What’s Your Thing?

What’s Your Thing?

A good brand’ has a big job. It must tell us who you are, what you do, and how you make others feel. It has to sum up, “what’s your thing,” in just a few snappy words.

What is a Brand?

Your brand, in a nutshell, is your entire business identity. It isn’t your logo or your tagline. It is what you stand for and it is how you promise to deliver consistently awesome experiences to your clients.

For example, think about your poor jam-packed inbox. Right now there are probably all kinds of emails trying to grab your attention. You’re going to delete most of them, but among the chaos are a few emails that are truly useful.

For these emails, the truly helpful ones, you may even know exactly which day those emails are usually delivered. Their creators have nailed their brand promise, and they provide you with the helpful information you need.

Or try this instead. Picture that perfect slice of pizza—the sauce, toppings, cheese, and crust are all on point. This is what branding does—it creates a vivid connection that instantly creates certain expectations. Like hot, cheesy goodness.

What about those catchy slogans like “Just Do It” or “Fly the Friendly Skies”? They instantly bring to mind images of being the perfect baller or jetting off on your next adventure.

What People Get Wrong About Branding

Here’s what most people get wrong about branding.

You already have a brand. Even if you don’t create a brand strategy, you still have a brand.

Why Have a Thing? People Love Labels

Love it or hate it, people put labels on everything. Just take a look at the “Questions” page over at Britannica.com. It is a who’s who of famous folks. “What did Benjamin Franklin do?” or “How did Taylor Swift become famous?” or “What is LeBron James known for?” While you might not be angling for a spot on Britannica’s answers page, you still need a label. Or else people will give you one.

Sea World is a classic example of a mismanaged label. After the launch of the film Blackfish, Sea World became synonymous for “that place that keeps killer whales in captivity.” The message got entirely away from the company, and the labels its customer assigned it nearly killed the business.

The same goes for you. If you fail to consistently convey yourself as a “baller sports marketing exec” or “a branding pro who loves math” (okay, my “thing” might still be a work in progress), you allow others to form their own labels. This puts you at risk of becoming known as the “guy who posts weird cat videos,” or the “person who drives painfully slow in the fast lane.” Without actively managing your brand, things can go awry.

What’s Your Thing

Building a brand starts with defining your thing. But your thing isn’t just about the services you provide. It’s about how you are perceived, and how you deliver meaningful connections with your audience.

What's Your Thing? Eight brand questions.

For example, do you want to be known as an airline? Or are you a company that connects families and delivers much-needed getaways?

So start defining your thing by creating a story about how you help others find success. People love success stories. While they may enjoy hearing your success story, what they really want to hear is how you can drive THEIR success story.

Then dive into the details. What keeps people talking about you? Why do they anticipate your emails every Thursday morning? What are the ingredients in your secret sauce?

What’s Your Thing: Eight Questions

You can define the recipe behind your secret sauce by answering the following eight questions:

  • What do you do?
  • What’s your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • What’s your personality?
  • Who is your audience?
  • How do you make them feel?
  • What’s your authority?
  • What’s your identity?

TLDR

If you’re a skip-to-the-end kind of reader, here are the high points on building a brand.

  • Building a strong brand is about more than just creating a logo or a tagline. It’s about creating a vivid association that immediately sets certain expectations.
  • Start building a brand by defining your “thing.”
  • Remember your brand is stronger when you focus on the results you deliver and not the services you provide.
  • Then create a recipe for the secret sauce that defines your thing.
  • Answer eight questions to identify the key ingredients in your recipe.

Additional Reading

  • Read The Benefits of Having a Thing to learn how having a thing can elevate your market presence.
  • Read the Brand Essentials Framework, to get an overview of four key steps in building a brand strategy (Clarity, Identity, Strategy, and Activity).
  • If you need help clarifying or communicating your thing, contact me to set up a free 15-minute Discovery Call.

My Services

Brand Report Card

Perfect for DIY marketers 

If your marketing efforts aren’t delivering their anticipated results, I will review your content and provide feedback on how to tweak your messaging so it best showcases your strengths.

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Brand Narrative

Highlight successes over services

Does your content paint a vivid picture of success? I’ll work with you to identify your unique strengths, and then build a custom content plan for your core web pages.

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Personalized Solutions

What are your branding needs? Contact me to for a free, 15-Discovery Call.

I also offer one-on-one mentoring sessions.

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Creating a strong brand framework is a critical step for entrepreneurs looking to build a rock solid business identity. While brand strategy is often considered a tool that only larger organizations use, following a brand strategy can help all businesses–including solopreneurs, artists, non-profits, and even community leaders. In short, the brand framework helps define what you do and how the marketplace should perceive you and share your message.