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IAM1808 – Creative Director Shapes Brands in the DC Metro

Podcast Interview with Reggie Holmes

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”:

In this episode, Gresham Harkless Jr. interviews Reggie Holmes, the owner and creative director of Enthuse Creative, LLC, a B2B brand consulting and design firm based in the Tysons, VA area.

Reggie shares his journey in entrepreneurship, including how he started Enthuse Creative to help businesses and organizations shape their brand identity and communicate their message effectively. He also discusses the importance of having a strong brand strategy and how it can help businesses stand out in a crowded market.

Additionally, Reggie shares his insights on the creative process and how to balance creativity with practicality when designing a brand identity. He also emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with clients and understanding their needs and goals.

Overall, the episode provides valuable insights and inspiration for entrepreneurs looking to build and shape their brand identity.

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Transcription:

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Reggie Holmes Teaser 00:00

Simple three-step process that is not unfamiliar to most people that are in the line of work that I do. But there's, discovery and then there's design and then the last step is delivery or deployment. What I like to do, I realized as much as I like to design, I really like the discovery process.

That's what kind of led me down the road of going, trying to do more on the strategic side, as well as the design side.

Intro 00:27

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of.

This is the I AM CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

Hello, this is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I appreciate you listening to this episode. If you've been listening this year, you know that we hit over 1600 episodes at the beginning of this year. We're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes around certain categories, topics, or as I like to call them, the business pillars that we think are going to be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, and what I like to call a CB nation architects who are looking to level up their organizations.

This month we are focused on the visibility game, a.k.a. Marketing. Advertising PR and Sales. I would just say the name of the game is being found in these tools will help you to do that. We have heard the philosophical question. If the tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If there's a really, really great product or service and no one knows about it, how great is it, really? What impact does it ultimately make? This is where we will go into this month. Looking at visibility, branding, marketing, public relations, sales, being the lifeblood of businesses, building many companies, and so much more.

This is probably one of the most exciting and probably the most excruciating topics, but we hope this month to demystify and maybe even vanquish the fear and hope and arm you with the tools to be able to increase your visibility. So buckle up and sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I AM CEO podcast.

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I've Reggie Holmes of Enthuse Creative LLC. Reggie, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Reggie Holmes 02:24

Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 02:26

No problem. Super excited to have you on. What I want to do is just read a little bit more about Reggie so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing.

Reggie Holmes is the owner and creative director of Enthuse Creative LLC, a B2B brand consulting and design firm based in the Tysons, Virginia area. The company's core services include B2B brand strategy, design, and brand management.

Enthuse Creative has been shaping the brands of businesses and organizations in the DC metro area and beyond for the past five years. Reggie, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

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Reggie Holmes 02:56

I am.

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Gresham Harkless 02:56

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to get started with your business.

Reggie Holmes 03:04

Sure. Going back as far as 2009, I experienced the layoff. I was working as a designer for a University and they had some budget cuts and downsized my position. So I think it was at that moment that I realized that in the real world people can take your job away in certain situations.

So, I resolved to myself at that point that I was gonna learn what I needed to learn and grow my skill set to the point where I could create my own opportunities. And at that time, I didn't know that would mean starting my own practice, but I think I got started on the path at that point.

I just educated myself and went to a lot of seminars and workshops and learned from people that were doing what I wanted to do. And finally, I got to a point where I was ready to start my own business doing branding services.

Gresham Harkless 03:55

Awesome. I'm super sorry too, obviously to hear about getting laid off. I too think I got laid off in probably about 2011. So I learned that as well, too. That's definitely a painful lesson, but it's a realistic lesson that you sometimes have to learn.

But I appreciate you for taking that entrepreneurial route because I think a lot of times, people don't want to necessarily do that even when certain things like layoffs happen. But I appreciate you for doing that and starting your firm.

Reggie Holmes 04:18

Yeah. When you get to a point where all options are on the table. I think it makes you rethink what your path is going to be and maybe that is the thing that is needed to put you on a different trajectory.

