Speaker, writer, filmmaker, Ducatista, adventurer

Make your mark

In case you haven’t noticed, storytelling has gotten a lot more fun. We can thank social media and a younger generation for a lot of this newfangled funny business—memes, Vines, Snapchat and more. And in the mad rush to figure it all out and be a part of it, companies are failing as much as they succeed.

The things is, in this new world of storytelling, your brand is still what matters most, not the medium. That seems obvious, yet I see brands thinking they need to remake themselves to best suit a new storytelling outlet, which misses the point. Change is good. Change is fun. (Well, not always, but it should be.) But your brand is you. You as the entrepreneur are the soul of what your business stands for. You and only you can articulate this, and it doesn’t necessarily change.

Building a brand is one of those mission-critical but challenging exercises that all entrepreneurs like you and, really, all companies go through to define how the world views them and their business. Brands represent the soul of your idea and its values, your story and its authenticity.

But branding your company is a tricky business. It’s a process that codifies emotion and values and the way you want to message them to the world. As such it’s not merely a logo or a package’s design; it’s emotional. Its goal is to elicit an emotional response from your customers. And emotions, as you well know, are hard to wrangle.

Historically, branding hasn’t always been about the messy, emotional narrative. Branding, in its purest context, is the act of putting a mark on something that is yours and claiming it. Picture taking an iron out of the fire and marking a cow, a horse or property. It’s only recently that branding has been extended to ideas. And when it comes to branding ideas, the way to mark them as yours is by telling your story, and, more important, by knowing your story.

This issue is dedicated to the idea of establishing your brand and owning it with a beautiful concept that tells your story, whether it’s your product’s packaging or a viral social media campaign. It’s about making a statement and telling the world what you stand for. It can be funny. It can be serious. It just has to be authentically you. That’s branding.

So what will your mark be?

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