How do I get my business noticed online? How can I create an engaged social media audience? How do I convert website visitors and social media followers into customers? What hashtags should I be using? Are Google ads a good investment?

I'm Sydney Chakalos, a marketing nerd and small business owner with a passion for helping other small business owners grow their business using effective online marketing strategies on any budget.

Learn how to create and implement a marketing strategy that strengthens relationships with your audience and increases your bottom line. We'll cover topics around social media, email, Google ads, branding, and websites. Building your brand is a marathon and I'm here to help you win the race.


welcome to the

Marketing Your Local Business Online Podcast

Social Media



Branding, Podcast Guests

How to Create a Magnetic Brand

Branding yourself and/or your business can be pretty daunting. Luckily, I got the chance to chat with Stephanie Fast, Co-Founder and Creative Director at Peak & Bayou Creative Company. She’s an expert in branding for small businesses and in today’s episode, she shares some of her wisdom when it comes to making a brand stand out, branding on a budget, and when it’s time and how to rebrand.

What Makes a Brand Stand Out?

Sharp Visuals – Having a visually appealing logo and matching content is important because it’s what initially draws people in and creates interest in your business. 

Thoughtful Messaging – The words and phrases you use in your branding matter. You want your audience to feel that they can connect with you, so make sure you are being thoughtful and intentional with the tone you use in your branding. 

A Mission That Makes Sense – In addition to being able to connect with your brand, customers want to work with brands that have a mission they can trust and get behind. Your mission doesn’t have to be a big and bold statement about saving the planet – it can (and should) be something personable and tangible to the people you want to serve. This is crucial in a world where social responsibility has emerged as a strong marketing trend. People care what businesses are doing beyond the product or service they sell!

How Can I Brand on a Budget?

Regardless of your budget, no branding campaign will be successful without building a solid foundation for your business. To do this, figure out what makes your business unique. Ask yourself: 

Why does my business exist? 

Why this product? 

Why now? 

Why these customers? 

What do you offer? 

How do you offer it?

Once you figure out what makes your business unique, branding becomes a lot easier. 

Next, narrow down your target audience. You want to be as specific as possible here! For example, if your target audience is moms, dig even deeper than that. Are you targeting super busy moms, or moms that have more time on their hands? 

Finally, think about how you want your brand and impact to be described by others. Get out a sheet of paper and write down all of the adjectives that you want to come to mind when someone thinks about your business. Use what you come up here to inspire your visual identity! If the adjectives you come up with feel light and happy, you can use that as inspiration for your logo. 

When is it Time for a Rebrand?

Rebranding is not done because your original branding “failed.” Your business is always changing and evolving and so should your brand! That being said, here are 3 signs that you should consider a rebrand:

You feel that you are no longer selling to the right person – This can happen if you aren’t super clear about your target audience from the start, and your branding strategy ends up being a little too broad. 

You launch a new product and/or tap into a new market – As you introduce products/services to your audience, consider how they change your business and your target audience and if this may warrant an update to your branding.

You realize that you branded for yourself and not your customer – Especially when we are first starting out, we tend to choose our logo and tones based on what we like best. However, if your preferences don’t align with your customers’ then you may want to rebrand. The preferences of your audience should be the first priority! Social media can be a good indicator of whether or not your audience is connecting with your brand, because you can see how they are engaging with different aspects of your brand and what they tend to like/respond to more.  

Connect with Stephanie and Peak & Bayou Creative Company

Stephanie Fast is the co-founder and Creative Director at Peak & Bayou Creative Company. Offering a strategy-first approach to brand, web, and graphic design, Peak & Bayou works with small business go-getters to create brands that do the talking for you – based in New Orleans, serving clients worldwide. 

Find her on Instagram & Facebook!

Peak & Bayou Creative Company works with small businesses on brand strategy & identity and also offers website design & a la carte graphic design services. They are currently accepting new clients! 


meet sydney

Strategist. coach. educator.

get to know me

Hi friends! My name is Sydney, founder of Marathon Marketing & Branding, and I’m so happy you’re here! As you might have guessed, I am an avid runner, which allows me to have more of that pinot and pasta in life. Running long-distance is all about training, endurance, and consistency. I realized that these same traits are directly applicable to social media marketing as well.