Brand Management: Creating What Sets You Apart | Chris Bolman | Skillshare

Brand Management: Creating What Sets You Apart

Chris Bolman, Founder & CEO, Brightest.io

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11 Lessons (1h 13m)
    • 1. Introduction

      3:24
    • 2. Your Project

      2:01
    • 3. What Is "Brand"?

      7:22
    • 4. Vision, Mission, and Values

      10:02
    • 5. Brand Positioning

      7:11
    • 6. Voice and Tone

      8:56
    • 7. Look and Feel

      6:52
    • 8. Managing Your Brand

      6:41
    • 9. Operationalizing Your Brand Strategy

      7:19
    • 10. Finding Brand Channels to Build Community

      10:14
    • 11. Final Thoughts

      3:25
56 students are watching this class

About This Class

What does your brand stand for? Join Chris Bolman (Director of Marketing, Percolate) to learn how to define and develop the 6 core brand pillars that will set your brand apart. From mission to culture, this 1-hour class is a must for entrepreneurs, startups, and everyone eager to grow a brand with conviction.

Bite-sized video lessons explore how we define "brand" today, actionable and useful insights for developing each brand pillar (vision, mission, values, positioning, voice and tone, look and feel), and strategies for operationalizing a brand externally and interally at a company. Everything ties back to making a brand the foundation of your company culture and brand decisions.

Every touchpoint — from your presence on social, to an experience on mobile, down to how your customer support team signs their emails — is an interaction that should be defined by your brand strategy. This class explores how to design and implement a brand strategy effectively.

