Hela Wozniak-Kay & Annie Brooks
Co-Directors of Sister Snog
In a league of their own
Name of business: Sister Snog
Creators: Hela Wozniak-Kay (soul of the brand) & Annie Brooks
Brand in business: Since 2002
Speciality: Tribal leader of a flamboyance of Amazonian business women
Reach: Global thanks to social media
Key to success: The power of being connected
Biggest challenge for businesses: The deliciousness of busy work
Greatest asset: Sisters
Name of business: Sister Snog
Creators: Annie Brooks (heart of the brand) & Hela Wozniak-Kay
Brand in business: Since 2002
Speciality: Genius structure provider making ideas work & first-class service flow
Reach: International if you’re a social butterfly
Key to success: Being selective
Biggest challenge for businesses: Failing to have their next idea waiting in the wings
Greatest asset: My business partner
I came across Sister Snog before I realised I knew any of the members. First encounter – online. First impression – what a space! The language and tone of voice is what kept me on the page and had me diving in for more. Juicy words and phrases that winked at me. Shapes and shades ensnared the senses, weaving through pages made me lost for this world, this new reality. They are very carefully chosen, yet it feels effortless to be around them. The Sister Snog brand is like Harley Davidson – if you have to ask, you will never know. You’re either instantly in love with the brand – or not. And if you get it, you get it completely and want to join the Tribe. There are no half measures. You want the proof – look at the footnote of the website: “created with passion… designed with TLC…”. It makes you want to be a better business to be able to join them.
Sister Snog is a creation of a dynamic double act. Annie Brooks is the heart of the business. Hela Wozniak-Kay the soul. I talked to them individually. No conferring! Hela and I were ‘ladies who lunch’. And a manic morning turned into a fantastic early afternoon. Annie and I conversed via Skype. No e-separation. Rather an instant connection. With both Hela and Annie there was sunshine. There was rhythm. Who could ask for anything more? This is the summary of my experience of the brand so far.
The lunch that launched it all
Annie and Hela ran a branding consultancy called Snog The Agency. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to be ladies who lunch’ said Hela So they lunched. On the First Friday of Feb 2002. Round the table – Annie, Hela, two clients, two prospects. An animated lunch of biz talk and chitter-chatter (a healthy balance). And for the rest of 2002 First Fridays flourished and became a hot date in the diary that culminated with the first ever Festive Friday lunch in December.
Necessity is the mother of invention and gave birth to Sister Snog. A pioneer of the vibrant business network for women with an entrepreneurial spirit. The following year they decided to up their game and extend their offer. New format. New structure. A league of their own.
The network eve-olution
Back in the day Annie and Hela networked like crazy. Although they loved connecting they were not quite as enamoured with some of the networking conventions that didn’t agree with their spirit. The handing out of business cards as if it’s a sport, obligatory name badges, the convention for the convention… while what they cared about was relationship building. What was needed was a new environment in which the evolution and feminisation of networking could happen. That was Sister Snog, which Annie and Hela created and nurtured it into an ecosystem for connectivity.
If something’s not quite rocking your boat don’t complain; do something about it, says Hela.
We are women in business and we kinda know what women in business want, adds Annie.
Sister Snog redefines the term networking so it embraces soft power principles.
Let me rephrase that. Sister Snog recognises that networking is a word of the past.
Uncomfortable routines are not for them. They’ve noticed that force-feeding your business cards to every mammal in the room is not the way forward – making connections, on the other hand, is. And being a Connectress is the ultimate well-connected woman in business.
The French and Saunders formula
Hela and Annie both emphasize they complement each other.
Annie, focused on the systems, putting things in place and making things happen. Yet, in conversation, it is Hela that diligently goes through the listed questions. One by one. With great attention to detail each aspect is analysed and discussed. With Annie, we simply have a chat about the birth of the brand, the past, present and the future.
They call themselves a double act. Two sides of the same coin. A Yin-&-Yang partnership making both halves better and creating one awesome whole.
With the two of them at the helm, Sister Snog seduces the mind and logically guides the heart.
Lil & Vi come of age
In 2012 Sister Snog celebrated a milestone anniversary bathed in shades of purple. A decade of connecting women in business. Cause for celebration indeed but at Sister Snog every event is business with a bow.
