Interview with Mandy Pao: Building Purposeful Brands

Interview with Mandy Pao: Building Purposeful Brands

Welcome to another insightful interview on Marketer Interview, where we connect with exceptional marketers to explore their journeys, expertise, and the valuable insights they bring to the marketing world.

Today, we are privileged to speak with Mandy Pao, a Purpose-Driven Coach and the Founder and Creative Director at Eloquence International.

With her expertise in conscious living and brand coaching, Mandy has helped entrepreneurs and business owners build purposeful brands and design lives that align with their core values.

Join us as we explore Mandy’s journey, her impactful approach to branding, and her passion for work-life integration.


Can you tell us about your journey into marketing and branding and what inspired you to specialize in working with impact-driven businesses?

My journey in marketing and branding began a decade ago when I joined a prestigious luxury fashion PR agency in Hong Kong.

Over the years, I had the opportunity to work with renowned brands such as Hollywood movies and luxury fashion houses like LV, Miu Miu, Gucci, Prada, and many others. Despite the excitement of working with these big brands, I realized that I found the job daunting and unsatisfying and strongly desired to pursue a different path that aligned better with my values.

However, after a year of working there, I discovered that I thrived on building personal connections with individuals rather than working in large groups. This realization sparked my curiosity about providing long-lasting communication solutions to clients.

I gradually realized that my true passion lies in collaborating with small businesses that genuinely want to make a positive impact.

During this period, I discovered the profound influence of branding on businesses. This realization motivated me to establish my creative agency, EQ International, a creative brand-building agency that helps impact-driven businesses expand their reach and influence using a holistic formula of strategy, branding, and marketing as a force for good.

As I immersed myself in working with entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises, I began incorporating a giving-back angle into the brand-building experience. In 2021, I narrowed my focus and exclusively assisted impact-driven businesses and entrepreneurs.

I have found a deep sense of fulfillment and purpose by specializing in working with impact-driven businesses. The ability to help these businesses effectively communicate their missions, values, and positive contributions to the world has become my driving force in marketing and branding.

Beginning this year in 2023, I deepen my commitment to embark on a journey as a Purpose Driven Brand Coach. My goal is to assist even more entrepreneurs who aspire to create a meaningful impact in this world and guide them in building purposeful brands and designing lives aligned with their values.

How do you define conscious living, and how does it translate into your approach to brand coaching?

Conscious living is the deliberate practice of aligning one’s actions and choices with one’s core values. It means living with clarity and intention, free from the pressures of societal expectations and mindless consumption.

In my approach to brand coaching, conscious living plays a central role. A brand should be an authentic reflection of its values and purpose.

By helping entrepreneurs embrace conscious living, I guide them in uncovering their true values and integrating them into their brand strategy. I emphasize the importance of creating a balanced life that encompasses financial success, health, personal growth, relationships, and contributing to a better world. Work is vital to our lives, but it should be a source of fulfillment and joy rather than overwhelming stress.

I empower my clients to view their work as a means to create their desired lifestyle without allowing it to consume their entire existence. In essence, my brand coaching approach encourages entrepreneurs to live consciously and intentionally so that their brands become genuine expressions of their values, positively impacting both their lives and the world around them.

I often remind my clients, “We work to live, not live to work.”

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Building a purposeful brand requires a deep understanding of core values. How do you help businesses identify and align their values within their branding strategies?

Understanding and aligning core values within branding strategies is crucial to my brand coaching approach. Through my extensive experience in Branding & Marketing, I have developed “The Aligned Entrepreneur Method,” a proprietary approach designed to help entrepreneurs build purposeful brands and lead purposeful lives.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how I assist clients in identifying and aligning their values within their branding strategies, divided into two main parts:


  1. Identifying core values and purpose: I collaborate closely with businesses, utilizing a comprehensive workbook to guide entrepreneurs through a reflective session. This process encourages them to explore their skills, passions, and lifestyle. Through thought-provoking questions, we help uncover their purpose and core values. This enables us to infuse these values into their brand.
  2. Redefining success: Together, we redefine and rewrite their definition of success, ensuring it aligns with their core values and long-term vision beyond mere financial achievements.
  3. Creating the desired lifestyle: We work towards creating a lifestyle that reflects the entrepreneur’s values, incorporating elements of health, relationships, personal growth, and overall well-being.


  1. Building an aligned brand: Develop a brand that authentically reflects their values, purpose, and desired lifestyle. This includes crafting brand attributes, messaging, visual identity, and experiences that resonate with their target audience.
  2. Purpose-driven brand development: We align the brand’s messaging and values with its purpose, ensuring consistency and authenticity across all touchpoints, from marketing materials to customer interactions.
  3. Effective marketing planning: I assist entrepreneurs in creating an effective marketing calendar that aligns with their values, purpose, and target audience, helping them make informed decisions about their marketing strategies and campaigns.
  4. Cross-channel optimization: We optimize marketing efforts across various channels to maximize brand exposure, engagement, and impact while ensuring the alignment of messaging and values.
  5. Regular data reviews: I encourage businesses to review data and analytics to track progress, measure performance, and make data-driven adjustments to their branding strategies when necessary.