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Percolate is The System of Record for Marketing, a complete web and mobile software platform to manage all your marketing in one place.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hey everybody. So, my name is Chris Bolman. I am Director of Marketing at Percolate. Percolate is a thoughtful technology company making software that helps build the world's best brands. We have offices all over the United States, in New York, in San Francisco, as well as in London. I've been working in marketing, branding, and developing products and software for actually about the last seven years. So, I've had a lot of great opportunity to build and develop brands from nothing into something, to work with emerging brands and help them grow further. I've seen great decisions made with brands. I've seen bad decisions made with brands. So, I wanted to kind of bring together my experiences working on and developing emerging brands and really share them with you today. In this class, we're going to really try to focus on three things. The first is how to define your brand and what are the six core brand pillars that really make, and represent, and embody a brand. The next thing we're going to look at is how to operationalize your brand. So, once you've defined and established what it is, how do you really create a system around it that you can deploy and build on as a company? Then, third, how do you align brand strategy with your overall business strategy to make sure that what you're doing from a customer interaction standpoint, from an advertising standpoint, or in your marketing communications, making sure that aligns with your broader business objectives? Hopefully, I will be really valuable to entrepreneurs, people working at startups, who are thinking about how to develop a new brand or an emerging brand. It should hopefully have value or appeal for agencies as well, people who work with brands. If you don't have a company right now, that's not a problem. You're welcome to take this course, and I still think you can really benefit from it. Personal brand is something that's a really interesting and important concept right now. With the influx of social media, with the ability to create your own media, and your own content, and distribute it to your friends or even to broader internet ecosystem through platforms like Instagram, and Facebook, and Snapchat, and Pinterest. Really, everyone can develop and really define their own personal brand. A brand is really a network of ideas and associations that creates an identity. So, we think a brand is a very broad opportunity to define those types of things. If you think about the most valuable, most iconic, most recognizable company, the ones that really get people excited, they're companies with strong brands, whether it's Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, Louis Vuitton. People respond to brands. Brands create this memory structure or this context that's very rich, it's very involving, and it creates a higher purpose. Brand, from our standpoint, is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in, I would say, business in general. A lot of people think branding is a logo or how something looks. A lot of people think marketers are focused on branding and branding only. So, we wanted to talk at a high-level around what does brand really mean, what are the core elements and criteria that it encompasses, and then how can you think about brand management, what is brand management, and how can companies, both small and more larger, or more mature think about growing and developing a great brand? 2. Your Project: In this class your project is going to be to define your three core brand pillars: your brand's vision, your brand's mission, and your brand's values. We'll talk more about and define what those things are later on in this course. If you're looking for more of a challenge you can also take this further by writing out and really trying to define and establish your brand's positioning, your voice and tone which is kind of your brand's editorial guidelines, your mood and how you talk about things and lastly, the look and feel which are the visual guidelines that govern your brand. Great brands aren't built in a day. So, if you want to complete this course and you want to complete the project along with it I think it's probably going to take you at least a couple of hours. Even then though that's really trying to develop or identify or establish the core foundation, and I think your core foundation is always going to be iterative. As you start out, if you're an entrepreneur or you're working for a smaller company you might only be seeing so far in the future, you might have a certain size, level or kind of ambition or goal that you're looking to reach, but as you incrementally improved, as your company gets bigger, as you bring on more customers, as your products get more reach in the market, you may want to take your brand further and the customer interactions, the things that you do, the industry that you occupy, all of these different feedback inputs may inform kind of how your brand evolves. So, the process of building a great brand as you could see from any great company can potentially take years and even decades. But our goal with this course is to really get you a great start in a couple of hours. So, I think there's potentially some really great lessons thinking about how you define your own personal brand, and even if you don't want to think about that you're also welcome to think about a brand for your family, a charity or nonprofit that you're involved in, another entity or group that you work on, really anything can have a brand. A brand is really a network of kind of ideas and associations that creates an identity and so, we think of brand as a very broad opportunity to define those types of things. 3. What Is "Brand"?: Brand is something that's tricky to define and again as I mentioned previously, I think it's kind of commonly misunderstood. But, the way we ultimately define brand is an idea system or a network of associations and meetings. When I think of Coca-Cola, I have all of these different mental associations and memories. It might be how the last Coca-Cola that I drank tasted, might be the red, white and black logo, it might be a specific experience or billboard or ad I saw. Like, one thing great brands do is they build and reinforce memories, and they do that through advertising, they do it through repetitive communications, and so ultimately, a lot of how we think about a brand and how we experience a brand, is informed by our memories, by our past experiences and by the previous interactions that we've had with the brands people and with its communications. So, a lot of people commonly ask, "Can you build a great brand without a big advertising budget or without doing a lot of marketing?" I think the answer isn't entirely straightforward but it's important to talk through. So, there's a lot of research that shows that very strong brands with high market share, command more sales, and by doing more advertising and by doing more marketing, you can again build and encode these types of memories in your customers that are going to lead them to buy your product more, think of your brand more and consider it. However, that said, you can build a really excellent great brand without a big advertising budget. I think we've seen examples of that time and time again. You can look at charities, like charity water, you can look at emerging startups like a Warby Parker or a Harry's or a BarkBox, there's lots of great examples of companies that built very strong recognizable iconic brands with relatively little marketing spend. I think the most important element in building a brand is again, making sure that your brand has a very concrete clear identity and really communicates or conveys a purpose and a mission that people want to get behind, and if you can do that, that's something that can help you build a lot of brand recognition and a very passionate sort of audience for your brand without much marketing or advertising spend. The brand process in the way of building a brand has really changed very kind of fundamentally, I would say in the last 10 to 20 years. If you think about brand management originally, right? The concept or the discipline of brand management was invented by Procter and Gamble many many decades ago, in the kind of the early 20th century, in response to originally radio which was the first form of mass market advertising and then later TV came along and allowed you, effectively at a national level, to market to every household. So, if you think about managing or building or marketing a brand and say for example, the 1970s or the 1980s, or even during the Mad Men era, it was relatively simple. You could create a TV advertisement, you could make sure that everyone saw it, every family saw it, and then you knew that you had the distribution at the retail level and stores where people could buy our product. The Internet and a lot of ways has fundamentally changed that, and I think made the process of brand management and brand building much more fundamentally complex. For example, now in addition to being able to buy your product in stores, people can go to Amazon.com and buy it, they can click to buy it on their phone potentially with like an interstitial that's right in Twitter Amazon, there's lots of more ways to potentially buy or experience the brand than ever before. I think at the same time because of mobile, because of social media, because of newer media formats like digital TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, customers just have much broader exposure to media as a whole. There ability to consume media is much more on their own terms and they have the autonomy to really engage with messages when they want to and also tune out or ignore messages that they don't like. So, it's really created this new environment or ecosystem for advertising where as a brand, it's much more important to engage people emotionally, inspire them and really reach them with communications, messages and content that create value for your customer or the consumer, rather than just pushing an ad out. Because again reaching customers has become much more of a fragmented process, again across all of these different social networks whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr or Youtube, brands have to just fundamentally manage a lot more complexity and also more of a two-way dialogue between