Challenge, is a funny word. It can be used to describe a situation that’s less than desirable yet it also has the notion of something achievable and exciting but not without bumps in the road. This creates vulnerability.
2020 has defiantly been a challenge for the majority of us (both those of us running our own business and those employed) and many of us have felt some sense of vulnerability. But it’s our mindset and how we choose to adapt to it that gives us resilience and motivation to keep moving forward.
I’m writing this post in the hope that it will give you some guidance and clarity in taking the slow and steady steps to build resilience, staying relevant, and remaining calm during the pandemic (and beyond).
There will be days when we feel more vulnerable than others, there will be days we lack motivation and there will be days filled with positivity and determination to get up and give everything we have.
I hope that my experience working with many successful and resilient companies as a brand designer and strategist will give you some much need reassurance that everything will be fine and how challenges should be embraced and celebrated just as much as successes to build a strong, resilient and relevant identity that stands the test of time.
1. An analogy for a strong mindset – from Dad
[After a deep sigh] “Kate, for some, there are calm seas. The sun rises and sets at the end of each day painting a glittering horizon.
Then there are those of us who sail the roughest seas with little light, we’re constantly having to repair our ships to stay afloat. But as time goes on you will notice life gets a little easier, there are more bright days. You always stand prepared, because of what you have been through, but you value and savor those brighter, calmer days so much more.
Sad though it may be, those who know nothing more than calm bright days will always be unprepared for both challenge and vulnerability. When a storm arrives (and storms are inevitable) their ship won’t hold, they won’t have the strength or tenacity to pull through and stay afloat.
Kate, you are exactly where you need to be right now. Learn from hash times and failures. Consider it an opportunity to put what you learn today into practice tomorrow.“
These words have carried me through life.
If grades were awarded on effort, as a child I would have been top of my class. I am not an academic person and never have been, but I do love learning. Building resilience over many years has given me great insight into what to expect and the confidence to go beyond my comfort zone and push past anxiety and embrace vulnerability. So let’s get into it!
2. Have a solid yet adaptable strategy
I see the current pandemic as an opportunity to practice what I’ve learned through the many years of struggling with my health, family, and career. It’s about asking my self hard, yet realistic questions. It’s about staying focused and having a solid yet flexible plan.
A brand is more than a look and feel, logos, and colour palettes. These elements are important, but they are only one half of what people need to like you and trust you. If these assets are the face, the other half is the heart and soul of what your company stands for and the values it holds.
3. Show empathy and transparency
Being vulnerable is a basic human emotion. Right now, we all feel vulnerable, and showing it is just as important as showing empathy.
Shifting your messaging to communicate your values clearly is so important during these times. Focus on the things that matter to your audience (and you). Seeing the world through their eyes and showing your own vulnerability is important for building trust.
4. Find your common intention
What’s your brand’s intention? What does your brand believe in? What does your audience believe in?
Intention, is something that appeals to both heart and mind. It should be a priority as they are for your audience.
Many businesses get caught up in the demographics and characteristics of who they are targeting but they fail to understand their problems; this is your niché. Get close and stay close to them. This will help you stay relevant and connected, offering value where it’s needed with meaningful interactions; allowing you to claim and retain your own unique space.
5. Calm and smart planning
Those who I have worked with are often shocked that I don’t want to talk about colours palettes and logos designs off the bat.
This links to what I have said above. To truly represent your ideas visually, you have to understand the head and the heart of a business.
If my clients need to come back to me in 5 years and ask to rebrand their company, in all honesty, I haven’t done my job right.
Just like the wise words my Dad told me. I use my own experiences to help best prepare my clients for the storms ahead by building a resilient and sustainable brand that supports their business through the hard times and allows them to flourish during the good.
Your brand should be loved and give you the confidence to calmly and strategically takes risks when you most need to.
Many of the brands I’ve designed for have said they would not have sustained their position during the pandemic if it not had been for having a solid brand framework with strong values, beliefs and purpose (because every ship needs an anchor!).
You need to think, operate, and lead in a new way.
- Use data for insights and development not just for measuring performance.
- Try not to fail less (we all make mistakes) but fail better (learn something each and every time)..
- Rather than pay for market research; listen and learn from your audience.
- Rather than selling your services, sell your solution to your audience’s problem.
One key characteristic of resilient brands is their obsession with how they are perceived. First impressions count. Your brand is a tool for your business.
Every customer touchpoint matters. Every interaction is an opportunity to leaving a lasting impact and build a ship that can adapt and withstand any sea for years to come.
“As a start-up, defining your idea’s, you often lose step, Kate helped me focus and bring to light my USP (brand identity), as well as, normalise unfamiliar tasks.”
Shaun Alley – Lifestyle Entrepreneur
Need a little more clarity and guidance?
If you feel like you need a extra little help with your brand’s message during lockdown v2.0 I’m here to help.
Book a Brand Clarity Session with my for
£125 £60 and make sure you’re showing up with depth, style and story.