christian and I’ve been asking questions about what faith and spirituality mean for me for the past 10 years – the way I practice spirituality is much less structured than the way I grew up to understand spirituality.
I work for myself so I have the freedom to be spiritual all day long. Am I spiritual all day long? Usually no. What I do daily that brings me back to reality and the richness of my sweet, juicy, lovely, full life is practice gratitude in between work, meetings and all the procrastination I take part in – I have seven large black clay gratitude beads I made on a rope by my door and I touch each bead and list seven things I am grateful for every time I walk through my door to leave.
Let’s be real, my spirituality would be pretty unappealing on an Instagram grid. Somedays I am angry and mad about oppression and that too is part of my spiritual practice. Anger can teach us things and I allow it to. There are few green juices and yoga retreats for me. Instead, I do HIIT, ask A LOT of questions, dance with friends, and listen to a lot of music. I hold my nephew as he experiences lightning for the first time, I laugh with my friends in nature, I look at the stars, I travel, I sleep in, I occasionally pray to “God” but with an open mind about who God is. I do a lot, and none of it is structured or fits a religion.
The human experience is my spiritual practice, but ask me again in a few years, my thoughts will be different. That is what the Brand Rebellion is for me – it’s a personal quest to understand more about the world around me. I invite you to learn more too.
303: What inspired the launch of your podcast?
HJ: I wanted to get away from the typical content on branding so that I could talk about things that matter. Conversations on “how to build an email list” or “how to market yourself on LinkedIn” are BORING. Sure, there is a place for those topics but I don’t want to talk about them. What else can we talk about? I am inspired by spirituality in my own life and not having the answers to most things. I am inspired by different world views, experiences and opinions. I am inspired by design, storytelling and compelling conversations.
I try to bring two pieces of my life together — the quest to understand spirituality and brand design. I think about these two things obsessively. Hah!
303: What can listeners expect to learn from Brand Rebellion?
HJ: Sometimes you will just learn about another world view, a brand strategy that I’ve done, some cool lyrics or even how to brand your closet. There is a lot of learning on the Brand Rebellion podcast, but my main goal is to just leave people inspired. I hope you can expect to be inspired!
303: What have you learned through the making of your podcast?
HJ: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that good things take time. I am notorious for jumping into things head first, but with the Brand Rebellion I tried to listen to my gut and I took a lot of time to decide on the kind of content I would want to create. Truth be told, I hadn’t seen content on branding design and spirituality anywhere else so I was creating rather than copying a format for a podcast on branding. It took me months and months to finally choose a name! Another lesson I’ve learned is that I am going to do things my way. I like music, so I have artists come in and we do something called “Storytelling Unplugged” where I have them play and interview them on storytelling and relate it to brand storytelling. Would Gary V. tell me to sit around and talk about music lyrics on a branding podcast? Probably not. But the cool thing about doing your own work is that it is your own. I don’t care if it seems weird or doesn’t fit the format that is expected of a branding podcast.
303: As a brand strategist, what kinds of things do you look for in order to enhance a brand’s visibility and engagement?
HJ: To create a compelling brand, I help companies differentiate while telling a compelling brand story. Brand stories are so important and they can sway people to choose your product, movement, community or whatever you want to sell. Think about how important the Nike story is to the brand. What would Nike be without the narrative of good versus evil and perseverance? It wouldn’t be nearly as powerful. I help people create these stories and I pair the stories with strategic graphic design.
303: How do you see wellness and spirituality link into your creative side?
HJ: I think of spirituality as everything. I see it in everything and there are no separations from creativity and spirituality. We are spiritual and creative beings, that’s it. If you live a holistic life you will find that spirituality and creativity are holding hands. Spirit moves us to love each other well, to tell powerful stories and to ultimately fight for good in our lives. Creativity and spirituality are invisible forces that manifest in amazing ways – but they are always a package deal for me.
303: What are your goals for Brand Rebellion and individually in your career as a designer?
HJ: I have hit a lot of my goals recently as a designer by working with some really cool small brands. I’d like to hone in on my craft even more while getting some good case studies up in the near future. I’d also personally love to create more art. As far as Brand Rebellion goes, my only goal is to keep talking to cool people and getting some badass musicians on.
303: What helps you stay motivated and mentally prepared as a designer and before a podcast interview?
HJ: Coffee keeps me pretty motivated. I also think that telling stories I want to tell and only working with brands that I align with helps me to stay motivated. When my clients get excited about a project, I get excited. I try not to do boring projects, so that helps. As for the podcast, I do my research on my guest, but I like to be as candid and free flowing as possible. When we have real conversations we leave room for inspiration so it’s good to let things flow naturally. I’ve tried to be rigid and have a strict outline for how things should pan out and it makes the result sucky. I guess that is a life lesson, be flexible and don’t have a strict outline.