customers. You're not just broadcasting anymore, it's much more of a dialogue, and I think brands have had to adapt and really think about how to build brand in a fundamentally different way. We see building a brand is really entailing or encompassing two separate things. The first is really establishing your brand identity or your brand pillars, and I'll walk you through the six brand pillars that we see as most fundamentally important, later on in this course. The second element is thinking about, once you've defined your brand, once you know what its purpose is, what its mission is and what you want to grow toward, how do you build an audience for the brand? How do you operationalize it across your company in your marketing messages and in your ad campaigns? So, let's quickly go over the six core brand pillars that we are going to be looking at today. Now, just to be clear, this isn't the definitive canonical answer, I think there are different ways to think about a brand. But the way we commonly try to think about it and the framework that we use to structure the different elements that make up a brand, typically fall into six different categories. The first is vision. As a founder of a company, as an agency, as an advertiser, you want to take a stance and you want to have an opinion about the future, and I think the best brands commonly do that. The second is mission, which is ultimately your brand's promise, purpose and what you want to achieve. It's the guiding principle that really inspires your employees and drives the company forward overall. The third brand pillar we're going to talk about is values, which are really a timeless set of guiding principles that can inform all of the brands decision-making at a macro, corporate or strategic level and also inform how individual employees conduct themselves day to day and how they make decisions. The fourth brand pillar is positioning, how you're offering contributes or aligns with your brand's purpose and solves your customers' problems. The fifth brand pillar is voice and tone, really your brand's editorial guidelines and ultimately the brand's personality and how it communicates. Then finally, the sixth brand pillar is look and feel, and these are your brand's visual assets and guidelines. Once you've really defined and understand your six core brand pillars, then it's time to think about brand management and how you can really translate some of those ideas and guidelines into action. When we think about brand management, what we really mean is the idea or the discipline of building a system that makes your brand both consistent and allows it to really grow. So, this can encompass market research, package design, advertising development, a lot of different processes and different operations that ultimately tie back to how do you make your brand consistent across every interaction, how do you make it scalable and how do you make sure that your brand aligns with your broader business strategy. 4. Vision, Mission, and Values: To me, it makes the most sense to start with vision. Again, where do you think the future is going? What do you see as your ultimate end goal or end objective? By taking a view and really having a thoughtful opinion on the future, that can help you inform the development of additional brand elements like your mission and your company's values. So, let's start with vision first. I think the most important thing around a vision is, to not think too, too far ahead that it's fiction, but not think too short-term in order to not have a thoughtful view of the future. I think, ultimately, you want to think in a three to five year time frame. Where's the world going? Where is the industry that you're operating in going? What are other important trends in culture, or technology, or elsewhere that might inform or influence where you go? And how does that ultimately intersect into a narrative that you can tell or you can build about what the future might look like? When you're writing out your vision, I think one of the most important things to do is, don't stress too much, don't think too macro, and don't overburden yourself thinking about too many potential variables and scenarios. The most important thing is, you need to take an opinion and take a stance and even if it's wrong, you can always iterate and improve along the way. I think even Percolate is a great example of that. When James and Noah originally founded the company, they wanted to create technology, and they wanted to create a product that helps businesses communicate better and more effectively with customers, and have more interesting things to say. That was the ultimate operating principle. But the initial vision for that, ultimately didn't turn out to be the product that made the company successful. There was lots of rounds of product iteration and development. Many different rounds of customer feedback, different experiments and tests in the market, that ultimately led James, Noah and the rest of the team to find the right product that put Percolate on a different growth trajectory. So, I think, the most important thing when you think about this is, your vision isn't a static snapshot. It's always something that's going to evolve. You shouldn't overthink it. You shouldn't try to make it too complex, and you shouldn't consider it something that's set in stone. It should be a living, breathing, organic document that you can keep developing, that you can edit and that you can change. As for example, new things happen in the industry, you read a new story that changes your opinion, or you even have just a new idea. So, the deliverable from your mission should differ from the deliverable for your vision. Vision should be a little longer. They should be more of a narrative and they should really be a story. It should talk about, "Here's my view of the future. Here's where I see the world going and here's where I see my brands placing it." On the other hand, mission should be very succinct. They should be very actionable and again, they should really be aspirational. So, with a mission, you're really only looking for one or two sentences max. That really in simple words translate everything your company is trying to accomplish at an aspirational level. When we think about or define mission, it's ultimately your brand's reason for being. The mission should be aspirational and it should inspire people to do their best work. It should take your vision into account. It should look at where you want to go in the future. It should say, "Okay, here's what we're here to do. Here's what we need to accomplish, and here's how we're going to go do it." So, at Percolate, for example, our specific mission is, we're going to build the system of record for marketing. We're going to create that central technology layer that improves how employees and businesses communicate both internally with their fellow employees and partners, and how they communicate more inspired, interesting and engaging enriching experiences and messages to their customers. So, when you think about a mission, it really is and it really should inspire something bold, something ambitious. It should be a rallying call, that all of your employees, all of your partners, all of your customers can get behind, in order to support your company and its growth. As you think about developing or writing out your mission, I would again advise following three steps. The first would be, to think about the problem that your vision exposes. If you have a view of the present and you have a view of the future, there should be something that you feel like you can make better. Great brands tend to make the world a better place. So, once you've identified that problem in step one, step two is really thinking about your solution. How does your specific company solve that problem? What's your approach, and what's the purpose? Why do you want to solve it? Why are you around? Why are you specifically? Why is it your mission rather than someone else's to provide that solution? So, once you've identified the problem, once you've identified the solution, you can start to think about the opportunity. So, step three and what really ultimately a mission comes down to is, what's the most succinct and purpose-driven way to describe how your company specifically, is going to solve the problem that you've identified? How do you encapsulate and really convey that opportunity? Then put it down in a way that anyone else in the company or anyone outside the company could understand. Once you've done all your primary research, and you feel like you have a good understanding of where your industry is and where it's headed. Once you feel like you have a good view on the sequential steps that will take your industry or the business area that you're in from the present here and day to the future that you're envisioning three to five years down the road. The third most important step what you should really do next, is really try to crystallize that into a story. Think about how you could tell or talk about that as a narrative. What are the key events that are going to develop? How are things going to unfold? Really just try to tell a story. Really think about it as a narrative and as a continuum and how you can build that out. So, once you've really defined your brand vision and your brand's mission, the next step would be to translate and write out your brand's values. One way to think about your values is, they're a set of rules or a set of guiding principles that can govern all of the decision-making that your employees make. One of the important reasons for that is that, the brand identity and the brand of mission are obviously or typically often developed centrally by more senior members of the company. It's usually the CEO and the founder, potentially the head of marketing, senior marketers, and senior communications, and PR members. Whereas, with company values, they have to embody everything the company does, and they're really a code of conduct for everyone in the company. So, as you think about the culture that you're building, and the type of people that you're hiring, and how those people are going to go out and interact and represent your brand, you want to make sure that they have a really solid set of, again, guiding principles to follow. So, at Percolate we have 10 company values that really act as the operating or guiding logic for decision making. So, thinking about some of those values particularly around a value taking a stance or potentially being a little unorthodox. One that I'd share