A Behind the Scenes Look at Building (My) Brand

…this process of Becoming that we all go through as our business evolves.

You start with an idea. You try something, live with it for a while, change things up a bit and try something else.

Eventually, you have a little success, and maybe even a little fun. You get better at this, learning how to sell, and how to serve. Eventually, your ideas take flight, as your business takes on an identity and a life of it’s own.

That’s when you need to up your game on your brand.

When I reached this point myself last year, I embarked on a personal journey of discovery, seeking a new look that would really represent who I am and what I do.

I hired a visual brand specialist whose work I’d admired for over a year. It was a HUGE step, one that meant a significant investment of time, resources and energy into a process that is, in so many ways, hard to define.

How exactly do you capture the essence of your business?

And if you’re a heart centered entrepreneur like so many of my clients, how do you bring your Self to your brand?

Turns out, it takes time.

When I hired an expert, I was ready. I’d gathered all kinds of ideas on my Pinterest board. I’d done some writing and journaling about the value I bring and what I do.

And I thought I knew what I wanted…

I want to share with you a little of what happens behind the scenes when you’re committed to the process of uncovering what is in fact, the soul of your business.

Some of you will get it when I say that this feels a little like going out in public without any makeup, but you need to understand what goes into this process.

It’s not always pretty. :)

PHASE ONE

A brand is more than a logo. It’s a collection of colors, fonts, and images that together create a mood and tell a story that you want your clients to hear.

So the branding visualist I hired took what felt like a random collection of words, phrases, ideas, and images from me, and looked for themes. Then, she crafted a series of style sheets that turned those themes into visual ideas that I might like.

Here’s the first of several she created.

It’s pretty, isn’t it?

But it wasn’t “me” at all. The colors didn’t fit. And even though I love natural elements like rocks and feathers and leaves, that didn’t work either.

But it wasn’t until I saw this that I knew that.

I had to tell her – and that was hard. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. I was blown away by her work, but knew this wasn’t “it”.

It was hard to put into words what I felt, but I did my best. And bless her heart – she didn’t mind a bit. In fact, much like a good therapist, she simply asked me a series of questions that guided the process forward.

It must take a thick skin to be a graphic artist. :)

PHASE TWO

Zeroing in on key phrases, she decided to work with the core image first in black and white. “If it doesn’t work in black and white”, she said, “It’s not gonna work when you dress it up in color either.

Turns out, she knew I was getting in my own way before I did.

So, stepping into leadership, she began playing with her own ideas based on her sense of who I am, and sent me this.

 

Some of these I knew right away weren’t right. A few of them though, struck a chord. I found myself saying, “Ahhhh!! That’s interesting…

I didn’t understand it all, but something here felt good. There is so much about this process that is completely intuitive that all I could do was feel my way through it.

And what made this work was the willingness of my branding expert to do the same.

PHASE THREE

We went here next.

Can you see it?

Unfolding as naturally as morning dew on a blade of grass, the soul of my business was coming into focus. In fact, there was a story here that fit so perfectly it brought tears to my eyes. I’ll share that with you next time.

Your visual brand speaks to so much of who you are. Listen to your intuition. Work with someone who gets that.

And take the time to get it right.


Photo Credit: Moyen Brenn  on Flickr

 
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