There is massive amounts of talk about branding all over the interwebs these days. If you want a new logo, you can hop onto Etsy and buy one pre-designed. Having trouble defining your ideal client? There’s probably an e-course for that. Need to strengthen your brand voice? E-course. Marketing? Read any number of the amazing blogs out there that regularly post on social media strategy or traditional marketing campaigns. Still confused? Hire a coach from almost any neck of the woods.
If your brand has a problem, the internet has a solution. Unless…
Maybe you don’t need a new logo.
Maybe your ideal client is defined and found.
Maybe your brand voice is vocalizing itself just fine.
Maybe you’ve got the marketing figured out–both traditional and digital.
Maybe the problem isn’t that you need a new brand. Maybe you need to de-brand. Maybe there needs to be a little bit less logo, a little bit more YOU.
I loved getting to know Jess Lively at AH Inspired. During her talk, she mentioned the book, The Art of Possibility. She told us that the book tells the story of someone asking Michelangelo how he got the idea for the statue of David, and how Michelangelo replied that David existed under the marble the entire time–he just peeled off the layers of rock on top to expose the beauty underneath. (If you read regularly, yes, I talked about this before).
We (branding people, mentors, coaches, consultants, creatives) talk about “building a brand”. But maybe an amazing brand isn’t something you build. Maybe it’s something you strip away, peeling layers back, exposing the beauty beneath.
Maybe the most amazing brands aren’t “branded”, maybe they are de-branded.
Not maybe. They are. Amazing brands are edited to the nth degree. Perfectly edited, refined over time, cared for, curated, loved.
Rebranding isn’t a (always) solution. Changing logos doesn’t make you, or your brand, more authentic. Changing logos is essentially a Band-Aid for your brand, unless there is a structure and framework and WHY behind the logo. We used to have a saying around our office: Don’t patch the hole in the ceiling. Fix the leak in the roof. If you don’t fix the leak in the roof, you’re just going to have to keep patching the hole in ceiling. If you don’t authenticate your brand, you’re probably going to find yourself in a viscous rebranding cycle, constantly changing logos, adding layers of stuff, trying to find a formula that “fits”.
To be effective, a logo needs to have a deeply rooted foundation in WHO you are, and WHY you do what you do.
Authenticating is a challenge. Authenticating asks–no, demands–that you dig deep. It requires courage. In exposing layers, you’ll come across some ugly stuff, and you’ll want to change it. That’s good–some ugly stuff needs to be changed. But it’s also good to remember that the ugly stuff is what makes us all human. It’s what unites us. It acts as a connection point for our brands, if we let it.
Traditional rebranding follows the approach of covering up and avoiding the ugly. Rebranding makes it look nice on the surface, then CHECK, we’re done!
Debranding gets into the core, uncovering the hidden beauty beneath.
It’s like digging for diamonds. Dirty work, but so worth it.