with you is shipping over not shipping. When we say shipping, what we really mean is getting things done or getting things out the door. It's actually thematically similar to a value that Google has, which is, fast is better than slow. When we think about shipping, we want to make sure that as a company in general, we're constantly active, we're constantly delivering new things, and that we're actually building and providing product updates, new features, and new capabilities to our clients faster than any other company, faster than any other competitor. That's one of the things that's really been a hallmark of our success, is our ability to iterate and improve Percolate software really rapidly. One other way to potentially think about values is, in addition to serving as a guiding principle or logic, you could almost think of them just as adjectives for how you would want someone ideally to describe your company for the first time. Yeah, so like Nike will use values like innovation, research and intensity. At Percolate we use values like growth or just as in fairness. There ways that you want people to think of your company. They are actually, in some sense, the memory impressions or the memory contexts that you want your branding and your communications to develop and reinforce. As you're developing your values, here's a couple of recommendations to help this process go more smoothly. The first is, choose a succinct number of values. I don't know why this is, but looking at a lot of different technology startups lists of values, they tend to range from a half dozen to a dozen. So, keep the list short. Don't have so many values that people can't commit them to memory, they won't fit on a poster. Make it a relatively short list and really pick the things that matter most. The next thing I would say is, make sure that the values are broad-based and they're aspirational and they translate to the entire spectrum of conduct that you would want from your employees, and the entire way you think about your brand evolving. You don't want narrow values that only help people think about specific circumstances. You want values that are broad and open enough. That they guide people in their decision making across lots of different things, from what they do in a meeting, to how they might present themselves, to how they arrange their desk, to the types of questions they ask, and even just around how they approach their day-to-day work. 5. Brand Positioning: Our fourth key brand pillar is positioning. A lot of companies think about a brand's message as a slogan or a tagline, but we really think of positioning is how to properly communicate or convey both your company as a whole and your products in a way that's really meaningful and impactful to the customer. One interesting potential way to think about this is asking the why question around why someone buys your service or why they might interact with your brand. So, one example would be a car company. You might ask, why do you need to buy a car? You might answer, "Well, I need to buy a car in order to commute to and from work and in order to be able to travel to and from the stores and places that I want to go to." You might ask well, okay, "Why do you need to travel to and from work? Why do you need to go to the store?" The answer might be "Well, I need to do that in order to support my family." So, then a third answer or question might be, okay, "Why do you need to support your family?" Your answer might be, "Because I love those people, they're some of the closest connections that I have, I truly want to support them and build a better future for them." So, if you're a car company and you're selling a car, you probably wouldn't want to communicate or advertise or talk about your company as a company that helps people get from one place to another, you'd want to talk about your company and you'd want to position your product ultimately as an offering that helps people connect and really build a better future for the people they love. Another example or analogy might be if you are talking about a car stereo, that's a feature, whereas, if you're talking about being able to drive down the highway with your friends in a convertible with your favorite music playing, that's an experience and that's a solution. I think one of the most important things to think about when you think about your brand's positioning at either the company level or the product level, it's "How can I talk about solution? How can I talk about mission? How can I talk about the vision and the future rather than focusing on details or features." So as you think about how to create your positioning, there's a lot of different ways to go about it. I think one of the most important things for a brand is to have distinct positioning. The more you can make your message or your description of your solution unique, iconic, and really help it stand out, the more successful you'll be. Positioning can even be visual in terms of how bold or how bright or the type of color palette that you want to use on a communication like a billboard or an advertisement, but also really, and more intimately, the kind of language that you use to describe things. So in general, you want to make sure that your positioning is very sharp, very crisp, very clear, and really drives at the solution or ultimate benefit that you want your customer to experience. So again, positioning is not features, it's not describing the details of the widget that you're trying to sell, it's really around succinctly capturing and communicating. Why should this person buy this product? Why should they support your brand? What are the ultimate benefits that they're going to take away? In a lot of ways, positioning is understanding your audience and understanding what makes your brand distinct and meeting and communicating at the intersection of those two things. So, really successful great brands know exactly who they're talking to, they know what their audience wants, they've developed buyer personas or a profile of their ideal or typical customer, and then they've thought a lot about what they provide, what their values are as a company, what their mission is, what makes them special, and then they've written out specific language that they know will appeal to the customer and also communicate the higher order benefits and attributes of their brand. If you want to take some next steps and write out your positioning, think about doing it at a couple of different levels. My recommendation would be to start with your overall brand and company positioning. If you were to write one paragraph that describes your company and you were going to share it around with anyone, in a press release, or put it on your website, what would you want that to be, and does that clearly communicate who you are as a company and what your brand mission is? Once you've done that, the next step would really to be, writing out and developing your positioning at the product level, or at the solution or service level. So, what makes your product distinct and different? What makes it special? How can you set it apart from your competitors? I think ultimately, what does your audience or what do your customers want from it? What's the highest level of benefit, or what's the most important thing that it solves for them? So, once you've written out your positioning at the company or brand level, write out your product positioning and then within that, you can start to think about sub-positioning. If you were to describe how this specific product fits within another category, how would you describe that? What's like one or two sentences on that? If you were thinking about how you might differentiate this product from your closest competitor, what are one to two sentences will you describe what makes you distinct and special? So, you can keep going down this tree and getting more and more granular, but it's always most important, and again, I would really recommend, thinking about at a very high level, how would you describe your company? If you had to describe what your product or service does and how it solves your customers biggest pain points in one to two sentences, make sure you start there and develop those first. Positioning is something that's going to evolve more over time. Brands typically don't write a new mission or a new vision statement very often, I think particularly with a mission, the best brands find very broad aspirational, all encompassing and long-term missions that they can operate under for years and even decades. By comparison, your product positioning may evolve more often than that. You might make product upgrades, you might roll out a new line, you might have a new season, if you're an e-commerce or an apparel company. As your product evolves, as your company evolves and as it grows, your positioning may change, you may expand into new international markets requiring you to take more global positioning overall, or more local positioning with new customer opportunities. One other thing that I'll just say in general is you don't need a big budget, you don't need an advertising agency in order to have a clear position. Again, as you think about how you developed your vision for the future in step one, your first brand pillar, you really want to make sure that you have some sense or a strong view on what makes your brand distinct, what makes it unique, what makes your product offering special and what your audience or your what your customers want from it. As long as you have those things, it should be relatively easy to put together your positioning and then, again, just feedback test it, write up different examples of copy or positioning, you can AB test them in digital, potentially running different variations of an ad or a message, you could poll or do a small focus group with customers, or really just share them around, ask your friends, ask your teammates, what do you think of this language? You'll keep experimenting and finding things that work best for you. 6. Voice and Tone: Your fifth brand pillar is voice and tone. Ultimately, it's what's your brand's personality? How do you talk to your customers? How do you talk to the market? What kind of language do you use? How do you sound? What mood you convey? What are specific editorial rules that you abide by? As you're thinking about your brand's personality, you want to make sure that it aligns with your values and your mission and the way that you think about and define your brand. So, two really interesting examples of this to me are Mountain