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Nov 11 2013

Brand development: Are you a Maker, a Giver, or a Guide?

When you dig into brand development, you need to know as much about yourself as you do about your audience! Getting in touch with who you are as a business can give you some important clues about what matters most in your branding. I know that every one of you has a unique story–it’s my job to help people like you find that story!–but you can start to narrow it down on your own by asking yourself: are you a Maker, a Giver, or a Guide?

Do you sell jewelry or physical product? You’re probably a Maker!

Are you a Maker?

  • Makers are offering a product–this includes fashion, accessories, beauty products, even food or drink.
  • A lot of small-business Makers (especially here in Portland!) make their own product! They design, produce, package, and even sell and ship their own products.
  • Makers have styles, techniques, and ideas that are unique to them, and they’re driven to express those ideas tangibly.
  • Makers are amazing at taking inspiration, and manifesting it into real, physical objects that their clients can experience and interact with.

Are you a Giver?

  • Givers are offering a service (don’t worry, you’re not giving it away!)–this includes most creative professionals, and also consultants, stylists, non-profits, and others who don’t sell tangible products.
  • If your work does result in a physical end product, but it is one-of-a-kind and highly customized to your client, you may still be a Giver. (for instance: hair styling, interior design, construction)
  • Givers listen to their clients’ needs, and tailor their ideas and techniques to best fit what their client needs.
  • Givers are amazing at gathering in information and feedback, and using it to create the perfect solution for the people they serve.

Are you a Guide?

  • Guides are offering a way of thinking–this includes speakers, thought leaders, life coaches, and people who offer workshops online classes. Writers can also fit into the Guide category.
  • Guides may sometimes have physical products, such as books or recordings, but their main “products” are their ideas and their perspectives.
  • Guides are most interested in sharing their ideas, and having an influence on how their audience thinks or approaches a problem.
  • Guides are amazing at conceptualizing great ideas, and turning them into compelling content that can help, guide, or influence others.

Are you feeling like you might fit into more than one of these categories? That’s okay! A lot of Givers are also Guides–even if you’re not actually selling your way of thinking, you may be taking a Guide’s approach and educating your audience, so you can find the right people to share your Giver or Maker magic with.

I know what I am–now what?

Now that you know what you are, you can start thinking about where to focus your energy in building your brand (or rebranding!). There are a lot of pieces to building a successful brand, and you might not be able to take on all of it at once. Knowing where to focus your energy can be a huge help in building your authentic brand.

If you’re a Guide, your content is the product, so your brand really needs to communicate your ideas. You’ll want to put most of your energy towards your content, so hiring help for your branding design and photos is a good idea.

If you’re a Maker, showing your product and creating the experience is key to getting people interested. Invest in professional photography and graphic design first, and maybe save those style blog ideas for after you’ve established your brand’s look-and-feel.

If you’re a Giver, your services may speak for themselves, but a brand with a strong graphic presence will make you look professional and stand out. Content can also be a powerful lure that helps new customers find you, and you’re probably fine with just a few key photos, to start out.

Portland branding design – Upswept Creative

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