Headwaters

Addressing symptoms of bad brand strategy.

May 11, 2020

My workout wasn't that great this morning. I'm having a hard time writing this. It was difficult to read this morning. I kinda feel lethargic.

I could examine each of these issues and think of a solution to each one, but it would just be addressing the symptoms.

You see, the issue was that I got sub par sleep last night. While I could have some caffeine, get shot of taurine, or do anything that would give me more energy, it wouldn't be a long-term strategy. Fixing the root of the problem, my lack of sleep, is what will makes these symptoms less prevalent.

Branding works the same way. If your marketing efforts, design systems, naming conventions, and other efforts seem off, you might have to backtrack a bit. Most likely, whatever is wrong is a symptom of something deeper.

You can spend all the time you want cleaning up the garbage downstream, but you'd save a bunch of time if you cleaned up the filth at the headwaters.

More you say?

Resurrection

If you're going to make a better brand, you must say goodbye to a piece of yourself.

1.27.2020

When training for an athletic event, we subject ourselves to pain in hopes of getting better. We strain our muscles to the point that cells begin to breakdown. Another way of thinking about this, is that a they die. However a new, stronger cell or group of cells takes its place.

Without the initial expiration of the first cell, the new ones can't exist.

The same goes for your brand. If you are going to change the way people feel about you, or at the very least continue to build and improve upon it, you must say goodbye to the parts that have grown weary.

Some examples of what this would look like:

Cutting services or offerings that don't align with your positioning.

Changing your name to better reflect your brand's character.

Refining the culture of your company to foster the brand.

Creating a unique identity that is totally different from the previous one.

Letting go of toxic people who don't align with your values.

Having the courage to throw it all away in the hopes of creating something greater.

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Defining "Design" and What it Means for Startups

No, it's not making things pretty.

5.1.2020

There are big elements of design and there are small elements. Both are necessary if you want to use design as an asset within your startup.

Design is the process of crafting with intention. This sets the trajectory for allowing design to be an integral part of your startup. In fact, it speaks to the idea that it should be intrinsically woven into every decision the company makes. If you act with the purpose of achieve a specific goal, you are designing. The opposite would be aimlessness or choosing to craft without purpose.

While such endeavors can lead to interesting results, it's not the best mindset to adopt with investors breathing down your neck or crucial deadlines looming int he background. Choosing to adopt a design-driven mindset is what allows you to measure progress and iterate with precision. In short, design turns wandering ideas into obtainable goals.

That's way different than making things prettier.

Yes, this concept tends to be confined within the areas of improving the aesthetic of apps, websites, interiors, products, or brand identities (a bunch of small elements), but these outlets don't give it power. Look beyond aesthetic and focus on creating things with purpose. How you want them to make people feel, what you want them to do, the goals a project is supposed to achieve.

I guess the main point is this: if you see design as only making things look pretty, even the things you want to look pretty will fall short of expectation. But, if you decide to see design as crafting with intention, you will be able to get results... and maybe make something beautiful int he process.

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