By following this comprehensive approach, businesses can understand their core values, align them with their purpose, and effectively infuse them into their branding strategies.

This process allows them to build purposeful brands that resonate with their audience, create a positive impact, and authentically reflect their values and aspirations.

Could you share an example of a project where you helped a business transform and revitalize its brand, emphasizing its impact on growth and success?

I have a client who runs an award-winning food surplus app in Hong Kong. When she approached me, she was overwhelmed, burned out, and lacked direction in her personal and business life.

She was constantly working, neglecting self-care, and struggling to find balance. It was evident that a transformation was necessary.

During our coaching period, we delved deep into her core values and discovered that friendship, nature, and health were fundamental to her. Together, we gradually reshaped her work week, making space for coffee catch-ups with friends, time spent in nature, and implementing a healthy routine.

I am proud to see how far she has come, and now she prioritized activities such as running, improving her sleep and carving out personal time for friends and nature. The results were astounding.

By prioritizing self-care, we witnessed remarkable growth in her personal life and business. I am immensely proud to share that she was recently recognized as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

While I appreciate her commitment and dedication to her work, she has realized that work should be a part of her life and not consume her entire existence. Through our coaching, she has redefined her definition of success.

Understanding that success encompasses more than just professional achievements. It involves finding balance, prioritizing self-care, and nurturing other aspects of her life, such as relationships, personal growth, and well-being.

Expanding her perspective, she has discovered a more holistic and fulfilling approach to work and life.

This success story exemplifies the transformative power of incorporating self-care into the entrepreneurial journey. It enabled her to recharge, gain clarity, and become an effective leader for her team while serving the community.

Entrepreneurship should not be an endless grind. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Who would want to work with someone lacking energy, mood, and a clear direction for their business?

This example highlights how revitalizing a brand by prioritizing self-care and aligning with core values can profoundly impact growth, success, and overall well-being.

In the digital media and social platforms age, how do you advise impact-driven businesses to create authentic connections with their target audience?

While digital platforms offer great outreach opportunities, building genuine connections goes beyond numbers and superficial metrics.

Here’s my approach:

Firstly, I advocate connecting with people in person and engaging in meaningful one-on-one interactions. This allows for deeper and more authentic connections, fostering trust and understanding. I value and prioritize these personal connections because they have a lasting impact on both individuals and businesses.

Secondly, I steer away from getting caught up in the numbers game. Having a large following doesn’t automatically translate to knowledge, reliability, trustworthiness, or even more leads. It is more meaningful to be acknowledged by a smaller group of individuals who genuinely appreciate my value rather than focusing solely on accumulating followers or likes.

I aim to guide and inspire my clients and students to cultivate genuine connections. I emphasize that it’s not about the number of followers, likes, or comments but rather the quality of relationships we build. Authenticity and meaningful engagement should be the focal points in connecting with the target audience.

Lastly, I don’t need the entire world to engage with me. Instead, I trust that people who align with my values and vision will naturally gravitate toward me and join me on this journey. By staying true to my purpose and values, I attract individuals who resonate with my message and are genuinely interested in my impact-driven work.

In summary, while I acknowledge the importance of digital platforms and increasing visibility, I prioritize cultivating genuine connections over obsessing over numbers. I view social media as a tool for sharing experiences and insights, focusing on building authentic relationships rather than chasing superficial metrics.

Ultimately, I aim to create a meaningful and lasting impact by connecting with individuals with a common vision for positive change.

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What are some common challenges or misconceptions when working with entrepreneurs and businesses in conscious branding?

One common challenge I encounter is the misconception that conscious branding and integrating it into one’s life is a quick fix. In reality, my approach focuses on fostering sustainable lifestyles and brand-building journeys. I emphasize the importance of long-term strategies and sustainable solutions rather than seeking instant achievements.

Another challenge is the perception that conscious branding is merely a means to an end. However, my approach should not be seen or treated as just a “tool.” Instead, it is a way of living—an ongoing commitment to aligning values, purpose, and actions in both personal and professional life.

It is essential to dispel these misconceptions and emphasize that conscious branding is a holistic and long-term endeavor. By embracing this mindset, entrepreneurs and businesses can fully integrate conscious practices into their brand strategies, fostering authenticity, meaningful connections, and sustainable growth.

How do you incorporate the principles of slow living into your branding and marketing strategies, and what benefits do they offer businesses?

While I don’t necessarily advocate for “slow living” as a specific principle, I emphasize finding balance. This means recognizing when to pick up the pace and when to slow down and find space for centering oneself.

When it comes to building a brand, incorporating this ethos is crucial. By embracing a balanced approach to branding and marketing, businesses can experience several benefits.

Firstly, they can find more enjoyment and appreciation in the journey itself. Building a brand takes time; having the right mindset and suitable momentum is essential for making progress. Going too fast or slow will not get us anywhere, but finding the right pace allows for steady growth and strong establishment.

Secondly, incorporating balance helps businesses avoid burnout and overwhelm. It encourages entrepreneurs and teams to prioritize self-care, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and prevent exhaustion. This ultimately leads to better creativity, productivity, and overall well-being.

