In this 25th episode of CultivatED Marketer, hosts Brent Bowen and Matt Tidwell, PhD, chat with Brooke Estell, Senior Copywriter at Conscious Minds Studios, about authentic marketing for Gen Z, the importance of storytelling, and the impact professional development had on her career.

CultivatED Marketer Ep. 25 — Creating Authentic Voices with Brooke Estell

Introducing Brooke Estell and her Entrepreneur Career Journey

Brent and Matt briefly introduce their guest Brooke Estell before asking her to discuss her career journey during COVID.

  • Brooke says she started off in corporate legal marketing for 7 years before switching over to financial tech.
  • She mentions how she took advantage of working from home during COVID by beginning freelance work, before ultimately getting laid off by her company.
  • With belief in herself, she focused on growing her own business, and grew to a point that she was able to fire a client that didn’t align with her passions.
  • Shortly after firing that client, she began working as a freelance writer for Conscious Minds, which later turned into a fulltime position.
  • After prompting from Brent, Brooke notes that it was made even more difficult because she began working for them through a mentor turned client.

Brent takes the opportunity to dive into Brooke’s solo/entrepreneur journey, asking her about what resources she was able to use and leverage to help grow her business.

  • Brooke notes that KC Source Link not only featured her, but also connected her with a lot of other people that taught her many skills necessary to run your own business.
  • She describes how important the marketing and networking resources were that had been made available to her, and helped give her a level of credibility.

Matt recalls his own career transition, and asks Brooke if she feels different, and how the transition has manifested in her life.

  • Brooke says that she feels freer than she ever has, and that she is working her dream job.
  • She recalls her own upbringing and career transition from a stable corporate life to being an entrepreneur running her own business.

Storytelling and Authentic Marketing for Gen Z

Brent notes that Brooke’s talk at the KC IABC Business Communicators Summit was around storytelling, and asks why there is such a focus on storytelling for Gen Z.

  • Brooke begins by noting the shift in the purchasing generation from millennials to Gen Z, and differences between the two.
  • She points out the importance of community and authenticity to Gen Z, and how that impacts their marketing strategy.
  • Matt mentions how similar topics were also talked about in Jeff Fromm’s book Marketing to Gen Z.

Matt says Brooke only uses 2-3 platforms in an integrated way to complete work for major brands like Nike, and asks her to speak about that process.

  • Brooke talks about the first project Come Thru, and their collaborative work with Nike.
  • She then discusses how they shifted their focus away from YouTube and towards the Nike App itself, and bring in personal stories, in parallel with training tools in the app.
  • After prompting from Brent about the shift away from larger celebrities to smaller sub-community stars, Brooke talks about how they helped them grow their communities.
  • She notes that they even had some of their smaller celebrities be featured in ads in Time Square by their partner companies, not even by them.

Professional Development for Young Professionals

Matt asks Brooke to discuss her significant investment in professional development, and the ROI from that, and to speak on any advice for younger professionals.

  • Brooke works through her mindset of why she looked towards professional development, such as the Integrated Marketing Communications Master’s Program at KU, and how it immediately benefited her in her job.
  • She then gives advice to younger professionals around finding their own path.
  • Matt and Brooke discuss membership in professional development groups such as IABC.

Brent asks what technical skills Brooke is bringing to her work everyday.

  • Brooke notes that she has to write every single day, and maintain a critical mindset.
  • She also examines why having the ability to step back and ask questions is invaluable as a young professional.