During a recent relocation discussion, I was invited to go on a field trip to an office-supply firm called Steelcase. Their brand identity permeated everything from PowerPoint presentations to the literal writing on the walls. It was pleasing, not overbearing. I couldn’t help but wander around like a starstruck fan. So much so that the tour guide asked if I was on the brand team to which I quickly replied, “No.” She said, “Well, you should be.”
I puzzled over her observation. I see brands everywhere but all I could think was—I just want to be a writer. In retrospect, it makes all kinds of sense that well branded entities please me. I’ve always struggled with my personal sense of identity. After nearly four decades of life, I know what it means to suffer from a lack of identity. I also know how amazing life is when lived with identity.
It’s been nearly a year since my tour of Steelcase. Today, I’m an official member of the content strategy team and a member of the unofficial brand team. True to my usual meandering journey, I’m not sure how I got here. Either way, I’m learning about branding. Here’s an article that helped me define what “brand” means (click here).
A fellow thinker named Johanna Fenton says, "Branding is really about communicating your story." Big names care about it. And so do mommy bloggers. Bing describes a brand as “a very busy person.” As busy people we are easily consumed with a lot of noise.
We don't want to contribute more noise to the world. So behind-the-scenes at Seed Company, we are reading books like this and devouring blog posts like this. In seeking to be a focused people, it only seems right to share a story that is focused. It’s a tough thing because our goal was always to be the unseen servant washing the feet of fellow Great Commission workers.
So how do we balance the relevant and right need to share our story while not making it about us? Well, as believers aren’t we all living out personal stories in the light of The Greatest Story Ever? It’s all about God’s story. Simple, right?
Living it out might not be so simple. We will see. As for today, since I’m learning so much from others, it only seems right to share what I’ve learned (more coming soon...in my own peculiar way).
Application: (answer as a comment below)
If you see brands everywhere, which are your favorites?
- What are some words that capture your personal sense of identity and/or mission?