The most important thing to know about branding

“If we communicate the vision behind our ideas, the purpose guiding our products, people will flock to us.” – Adam Grant

A great logo. A color scheme. Maybe even a tagline. These are probably some of the first things that come to mind when we think about branding.

I often work with businesses and entrepreneurs to create content, produce videos, make photographs, and even build websites. Our first conversations naturally start with them telling me all about their business. But once we get through the prepared answers, I like to ask one question, and then ask it again as a follow up: Why?

Why do you want a website? Why do you want a promotional video?

From a sales perspective, that may seem counterproductive. It could sound like I’m trying to talk them out of hiring me for a job. And in an insane way, that’s sort of what I’m doing.

What I’ve learned by talking with small business owners is that they’ve spent the time and money on the name and logo, and maybe even a color scheme. Some of them have elevator pitches ready to rip. They may even have a shell of a story attached. But not all of them have settled on a Why.

As cheesy as it may sound, coming up with a vision and a mission for whatever you’re doing is the best place to start because those answers inform every decision you make afterwards. Or at least they should.

Until you land on a Why, everything else you’re doing is in vain.

To be fair, many entrepreneurs have the why somewhere inside of them – they’ve just never articulated it. So my question and series of follow ups can usually help them get to that point. And then we’re good to talk specifically about how the content I produce for them aligns with that Why.

In the event we don’t arrive at a Why, I’m not above recommending that a client take a step back and do some self-work. Maybe consult a business coach. Not that I’m trying to play counselor (though I do love self-work), but I know that the work I would do would end up being futile.

To be clear, things can… will… and should change. Your direction will shift, probably multiple times. But shifting focus is going to beat out working with no focus every time.

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