For most small business owners, finding their creative voice is essential in order to be able to present their work in an authentic way that will naturally attract the right clients or customers. This is, however, easier said than done.
It requires finding the practices, skills and ways of being that help you develop a strong presence as a creator of culture. It’s also necessary to live with a high level of authenticity so that we can offer a sustainable contribution in the world.
Branding essentially requires us to connect to our vision, our values and to the creative process that allows us to tap into our power to create change in the culture. It is deep inner work, and it takes time and presence and care.
The journey of self-actualisation
Many of us come into the small business world as an act of self-care; having as a primary motivator the desire to create a lifestyle that really works for our nervous system. The other major motivator is often the desire to do something of value in the world, to be of greater service and contribute to making the world a little bit more the way we’d like it to be.
But the journey to get there is one of profound self-actualisation. The building of creative confidence is one that goes to the deepest parts of ourselves as most of us had our creativity suppressed to some extent as kids.
Unearthing and anchoring ourselves in our creative courage is crucial to create a powerful brand because as small business owners we have to believe that we have a voice that matters and deserves to be heard.
It’s easy to have self-doubts and to think “Who would want to see what I’m creating or hear what I’m thinking”, but we all have a role to play here and it’s a unique one – our perspective matters.
Building an authentic brand
Authenticity feels edgy, scary even, especially around the topics or behaviours that matter most to us. Why? Because authenticity is disruptive. It’s disruptive because we live in a culture where wearing a mask is normal. Where not showing up authentically is normalised and incentivised.
So it’s ok to struggle on this journey, to take it slowly and to build up authenticity and vulnerability slowly. That’s loving behaviour; coming out of hiding (to whatever extent) is something that deserves our care and compassion.
One creative way of getting to know your brand in a playful way is to embody the brand; dress up, get in character and explore how your brand wants to express itself and be seen. Your business has its own essence and mission and role to play in the world, and it’s your job to channel that.
A powerful way to grow your brand organically is to imagine your business as a prototype of the world you want to live in and to work towards that vision. This will inform your choices about how you create, your suppliers, marketing tactics, pricing and everything in between. And that’s what a brand is; a set of guiding values that frame what you offer the world.