When you hear the term “branding,” what comes to mind? Is the concept vague, ambiguous and multi-armed like Kali? Does it seem confusing, potentially daunting, something you simply want to leave for people “with budgets”?
Or is branding simply a logo or a color pallet in your mind?
Valid questions. Branding is often not what people think, and knowing the difference can make all the difference…
Before I started doing branding officially, I was doing branding unofficially; I just didn’t know it.
Working with large companies who had logos and mission statements already (what we normally think of as branding), my job was to create online experiences and solutions that spoke to the particular audiences my bosses and clients wanted to target.
Being an immersion-design creative (I love large photography and sites that feel like journeys rather than 2 dimensional lists), I found myself tailoring the communication, the look and feel of the site, the colors and fonts, to the needs, wants and interests of our target group. I learned to think like them and really create solutions that made a difference in ease of use, accessibility and cohesion of communication. This wasn’t marketing. I wasn’t selling them anything. I was delivering a message in a clear, consistent way – in a way they resonated with.
Branding is everywhere. We simply don’t necessarily call it that.
It is consistent communication with a consistent group of people, in a consistent tone.
So here is a list of questions I pose for you to answer when you’re looking for your own brand. These questions are obviously simplified from the courses and one-on-ones I do with people, but the themes are the same:
WHAT’S YOUR AUTHENTIC TONE AND VOICE?
Are you serious? Playful? Sexy? Introverted but knowledgeable? Common sense? No nonsense? Sharp and edgy? Don’t be limited by those adjectives. They are mere suggestions. Dig up the words that best describes your natural communication style.
ARE YOU IN THE RIGHT BUSINESS?
Wait. What? Did we crack the wrong egg? I’m serious, are you in the right business? Do you actually WANT to be doing what you’re doing? Being an entrepreneur is a huge time (life) commitment, as you know. So I will ask you again, are you in the right business? What are your drives? Be honest with yourself.
Why this question? Because people can smell BS from a mile away. No amount of makeup can cover up someone squeezing the business out of them. Do what you love.
WHOM DO YOU WISH TO SERVE?
Yes, I will harp on this as well – know your audience. I love working with people who want to change the world. I was always idealistic and worked on amazing UN projects.
It stokes my heart-fire, so the people that end up working with me have consistently been transformative creatures. I designed it that way. Who is your heart-stoker?
HOW DO YOU WISH TO BE SEEN?
This has to flow from your authentic voice. My entire business revolves around authentic branding, so I will not ask you to falsely testify your heart in this question. Instead, asking yourself “How do I wish to be seen?” is really “How do I put my best foot forward?” “How do I focus on all my strengths and use them consistently, daily, ritually?”
These are the basic 4.
They will help you tease away the NOT-you. Once peeled away, my clients and I find ourselves swimming in the revelry of what they ARE. It’s decadent.
Once we can affirm what we’re actually willing to do in our business and make our brand about our core strengths and talents, around that soul-pull to create, success is a natural by-product. Here’s to yours!
KAT TEPELYAN // IGOTKAT
People trust me with ideas they’ve long dreamed of, with businesses they love and creations they cherish. Those with a natural inclination towards the mystical also come to me because I’m an intuitive, and all my advising comes not only from years of technical experience but with many years of personal development and spiritual work.
You can connect with Kat on Twitter and Facebook.