I was the best man in my cousin's wedding yesterday. I'd spent weeks trying to write a speech for this occasion, but found myself tearing up when I would start writing introductions. The memories I share with my cousin are that powerful.
Needless to say, the attendees of the wedding felt something when I was speaking with plenty of "awws," laughs, and, of course, tears responding to the speech.
Whatever the audience was feeling, the strange thing was that I felt it too. I was reminded of this quote from Robert Frost, "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."
Here's the thing:
When coming up with the personality of your brand, its values, mission, and purpose, YOU need to feel something. If you don't, how do you expect anyone else to?
No heart in the founder, no heart in the buyer.
In a cluttered market where people buy on emotion, it's the safest bet you have against becoming a commodity.
I was giving an identity presentation to a client today and everything was going phenomenal. He liked the strategy behind the mark, thought it had a lot of character, and he was overall pleased with it. He did ask if he could see a slight variation of the mark.
What he had asked for was not going to work (I could see it in my head and it would've ruined the integrity of the logo). But, in the spirit of transparency, I replied with "let's try it out, right now."
Within five minutes, we had the options side-by-side and could clearly see that the previous mark was the better option.
If I had said, "ok let me get back to you in a day with these revisions," we both would have been frustrated. It's an unfortunate trope within the design community to never show the client your workspace or your design files. Which I don't understand, because I certainly feel engaged and have more respect for other craftsmen who show me their process. More important, it helps me hold it in reverence and respect the decisions they make.
Design is no different. If we are willing to be transparent and walk clients through the entire process, show them how our opinions are formulated, and talk through the solution, everyone is happier.
Show your work and talk about it. Being creative is simply not enough, you have to be able to articulate your thinking.
It's common practice for business owners to take great pride in their craft and their industry. I know this all too well, as I love being a designer and creating things. But, it's not the most important part of my business. Far from it actually. If it was, I'd be out of a job as websites like Fiverr and Upwork can beat me on price, they will give more options, and they are accessible 24/7.
Thankfully, people buy on emotion. Buying is a method of joining a tribe, what you buy says something about who you are. Think about it. If I buy a Tesla, it says something different about me than if I bought a Ford Mustang. It's a car, they have the same function, but there is a different sense of meaning established by joining either of those tribes.
All this to say, when people buy from your company, what are they saying about themselves? A couple things:
They believe what you believe and they are cool being associated with you. More succinctly, they are buying YOU. Not what you do, not because you're cheap, not because you're stronger, faster, better, they are buying from you because they connect with YOU emotionally.
That is what matters the most. You. Everything about you. All of your quirks, your experiences, your dreams, your vision, all of those things that construct you are what they buy.
Who you are matters most. You do the world a disservice in trying to be something you're not.