“A brand is just a stronger sense of self”

Getting fancy in 2003

Nicole volunteered us to dress up for a “fancy” kids party. I wore a tux from 2003, so I’m not sure how fancy it was.

At the party I chatted with another mom who is in the world of branding. “A brand,” she said, “is just a stronger sense of self.”

She went on.

“Nike is a brand, Hyatt is a company. You know what a Nike hotel would feel like, you have no idea what Hyatt shoes would look like.”

– Fellow fancy parent at party

Having a clear brand has less to do (first) with the right fonts, colors, and platforms. It has first to do with knowing yourself better, and then knowing your customers. 

Branding doesn’t start with telling, it starts with listening.

Before you build a “brand kit” what if you started by really listening to your life? Parker Palmer’s book by the same title would be an excellent start.

If you know how you best serve people today, you’ll be better at telling people how you’ll serve them in the future. Before you figure out what your wardrobe should be, find out how people feel when they’re around you.

I’d start here:

  • Ask a few people around you how they’d describe what you bring to them.
  • Interview a few former clients what the best value you provided to them.
  • Name your values.

Colors, fonts, wardrobe, and websites matter. But they’re confusing if they don’t align with who you are.

The best brand is the one most aligned to who you are.

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