Dew and Taco Bell. They're examples of brands that I think it's easy to be irreverent and it's easy to be humorous, but they've really kind of taken it and run with it in a very unique and distinct way. One of my favorite tweets of all time is Mountain Dew actually has one tweet where the entire tweet is just Mountain Dew in all caps, and to me that's so perfect in terms of a voice and tone because it's like an incredibly caffeinated soda that has this brand association with doing extreme activities and having lots of fun with your friend. So, there's nothing more kind of just like bold and playful and fun than just saying like, "Mountain Dew," in like a really like caffeinated extreme way and I think Taco Bell has done a lot of the same things with some of their Live Mas language. It's very succinct, it appeals very well to younger audiences. They really have their finger on the pulse of youth culture and what millennials are thinking about and the way they're talking about the brand. Taco Bell has walked into and inserted itself in that conversation in a way that feels, for the large part, very organic not forced. I think as a brand you have to understand who you are, who your people are and whether or not and where you fit in. So, if a big software company like Oracle, for example, started dropping a whole bunch of hip slang on social media, it just wouldn't fit. It's not natural, it's not consistent with the voice and the tone that that brand has established. One way to think about this even is brands create expectations in the sense that the more you develop and grow and scale a brand and the more people experience your brand, the more they start to develop memories of what their last interaction with your brand was like and that informs their future expectation of how the next interaction is going to go. Anytime I drink a Coca-Cola, I expect that the packaging is going to look the same, I expect the taste to be similar, I expect it to be carbonated and refreshing. Brands build those types of expectations. So, if you've gone and built expectations in one area or you've established a voice and tone, it's very hard or it can be very challenging to wait into another area or pivot dramatically or have an abrupt change of voice or tone whereas brands that are kind of more agile, they're more playful, they really establish this expectation of the unexpected and that enables a brand like a Taco Bell or a Mountain Dew to go off and do something really cool and interesting and creative because it just fits with what they've defined already. Voice and tone is primarily a written communication set of guidelines, but I think it doesn't just stop at copyrighting. Your voice, your tone it's all interconnected with your overall brand identity as well as your look and feel. So, you wouldn't want to have like really loud bold colors and really provocative imagery with a really dull technical copywriting. Everything has to be in sync, everything has to be consistent. If you've never really thought about your voice and tone before or you're trying to think about how to develop it from the start, one way or one good starting point that I would recommend is thinking about your values and thinking about or trying to develop a writing or editorial or personality system that's closely connected with them. So, at Percolate, when we talk about being thoughtful, we have thoughtful by design as a company value and we also want our voice and tone itself to be thoughtful. We use that word very often in our communications because we want people to know that we're considering different options, we're thinking about different possibilities, we're saying something from a place of knowledge, we've researched and done a lot of work to make sure that what we're going to say, adequately represents the market and our company and where we're coming from. So, this has been an important guiding principle. So, my first recommendation to you would be make sure you really define your company values and then try to figure out a way of talking in a way that feels natural but reinforces your values. You wouldn't want someone to ever read a paragraph of text and say this doesn't live up to or this doesn't match or this is consistent with the company's values. From there, I think as you start to develop the brand specific personality, a lot of the evolution of that can be organic as you write about different topics, as you take a position or a stance on different issues, as you decide what's on brand or what's off-brand, that'll really help you develop your voice and your writing standards and really it'll just grow from there. So, one fun example of this is on our blog, we wrote an article called Flawless Branding: Lessons in Marketing from Beyonce, and it's interesting to think about that at a couple of different levels from a brand standpoint. So, the first is us as Percolate as a technology and software company, why did we want to associate our brand with Beyonce who is a pop singer and a very kind of iconic presence in culture? So, as we thought about that, we realize that there are certain elements of Beyonce's brand that we felt like provided valuable lessons for marketers and for our audience and that was ultimately what helped us decide to write about and feature that post. Because initially and a lot of the thought process was like they don't really fit together but as we thought about it more and as we really thought about how Beyonce can provide lessons for marketers and really how she's developed her own personal brand, which is something that she manages very impressively, that led us to conclude that, "Yes, this actually was something that aligned with our brand identity and the voice and tone and editorial guidelines that we've established for our blog." So, one of the takeaways or really great lessons from Beyonce is making sure to let your fans know where you've come from. I think this ties back really nicely to the idea of how you position your company and how you tell the story of your brand. A lot of great companies have origin stories, particularly sort of founder stories of what led the people who initially started the company or started the organization, what drove and inspired them to create the brand in the first place, and Beyonce does a really great job of communicating that both on social media and in the press talking about her background, her family, how she came to be a member of Destiny's Child, what let her to embark on a solo career and then really just managing this whole idea of telling the story and the journey of Beyonce from concert to concert and album to album across places like Instagram, Twitter and other mediums. If you're already doing a lot of communications, if you have a team up and running, you're producing content, you're doing a lot of copywriting, it's still important to make sure that as your brand grows, you're staying on message and you're communicating things with a consistent voice. One of the best ways to do that in general is just to continuously do a communications audit. If you want to do it more informally, you can really just do it in real time. Read through your social media channels, take a look at your website, pull some friends, ask around and just make sure that everything that you're communicating is consistent. If you can go on one communication channel and compare it to another communication channel and it feels like an entirely different writer is authoring that content or if you go to one communications medium versus another and you don't really feel like they're communicating the positioning in the same way or talking about the company in a consistent manner, then you're probably not doing a good enough job, setting and established editorial set of guidelines. What you really want to see time and time again regardless of the channel, regardless of who in the company wrote something is does it all sound like it's coming from that same central source that ties back to the brand identity you want to create. 7. Look and Feel: So, now we've arrived at our sixth brand pillar, Look and Feel, which is really all of the brand's visual assets, guidelines, and the guiding spirit across all communications in terms of how they look and how they should be experienced. So, your look and feel is obviously closely connected to your logo and your core branding. If nothing else as a company you want to establish what's the logo? How can the logo be used? What colors could the logo appear in? Your overall color palette, your style guide, things like fonts, margins, layout rules, really all of the core operating logic for how your communications will look across your website, across print collateral, other advertisements, social media, and those types of things. You might even want to take it as far as thinking about what themes and what colors show up in your imagery. For example, if you're a company like BarkBox you want to age is not just makes sure that you have dogs in your photos, but certain types of dogs you might want to communicate a certain degree of optimism, a specific connection with the owners, you might want to have photos or imagery or visuals that communicate dogs in action or dogs outdoors and nature doing things. Almost every element and aspect of your visual communications should at least be thought through at a high level to think about what the unifying themes and spirit are going to be. I would highly encourage you to actually get involved and work with qualified trained designers in around developing your brand's visual guidelines. I think if nothing else, hire a designer to develop the logo and put together some basic foundational groundwork. Now, again there are DIY approaches in some cases they've worked really well and if you consider yourself artistically gifted or you just really don't have a budget or resources to work with, you're welcome to do it yourself, but I think if nothing else you want to think about your brand's visual guidelines as more than just a logo. It's really a system and a set of rules and operating principles around the logo that extends to things like your color palette, your fonts and your visuals. One company that I really love. I really just enjoy their branding thoroughly and I'll just claim that they're also a client of ours is Blue Bottle Coffee. I just think they're a wonderful example of a brand that is incredibly consistent and detail oriented around its packaging. How the sort of iconic custom blue bottle logo appears. It's just an image, there's no text around it, and