Question, what do you immediately think of when you hear the word branding? Did the logo pop to your mind right away? Sorry to disappoint you but the answer to that is... NO. Logo doesn't equate to branding, actually far from it. Unfortunately, you are not the only one that thinks of logos as brand.
Why do so many people point to the logo when asked to define a brand? Stephen Houraghan of Brand Master Academy perfectly summed it by stating that, "It's because the logo is the first visual representation of a brand and it's visual nature makes it easy for our brains to remember. We store the logo in our mind as a shortcut to recall the experiences we've had with that brand. The job of the logo, therefore, is to facilitate recognition and recall. When Brand Strategists build brands, 90% of the brand is built before they get to the visual identity. That means that the Logo represents only about 10% of the brand. So if you're building a brand and starting with the logo, you're selling pretty tickets to a show that doesn't exist. When the audience turns up and sees there's no show, they'll quickly leave feeling disappointed. That's why so many businesses that skip strategy fail. Build your show first, make the show about your audience and then hand out the tickets."
First things first, let's define Brand Strategy. Brand Strategy has multiple steps and levels. It embodies carefully crafted and streamlined pathways that represent specific core goals of a brand as it evolves. Strategizing a brand involves multiple stages that defines its innermost character and traits. Branding requires thoughtful articulation of its messaging, identity and execution to create a purposeful and meaningful experience in order to achieve its highest level of longevity, unique experience as well as an authentic and long lasting relationship to its target audience .
People have personalities so as your brand. In order to create good business you need to build a successful brand from inside out. When branding, it is vital to know its basic foundation first which will then help build your target audience’s loyalty. That means, being able to create an authentic and strong messaging for your brand which is the foundation that will take your brand to the next level. It all starts with your story and your PVMV ( Purpose, Vision, Mission, and Values ).
How to figure out your brand's Purpose? Purpose is the result of combining Passion and looking into what you think the world needs. Your passion should evoke an emotion that brings about that intense feeling of enthusiasm for someone or something, an idea, proposal, or a cause. Passion is about the willingness to go above and beyond as well as expanding your insight and knowledge about it. The brand's purpose answers the question, “How can it impact the lives of its target audience ?” It is also important to know that purpose goes beyond money and it should clearly answer, "Why does the brand exist?"
PASSION + WHAT YOU THINK OTHER NEEDS ? = PURPOSE
Next is to identify your brand's Vision. It is about envisioning and creating the future with your brand in it. Examples are:
Microsoft :Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Uber:We ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion. We take on big problems to help drivers, riders, delivery partners, and eaters get moving in more than 10,000 cities around the world.
Those who truly know where their brand is going, are more likely to get them there. Look at your vision as a guiding light that influences key decisions for your brand.
Moving on to Mission. Mission should represent the commitments and the significance for your brand to stay true with what it's all about 24/7. Being consistent to your brand's mission will play a pivotal role towards consumer loyalty . Examples of brand mission are:
JetBlue: To inspire humanity—both in the air and on the ground. We are committed to giving back in meaningful ways in the communities we serve and to inspire others to do the same.
Dropbox: Our mission is to design a more enlightened way of working.
Basically, Vision is what the future holds and Mission is about creating that future. It's important to know that being able to successfully recognize your brand's mission and making sure you abide by it at all times, will provide you a strong guide for future strategic decisions in relation to your brand.
Last but not the least, Values. Values is how the brand should be conducting itself in pursuit of its purpose, vision and mission. Look at it as how your brand should behave and how that behavior affects your target audience's purchase decision and loyalty. A good example is
We Sell the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Foods
We satisfy and delight our customers
We promote team member growth and happiness
We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers
We create profits and prosperity
We Care About our Community and the Environment
It is vital for the values to resonate to you as the owner of the brand. Values of your brand should be of highest regard and should be practiced and ingrained to your day to day operation which includes customer relations and interactions. Consistency to your brand's values is the key to develop genuine human affection and advocacy towards it.
Truly knowing the basic foundation of branding or rebranding should be your first priority. Your PVMV should come first in order to create a stronger framework for your brand. Imagine the disaster that can result if you build a home without preparing the construction site and pouring the foundation..that is going to be the most likely result if you start your branding with a logo.
It is also important to understand that defining your brand should always start by getting to know your authentic self. Any disconnect between the true essence of your brand and yourself will lead into a weak foundation and will not create the brand’s longevity and consumer loyalty. Human beings consist of more than getting or spending. In reality, most consumers resonate more on how they feel and not what they think about a brand. That said, a humanizing and thoughtful strategy will do so much better in satisfying a brand’s audience and it starts by truly knowing by heart the brand's PVMV and acknowledging that YOU ARE YOUR BRAND & YOUR BRAND IS YOU.
Year 2020 has been full of seemingly insurmountable challenges. However, that year also gifted us the opportunity to look within us. Because most of the distractions that we were used to were taken away. It encouraged us to dig deeper from inside out so we can fully realize that transformation with a purpose can only be manifested if there are obstacles.
Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Laws of Human Nature stated, “We humans tend to fixate on what we can see with our eyes that we see the visible signs of opportunity and success in our own lives but we are grasping at an illusion.” He also said that , “The slow accumulation of knowledge and skills, the incremental improvements in work habits and the ability to withstand criticism is what really allows for such dramatic changes that occur on the inside of a person. That any change in people’s fortune is merely the visible manifestation of all of that deep preparation over time.”
Remember those diversions we were so consumed by prior to the start of COVID-19 pandemic ? Those were our "get out of jail free card" that we recklessly used to escape from our truth. I myself can attest of being guilty of using it because of my impatience, looking for superficial experience and longing to be approved by others instead of standing up for who I really am. As a result, I became a prisoner of my own recurring patterns.
