Becoming a Brand: The Final 30%

3 Most Often Overlooked Aspects of Brand Building

You are almost there. You spent the time to dig into what makes you different. You have a website. You’ve learned the basics of social. You have clients who love you.

But there’s still something missing. Your brand is not quite there. 70% is ok for some, but not for you. You know that your brand has the potential to be bigger than where it is now. You know the direction you want to go. Yet you feel both confident and uneasy.

So what’s missing to get to that final 30%?


We often say branding is first a spiritual exercise.

Today, all brands must begin not in the advertising department, but in the absolute depths of a leader’s heart.

Here are the three most commonly overlooked aspects that move a brand from OK to awesome:

  1. The spiritual journey of the leader. Often leaders deal with a type of perpetual cognitive dissonance – the sustaining of two beings: The “business” you and the “personal” you. Until these become one being, your brand will not reach that 100% mastery level you desire. This requires a continual journey to define and grow your beliefs – and rooting your behaviors as a leader in those beliefs. Spending “alignment” time is critical. This means continually aligning your beliefs with your behaviors and ensuring that both are manifested in the brand experience. If you are leading an organization or team, the same principles apply. Most of all, speak truth and be sincere in all aspects of your beliefs and behaviors. We all make mistakes of course, but insincerity is a brand killer. Try this: Search for and eliminate cliches in every aspect of your brand: marketing copy, conversations, pitch language.
  • The intentional and thoughtful development of a brand experience for those who touch the brand. Until you consistently generate delight, you have not yet mastered branding. It’s not just about “going the extra mile” for people, it’s about how human and how touching you can be with your clients. They need your brand to help them break through the demands, directives and bullcrap flooding their senses throughout the day. They need to be awakened; treated like an individual. The way to do that is not with another offer or snappy slogan. It’s by understanding their humanity and appealing to their heart. Try this: Personally appealing to them by sharing something you are challenged by, need their insights on or are looking to address with their experience.
  • Your brand’s heartfelt clarity of message, delivered consistently and artfully. Unless you are selling rockets, branding is not rocket science. It’s clarity of message, delivered consistently — and artfully — over time. Why you exist as a brand is where you begin each and every time: in short conversations, in email messages, in your development of your brand experience. Do not keep reinventing your message just because you are bored by using the same words over and over. You are the only one doing so, your market is not. People want to do business with brands who they feel understand their hearts, but humans are terrible at paying attention, so you need to remind them consistently what you stand for. Try this: Strike up a chat with a stranger and see if you can ignite a conversation with them by leading with what you believe.

In short, get real, get intentional and get clear. Without doing these three things, you will still experience some success if you are truly excellent at what you do.

Cases in point of the above: Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and Jessica Alba: all three of these highly successful business people are spiritually aligned, clear in their objectives and consistent about articulating their beliefs.

It is highly unlikely that without the three elements above that you’ll be able to push past the moderate level of accomplishment you have achieved to build your brand beyond and reaching that 100% level you know you are capable of.

If your brand is an extension of your beliefs and purpose, it is worth the investment to take it mastery level. Your brand deserves. You deserve it.

Emily Soccorsy + Justin Foster are cofounders of the intrinsic branding practice known as Root + River. Together with their defiantly different clients, they uncover then articulate the foundational elements of the brand. Then, they provide brand strategy and brand coaching as the brand is rolled out internally and externally. Obsessive about language and differentiation, Emily + Justin are also authors and speakers. Follow @rootandriver @fosterthinking and @emilyatlarge.

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