Additionally, a balanced approach to branding and marketing fosters authenticity and meaningful connections. Businesses can build trust and long-lasting relationships with their customers by understanding the target audience, engaging in genuine conversations, and delivering value-driven content. This authentic connection is vital for sustained success and customer loyalty.

In summary, while I don’t specifically focus on “slow living,” I advocate for finding balance in branding and marketing strategies. This approach allows businesses to enjoy the journey, prevent burnout, and cultivate authentic connections, leading to sustainable growth and success.

Can you share some valuable insights on the role of storytelling in brand building, especially for businesses focused on making a positive impact in society?

In today’s market, customers don’t want to be sold. They want to be inspired.

People are becoming increasingly sensitive and attuned, and they care deeply about a brand’s narrative and values, not just its functional attributes.

They seek to understand the story behind the brand, who the founder is, the values they uphold, and how the company treats its staff.

For businesses focused on positively impacting society, storytelling plays a pivotal role in brand building. Spending time crystallizing your values and infusing them into your brand is essential. These values should extend beyond your products or services and reflect your company culture. Customers are not just buying your products.

You can establish genuine connections with your audience by effectively communicating your brand’s story and values. Storytelling creates an emotional resonance that fosters trust, loyalty, and a sense of shared purpose with your customers. By crafting authentic and compelling narratives, businesses can engage their audience deeper, create a positive impact, and inspire action.

Storytelling humanizes the brand, making it relatable and enabling customers to connect with its mission and values. It goes beyond selling a product; it cultivates a genuine connection with customers, building a loyal community of brand advocates.

As a creative director, what tools or software do you find indispensable in your work, and how do they contribute to the success of your projects?

As a creative director and purpose-driven brand coach, I recognize the importance of leveraging the right tools and software to enhance productivity and drive the success of my and my client’s projects. Here are some indispensable tools that I use daily:

1. ChatGPT: ChatGPT is a versatile tool that supports me in various aspects of my work, including copywriting, research, and more. It helps me generate creative ideas, gather information, and provide valuable insights to my clients.

2. Waalaxy: I rely on tools like Waalaxy to streamline my LinkedIn connection process. This tool efficiently automates connection requests, saving time and expanding my network with relevant professionals.

3. Grammarly: Ensuring error-free writing is crucial in my work. Grammarly is a reliable tool available on both my phone and computer. It helps me enhance the quality of my written content, including emails, proposals, and other communications.

4. Ahrefs: Ahrefs is an indispensable tool for optimizing search engine optimization (SEO) and conducting keyword research. It enables me to uncover valuable insights into keyword performance, competitor analysis, and overall SEO strategies. Social media management tool:

5. Pallyy is a valuable tool that simplifies social media scheduling and provides analytics to track performance. It helps me efficiently manage and optimize my clients’ social media presence, ensuring their brand reaches the right audience. Project management and note organization:

6. Notion is my go-to tool for project management and note organization. It allows me to keep track of tasks, collaborate with team members, and maintain a centralized repository of project-related information.

Constantly exploring new tools is essential to optimize my team’s workflow and consistently add value to my clients. By leveraging these indispensable tools, I can streamline processes, improve efficiency, and deliver high-quality results for my projects.

What advice would you give aspiring marketers and entrepreneurs who wish to create purpose-driven brands and design lives aligning with their values?

Start by discovering your purpose and core values.

Take the time to reflect on what truly matters to you and what impact you want to make in the world. Once you clearly understand your purpose and values, live them authentically and unapologetically. It’s important to stay true to yourself and not let the world’s noise distract or deter you from your path.

Remember that building a purpose-driven brand and designing a life in alignment with your values is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process and be prepared to face challenges along the way. Stay resilient, stay focused, and keep taking small steps forward.

Lastly, remember that success is not solely measured by financial achievements but by the positive impact you make in the lives of others and the fulfillment you find in living a purpose-driven life. Embrace the opportunity to make a difference, and let your values guide your actions and decisions as you build your brand and design your life.

What are your upcoming endeavors, and how can people engage with you if they are interested?

I am excited to announce my upcoming endeavor, which is the launch of an intimate group coaching program called “The Aligned Entrepreneur – CrashCourse.” This program is designed to help entrepreneurs build purpose-driven brands and design lives aligned with their core values.

Recognizing that not everyone can afford the price of my coaching programs, I wanted to create an accessible option for aspiring entrepreneurs. “The Aligned Entrepreneur – CrashCourse” is a 4-month course with limited availability for just 6 participants.

Each month, we will delve into different topics, covering the step-by-step process of creating a purpose-driven brand through strategy, branding, and marketing while aligning with one’s core values and purpose.

This program provides a unique opportunity to receive intimate group coaching and community support and connect with like-minded individuals and industry leaders. It offers valuable insights and guidance at a fraction of the cost (3K HKD/month) of my 1-on-1 coaching services, typically priced at 15K HKD/month.

If you are interested in participating or would like further assistance and support, I am always here to help. Book your discovery call here to schedule your appointment.

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