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Conversations | Brittany Grinham

Brittany is a brand advisor and creative coach living in Santa Monica, CA.

Describe your work as if you're speaking to a 5 year old.

Mama’s a Brand & Creative Advisor. That means I help companies make really scary

creative decisions about their logo, colors, fonts, advertising and the language they

use to attract new customers. That kind of stuff can cost a lot of money. That’s why it

can be scary!

So, I help figure out exactly what the company and their founders are picturing and what ideas would get a lot of love and attention from new customers. Then, I help them find the right creatives to do the work, like a designer, copywriter or an agency. And usually, those creatives can be pretty sensitive. So I also help the company talk to the creative nicely, so everyone is really really happy in the end (and saved money along the way!).

Your preferred method of getting that good creative vibe going.

I love a bustling coffee shop - a latte and a small book of poetry. Something totally unrelated to the project at hand. It only takes like ten or fifteen minutes and I’m ready to tackle my tasks with a bit more poetry and softness than I had before.

When I’m really against a deadline, I also listen to these french DJs, Polo & Pan, on repeat.

A piece of art in your home that you LOVE.

I have two SHAMELESS plugs for my wildly talented husband, Todd Grinham. He created this line drawing with pen and ink for our daughter’s nursery. (Don’t worry, mom, it’s not over the crib!) I love it, because it looks to me like we’re holding her and some invisible loving forces are holding us. It’s helped me a lot in the late nights. Also, it looks like a boob. Which feels right too.

Ok. And now I can’t stop. He also drew this insanely detailed geometric piece that’s

currently in our living room. It looks digital, but he did every detail by hand. It has so much motion to it. Our daughter is still really little. And in this season of life, I just love anything that reminds me how the chaos is actually all connected and in perfect flow.

One living artist or designer you want to have cocktails with.

Maggie Smith, the poet.

What drives you absolutely nuts about the (branding) world?

The founders I work with are often super fearless in their business approaches. But when it comes to branding, they can let fear in really quickly. They often want the most cliche things and to just nestle into the noise, because it’s more comfortable there. It feels safer than saying something brave or looking different than everyone else. It doesn’t make me mad. I empathize with it.

What makes me mad is when the business world doesn’t teach the fundamental long-term cost benefits and growth opportunities of great branding and powerful messaging. So, founders often aren’t willing to invest in that kind of creative work up front.

Beautiful, thoughtful branding is proven to justify a more premium price. It can strike a new user’s attention and grow a customer base really quickly. But great branding is also like a 401k. It’s a long game. It’s ensuring that you’re building a story, a community and a purpose that could potentially transcend the actual product you’re building right now. It can be difficult for founders to get their heads around the long game (because it’s harder to quantify) and they can miss out on the opportunity to create the most compelling brand possible, NOW.

A quote or lyric that your brain won’t shake.

We don’t know anything about anything - Rick Rubin.

We’re like ten minutes old as a society, especially in this era of AI and social media. I always try to bring a softness and humility to my practice, because we really don’t know anything. Everything is worth experimentation and an openness to living in the unknowns. I think a message like this is so powerful also in these cultural times, where everyone is putting stakes in the ground. We all have opinions. But do we really know ANYTHING? It’s just a more peaceful way to live and be in community with people, I think, to admit that.

Most recent song you've been listening to on repeat.

Jason Isbell’s latest album, the whole thing, over and over and over again.

Last book you read that you couldn't put down.

Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art - I reread this quarterly. It takes an hour, but shifts

everything for the creative spirit.

Recent life upgrade that's been a game changer.

Is it lame to say Costco? I don’t know why I just figured out how much cheaper Costco

is. But I’m 18 months into motherhood and walking around like I invented the place. I

guess I should say something work-related. I also started using Loom for giving video creative feedback and Fathom note taker for transcribing my client calls.

If you could teleport to any bar right now, which bar would it be and what would you be drinking?

I used to think it was so cool to drink a really heavy beer in college (insert sad note

here about my undiagnosed gluten allergy!) I would love to go back to the 40 Watt

circa 2007 in Athens, Georgia and drink a La Fin Du Monde. I might teleport back with

some digestive enzymes though.

Advice, compliment, insult... something someone once said you that you will never forget.

Oh gosh. So many. I once had a boss tell me I was always fast and right, but not good

at going with a tangent in a meeting. Not good at the banter. I found it really offensive at the time, because, hello, how else can I be fast and right if I don’t get out of this freaking meeting! But over time, I’ve learned that the banter is what unlocks new creative ideas and a deeper connection with people. And that, in turn, can also unlock braver ideas.

I also read a lot of Pema Chödrön, the badass Buddhist monk mama. She always talks

about how there is no solid ground. It will always feel shaky. No solid ground is

coming. I share that a lot with the business leaders I advise. If you can be ok here,

you can do anything.

What podcast or show are you recommending that others may not have heard/seen?

Oh, I have a really low bar for television. If Netflix says I should watch it, I’m like, ok. I

just finished the Diplomat, which was actually titillating. And who doesn’t love Keri

Russell? Hello, Felicity.

If someone asks you to cook your "specialty" - what are you cooking?

Can I say popcorn? I’m really great at homemade popcorn. The secret is coconut oil

and a very frequent shake of the pot.

Huge shout-out to _____ for _____!

My clients at Roamstead just launched their incredibly gorgeous first property. It’s a

modern campground with all the magic of camping and all the comforts of a boutique

hotel. If you plan to be in the Smoky Mountains any time soon, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out! Also, a huge shout-out to Hollis Callas for her gorgeous designs on Roamstead!

Check out more of Brittany's genius here.

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