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Velma Trayham talks branding success: 'Always remember to live and give'

Velma Trayham

It’s a tough time for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs working to make their professional dreams a reality. The Brand Masters Tour organizers understand the challenges too well, that’s why they are taking their knowledge on the road and their inviting fellow brand masters to join them on their 10-city tour that aims to revitalize small-business owners and provide them with the tips and tools necessary to succeed in “five life saving hours.”

Here, Velma Trayham, award-winning branding and PR expert of Thinkzilla PR, shares her perspectives on how to identify and monetize a winning brand as well as what it takes to be a brand master.

What is a brand?
A brand is the essence of what your business is, the reputation of your product or service. It combines a business name, logo, color schemes, mission and vision, and the uniqueness of your product. I gauge uniqueness based on the demand and need of what you’re selling.

What does it take to be a brand master?
It takes experience in building not only your brand but building others brands and actually showing deliverables in growth of brands built to a state of ROI and success. Being a brand master doesn’t happen overnight. [It takes] a slew of trials, errors, failures, and the ability to keep going when the risk of potential failure hits. It takes the ability to dissect the challenge in a brand to offer potential pivot directions to get a brand on to a great start.

How do you monetize brands?
There are multiple ways to monetize brands … one in particular is networking. Networking is life skills and social skills combined, and if used properly a brand will grow by getting known by those who count as a problem solver, get more leads, contacts, build honest and long term relationships and always remember live to give.

Why did you decide to do this tour?
I decided to do this tour because our African American small-business owners lack the knowledge and resources to build a successful brand … oftentimes resulting in integration of prison or jail. The Brand Masters On Tour mission is to give a hand up the ladder to achieve success for aspiring entrepreneurs , business owners  or whom all have the passion and desire to be successful. Oftentimes people lack hope … we are all the voice of hope, have come from poverty and are willing to share the experience and touch the lives of many people around the world .

How does it benefit the community?
This Brand Masters On Tour is benefiting the community in several ways, the more small business , the more jobs, reducing unemployment rates around the country, we also aim at improving the community reintegration of ex-offenders upon their release from jail or prison with the final extent of preventing recidivism and reducing crime through business building.

Brand Masters event cities include Atlanta (3/14), Chicago (4/11), Detroit (5/16), Charlotte (6/20), Memphis (7/18), Dallas (8/15) Baltimore (9/19) and St. Louis (10/17). The tour kickoff was held in Houston during Black History Month.