So I learned about it much later, but there's a fixed mindset and the growth mindset. I think at that point I was just challenged to think about all the opportunities that were out there and that was maybe the push that I needed to go more in that direction.

Gresham Harkless 04:47

Yeah, that makes perfect sense and that's right in line with what you were talking about the growth mindset is that because a lot of times I say, things aren't necessarily happening to me. And, when it happens, you don't always think that way. But it's always good to learn that things aren't happening to me, they're happening for me.

And this kind of speaks to what you were saying about these opportunities presenting themselves because of the talent and skills that I have, and this is what I can do with it.

I know we touched on a little bit when I was reading your bio. Can you take me through everything that you're doing with Enthuse Creative.

Reggie Holmes 05:14

Sure. So, my background is as a graphic designer. So the core of our services are around graphic design and providing creative consulting and actually executing the creation of marketing collateral. And brand identity and website design and services such as that for clients, primarily business clients, but we also work with nonprofits and organizations like think tanks and institutions. So, that's the core of our services.  But growing out of a desire to offer a little bit more value than just creative products, we recently decided to incorporate with a brand strategy. So that's more on the front end before any design is created. Just being able to help businesses shape more of their messaging and their positioning.

That obviously informs the creative that is designed, a little bit later on. Then brand management is more or less once that brand has been established and communicated, how do we need to refine that as the business grows or evolves so that the client can stay in front of the right audience and also continue to attract the right audience. So that's sort of the core services and they work along the brand life cycle.

There's a tier of services for that beginning stage business, for that middle age business that may be looking to reposition or pivot where it is in the market and in that mature business that has a lot of things in place, but is maybe looking to realign some of their branding or marketing.

Gresham Harkless 06:56

That makes perfect sense and I appreciate you for breaking that down. Because that was going to be one of the questions that I asked you a little bit more about, what exactly the brand aspect was. I know I obviously touched on it when I was reading your bio and I guess it's more than you're saying, more than like the logo and more than the things that you see, is a lot more than that.

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Reggie Holmes 07:12

Yeah. Because there's a lot of visual competition out there for your ears and your eyes and for your mind really, in terms of all the different messages that are being communicated to any given consumer at one time. So, it's important to have strong visuals. But I think people make decisions when there's an emotional connection.

So that really gets down to what you're saying and how you're saying it. And obviously what you're showing people should align with, what you're saying and how you say it, but really we think about branding and how it works to differentiate what you do from someone else.

There's more to it than just a pretty picture. And I realized that in order to again, create the most value for my clients, I needed to work with them on the strategic side because that only helps to make the visuals that are created and that support that much stronger when that really crisp and concise and clear strategy is in place.

Gresham Harkless 08:20

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. I appreciate you expounding upon that and talking about, especially, that emotional aspect, because I think so many times as consumers, we sometimes think we make decisions based on very strategic thinking.

But a lot of times people say, you do business with people, like in trust, or you maybe have some emotional connection, that's why you purchased this product or that product or something like that. And sometimes we don't form a brand strategy standpoint, marketing standpoint, really understand like the parts or the pieces that go into that and how that is created before sometimes we even ask the client to buy or not.

Reggie Holmes 08:55

Yeah, what I've learned and been able to see in practice is that it's all really well thought out. There are certain products, certain brands that you support and you may not even know why. You just feel like they understand me and I understand them that we speak the same language, we share a worldview in common and those things are well thought out by people who do branding and marketing.

They are very thoughtful in the words that are chosen and also the images that accompany those words. So I try to bring that level of intentionality and thoughtfulness to the work that I do on behalf of my clients.

Gresham Harkless 09:39

Yeah, that makes perfect sense, especially, when you're creating a business or you're creating an organization or you can mention think tanks and organizations like that. A lot of times you want to evoke certain things and correct me if I'm wrong. Sometimes if you haven't done that brand kind of strategy work you still do have a brand. It just may not necessarily be what you want it to be. I feel like every organization has a brand, but definitely correct me if I'm wrong.

