There’s a mini-van that parks near me that has a Harley Davidson emblem on it’s license plate.  It makes me laugh just a little because a Harley and a mini-van seem somehow to be in opposition.  Yet that driver, possibly in a mini-van due to stage-of-life necessity, thought it was important to still express something about themselves by being linked to the H-D logo.  I drive a mini-van, but I’m still a free spirit with a rebellious streak.

People tattoo the Harley emblem on their bodies, not to mention on every type of clothing imaginable.  Mac fans love to put the apple emblem on their cars and other places.  They hold their iPads like a badge… “I think differently,”  “I’m ahead of the curve,”  “I’m innovative.”

In what ways do your fans associate with your brand? Are they excited to tell people that they do business with you?  Do they feel a sense of pride when they see your logo, your website, your mission statement or movement?  Do you stand for something they love to be a part of?

Please don’t take these questions and beat yourself up because you don’t have a solid brand.  In fact, my guess is that few people reading this do.  I’m, personally, not 100% happy with my brand, which is why this gets me thinking.

Think about this as an opportunity to begin forming in your mind a vision for where you want your brand to go.

If you were creating a brand that people would want to plaster on a T-Shirt, what would it say? If your clients were instantly identified with a particular lifestyle, or perspective on life, when they held up a product of yours, what would that be?  If you could picture yourself creating products that are line extensions for your brand – greeting cards, keychains, iPhone cases, what would they look like?  What might they represent?  If your brand doesn’t inspire you to want to create, it probably doesn’t inspire others either.
Again, don’t worry.  Most people don’t nail it the first time.  You might be with what my friend Monica Shah calls, “your dating brand.”  No worries – you’ll get a new one.  Or, you might simply need to shift how you’re thinking about your brand, and the inspiration will flow.

There is no need to get it perfect.  There is also no need to say things like, “Well, my business isn’t like a REAL brand like Apple or Harley.”  It certainly isn’t if you say it isn’t.  Isn’t it more fun to think that maybe it is?

Get branding!

(P.S. I absolutely love working with people to get clear about what their brand stands for. ☺)

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