“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.

P.S. Are you subscribing to our blog feed? Do you like us (on Facebook that is)? And you're totally missing out if you aren't following our Pinterest boards.


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.

SHARE THIS +


When we begin The Braid Method with a client, right away we get into gathering and capturing mode.  If we’re going to create a brand that stands for what it’s supposed to, we’ve got to get down to the real the story. So we start with, well... The Start Deck. This is a stack of cards we send our client-participants. Each card has a different ten-minute brand exercise for them to complete. One of the most surprising and revealing Start Deck exercises we conducted with Ryan & Paige of Root Juice was Card No. 6: Word Throwdowns. So now it’s our favorite. Here’s how it works.

Word Throwdowns Branding Exercise
“Word Throwdowns” starts with pairs of words that might best describe the purpose or personality of the business or organization. Another way to think of it is as words that describe what other people should either a.) know or b.) feel about the experience, product, or service.

Between each pair of words the one that’s more “true” is circled. Different people within the exercise might have different answers once they are revealed, so we have to arm wrestle that out together. And from there we created a bracket to narrow down the top picks.  I mean, who doesn’t love a bracket?

Root Juice Word Throwdowns Branding Exercise Bracket
Ultimately you end up with the top two words. What you want people know on one side and feel on the other. Kathleen and I went into this exercise assuming what the outcome would be (a brand that was more adventure/hipster culture) and we were pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t what we anticipated (actually more about local roots and neighborhood). Which just goes to show how important it is to go through a method to uncover an authentic brand story versus just making one up.

Can you describe in just a couple words the purpose or personality of your business? What do you want your customers to know about your brand? What do you want them to feel about the experience, service or product you offer? Share your thoughts in the comments below or let us know on Twitter what you think.

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.

SHARE THIS +


We asked you to tell us what items you would bring with you to recreate your brand on a desert island. And from the two-man shop to the hundred-plus employee organization, no one got a bigger boat. Three objects, one special ingredient and a single critical skill were all they could choose. Here were the survivor-style answers from five very different brands.

Pip & Estella on a Desert Island

The Artistpreneur’s brand. Pip & Estella: vintage-modern interiors and styling.  The single most important skill to Pip & Estella brand survival?  Resourceful styling. So creating lovely castaway digs to lounge around in is never problem.

Lucky Dog Audio on a Desert Island

The Two-Man Shop brand. LuckyDog Audio: sound design. The microphone is a “duh,” but the stopwatch serves a double-function. It helps them tell writers their scripts are waaaaay too long (I confess, I’ve been a guilty party). Plus it symbolizes a frequent client compliment, that LuckyDog’s got “the fastest editor in the west.”  But ultimately their ears are their greatest tool so listening to those clients is the true secret of their survival.

Heritage on A Desert Island

The Resourceful Machine brand. Heritage Solutions: print, promotion & fulfillment company. You’d think their inks would make the list, but this one-stop ultra-resourceful shop can make those out of mud, blood or coconut oil in this castaway version of a well-run machine. That chemical-wonderful-whopping ink smell, though? A must-have for the complete experience.

So tell us! What 3 things would you bring to recreate your brand on a desert island? What's that extra ingredient and single critical skill?

"Like" us on Facebook to find out what Tara & Kathleen would require on a desert island.

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.

SHARE THIS +


SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

branding advice & insights | to your inbox | from Braid Creative

our privacy policy

BRANDING & DESIGN BY BRAID CREATIVE
DEVELOPED BY Indie Shopography
© BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING, LLC