Draw A Line In Your Brand

25-Oct-2011

“A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider and more passionately than any advertising could... [but ] for everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)”

Those are some fightin’ words. They’re straight from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson of 37Signals. We thought the chapter titled “Draw a Line in The Sand” from their must-read business book, Rework, is great inspiration for a ten minute brand exercise for our “Your Brand On a Desert Island” themed series.

Now Rework definitely takes a tough-love stance on figuring out what your beliefs are as a business overall. They use the “line in the sand” metaphor to wake you up to the idea that as a business you have to stand for certain beliefs and stick to them no matter what. If you try to appeal to everyone, then ultimately nobody will care.

Here’s a way we’ve adapted the idea as a warm-up exercise to start uncovering your authentic brand. You can do this on the beach, in a sandbox, or more realistically – on a piece of paper. You can also do it with more than one person and compare answers (preferably all wearing Bermuda shorts to get in the spirit.)

Drawing Your Line
1. Draw a big circle.
2. Draw a line down the middle.
3. Draw a single stone on the left side. That’s you, or your business.
4. On the other side of the line write down what you DON’T stand for. These are the practices you can’t stand, the things you’ve never liked doing, believed in doing – or at least want to stop doing.  Then once you get a really unlikable list going, refine it down. Circle the words that really make you itch with disapproval (it’s okay to even feel annoyed, mad or even smug about all the things you are not).
5. Now go back and write in all the opposites on YOUR side of the line. These are the beliefs that make you unique. Or perhaps they are old-fashioned, simple even – and yet you feel all the more strongly about them. You’re lucky you have a strong opinion. But most likely, if you feel like you operate in shades of grey, this exercise is a fun way to get your point-of-view a little stronger in contrast.

Draw A Line In The Brand

Draw A Line In The Brand
Sometimes it’s hard for us humans to start with the positives. We’re just flawed that way. Trying to pin down our beliefs as a business, entrepreneur or as a creative professional can make that circle of sand seem like an awfully intimidating blank slate. So start with the “don’t” side to get all stirred up, but don’t dwell there. The challenge is to hone in where you can make a stand.

Then stick to your side of the line. Continue to capture your beliefs and make sure they are being shaped and shared through your brand. That’s how other people will know you have a line, and a side, that they want to stand behind with you.

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Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.

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