We are very excited to introduce you to Emily Soccorsy of Root + River and a fellow member of the W Source Arcadia. We are also thrilled to announce the launch of her personal website that Hammersmith Support built!
As one of the cofounders of Root + River, a brand strategy practice, Emily works to help her clients create their brand from the inside out, utilizing their values and mission. The result is a strong, relatable, and unique brand for each client.
Read on to see Emily’s story and her advice for other entrepreneurs.
Tell us a little about you.
Lately, I’ve been telling people that if I had a religious practice, it would be language. I am a lover of language, of words, of narrative. I am a creative. I paint, I draw, I collage, I create digital drawings and I also craft prose and poetry and I recently co-authored a book called “Rooting Up: Essays on Modern Branding.”
I am also an entrepreneur who brings that creative spirit and passion for wordsmith-ing into my work as a CEO and co-founder of our brand strategy practice.
Being emotional, creative and business savvy are all one and the same to me. No separation needed.
I believe as humans, far too often, we push the creative or passionate or emotional parts of ourselves to the side. This is unnecessary and detrimental to our growth as human beings and business leaders. I want to integrate my many talents and interests in compelling ways to create things that are unique, true, innovative, revelatory for clients, good for the world, and profitable, too.
Of all the aspects of me, I am most proud of being a mother to two funny, kind, creative and smart daughters and a partner to my husband, Jason, who works in non-profit development.
Talk to us about your “why” and how that motivated you to start your business.
At Root + River, we believe that all great brands are spiritual experiences. We work with mission-driven leaders who are defiant about expressing their purpose, standards and beliefs in their brand. We help them uncover those core truths, once and for all, then coach them on how to integrate them into their culture and into their marketing.
We practice and teach what we call intrinsic branding (from the inside out) and pair that with humanistic marketing (marketing that engages an audience by appealing to common humanity and shared beliefs).
What is unique about your style and product offering?
We were motivated to form Root + River to alleviate business owners’ writers’ (and speakers’) block! Most business leaders, even those with a marketing background, struggle to articulate clearly and consistently express who they are and what they believe. If they can’t do that as well as they want to – they lose the chance to build their culture, attract amazing people and clients, and build a lasting and meaningful brand.
Our mission is to inspire leaders to go inward, to guide them to uncover the root truth of themselves and their brands.
Our gifts are uncovering and articulating those core truths and coaching leaders on using them in marketing. We wanted to share our gifts with the world.
We do everything differently at Root + River! After all, one of our core beliefs is in defiance. Here are three specific differentiators for our brand strategy engagements and coaching:
1. You are guided, not told. We are non-prescriptive. You are smart and grounded and know who you are. You live your brand every day. So we will never tell you what your brand is. Instead, we partner with you to guide you to uncovering and articulating it. Once we do that work together, we will refine and hone your brand message until it sings. Then, together, we will integrate strategy for how we share that with your ideal audience.
2. You will be branding long after we’re done. Our work long outlives our engagement. Our objective is to uncover and articulate a brand that lasts for the life of your business and teach you how to keep it going. We go that deep and are that specific and intentional. We don’t believe in drop-in consulting or learned helplessness. We don’t use taglines or manipulative, flash-in-the-pan marketing. We don’t want to sell you ongoing marketing tactics. Instead, we craft everything with a long-term mindset, hand it over, then stay available for future growth or strategy shifts, should they occur.
3. Your branding will touch every part of your business. Branding is everyone’s responsibility, not just the leader of the company or for the marketing director. It’s a practice everyone in your organization is already engaged in daily. We work to increase the organizational brand intelligence and solidify the common language of the brand. We engage with whole teams to roll out brand language and collaboratively apply it to sales, culture and HR, as well as brand and marketing.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
My advice to other entrepreneurs is multifold:
- Develop a tribe. Entrepreneurialism is frequently lonely work. It requires a tribe for support, for curbing loneliness and isolation, and for challenging your thinking. It is too easy get stuck in the echo chamber of your mind and not have anyone to play devil’s advocate or challenge your thinking. As an entrepreneur, you need this.
- Find someone to hold you accountable and love you up. Again, being an entrepreneur is arduous, constant and full of forks in the road. I have found that making progress depends on having someone holding you accountable because you will always have 1,000 things to do. The accountability person can help you focus on the one most important thing in front of you. This person can also be a cheerleader, a mirror for your successes and someone who loves on you on those days you feel crappy. I recommend this be someone outside of your business, like a coach, a mentor or a good friend who is also an entrepreneur.
- Take breaks. It’s too easy to work your heart out as an entrepreneur. Pretty soon you’re also working your mind and your body off and de-prioritizing your friends and family, too. The sooner you can develop a discipline around taking breaks, taking time off, sequestering yourself in something joyous, goofing off regularly, and doing nothing at all regularly, the better you will be as a leader, and as a human.
- Finally, tend to your brand by doing the deep work. Your brand is how other people experience what you believe. Your root beliefs are the reason people want to work with you. They power you every day. If articulated and shared, they could also be attracting people who believe what you believe, while repelling from you the people who do not believe what you believe. This repelling effect will save you so much time, energy and resources as an entrepreneur. Being truly different in your brand provides a huge return on investment.
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