Reggie Holmes 10:00

No, you're right. You have to put in the work ahead of time. The market will tell you whether or not it thinks that the brand that you have portrayed for yourself is authentic and accurate. And you in a sense are making a promise to the consumer by saying this is who we are, where you plant your flag. The customer will tell you if they think that you are actually doing that or not, but it's really important. The consumer can tell that if it hasn't been thoughtfully done or executed. So, you leave yourself open to someone else defining who you are, you can think about for yourself as a person, you don't want anyone else saying that you are this and you fit in this box.

So, you want to be able to say, no, this is who I am and invite people into that experience. So, that's really what branding is, saying, hey, we are in this place and we are providing this type of experience for those that choose to partake of whatever our product or services. And people will abandon you and they will talk bad about you if you don't deliver, but you do get the first opportunity to go to market and say, this is who we are, and this is the value that we provide.

Gresham Harkless 11:17

I know you might've already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. It could be for you personally or your organization, but what do you feel sets you apart and makes you unique?

Reggie Holmes 11:27

I've grown in the ability to listen and to ask good questions. So, I am someone who loves to design and obviously create the different creative assets that I get to do in my work. But I really love to understand what I'm doing, what my client is doing, so I have a simple three-step process that is not unfamiliar to most people that are in the line of work that I do.

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But there's discovery and then there's design and then the last step is delivery or deployment. What I like to do, I realized that as much as I like to design, I really like the discovery process. That's what kind of led me down the road of going, trying to do more on the strategic side as well as the design side. So, I really think that being able to think like a strategist and execute like a designer is what kind of helps to set me apart.

Gresham Harkless 12:37

I definitely appreciate that. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Reggie Holmes 12:51

I like to block off my time. I use a color-coded calendar system to be able to block off time and ensure that I'm allotting the proper amount of time for specific tasks. The great thing about using the color system is that I can look back over a period of weeks or months and measure how much time I've been spending on certain tasks, billable design work for instance and be able to ascertain how the amount of time I'm putting on certain tasks has contributed to revenue or to leads or appointments.

Gresham Harkless 13:34

Makes perfect sense. Now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, or if you can hop into a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Reggie Holmes 13:44

Sure. So I have a phrase that I have come up with and that I like, and it's knowing your worth. Improve your value.

Gresham Harkless 13:54

I love that and I definitely appreciate that. Now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. We're hoping to have different quote and quote CEOs on this show.

So Reggie, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Reggie Holmes 14:07

To me being a CEO means that you are creating every opportunity. I love acronyms. So when I think about CEO, that's what I think about. Creating every opportunity. So it's using creativity in new and different ways.

And using that to generate opportunities for myself and ultimately for other people by bringing my unique perspective, my processes, my experience, and skills to the table on behalf of my clients. So yeah, CEO Creating Every Opportunity.

Gresham Harkless 14:46

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I love that definition and acronym and that perspective, because I think a lot of times, we're like the artists with the paintbrush and have the opportunity to create those opportunities. And if we're able to have that mentality, that mindset, it helps us as we talked about before to bring tremendous value in the world that we have before us.

So, Reggie, I truly appreciate your time. What I wanted to do was pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and listeners know. Then of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

Reggie Holmes 15:16

Sure. Now I'm always available for no cost, no obligation branding consultations. Even if you just have questions, would love to hear those questions. We're at Enthuse Creative on all social media.

And reggie@EnthuseCreative is the best way to get ahold of me on email. I love to help people and I'm really excited to have been able to be on this podcast.

Gresham Harkless 15:45

Yeah, definitely. I truly appreciate you for all the awesome things you're doing and having an opportunity to work with you in the past as well, too, has been awesome.

So we will make sure to have those links and information in the show notes as well, too, so that everybody can follow up with you. But again, I appreciate you and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:00

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us iamceo.co. I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts, subscribe and leave us a five-star rating.

Grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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