Sharpen Your Message into a Velvet Machete with Amber Hurdle

March 30, 2020

amber hurdle on brand

“People are going to have a favorable impression of your brand or a negative impression of your brand. Then, when you add social media reach on top of that, it can get really great or really crazy.” That’s why you have to brand—with clutter-cutting messaging and compassion—from the inside out, starting with your employees. Especially in the midst of the pandemic we find ourselves battling both personally and professionally. Brand strategy expert Amber Hurdle discussed all of this and more, this week on the On Brand podcast.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Amber Hurdle

Amber Hurdle is the CEO of Amber Hurdle Consulting, a multi-award- winning talent optimization firm that pioneers using both science and marketing principles to strengthen customers’ brands from the inside out. Hurdle helps overcome costly business problems like ineffective recruiting, turnover, underperformance, declining morale and leadership gaps by clearly connecting her clients’ people strategy to their business strategy for measurable bottom-line results.

She personally understands what it takes to accelerate success as a former teen mom who evolved into a powerhouse businesswoman, having worked with international celebrities, executives and Fortune 100 companies alike.

When Amber is not helping individuals and employers share their unique value, she is “momming so hard,” embracing her inner gym rat in the weight room, and entertaining her family and friends. While she is known for being a super extra dog mom and hot wing snob, Amber Hurdle is most known for connecting personal, employer and business brands via her proprietary Velvet Machete® Brand Strategy.

Episode Highlights

Why you have to brand from the inside out. People matter. “I refuse to take on work where we can’t start from the inside out.” Brand peripherals like the logo are just the tip of the iceberg compared to employee engagement.

What’s Amber’s Velvet Machete brand strategy all about? “It’s cutting to the chase with a direct message that’s wrapped in a way that’s well-received.” This is especially critical amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Is there a Velvet Machete message to cut through the clutter and confusion around COVID-19? Both Amber and I discussed how concerned we were that messages of safety aren’t getting through. “Our country doesn’t get it. We’ve wasted time being wishy-washy… comparing it to the flu.” Instead, Amber notes that we need to be saying, “It’s bad but we’ll figure it out ‘coz we’re the United States of Freaking America. That’s what we do. It’s gonna be hard if we rip the band-aid off. It’s gonna be hard if we slow bleed. One way is worse than the other. Choose your hard.”

What brand has made Amber smile recently? “I love luxury brands. That’s why I love to travel with Southwest.” Amber went on to talk about the airline’s exemplary inside out branding and the loyalty they’re building right now with their no-fee cancellations.

To learn more, check out and, to get a free ebook on the intersection of science and branding, text ‘scienceandbranding’ (all one word) to 44-222.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

On Brand is sponsored by my book Brand NowDiscover the seven dynamics to help your brand stand out in our crowded, distracted world. Order now and get special digital extras. Learn more.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!

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is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.