A personal-professional branding journey and an invitation!

It’s true. I want to be “the only blue house on a street of brownstones.” It’s a lofty aspiration because in reality there are a lot of incredibly talented people out there who make their living doing pretty much what I do. The difference between us is they don’t do it the same way I do.

Approaches, ideas, methods, resources, skill sets, experiences, how much coffee we drink — these all play a role in shaping the creative I am and the creatives they are. And that’s a good thing. If we all churned out design the same way the world would soon turn into a homogenized sea of visual white noise. Nothing would stick. People wouldn’t be inspired to take action or care about what they purchase. That and no creative can be all things to all people, so we niche and specialize.

I am in the branding business and it has taken an insane amount of time to work out what my brand is beyond name and logo mark to “finding my **bleeping** story already.” (Branding for clients is more compelling and less anxiety-ridden than doing it for my own business). While I want to be known as “the only blue house on a street of brownstones” branding is an on-going process. The work is never done. Essentially it boils down to consistency, a promise, and relationships.

One gnarly branding hang-up is the 30-second elevator speech — the holy grail of marketing yourself. It’s nearly impossible for me to craft one that flows naturally out of my mouth without sounding like a toothpaste commercial or rambles aimlessly. Still, I work at it. This is where I’m at so far — 75 revisions later. It feels authentic (more importantly does it sound authentic to others?)

“I am Grand Ciel because I think BIG for my clients. To me a project is more than what it is, it’s what it can become. Within the limitations, the budgets and deadlines, I find ways to take a project where it needs to go, then push it further.” Is there an elevator speech here?

“Behind every project, there is a story that belongs to the client. It’s the story that becomes the essential emotional link between client/brand and audience. This is what I’m reaching for in every project I take on — finding and telling the story.” I really do want people to feel something from the projects I produce.

“If you are about home, health, heart or passion, I work with you. I’m your branding and design partner. Let’s make something grand together.” Possibly the longest tagline on record!

But that’s me as a business. How do I grow from here and define my own personal brand into my business brand? It’s tough to separate the two. How do I turn my personal brand into an asset and what’s the difference between brand and reputation?

Which Brings Me to An Invitation —

If you’ve got the same (or more) burning questions about branding, then join me and MWMC this Thursday, April 20 at Cambria Minneapolis for “A Brand Called You,” a hands-on session with Rose McKinney, president of Pineapple RM. Rose will provide an overview of reputation-as-a-career-management tool and share a process for determining your personal brand attributes. She has a three-step process that will help you distinguish yourself from the pack and propel you to personal fulfillment in your career.

Minnesota Women In Marketing & Communications events are always lively, warm and inviting, so even if you are not a member, join us anyway and find out more about MWMC and how the only all-women marketing communications professionals organization in Minnesota can be an asset to your career.

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