Mark Omlor prides himself in amplifying the value of ambitious brands, through design. While he is based in Tampa, Florida, he has worked with a variety of clientele from around the country – and around the world. Preaching the importance of informed, creative decision-making, Mark does his part in framing branding as an appreciating asset and not a vanity item.
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Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Mark Omlor: Since I was very young, I have had a creative spark in me. When I started getting better at drawing, I thought I would grow up to be a cartoonist. The connection between creativity and career didn’t resurface until high school. I started taking all the graphic design courses my school offered. By the end of my sophomore year, I had the strong sense that I could make a living off this career path.
Lucky for me, one of the best design colleges in the country – the University of Cincinnati – was just 2 hours down the road. Getting accepted into UC was my proudest achievement at the time. I spent my college years, both in the classroom and in my internships, refining my craft. By the time graduation came around, the pursuit of self-employment became a more legitimate idea.
With my move to Florida came the drive to build out my own network. After a few years of focused work, I am in the position I am in today – further building my reputation as a creative.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Mark Omlor: I am grateful for the support countless individuals have given me, but my father stands out above all.
He is the reason why I have the work ethic I hold to this day. Since I was young, the main lesson my dad taught me was to apply myself in everything that I do. That passive effort would only reflect negatively on my character. There were other work-related lessons I gained from him as well. I saw how his pragmatic decision-making and personable networking ability made him a well-respected figure in his career, and I took it upon myself to integrate those traits into my skillset as well.
We work in entirely different industries, but his mentality towards business was greatly instrumental in shaping mine.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Mark Omlor: There’s too much of a short-term mindset in regards to business. I see many entrepreneurs focused on getting a quick buck and not on sustaining long-term success. As a brand strategist, naturally, I see these mistakes come to life most often through the design decisions entrepreneurs make. Cheap, pre-made logos may be a forgivable starting point, but successful branding ought to grow with your business.
There’s a storytelling aspect to design that needs to be embraced by entrepreneurs. A richer brand story shows that you have respect for your business and, in turn, respect for the people you wish to serve.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Mark Omlor: Resilience is the fiercest, most self-respecting form of optimism one can have. Are you willing to weather tough times in defense of your dreams? Are you able to skillfully navigate the chessboard of life and anticipate whatever moves are made? These are the questions that resilience asks.
The ability to remain calm and collected in unfavorable circumstances is the mark of any respectable industry leader. Resilience is the intangible that determines who is truly capable of pursuing the most challenging endeavors.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision, or values?
Mark Omlor: As a personal brand building up other brands, values stand out the most.
People buy from people, not companies. When you assign values to your company, you personify it. You create an identity that can draw people in and establish emotional connections. Strong, concise values will make your mission and vision easier to define.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Mark Omlor: Communication, Consistency, and Adaptability
Keeping a strong line of communication with business partners leads to clearer expectations, mutually-respected boundaries, and a more satisfying workflow overall. This plays a role in networking as well. The ability to show and communicate your craft to those around you makes you more memorable, giving way to more opportunities in the future.
As creatives, we have the tendency to overanalyze at times. It’s important to understand that creativity is a constant learning experience. Keep showing up, keep putting work out, keep up your outreach, and results will make themselves known. Improvement is easier to come by when your work stays in motion.
Change must be embraced as well. Whether it’s a new content strategy or a tweak to your brand identity, you must be willing to skillfully and quickly implement changes that will serve your benefit. Adaptability and ego come to blows far too often, but if a shift is necessary to get you where you want to be, accept it.
What have you learned about personal branding that you wish you had known earlier in your career?
Mark Omlor: Vagueness and memorability do not go hand in hand.
If you try to speak to everyone and appeal to everyone, you will resonate with nobody. Become better at being yourself, there’s no respect in being a yes-man. As a personal brand, you need to be ok with the idea of not appealing to everyone. Your visual identity and your messaging won’t resonate with some people, and there’s nothing wrong with that. An authentic, thought-out brand strategy will draw in your desired audience and stay in their memory.
What’s your favorite leadership style and why?
Mark Omlor: My favorite style of leadership stems from a quote by General George Patton: “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
The overall lesson from this quote is simple: action over inaction. The business has become more competitive than ever this past year. You put yourself and those around you in a better position to succeed when you put a strategy in motion and fine-tune it along the way. Think about it this way: would you sit in your driveway before a road trip and think about every single lane change you might need to make before you even start your car? Overthinking and overanalyzing do not inspire confidence.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Mark Omlor: It’s definitely something you grow into and discover within. You need to put yourself in a variety of work environments to find out what works best for you. Entrepreneurship is not a path in life you can arrive at through theory alone. Lived experience is the only way to determine if it’s the right decision. Go through the trial-and-error, cultivate your own personal lessons, and put yourself through all the mental rigors that your industry can throw at you. Only then will you know what suits you the best
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Mark Omlor: “We suffer more in imagination than in reality” – Seneca
This quote has kept me centered and mindful of my thoughts over the years. It has taught me that–as long as I am progressing in life–things will happen as they should.
The mind is a powerful tool, but it can play tricks on you. It can convince you that a situation is more out of control than it really is. When you speak to yourself in a way that you would speak to a close friend, your thoughts become more emotionally controlled.
Understand that there’s great validity to the praise you receive from others, no matter how much your mind may downplay it. We are not our thoughts, we exist regardless of our thoughts.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Mark Omlor for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Mark Omlor or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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