every cafe that they have, whether it's in Williamsburg, Brooklyn or Tokyo, Japan, it has the same look, the same decorum, the same feel, the same vibe and ambience no matter where it is. So, I would say in general for a company with relatively few or not that many stores and locations, not a huge advertising and marketing budget, they've done a really exceptional job making sure that how the brand looks on Instagram matches how the actual store looks in one place versus another and I just feel like Blue Bottle really consistently and distinctly has a great vibe. You go into Blue Bottle and it feels nothing like a Starbucks. It has more of a wholesomeness and an authenticity. There's a little bit of an industrial element. It's very bright, it's very clean, like they've really done a great job differentiating themselves visually from other coffee shops and other coffee stores, and also differentiating the way they package their coffee, and the way they sell it at a retail level. We've thought a lot about this at Percolate around how do we enforce and communicate a visual identity that's very distinct and really has a common spirit and I think you can see that in almost everything we do how we have designed our office, how we communicate online, what we talk about on social media, and what our website is. Ultimately, actually, a lot of that comes down to our foundational color, which if you can see it right here, it's orange and one of the things that actually our CEO Noah Brier made a request on is anytime we communicate any image if we ever post it to social media or really do anything, it has to be able to pass the squint test which is if you looked at it really quickly or it just went by you in a feed, you'd have to be able to see that distinct Percolate orange. So, the drip, the orange logo, the orange is something that we've really integrated across everything we communicate, everything we do. Every office has orange chairs, orange elements, orange branding on posters, and things like that, and it's just like a common thematic thread that really unifies all of the ways that we communicate throughout the company in different locations and in different mediums. Again, start by defining the key things that represent your brand. The logo, the specific colors, any other kind of design considerations or design rules around spacing, openness, contrasting colors, and those various other elements. As you're developing your visual brand and how your brand looks and feels there are some great examples of consistency out there in the market. One great example is Nike. They've got that iconic swoosh that's almost universally recognizable and even more than that if you look at their advertising, if you look at their communications, all of their photography is very thematically consistent. It's very high-resolution and it's very crisp. Facebook is another great example of a company with very strong brand consistency. They've really sort of owned that blue color, that blue shade, and you can see it universally across their product across all of their communications in everything the brand does. It's not a very necessarily bold brand, it's very functional, very intimate, and very consistent, but it has that same color palette profile and visual guidelines not only across the actual product itself, and the social network that you use, but everything else that Facebook does. Then, another example is Google. I actually don't think Google has necessarily that strong of a design sense. They don't really take a lot of design risks, but there's some very consistent, subtle thematic things that Google does such as the color scheme of the word Google with different colors and different letters, but in general Google actually makes it really a mission and a goal of being distinctly minimalist and designing for the user around the actual product interaction itself and stripping away anything else to really only offer that basic core product experience. 8. Managing Your Brand: So, now that you've defined your brand pillars, we're going to talk about brand management. Ultimately, brand management is about building a system around two parallel processes. One is marketing, which is how you really communicate and get your brand in front of your customer audience. The second parallel process is culture, which is really how you message and communicate your brand to your own people and your own teammates. In terms of developing marketing messages and thinking about external brand communications, I really see it as a three-step process. Step one is understanding your customer. Who are they? What are they passionate about? What do they want? Again, earlier around thinking about your mission or your vision, what are their problems and how are you uniquely qualified to solve it? Once you've got a sense of who your customer are, you've done your persona research, and you feel like you really know and get them, you want to think about how to build communication structures. This can be slogans, taglines, marketing messages, call to action, specific communication bits and pieces and messages that you can share with them in different ways that will invite them to come and experience your brand, right? Ultimately, as a brand particularly a digital brand, you want people to follow you on social media, you want them to visit your website, you want them to shop at your e-commerce store or if you're a physical brand, you want them to go check out your products on an actual shelf. Once you know your customer, you can start to think about how to develop specific messages that will resonate with your broad customer audience as a whole as well as specific potential subsegments, right? Maybe you want to market to mothers differently than you'd want to market to teens. Then as you have both of those things, which is really an understanding of your customers and a sense of the message, then you want to think about how you can get those messages working and how you can distribute them so that the maximum number of customers will see them. Distribution is really a whole separate discipline of marketing, but it's important to think about what are the most organic and natural channels to reach your audience and how can you reach them at scale, right? If you're an e-commerce brand, you probably want a lot of people coming to your website, maybe you offer them a discount in order to get them to follow you on social media or sign up for your email list and then you can use email as a recurring communications channel for future offers, promotions and holiday giveaways. Internally, it's also important to think about communications there, right? How do you communicate and message your culture? I think the most important starting place there is really just making sure that you're hiring people and you're working with and partnering with folks who adequately believe in and represent your company values, right? You want to hire people who will take your values to heart, really believe in your company mission and find purpose and are inspired to pursue it. Once you've got that group of great people and you've recruited a great team, then you want to start to think about what are the internal communication structures that will help your team understand your brand better and know how to communicate it themselves. This can take the form of internal documentation around brand elements and brand guidelines, internal templates and resources, email newsletters that go out to different teams in the companies or even company events, right? Maybe you want to do a team-building event where you bring people together in a branded venue around a branded experience so that your teammates feel closer connections to each other. They feel like they know each other more intimately, they understand what the brand is about and they're more inspired to do great work, right? Thinking about how you create a happy, positive culture that ties back to your brand's mission and its values is one of the most important elements to really developing a strong brand because great brands start from within. So, as a brand, as you grow, the two core challenges are really how can you win more attention, more share of your audience's consideration and how can you maintain consistency? So, one great question would be like, as a brand, okay, how do you do that? I think one of the core things that this really comes down to is centralization and clear guidelines. So, first off with your brand, you want to make sure that everyone has, as much as possible, a single source of truth or a system of record for marketing that governs where you can find brand assets, how you should talk about your brand, how you should communicate it and what you should and shouldn't do, right? The more clearly you can systematize these different types of decision-making logic and guidelines and put them in one central place, the easier it will be for different members and different people involved in your brand whether they're all in one office or spread all around the world to make the same types of common decisions and make good decisions about how to grow the brand in a way that's consistent with your mission and values. I think a great example of this is even just our own experience of Percolate. So, when I first started in marketing in Percolate, it was two marketers and two designers and so, it was very easy to make sure that we were consistent because my colleague Craig and I, we basically sat right across from each other, we could easily talk. There weren't very many different people writing about or communicating the brand and if we put together an ad campaign, I might be the only person writing the copy and the only person orchestrating and running the media buy. So, as we've grown from that small base up to 15 approaching 20 marketers, there's now a lot more people writing about the brand, there's more people who have to make decisions about how the brand is communicated and even beyond the marketing team, right? Every employee is really a steward of our brand and so how the sales team talks about it, how they communicate our product and our positioning in their emails, how they might talk about the company or share it's visuals on their own personal social media channels. All of these are things that we again, ultimately want to make sure that people are making the right decisions about and they understand what the underlying story and company narrative that they want to tell is. So, again thinking about some of the ways that we've gone about and we've approached this is building out more internal documentation, using Percolate itself, Percolate for Percolate to centralize all of the media image and other visual files that we have access to and that we use in our marketing. It's making sure that we have as few central core systems as possible that everyone's operating off of and that everyone's got a clear strategic direction and they're all following the same playbook. 