How To Build Your Own Brand And Have It Be Unique
People have trouble with trying to build their own brand for their company or self. By trying to build your own brand, I mean things like;
- Marketing messages
- Aesthetics/graphic designs
- Marketing campaigns
- A solid and simple business plan
Anyone can go to Fiverr and get a logo created. Naming your business “Cheap used cars dot com” is straightforward but unmemorable. Running a marketing campaign based on being the best, cheapest or with the highest customer service is straightforward, but it’s not going to stick in anyone’s mind. That’s why, if you’re like most business owners, you’ll want to do more than start a business; you’ll want to build your own brand.
Luckily, I’ve been in one of my weird guy moods today. I’ve come up with a unique exercise that’ll give you all the tools to build your own brand using only what’s in your head already. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it’s pretty time and brain intensive – it’s not like a multiple-choice questionnaire you’d get at primary school. It is fun and useful though, so let’s get to learning how to build your own brand using your own brain. Oh, and it’ll be a brand you’re proud of too.
Your Writing Experiments: Test Subject “You”
A strange side effect of writing for this blog is that there’s a time-dilution effect going on.
I’ll go to the archive page of this website to see whether I’ve already written about a topic. I’ll see a list of articles which I wrote last month and think, “I can’t believe that was only a couple of weeks ago.” On the other hand, there’ll be articles from January that’ll make me think, “I can remember every single word of that article.”
Just by writing something every day and then going back to it at a later date, you’ll have a weird semi-hallucinatory experience. It doesn’t have to be writing per se. Keep a diary over a long stretch of time and you’ll see how things change – or how they stay the same.
Many writers have a “first reader.” For those that don’t know, a first reader is a person they always turn to that’ll read their work before it’s sent out to an editor, publisher or reader. The idea is that the first reader will tell you whether it’s rubbish or what to change.
I’ve never really bought into that – you’re your own first reader. The critical “you” that reads your work isn’t the creative “you” that writes it.
Here’s how to experience the drug-like effect I’ve mentioned above: Create a throwaway project and use it to put random thoughts onto paper or screen. Write about random topics that interest you with no regard to whether they “fit” with any particular goal or project you have in mind. Then leave that project for a few months. Don’t read it. Put it out of your mind; do not recall it, do not worry about it, do not return to it.
After a few months – when you’ve forgotten what you’ve written and what you’ve written about– go back and read your throwaway project. It will feel strange; almost as though somebody else created the work but not quite.
Also, you’ll see strange mixes of your interests and thoughts that you wouldn’t otherwise see. This is something useful if you’re stuck on branding or creative ideas.
I wrote way back in April that writing original articles was a function of you being an individual.
I’ve mentioned this many times elsewhere on the site. Ultimately, your writing voice will develop through a combination of your technical writing ability improving and you flavouring your writing with life experiences.
Your writing style and general outlooks on life are in constant flux, but the changes are so subtle you’ll rarely notice them. That’s why you should do the above exercise – and actually do it – don’t just read and assume you know what would happen.
The same is true of your hobbies and aesthetic choices; to you, they make absolute sense. You might like darker colours versus lighter ones, soft rock music as opposed to hip-hop and your favourite animal might be an elephant.
Virtually nobody else will have the same combination of interests that you do. You won’t consciously recognise that though because the preferences are innate to you.
However, those strange connections are like gold dust. Sure, they can create competitive advantages and business related things, but those different strains are the quickest way to build memorable brands as well.
As a quick example, I couldn’t imagine running a business with a hippy elephant as a mascot… but the above hypothetical person could. It would fit well with their personality.
So, as a branding exercise, you should connect all the unrelated and unconnected dots. You’ll find something interesting – and probably a lot of things.
Final Thoughts – Or, Let’s Make Sense Of This
I’m pretty sure that this article makes less sense than I’d like it to, so I’ll summarise.
How To Build Your Own Brand Exercise
- Create a throwaway blog, a secret diary or something similar.
- In that diary, write about whatever you want. Do it regularly. Write about everything you can. Interpersonal relationships. Your favourite things. Hobbies, interests, crushes, desires and dreams.
- Write in whatever way you want. Sometimes it’ll be bullet points. Sometimes it’ll be long-form prose. It might be poetry.
- Keep it to yourself. This is not for an audience. (You can do it anonymously if you want, but I don’t recommend it.)
- Once you’ve finished, leave the project alone for a period of months.
- You’ll be tempted to add to it. Don’t. You’ll be tempted to read back. Don’t.
- After a period of several months have passed and you’ve forgotten the project (to the point where you don’t remember what you’ve written about) open up the vault.
- Read back the things that jump out at you. Then work your way through the material.
- Whilst you’re doing this, make note of weird connections and things you’re drawn to that are unrelated.
- Then play the connections game – how do you add these disparate things together, or into your main projects or business?
That’s how to build your own brand in a single exercise.
The results of this are going to be unique and almost impossible to replicate. Because of that, I can’t really tell you any more about what’ll happen.
Let me know what happens in the comments though!