Top Five Things Investing in My Brand Did for My Business and My Life
So, we’ve just won a brand award. Yep, that’s right, in partnership with REX Marketing + Design Inc., LZRK Consulting Inc. was named a Bronze Winner at the Summit Creative Award Competition for Consulting Visual Identity Design, out of more than 4,500 submissions from 27 countries. Now, it might not seem like much, but it sure feels like a fantastic cherry on top of a sundae that’s been in the works for at least two years, and maybe a bit more.
Although I still sometimes struggle with unconscious bias and the idea that we live in a world where the visual impression carries as much weight as it does, I’ve never been able to argue with the value a good brand brings to life. While I’ve always invested in my brand, this iteration taught me a few unexpected things. Here’s what I learned and why it meant more this time around:
- It made me step up:
For a long time, I wanted to be kept out of the brand of my company, thinking that this would allow me to sell it later, that it would keep it more professional, that it would be easier for me to employ others and that I could stay safely out of sight and not have to really put myself on the line by hiding behind a catchy name. Ironic, since my company name was originally ICU Image Consulting, or “I see you”. Using my name in the rebrand forced me to lay claim to my work and own my impact in a way that I had not done before.
- It allowed me to unfold organically:
When I started out, I was only thinking of being an image consultant and used the company name to shore up my own fledgling confidence in my ability. Over time, as my expertise and client base evolved, I’ve been able to grow with my clients and finally, they called on me to make the shift. As they went up the corporate ladder, got new jobs and gained their own confidence, they wanted to share the experience and refer me to others, but kept running into a barrier with the words “image consulting”. They kept trying to find ways to explain what I “really” did, which, they said, was a lot more than “image consulting”. While I appreciated the props, I wasn’t fully ready to make a leap, largely because I didn’t want to leap away from something, as I’d always done, but wanted to wait until I had something clear to leap to.
After nearly two years of feeling uncomfortable with the old brand and exploring ideas for the new, here we are. This is the first time in my life that I’ve allowed myself to really dig in and allow something to take the time it needed, rather than being impatient and forcing the project before it was ready to bloom. It showed me that I could become all that I wanted to be but letting go was the way to get it.
- It made me be accurate:
The brand discovery process, whether individual or corporate, required me to get very serious about who I was and who I wanted to be in business. This meant not only taking a good look at the reality of my company and the messages I was promoting but taking a good look at myself and getting very honest about what impact I wanted to make in the world. I’ve always been a fan of reflection, but this made me stop and think. I was going to make some choices about the words and the images I was using for marketing and I had to make sure that every message was in full alignment. If I was going to lay claim to my work helping others “walk the walk, talk the talk and look the part”, I had better get it right for myself too. I had worked on my own visual signature and it was time for my marketing materials to match.
- It made my bottom line look pretty good.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve always believed in the value of investing in my brand, both personally and professionally. I would never have attained this level of success (award winning or not) without the support of coaches, consultants, team members and savvy marketing mavens who, like me, ask the right questions at the right time to get things just right. Every time I’ve put money towards investing in brand, it’s come back many times over and then some, in profit margin, in revenue, in cashflow, in client success, in productivity and all the markers that mean a business is doing well. The evidence proved that putting my money where my mouth is and doing what I coached others to do was worth every penny.
- It made me feel good; better than I had in a long, long time.
So often we underrate the impact of feeling good. We fail to count all the productivity and passion that comes from making sure we feel good – about ourselves, about others and about the world we live in. I can never tell which comes first, feeling good or doing well, but as with most things, I suspect it’s a bit of both. What people don’t often tell you is that our brains do well when we celebrate making good choices; it makes us want to do better and motivates us to take the necessary steps towards whatever it is we’re working to achieve. Although it hasn’t all been rosy, it’s been better than I could have expected, and that’s all right. The awards are a lovely acknowledgement that together, my favourite marketing team and I did all right too.
Investing in my brand was worth it to me – what might it be worth to you?