9. Operationalizing Your Brand Strategy: As you think about unifying or really trying to align brand strategy and business strategy, I don't think you need to think of them as all that separate. Most of what businesses, particularly for profit businesses, are oriented around from a goal standpoint is acquiring customers, growing the company, building a great sustainable company culture, and creating employee and shareholder value. One of the best ways to do all of those things is by defining and building a strong brand. There's a variety of research, some of it from UCLA's Anderson School of Business, that shows a direct causal relationship between building a strong brand and creating a more valuable company. If you think about some of the most valuable companies in the world by market capitalization that trade on a stock exchange, they truly are some of the world's most recognized brands. Particularly, companies like Apple and Google. There's also a lot of research that shows that the more you advertise, the more you build memory structures and associations that help people remember your brand, right? So, great ad campaigns build, define, and reinforce brand memories that ultimately will lead people to think of your company and consider your product down the road. One way to think about this, or a way we commonly talk about this is the idea of mental and physical availability. Mental availability is when you want to buy a product or your inner potential scenario where you might buy a product what companies, what brands, and what products do you think of. That's mental availability. Then, the second is physical availability, which is when someone goes through that thought process, they think about the available options and brands that they know and trust, is that brand available right now. Is there a store around the corner, is that product that they want to buy on the shelf, and that's physical availability. So, the more you can advertise and the more effectively you can advertise as a company, the stronger you'll build those brand associations, and the larger and more effectively you'll be able to scale and grow your brand. However, that doesn't necessarily mean you need a massive ad budget. This isn't something that only Fortune 500 companies or the largest brands in the world have access to. What's really important is actually advertising effectiveness. It's creating strong emotional connections and doing things, developing creative, and telling stories in a way that your audience will really respond to, really connect with, and really identify with, and ultimately driving them to share that message with their own friends in their own communities. So, there's a lot of great examples out there. I'm sure you're welcome to go off and research more of them, of smaller more niche brands who have, I hate to use the word viral, but have created really strong, unique, and compelling messages and narratives that have inspired people to share them on their own personal networks without a big advertising budget or without a really well organized large-scale campaign. One other way we think about how brand strategy and business strategy align is how this all comes together internally, rather than just with external communications. So, great strong brands do a couple of things really well. The first is, they attract great talented people who believe in the brand's mission, who see the brand's vision, and who really represent and come to embody and reinforce its values. The second is that, strong brands through their values and through their mission, help management teams make more informed decision-making. Again, if you think about a company's mission and its values as the ultimate logic around prioritization, all management decision-making and how budget is allocated, how teams are structured, and what the company's prioritizing, should tie back to reinforcing and being operating in a way that's consistent with those values in order to achieve the company's mission. As you think about how to operationalize your brand's values, one of the most important places to start is how new employees joined the company and how to educate them and get them up to speed on your values. Chances are, people who have been working with you for a long time, the original company founders, the core team, they know the values really well because they'd been living it and breathing it since the inception of the company. But for new hires coming in, this is a new way of operating. It's a new set of logic and rules that should govern how they conduct themselves. So, one of the first places we focused this in Percolate is thinking about how do we on-board employees. What documentation, what curriculum, what classes, and what management teams or managers do they get exposure to during their first weeks here. So, every employee who comes into Percolate, they get an Asana outline that lists specific items. We have a dedicated on-boarding calendar and senior managers and executives from different parts of the company will give presentations on Percolate's values, on Percolate's mission, the history of the company, design rules, and all of the different things that people would need to know in order to get experience and get up to speed with the brand. Within the marketing department, we take this a step further, and we're in the process of building and refining more documentation in a central marketing site that provides people with even more specific guidelines on how to write for the brand, how to talk about the brand, and what specific processes are for creating content or developing advertising creative. Then, ultimately, we centralize all of those rules, all of those guidelines, and all of the visual assets themselves within Percolate software. It really provides a system that instills good judgment and good decision-making. The person who founded the company or the team who ultimately created or started the business, they may be really experienced, they may know the industry really well, and they may be able to, in general, make great decisions almost if not, all of the time. But as your company, and as your brand grows, and as you need to recruit and hire more people, and build a larger culture and a larger community and team around your brand, it's very important to make sure that you can again distribute the same type of decision-making logic and the same criteria, out to the edges of the company in order to decentralize and make the company more agile, more flexible, so that you don't have either decision-making bottlenecks, or the founder doesn't need to be involved in every decision. At 100 person company, your founders, or maybe the CEO, or senior management, can and should be involved in almost all of the companies major decisions. When you get to the point where you have 1,000 employees, that's literally just not feasible at that scale. Particularly as a company, as you move to different regions, you expand internationally, and you may take on new products or diversify your service offerings. So, again, a strong brand, a strong clear mission, and a succinct detailed and actionable set of values, again provides that underlying logic that allows people to make good decisions wherever they are in the company and wherever they sit in the organization. 10. Finding Brand Channels to Build Community: Once you've got your brand identity, your brand pillars locked down and you've started to think a little bit about your strategic approach to brand management, now, let's start to put it into action a little bit by talking through specific marketing channels. When we talk about marketing channels, what we ultimately mean is, what are the distribution outlets that allow you to get your message and/or your product out to the people who you need to buy it and the people who need to experience it at scale? The channels that you're going to want to use and focus on will depend a lot on where you are currently as a company. If you're a small brand, if you're a freelancer, if you're a startup that's just getting up and running, you're probably going to want to focus on channels that are effectively free and programmatic, and the great news is the Internet has created a lot of those. Some of the specific channels that I would highly recommend almost any startup focusing on are social, email and also their editorial, being the content that they put on their website as well as things like their blog, potentially other research and data journalism and content that they create. So, if nothing else as a startup, I would really encourage almost any business to develop a baseline social media presence. Put your branding and develop good content for your website and for your blog and start to think about how you tell your company's story and your brand narrative there and then think about how you can build an email list to start to acquire customers. Now, from there, there's a lot of different directions you can go. If you're more of a mobile app or you have a strong mobile play, you might want to think about what are the channels and outlets that will drive downloads of your app. You might want to start to think more about physical channels, right? How do I get retail distribution on my brand and my product? What event should I be throwing? What types of community building activities can I do in the physical world? Then as you scale up and grow as a brand, you'll start to think more about paid channels, right? What can I do from an advertising standpoint and digital? Where can I find the highest quality level of inventory and the most relevant audience at scale? Then even start to think about more non-traditional or large-scale channels. Maybe you want to start advertising on podcasts, radio, print and ultimately what the largest brands are doing which is things like TV. So, as you're developing marketing communications and thinking about how to get your brand's message out on different channels, there's really three important questions that you should ask yourself. The first with any piece of communication is, does this represent the brand? If someone saw it or looked at it or experienced