How to transform ourselves? According to Mr. Greene, we can start by, "Stop fixating on what other people are saying and doing on the money, the connections and the outward appearance of things. We also need to look inward and focus more on the smaller internal changes that lay the groundwork for a much larger change in fortune." Think of yourself as having unique childhood experiences that provide the answers why you tend to be drawn to certain activities, subjects or interests. This is what Mr. Greene refers to as Primal Inclinations from another one of his books entitled Mastery . These were moments during your childhood that were hard to explain or rationalize why you were drawn to.
Unfortunately, as we get older, we tend to lose touch of those inclinations. We bombard ourselves with so many confusing ideals, we make thoughtless decisions and we lose focus on what really is important to us. After a while, you become a stranger to your own self which affects your ability to choose pathways that suit your emotional and intellectual primal makeup.
Last year was an opportune time to transform because of how "clearer" that year made us see the reality of the world we are living in. It was "Vision 20/20" aka perfect vision which was the chance to clearly see who we really are without the usual interference. I believe that 2020 wanted us to take advantage to really revisit our primary inclinations so we can discover what makes us uniquely special. Imagine how motivating it is to do something that is internally-driven by fusing your transformation goals to your primal inclinations.
It is also important to do a recollection of moments in your life that didn't resonate to your emotional state or you felt pressured to be into. The reason being, is that knowing your struggles can lead you to discover new opportunities. Recognizing your obstacles can help you build a better framework towards a growth mindset which will position you to what your transformation is going to be. Try not to be too burdened while reaching for your goals. Keep in mind, that the best part of the journey is the learning process.
Listen closely to your internal radar. Be best friend with "silence" and a true companion with "solitude" for they can guide you in discovering your innermost intuition. Never rush, don’t distract yourself with what is immediate and instant for it doesn’t lead to a meaningful transformation. Instead enter the process with patience. Eventually, you will notice the change from inside out that is lasting and will bring light to a space that is authentically meant for YOU.
The influence of current instant gratification culture convinced a lot of us that there's a path to a truthful self-transformation that is swift and with less effort. The surge on social media vanity metrics created a portrayal of impossible and fabricated perfection, further disillusioning our perception of the true essence of humanity. The fact of the matter is that those tend to be superficial and quick to disappear. What is essential is to appreciate your wrong turns, learn from your mistakes, that beauty doesn't equate to physical perfection, and be a real human being with vulnerabilities and flaws. Not only you will come out of it as more resilient but will also help expand your self-awareness.
Staying in the present during your self-transformation gives you more time to really pay attention to the nuances of your surroundings. Being in the moment can minimize or even eliminate the constant obsession over the future. You will also be more sensitive to any slightest opportunity that comes your way which you can exploit in the most amazing way possible. As long as you're willing to cultivate new skill sets suitable to your desired direction, then the possibilities are endless.
Being socially isolated throughout the uncertainties of 2020 took me on a journey of confronting myself everyday in the figurative “mirror, " figuring out my true purpose. Instead of dwelling on deep agony, I decided to turn the struggle into an opportunity to reminisce on my childhood memories of being creative while thriving in a structured setting. I also put an extra effort to figure out my primary inclinations. Rediscovering my innate ability of creative sensibilities and how I thrived on "thinking outside the box" while working on artistic projects behind the scenes. Most importantly, was the search within me to find the answers on why I put high regard on feeling of belongingness , value of relationships and deep empathy towards the underdogs. Dealing to one's self is easier said than done. But with the gift of time that year 2020 gave me, I mustered all the courage I have, knowing that the only way I can truly move forward is by facing the truth of my past
In order to attain an optimal level of transformation, I have to know why I took multiple leaps of faith including my history of obstacles and struggles. That said, I am more appreciative of all the life lessons throughout my journey. My acting career filled parts of my creative needs. The military taught me a lot about discipline, teamwork, and honed my organizational skills. Practicing as a licensed Occupational Therapist, afforded me not only the opportunity to have a good fall back when I moved to New York City to pursue acting, it also made me an advocate on the optimal therapeutic benefits of using arts and being creative in that industry. Working in healthcare also led me to management roles which enhanced my leadership, collaborative and critical thinking skills. Acknowledging and honoring my heritage as a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, made me a better advocate to diversity and inclusion. The highlight of this process was my renewed and much deeper appreciation for humanity.
I now have a stronger conviction to my call to action, which is to expand my purpose so I can help others expand theirs. I now have a better understanding of my primal inclinations because of my trek to self-discovery. I acquired more tools in my arsenal to aid me in incorporating my experiences, skills and knowledge to provide a humanizing approach to film production, brand strategy consultation & photoshoot production. Because of year 2020, my mission of bringing about an authentic human connection and being one of the vessels to the voiceless, marginalized & underrepresented using my chosen platforms are stronger than ever. It also gave birth to Humanize It by Brian Rubiano, LLC.
Change is the only constant here in this world. That is why it is vital to be in continuous pursuit of expanding our purpose, recognizing our primal inclinations and honing our transformation goals. It is hard, but it's even harder if you don’t spend time thinking about what matters most to you.
Really think about what makes you feel alive and how you can be an active participant to a better future while being rooted to who you really are. An authentic transformation process from within is such a unique contribution to yourself, the world and humanity. I agree, the year 2020 has been full of seemingly insurmountable challenges, but that was also the year that provided all of us a chance to thrive and not just to survive. As we continue our journey in 2021, which one are you?