BRANDING: discovering the authentic YOU

“KNOW who you are…and adorn yourself accordingly”


What animates you? What are you pretty good at doing–something others would say that you’ve mastered? Finally, what is that the world needs…what is the value you bring to your circle?  If you think of these 3 domains as an intersecting Venn diagram, then the SWEET SPOT  at the confluence of all 3–is the Authentic You. Now that you’ve discovered your Identity…It’s time to express your Image–your Brand.

Branding - cover


Started off with a quick acknowledgment of the Stanford Design school “Social Butterfly” branding  framework.  This process is comprehensive, but more importantly it is a creative, design thinking process.  Paired with the business rigor of marketing basics 101…this framework is a powerful and accessible tool to anyone with an enterprise.

What do I mean by enterprise? This is a sampling of what people brought to the room:

  • Current projects that need another creative branding jump-start
  • Future projects – not active yet but in the germinating stage of an idea
  • Hobbies – that are trying to round the corner of a monetized offer
  • Community initiatives – not about just $$, but also leveraging Social Capital (like volunteers) 
  • Social Entrepreneurship projects – that add to the social good AND will generate profit
  • Creatives – Re-thinking the Brand in Art, Photography, Music, etc. Thinking about Brand as an ecosystem — a series of expressive entities/mechanisms that mutually support a Brand Theme. Disparate elements that form a Coherent Whole


I asked everyone to bring in an Artifact — a tangible object that BEST represents them or their brand.  If someone from the future came in and observed your Artifactwhat would they say about you? What would they feel? What would they deduce?

How do you communicate without using language?


High Concept (Ideas, Values, Experiences, Emotions)

  connecting up and down with

High Sensing (See, Hear, Touch, Taste, Smell)


Everyone came prepared to put in real work on their brand/branding.




 Disparate elements that form a Coherent Whole

Brabding - personal tips

 Guided Mind Map exercise


Below is an example of someone’s mind map of their Brand. Guided Mind Maps are a way of Deepening AND Broadening.

Guided Mind Map…

  • Breaks through linear/sequential thinking and encourages RADIAL thinking
  • New “Branches” or “Streams” of thought are given room to flow out with no set destination
  • Where it ends up is where it ends up
  • Guided in quick successive prompts that encourage Intuitive/Gut responses rather than over-thinking
  • Prompts are disruptive of old ways of thinking or habits
  • Rounds out the individual facets (branches/streams) of a Brand
  • See the Whole Picture
  • Make new connections between the different branches/streams by seeing the whole picture
  • Many more….


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 “If your Brand told a joke…what kind of joke would it tell? Dirty? Cheesy? Parable?….”

“If your Brand walked in right now, what would be its Theme Song?”

“If your Brand had an apartment, what books would be on the coffee table”

“What are your Brand’s dirty pleasures?”



Guided Mind Map on Top

Distinctive Value Proposition on bottom




 “Feedback is a Gift”

Small Group Feedback sessions helped flesh out each brand. By staying curious (not helpful) about someone’s brand, new ideas emerged and were incorporated.

The POWER in these sessions were the feedback to each other. From Design Thinking process, this is the rapid Prototyping and then the Testing of the brand.

Our brands became bigger than we each are … because of the contributions of the group. Collective feedback become individual gifts.







 If you want the PDF version of this Branding presentation, CLICK HERE.


All Pictures