it, is it distinct and would they know and be able to recognize the brand that it came from? Is it consistent with again your company's values and its mission? The second important question is, does this piece of communication have a business objective? Right? If you, for example, posted your logo to Facebook, that's something that's on-brand but it doesn't necessarily have a business objective. Now, you might say my objective is reach and frequency on my brand identity but again I would say think about making sure that you have a concrete objective that has a measurable results so you can know whether or not it's successful. Then, finally, the third question which ties right back to that is, is this communication engaging? How does my audience respond to it? Are they responding in a positive way and is it getting the type of engagement or response that I would hopefully expect? Really like is the communication working? So, as long as you can answer those three questions or a yes to all three, I think you're making a piece of communication that's on-brand, on-message and supports your overall brand management strategy. One goal of great brands at the end of the day is to build and attract audiences and create communities, right? Almost any brand, particularly a growing brand, ultimately will end up marketing to different audiences in different communities. For example, with Percolate, one community that's very important to us is the design community. A brand value for us is being thoughtful by design and so we think about that as an internal community of the designers who work at Percolate and how design influences what we do and how we build and develop our products and also our external community, where we host events like our Design Talk event which is designed to bring together designers to talk about their work and what inspires them and what excites them. So, it's interesting almost if you think about a series of different Venn diagrams and how you have overlapping audiences and communities that might span customers, partners, employees and different advocacy and influence or groups. Some of the designers who come to Design Talk may work for agencies. Some of those agencies may be partners with our other clients and so there's this broad set of overlapping communities that as a marketer and as someone looking to build a brand, you want to be cognizant of and you want to make sure that you're a presenting and exposing your brand in the right way and you're also participating in those communities' conversations so that even if you step out of the conversation, the community can still continue to talk about, understand and appreciate your brand. One of the interesting contrary opinions you might say we have about brand-building is this idea of prioritizing broad reach versus targeted customer service and ambassadorship. We think ambassadorship is actually really important and particularly around employee ambassadorship as again employees being one of the core stewards of your brand and one of the most important opportunities to kind of scale your message and narrative outside of your corporate communications channels. But that said, if you actually think about the process of building a brand mathematically, ambassador communities and customer support groups aren't really the best way to do it. So, I can illustrate this fact with a really simple concept which is, say you're a brand and you have five percent market share in your given industry. So, five percent of everyone that you market to in the world is a customer and 95 percent aren't. The real question is would you rather build closer relationships connections and considerations with that five percent or would you rather invest in winning the other 95 percent of people who aren't your customers? How brands grow again Byron Sharp, Professor Sharp really talks about this process looking at data from shampoo brands in the United States and in the UK, looking at differences across car brands and beverage brands and what he actually finds and proves pretty definitively is first of this concept of double jeopardy, which is the more established your brand is and the more overall market share you have, the more loyal customers are. So, a lot of people typically would think that like a niche or small brand would inspire more customer loyalty and at a micro level, that might be true, but when you apply it to large scale again, consumer brands, large mature industries, the larger and more well-recognized your brand is, the more loyal people are to it and the more market share you have overall, the more likely and more frequently people are to buyer brand. As a corollary or a related point that he makes is really that the stronger your brand and the more you focus your advertising on establishing distinctness and recognition and mental and physical availability at an aggregate level across all consumers, that's far, far more valuable than really focusing and investing on a specific sub-segment like your customers. On the other hand, one thing that is important, as you think about customers and customer service and really customer excellence, is this idea of social proof and in some ways digital has changed the rules around social proof a little bit. By social proof, what I really mean is credibility reinforcement or an example of someone taking an action that others would trust and emulate. So, a common business example would be something like a case study or a customer testimonial with is, "I bought this product," or "I use this service," "I had a wonderful experience," "I would recommend it to my friends." So, on one hand from a statistical or from a mathematical standpoint, focusing on the 95 percent of your market that aren't customers is more valuable than focusing on the five percent that are. However, I will also say it needs to be struck as a balance because, one, customer testimonials and case studies are very very important as providing the fundamental social proof to bring other people along and make them trust your business and the second fact is social, mobile and the Internet have made social proof much more easy to transfer around or much more discoverable if you will. Like one negative Yelp review or one very negative tweet if not responded to could potentially get a lot more reach and a lot more awareness and attention than you might otherwise think because digital has a way of amplifying the voice of the customer. Still, I would say overall and based on all of our research, all of the work we've done, we still believe the most effective way to grow a brand is focusing on large-scale brand-building and brand marketing campaigns and efforts. So, in conclusion, as you think about your different communications and marketing channels, what you want to do is make sure that you're selecting channels that allow you to get your brand messaging in front of the right audience at scale and brings them and helps you build a larger audience around your brand of people who believe in your product, believe in your brand's value, believe in its mission and want to be a part of it. 11. Final Thoughts: What we've done in this course is, we've started by defining and establishing the six primary brand pillars that represent and make up a brand: the brand's vision, its mission, its values, its positioning at both a brand and a product level, the voice and tone, how the brand sounds, what its personality is, and also the brands look and feel, the visual guidelines that governs its communications and makes them consistent across channels. From there, next we talked a little bit about how do you kind of operationalize those things. So once you've defined them, how do you put them into practice? How do you hire for them? How do you think about organizing your marketing strategy and your brand management system to really scale them out? What are things? What are approaches? Centralization, documentation, culture building efforts. What are the different ways that you can really encode and operationalize them in your day-to-day work in business? Then, finally, we talked a little bit about how to align your brand strategy with your business strategy and how to really get your message out to your audiences. What channels and what considerations should you think about as you'd think about building these different audiences and bringing them closer to your brand to take the conversation to a much larger scale. So now, it's time to put this into action for your own brand. So, first off, step one, think about and really work to define your core brand pillars. Next, think about what your overall brand management strategy will be and then third, think about how you take the brand that you've defined and developed and the goals that you want to achieve and then how you sort of get that message working in the market. How do you make customers aware of your brand and how do you scale brand awareness and really make sure that people are seeing your messaging, they understand what you're about, they understand your brands promise, it's purpose, and the solutions that it's offering? So, I'd love for you to put together and define your brand's vision, mission, and values, and put them and then share them into the class project galleries, and ideally, comment on each other's work. What resonates with you? What do you think is clear? What do you think could be better defined? The more you guys have conversations, dialogue, and give each other feedback, I think the better you'll be able to really crystallize, refine what it is that's unique and special and distinct about your brand. Brand is something you see, it's something you can touch, something you can feel and experience, and it's also something that's very inspirational and aspirational. People want to buy from brands that they trust. They want to buy from brands that they believe in. They want to associate their own personal brand with the companies that they admire and respect the most. So, as you think about your personal brand or the brand of your startup or the brand of really any project that you want to work on, it's just so important and fundamentally crucial to think about how you want to be perceived, what the message is that you really want to resonate in the market, how you want to define yourself, and what you want to be known and remembered for. In a lot of ways, the brand is really your company's or your own personal legacy, and that's just so fundamental and important to anything you want to do in business and the future you want to build for yourself.