Do you know who you are? No, seriously… do you REALLY know who you are, what you want, and what your purpose is?
Most people cannot answer these questions, honestly, about themselves or about their business. So how are other people supposed to know the answers? In a complicated, fast moving and noisy world, you don’t have much time to convey your message and get people to remember you. You need to be clear, quick, and memorable. To do so, you need to develop a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that can be taken together to create a positive image. Lo and behold, “the brand.”
Before you even open your mouth to say something, people have already made a decision about who you are based off of a nonverbal first impression. This is done entirely subconsciously; most people don’t even realize they are doing it. This is why a great brand can be a great asset. Whether it’s personal or professional, people associate feelings with brands and then these emotions act as filters through which we make decisions. As a result, individuals have strong, positive, and usually subconscious, responses to great brands.
What exactly is a brand? Everyone seems to have a different idea of what brands are, how they work, and how they are built. A brand is much deeper than a logo design, a slogan or some cool packaging or clothes. In the wise words of Seth Godin, “It takes more than a hat to be a cowboy.” A BRAND IS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT RATIONAL ARGUMENTS, BUT more about THE WAY YOU RESONATE WITH PEOPLE EMOTIONALLY. A BRAND IS ABOUT VALUES. A brand can represent an individual person or an entire company. Branding answers the question of what are we here to do? With word of mouth happening at the speed of light, a brand is no longer what we tell people it is – it is what people tell each other it is.
In order to build a brand and carve out a niche for yourself, or company, investing in self-discovery is critical. In fact, if you don’t spend time learning about yourself, your values, personal mission, and unique attributes, you will be at a disadvantage when marketing your brand to others. Steve Jobs was known for always looking deeper into who he was and what his life mission was. In the process, Apple blew up the rules of branding because Jobs simply didn’t recognize them. He didn’t follow the accepted “rules” and he never did what he was “supposed” to do. He knew that someone else’s success wouldn’t be his own, not because of his ego, but because it’s a fact that “NO MAN WAS EVER GREAT BY IMITATION. IT IS BETTER TO FAIL IN ORIGINALITY THAN TO SUCCEED IN IMITATION,” said by the great writer, Herman Melville. So Jobs searched within him to find the true meaning of what Apple, one of the greatest brands in history, would represent to the world.
So the question is… how do I create a great brand?
1) Be Authentic… Be Real
Discover who you are and what you value
Previously I asked what is your vision and purpose. What are your values and passions? What words do you use to define your personality? What are your strengths?
To answer these questions, start by removing yourself from distractions and ask yourself, “Who am I?” and, “If I could do anything, what would it be?” The most successful individuals have been able to connect their passion and expertise. This gives you the ambition to push through adversity, and the skills required to solve problems. By finding your unique combination of passion and expertise, you are on the path to finding the niche for your brand! The things that you believe in and value at your core are exactly what your brand should stand for. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it. Live the vision of Steve Jobs and follow your heart to fulfill your dreams. Take a position in life and stand up for it. Don’t squander your life living by someone else’s rules. Be true to yourself.
As hustlers & entrepreneurs, your brand is a reflection of you! Without you, there is no brand. Your personality will come across in your brand and the more open you are about who you are and what you stand for, the more authentic your brand will be!
Don’t be afraid to show your brand’s personality; be confident in whom you are and what you stand for. Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with. BE WEIRD. BE RANDOM. BE WHO YOU ARE. YOU NEVER NOW WHO WOULD LOVE THE PERSON YOU HIDE. Don’t tell people your dreams. Show them! Do things better! DO things the best! Don’t sell products instead sell dreams! Build a tribe and leave a legacy.
Your brand is a reflection of your deeper purpose in life and you should communicate it with passion and enthusiasm. When you understand that you are building something bigger than yourself, your words take on a new purpose and a new function. Your eyes light up and your heart opens! Don’t be afraid to let it all out!
When you speak of your brand, be excited! Share your purpose! The authenticity in your words will make your brand more trustworthy! By accepting yourself and being fully open about who you are, your presence will immediately make others happy.
3) Be a Thought Leader. Think Different
Leadership is about creating change you believe in. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Leaders lead when they take positions, when they connect with their tribes, and when they help the tribe connect to itself. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. Build a brand that represents this type of leadership. Go Against the Grain.
Aspire to create a unique brand that sets you apart from everyone else. Build a brand you believe in; one that is established on your own values and your own vision. Stick with your dream. Spread the faith. Bring something new to the world. Express your uniqueness through your work and if people laugh at you because you are different, laugh right back because they are all the same.
4) Build Your Tribe & Leave a Legacy
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. Apple is different from all other brands because for Steve Jobs, consumers weren’t just consumers, they were people, with hopes, dreams, and ambitions. Jobs got Apple to create products to help them achieve their goals and dreams. One of their most famous commercials is titled “here’s to the crazy ones” is all about changing the world and fulfilling one’s goals. As you build your tribe, learn more about them so that you can connect with them on a deeper level. Get people to want to recommend your brand, without being paid to do it. By recognizing your purpose, you will unconsciously attract others who need your vision and ideas. Your tribe gives you the ability to touch more people and to share your ideas on a greater scale. Leaving a legacy is not leaving something for people; it’s leaving something IN people. The goal isn’t to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.
5) Find Yourself. Find your Brand.
There is a deeper spiritual meaning behind a brand. It connects you to the abundance of universe by allowing you to believe in something bigger than yourself. A purpose. A faith. Whatever you call it, you cannot deny it.
What’s your story? Comment below to share you successes, struggles, experiences, or any opinions!