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Why branding yourself can feel like being stuck inside a glass jar

Jon Persson
Jon Persson
Brand identity designer

You’re stuck inside a glass jar, trying to read the label.

If you get it wrong, the jar is crushed with you in it. If you get it right, lifelong success and fulfilment will come your way.

But as long as you are inside the glass jar, you have a snowball’s chance in hell of reading that label.

Sound like a feverish nightmare? It’s actually your life as a business owner.

You are always inside your own business, which prevents you from viewing it from the perspective of your consumers.

Branding yourself is a Sisyphean task that can stop even the smartest, most creative person in their tracks.

You need outside help. Someone who can lift you out of your glass jar and help you see the bigger picture.

Right now, we at CultMethod have the pleasure of working with the founders of a high-tech company from the Netherlands. They had been struggling with their brand positioning and messaging for years.

In just two strategy sessions with us, things “clicked”—and they were able to see their own business in a new light.

They described the process of branding as descending a large mountain:

You embark on the journey without help, and eventually reach a plateau that you think is the root of the mountain. But you don’t quite recognize where you are. The terrain is rocky. There are thick clouds every where. Where do you go from here?

Then you get help from a professional mountain-descender.

Together, you brave through the clouds, walk a long, winding path around the mountain. The clouds disperse. Finally, you are able to feel the green grass underneath your feet.

You discover that the plateau you were just on wasn’t the root of the mountain at all.

With a competent facilitator who’s gone through the process many times before, it is possible to finally get to the root of your branding.

Know Thyself. That is the eighth of the 147 Delphic maxims, attributed to the Ancient Greek god Apollo himself.

It comes before Know your opportunity, before Exercise prudence, before Be a seeker of wisdom, and before Use your skill.

You must know yourself before you can hope to make the right decisions with any confidence.

Once you know your brand—what your core values are, who you champion, how you do things, and what you do—all your other business decisions become simple.

Communicating with clarity and purpose simply becomes a matter of making your values intelligible to consumers. You know who you’re talking to, and you know what you need to say.

There is nothing corny about it anymore.

Evaluating business tactics becomes a simple matter of considering whether they are congruent with your values and how you do things. You can finally get off the never-ending hamster wheel of business and marketing trends.

Smooth sailing.

Jon Persson
Founder, CultMethod

Jon Persson
Written by

Jon Persson

Brand strategist, identity designer, and founder of CultMethod. I help solopreneurs create brands that attract customers and command premium prices.
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