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HomeLearnNo-nonsense branding advice at free social clinic from Delivered Social

No-nonsense branding advice at free social clinic from Delivered Social

Our co-founder Bex Bastable pays a visit to the team at Delivered Social for one of their free 90-minute social clinics, for advice on her freelance business and online presence.

You know that friend who’s always brutally honest when you ask their opinion? It always stings at first when they tell you, no, that outfit doesn’t look good, but you know in the end they’ve done you a favour? Well, Delivered Social’s free social clinic is the business equivalent of that. It’s a 90-minute dressing down for your business and online presence – it hurts, but it’s for your own good.

I was greeted at the Portsmouth office by founder Jon, and he ushered me into their meeting room. There’s a big screen and popcorn, and just like the cinema, you’ll leave blinking into the light, dazed and confused with a lot to think about.

The session starts with Jon introducing himself and explaining what social clinics are all about. Selling is forbidden. “It’s against our religion”, he says. So you know from the outset there’s no hidden agenda at play. Relief. But then the bloodbath begins.

Google appears on the big screen. We look at how people can find me online. A few taps of the keyboard, and it turns out that if someone wants to know what I do, they’ll find several answers. Journalist, content writer, brand storyteller. “Which one is it?” asks Jon. It’s clear I’ve got some work to do. Starting with answering that age-old question; who am I?

It gets worse. Jon opens my website and immediately spots a rookie error. An address. Not very professional. Next, there’s some waffle about my career, but still, I haven’t explained what services I offer. Oh dear.

Jon’s colleague Terence pops in and asks if we need any more drinks – coffee, tea, gin? Gin might be in order but it’s not yet noon. So, back to my identity crisis.

We go through my website and talk through what needs (serious) work. I scribble down Jon’s tips in my notebook – adding to my growing ‘to do’ list. The conversation leads to questions about what my business actually is, why I’m doing it, and what I need to earn to make this work. I now know what Jon meant at the start when he said there are often tears in these clinics. Now we’re getting to the good stuff.

This is at the heart of what the social clinic is about, getting right down to the bones of your business and making sure you’re not losing sight of what it is you do and why you’re doing it. If you’re not clear and authentic about what it is that you’re selling, why would anyone buy it?

Despite the straight-talking, it’s clear Jon has real empathy and cares about making your business work. He wants you to succeed and that’s why he’s being brutally honest. It feels like a safe space where you can explore what it is you want to get out of your work, and how you’re presenting yourself to the world.

After some tough discussions about my messaging, brand consistency (or lack of) and finances, I had plenty to think about and a clear plan of action.

These sessions aren’t for the faint-hearted – but if you’re willing to leave your ego at the door and take a cold, hard look at your brand, the results will be worth it.

I asked Jon why he does these clinics. The team does dozens every week which is a lot of free work at 90 minutes a pop.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “It is really good fun. You get to be cheeky and you have to ask people to tell you things they wouldn’t tell their bank manager. It’s genuine friendship and relationship building in the business community.”

And of course, he hopes through this relationship building that people will come to Delivered Social when they are in a position to spend  – but there’s no pressure. Building that trust and giving real value is what will make people come back.

It’s just like that friend who will give you an honest answer when you say, “do I look good in this?”. Even though the answer is sometimes no, you always want their opinion, because you want the truth. And the social clinic is the equivalent of that mate saying, “no, that doesn’t look great, but why don’t you try this instead?”. And that’s the kind of friend we all need.

Delivered Social is based at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth and Waltham House, Guildford. To find out more, and to book a free 90-minute social clinic, visit:

Bex Bastable
Bex Bastable
Bex is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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