BRANDING SERIES – VOLUME I
I want to kick off this series by talking about motivation and intention.
But first, two quick definitions. For my purposes in these blogs...
"Brand" = your business/etc
"Branding" = the way your business/etc presents itself
Got it? Cool.
developing & understanding your "why"
Before you can ever have a conversation with a designer about your visual footprint, before you can think about creating a website or publishing content, even before you land your first client, you have to have a "why".
HERE'S WHAT I MEAN
The conversation about branding encompasses both who you ARE and what you DO and so the first step to developing a powerful and cohesive brand identity is to determine why you exist as a brand and what you're trying to do with the brand. This serves as the foundation for everything you are and do.
+ Your why determines what your brand looks like visually
+ Your why is the filter for the kind of clients you land
+ Your why guides your decision-making and future planning
+ Your why encourages you in seasons of doubt
+ Your why allows you to intentionally say yes and no
The list goes on. But please please PLEASE hear me...
PEOPLE DON'T CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO.
PEOPLE CARE WHY YOU DO IT.
What you do is pretty simple. You take photos, you sell paintings, you record videos, you write blogs, you design flyers and logos, you sell houses. Telling people about that is super easy. What I'm challenging you to do here is to determine and then showcase the reason you do those things – what the driving force behind your work is, and what you're trying to accomplish with the work that you do.
You've probably heard the term "elevator pitch." An elevator pitch is how you would describe your brand if you were given 30 seconds to do so in an elevator (pretty straightforward, no?). But so often I hear these 30-second blips from creatives and all they do is explain what their brand is about, not why their brand exists.
Here's the problem with that...
"WHAT" IS DESCRIPTIVE
"WHY" IS INSPIRATIONAL
As you explain your brand to the watching world and as you curate your future brand trajectory, understanding the motivations, intentions, and the reason behind your work is crucial. To truly stand out in our world today, you have to inspire others to get on board with who you are. You have to showcase your personality and the reason your work is unique and different than the competition.
People hire people – not products.
And people? People have motivations...and it's time to share those!
+ EXAMPLE TIME +
Most of you probably know that I'm a professional photographer. I photograph weddings, couples, families, seniors, etc – that's my "what". Interesting? Sure, whatever. But not super exciting or inspiring.
The reasons I do what I do, however? That's what gets me super excited and honestly? This is the reason I've booked 100% of my clients.
So here's my "why"
"I didn’t become a photographer to take photos but rather to build relationships and capture memories. That means I’m not about awkward posing or forced smiles because, let’s be honest, nobody lives life that way. Rather, I’m about real love, raw emotion, and unbridled joy – the romantic and intimate, the crazy and unplanned…and everything in between. I want to help my clients craft their visual story in such a way that they can open their photo gallery and instantly go “yep, that’s totally US!” Ultimately, I want to get to know my clients. To learn what makes them the happiest and where they feel most comfortable. To join them in the story they're telling and help them create a visual representation of that story that is truly and uniquely theirs."
See what I'm talking about?
My why is all about relationships. Developing friendships so that I can capture real life moments. And this "why" impacts anything and everything I do.
+ It's why my website looks the way it does
+ It affects how I run my Instagram
+ It's why this blog exists
+ It determines how I interact with clients
It changes EVERYTHING
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
The first and most crucial step in developing a powerful and cohesive brand is understanding your "why" so today your assignment is simple – figure out what that "why" actually is.
If you already have one, step back a think about it for a minute. Is your "why" truly why you do what you do? If someone asked you in an elevator to describe your work and the reason you do it – what would you say?
And hey, you know me...I'm not going to leave you hanging. So here's a handy little tool to get you going...
THREE QUESTIONS TO HELP DETERMINE YOUR "WHY"
1. Why did you originally start doing what you're doing?
2. If you could land the ideal job/sell the ideal product, what would it be and why?
3. If you could change one thing about your work, what would you change and for what purpose?
Alright, that's it for today! Hopefully that will at least get you thinking about the reason behind what you do and give you some direction!
I'll be back Friday talking about focusing your brand and choosing a niche but in the meantime if you have any questions about this topic or want to share YOUR why with the readers here, leave a comment below and start the conversation!