Time to Brand | Where to Start With Brand Strategy / by Andy Stoltz


I have lots of blogs planned to talk about turning your life into a creative one and these also parallel my own journey. Well right now I'm hitting lots of roadblocks!!! AHHHHH!!!

It's important not to get discouraged if this is happening to you. Work on the details, it'll pay off when it's go time. That's what brings me to this week's blog topic, Branding! I just want to get you thinking about brand strategy. 

I know there's lots of blog down there, but brand is huge so you're just getting a broad concept to start you thinking about how fun and involved it can be. The most important thing to keep in mind is "...people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou. So, like, how would you like people to feel when they think of you? It's a big question really, so break it into parts.

in this order specifically

What would you want people's first impressions to be? Hopefully your answer is, "only what is true". Deep right? The second you make contact with someone they will begin building an idea of who you are and you don't want to waste anytime correcting someones incorrect assumptions. Imagine someone comes to your site or meets you for the first time and assumes you're capable of everything and the greatest ever, that could be just as bad their assuming that you're a bumbling idiot who's just winging it! Personally I hope you all assume that I'm a nice guy who's a decent, diverse artist, that just wants to engage and inspire you. Once you figure out what your first impressions should be, you can begin tailoring your brand.

What sort of customer experience are you providing? Obviously a great experience! So how do you make it great? Are you organized, on time, and personable? Are you full-service or do you specialize? Think of it all and write it all down. If your quick and convenient but you don't have a mobile friendly site with a simple UI it sends the wrong message right away, and your ideal customers are missing out. I'm looking to engage and inspire you, so the content here is about ideas and how my own journey could just as easily be yours. This experience is the heart of your brand and will inform your branding decisions throughout.  

How can you best show who you are? This one's tougher since it'll ultimately end up taking the most work to establish, so you want to get it right. Don't stress though, but definitely take some time to get to know yourself and your goals. If you're an artist then look through all you've made, if you write read over all the work you're proud of, same for coders, cooks, and contractors! Find those themes that tie it all together and start brainstorming! Remember to be thinking of how you want people to feel about you and how this will set you apart. This is your visual identity, it's also social media presence, and your blog content. For me this is going to be about my passion for world building, over time the theme of this site will begin to resemble a world I've been working on for years, it'll be awesome... subscribe!!!

Your brand strategy and visual identity should should all tie together and be unique to you. It'll drive all your outreach and be your best ambassador so long as you take the time and care to grow it up. Just don't be afraid to be exactly who you are, otherwise you risk loosing the ability to have truly deep connections with people.  

Building my brand around Pinehouse Press and making connections PapaRhombus, the username associated with my social media accounts.

imagined printmaking ink with the Pinehouse Press brand on it


99U interviews branding guru, Michael Wolf and he explains this all on at a deeper level.