You know something about your business and brand has to change. And maybe that something is you – how you regard branding, how you see yourself, how you hold back your business’s best potential.
Make you squirm?
You can attend a meditation retreat and get clarity on how jumbled your mind is. You can travel to a renowned center to explore your calling. You can take yoga classes to sweat your way to a calmer sympathetic nervous system.
Shaping a brand story can accelerate self-knowledge more quickly than a year of personal growth classes. (Tweet this if it resonates. Thanks.)
If you’ve experienced it, you know what I mean. Otherwise, you’re scratching your head.
Let me unpack what I mean. And there’s something else a little astonishing I’ve noticed, too.
What is a brand story?
A brand is your emotionally resonant promise & experience, the promise & experience you deliver consistently to your best customers and community.
Your brand story unifies your brand elements into a meaningful narrative that answers questions like why your brand matters – to you and your core values, to your best people, and to our times. It lights you up with purpose to engage your best people at a whole other level.
In short, your brand story is your emotional promise that resonates with our times and with your best people’s yearnings.
In those few sentences, I’ve listed a few elements that are incredibly challenging for most people to define accurately and with integrity. So if you’re nodding your head as if you’ve got it all figured out, you might pause and ask if you really can do the following:
- Name what you distinctly deliver on and own your value, message, if not medicine.
- Claim the ideal that you and your brand stand for.
- Express why what you do matters at your core.
- Glimpse how what you or your business does – and how it does it – matters in our times.
- Broadcast that promise through a variety of media and live channels designed to delight & lift up your best customers & community.
Take “brand” out of the equation, and you have some fairly deep soul-searching to do with those queries. They take time. They require deeper ways of exploring and problem-solving than simple writing exercises or “doing a website.” They require mounds of self-knowledge and confidence. And they typically require perspective from trusted colleagues or mentors or advisors.
The most valuable brands and businesses – including personal brands and personality brands – are not simply self-expressive. They are self-expansive.
A founder’s, leader’s, or creative’s personality is in service to a greater cause. That cause might be to help people. It might be to change the nature of our economy or the nature of an industry (Think, airbnb, American Giant).
Integrity at the Center of Brand Story
And in order for a brand story to be true means at least three things:
- The personality or business actually delivers on the promise, consistently, and makes a part of the world better as a consequence.
- The story – its values, voice, face, message – come from the founder’s, leaders’, owners’, partners’, or personality’s core heritage of experiences, skills, personality strengths, and convictions.
- It resonates with the right people at the right time.
The brand walks its talk. It has integrity.
Do you think it’s a challenge to have integrity in public as your presence, reach, impact, and revenue expand? You bet.
Will it take you out of your comfort zone as you move closer to what you’ve yearned for in your work life or creative life? Of course.
Will it accelerate your self-expansion more quickly than a year’s worth of personal growth retreats and workshops? If those retreats and workshops are focused solely inwardly on you – yes.
Self-expansion means you’re part of something greater than your self-exploration, self-expression, self-preservation.
The astonishing thing I’ve noticed is this: Wonder really does accompany the process. Wonder dissolves our habitual ways of seeing and solving. Wonder surprises us out of the ordinary and opens us to possibility. This I see over and over again among business owners & teams, personalities & professionals, thought leaders and conversation leaders.