The Brand of You
Since before I had officially launched Next Page Brand Strategies, before Next Page Brand Strategies had a name, before I even knew that Next Page Brand Strategies was my - uh - next page - my boyfriend told me that I needed to use my photo anywhere and everywhere to get people to talk to me. "You're biased," I said. And I ignored him.
Then a friend was helping me create graphic design/marketing materials and he also suggested I use my photo because, "It's part of your brand." Uggh. I whined and I pushed back on him. Not because I didn't think he had a point (and so did my boyfriend), but because I wanted my brand to be more than my face. So then how was I going to establish my brand, and what did I want that brand to say? My brand and my identity are deftly interwoven since I am my entire company. To that point, what does my brand say about me, and vice versa?
As I've worked now with several clients in creating logos and developing brands, I've found that the more centered you are in who you are (rather than who you're not) - the easier that brand is to identify.
It's not just about the colors you choose to use (yellow and grey have no particular meaning to me; I just like that they are bold without being aggressive). It's not about trying to make your logo a complex element that explains all of what you do (without inquiry, some people might think I market books [wish I did, but alas I do not]). And it's only somewhat about the name. Some people are trying to capture a feeling (for me, it's the moving forward - getting "unstuck" that inspired my business name). For others, they build their business brand with their personal name because that's what makes sense for them. (Thought I'd save my future clients the headache of learning how to spell 'D'Alessio' over and over again).
People have said to me, I love the name of your business, or I love the colors you use, or I love your logo... and then they want to know the secret of making all of that work. I took a lot of time to decide which part of me was going to become my business brand. I have a lot of hobbies and character traits (from yoga, to cooking, to my dog) that might have inspired my business brand, but I started with the core of who I am and went with my gut. And I didn't budge on that.
Don't look at those around you when you are building the brand of you - mimicking may be the biggest form of flattery, but all you're doing is helping elevate someone else's brand. Who you are will bleed into your business whether you want it to or not - so you might as well begin ahead of the curve, and lean into it.