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What Brand Development and your Underwear have in Common – A Message for Startups

What Brand Development and your Underwear have in Common – A Message for Startups
If you’re going to get clear about your brand then first we need to get intimate about what the wonderful world of branding is really all about. Quite frankly branding has a bad reputation. For starters, the most common misconception is that branding is logo design but that’s like stepping into the world with only your underwear on. Go ahead and laugh, but I see so many businesses doing it. Yup, they invest in only their underwear. You see branding starts with who you are from within. Why you exist. Where you are going. How you behave. Who you attract into your life. What you say. It’s the consistency of all your brand’s elements that creates a professional image for your company. When I refer to your brand elements I mean the brand messaging, colours, fonts, imagery and of course your logo that altogether creates a cohesive brand image.

You can think about branding in three parts: who you are, how you dress and how you act in the world. Who you are is your brand strategy, how you dress is your brand identity and how you act is your marketing.

Let’s explore this metaphor for a moment to paint the picture. Your mind knows why you exist (purpose). Your heart knows how to behave authentically (values). Your eyes see where you are going (vision). Your mouth speaks the truth (tone of voice).

The clothes you wear are your brand look. Let’s say your watch is the font styles. Your shirt is the style of photography you use. Your pants are the colours. Your shoes are the name. And yes, your logo is your underwear. Ok, maybe not the perfect metaphor because you can’t see your underwear when your clothes are on but I think you see what I’m getting at here. The logo is just one part of your brand.

Ok, now that we’re clear about who your business is and how they will dress you may be wondering “but I’m just one person”. “How do I get my employees onboard, how to I choose the right partners and how do I attract customers?” Great questions.

The third part of your brand is how you align every action, decision and message. This is where the rubber hits the road and your brand comes to life. Internally with your employees and externally with your partners and customers. These signals must be in complete alignment with how your brand acts.

Our brand tools are not all about creating glossy statements. Most importantly, it’s about the clarity you will find as a leader that comes with this creative process. Your brand is alive. It’s not a few statements written on your about page. The deeper you go, the greater clarity you will find.