The monthly First Friday Lunch continues to be the flagship event. Every lunch has a dress code and a creative theme that links to the strategic question that links to the table decoration that links to the copy on the website. That’s creative consistency to be impressed by, noticed and learned from.
Look at the visual aspects and assets of the brand. The interchanging lilac and violet spots. The brand symbol is a circle. No hard edges. Soft but powerful.
Sister Snog aligns itself with butterflies. A symbol of transformation. Friday is the favourite day at #snogtowers. Seven is the magic number. With a brand livery that’s seven shades of purple: lavender, lilac, wisteria, amethyst, plum, violet and aubergine.
Why Sister Snog is my brand heroine
The creators of Sister Snog have known each other for a quarter of a century. Two amazing individuals have created one awesome brand.
Both hail from a branding background so of course they understand the power of nurturing a beautiful brand and that strong brands require an equally potent business with punch to support it and deliver the promise. Sister Snog is a place for brands to spread their wings and take flight into a colourful world of connectivity, which has been created by women for women.
They make sure there’s style and substance.
Key to Sister Snog’s strategy is to fit in and around the many hats of its members and provide a route map to Success City (as Hela calls the ultimate destination for every entrepreneur). Much of this is down to the fact Sister Snog has created a brand with a real sense of belonging and tight knit camaraderie between Sisters. Guess that’s why Sisters love Sister Snog.
Sister Snog is like Harley Davidson, Monty Python and Marmite. You either get it or you don’t.
And that is why Sister Snog is my brand heroine.
- allow your brand to grow
- always have your next idea waiting in the wings
- a brand needs guidelines for clarity and consistency
- don’t be an island – be an archipelago
Lesson from my conversation with Annie:
- evolution is a must
- stagnation in business is decay
- you’re super lucky if you’ve found a Yin to your Yang
- go into business with someone who complements you
Further reading from Sister Snog:
Eve-olution: The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women by Faith Popcorn & Lys Marigold
Elements of a strong brand according to Hela:
air of seduction
sense of belonging
Elements of a strong brand according to Annie:
alignment of values
defined reaction: love it or hate it
not taking yourself too seriously…
…but being serious about the brand
Hela: Anything is possible.
(There should be a pause here to contemplate and appreciate the meaning of these three simple words)
Annie mentioned a few during our conversation, I noted them all:
Being beautiful has nothing to do with the way you look.
Don’t ignore your gut feeling, it’s never wrong.
Strive for perfection, settle for excellence.
Above all: treat people with the same respect you expect to receive from them.
Find out more about Sister Snog:
- Visit their website sistersnog.com
- Visit Snog Towers on Twitter twitter.com/SnogTowers
- Meet them on Facebook facebook.com/SisterSnog/
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I am a brand communication specialist. I learned my craft working on the creative side of advertising agencies. I love being a copywriter, as it includes not only writing headlines and paragraphs of text, but also cooperating with designers and generating ideas for promotional campaigns. I also work with strategists on launching new products and developing new brands.
Working in a team was always key.That includes cooperation with the client. Clarity on the requirements is crucial to meeting expectations and solutions that work. Whether it’s creating a headline or digging into the personality of a business to uncover its strongest selling point – it always is about serving a purpose of strengthening business’ position on the market.
The biggest lesson I learned from the big corporate clients is for communication to be effective. All efforts have to be aligned with brand’s values and the messages need to be consistent. But being coherent does not mean repeating the same words and images all the time. It means designing messages in line with business’ spirit and goals – they need to be engaging and fit the chosen media platforms. That is why my team and I begin with analysing brands first and designing solutions second.
Understanding the starting point for the client’s brand is what makes or breaks any idea. That’s the foundation of a successful strategy, one that we build on. It’s imperative to get it right. But that’s not all – getting the right image of the target market is equally important. It influences the type of language we are going to use to reach your audience.
This is what I know.
This is what I love.
This is what I do best.
My background helps with just that. I have a master’s degree in sociology, which puts me in a great position to analyse audiences and develop messages that resonate with them. For me branding is all about clarity of messages, aligning communication with business’ values and using language (both visual and verbal) that audiences respond to – finding your next ideal client.
If you want to see how we can tell your brand story, get in touch!