or at least its bloodstream.
Your brand is the promise you make and the promise you keep. It is the expectation and experience that people have of you.
I’ve been known as many things over my life. At college, I was the dancer guy. I was quite involved with the dance community, teaching classes on the weekend, designing for the local dance competition events, and performing frequently. That’s what people experienced of me the most. That was my brand.
After college, I was the guy everyone came to, to design a poster, a logo, a magazine, whatever they needed that involved aesthetics, Photoshop and illustrator. I was steeped in the local entertainment scene. I was the designer guy.
Today I’m still the design guy, but I’m trying to evolve from just the ‘artifact-designer-guy’, to the ‘design thinker / creative strategist / entrepreneur – guy’.
Your brand isn’t so much what you think you are, but what other people think you are. And the best way to have people experience you at scale is with your content. We know Gary Vaynerchuk is the rah-rah, no bullshitting entrepreneur harping on about legacy, doing what you love, and leveraging social media because he has an enormous amount of content out there for us to discover and enjoy, sometimes engage with.
Think about anyone who is famous to you, who is a ‘brand’ in your eyes. They have that brand because it came through in their content. You watched their movies, or listened to their songs or watched their YouTube videos or read their blog. Brand is not image first. It’s content first.
If you want to build a brand, you must absolutely make/build/curate great content. I think there is a formula to this:
Quality of content x frequency of content = growth of brand
That’s just off the top of my head as I write this and I think there should be something there about platforms and audience. But the point comes across. If you make great content, frequently and put it in front of people who would care about it, you have the ingredients for an explosive brand.
Content can be blogs, videos, posts on things that interest you or pertain to your message or to your community. Content can be the work you do, the company you build, the product you release. But it must be there, it weaves the narrative around who you are and what you do.
In my consulting practice, helping people understand their story and define their brand, I put a lot of effort in that discovery process, distilling their life and work into a core idea and mapping out a framework to get their brand out there. I essentially create the body of the brand, with the muscles, bones, blood vessels and skin. But without the content, the life-blood, all that brand definition is lifeless. Content powers the brand. Content is brand in motion.