Branding: Put one sign in your yard

May 3, 2013Work Uncaged

brandingThis week I’ve been a good little runner girl, jogging several days in a row in my neighborhood. I happened upon one yard that surprised me. In it stood two campaign signs, both candidates vying for one position. It would be like seeing an Obama and a Romney sign on the same lawn.

I wondered if the homeowner was confused. Or maybe they put one sign up, only to have their candidate friend stop by and ask them to please put up his. Or maybe the two candidates represented two different sets of opinions in the household. Or maybe they didn’t really care who won and were just being nice to the sign people.

The message was confusion. Certainly not clarity or confidence.

And therein came the rub. I’ve been working on simplifying my message, website and brand. I’ve worked a long time to get to where I am today, but I have more work to do. (Hint: change is in the air.) It’s not the work of addition, but subtraction. It’s the work of branding, that difficult work that takes a lot of silence, prayer, input, and more thinking. Last summer, I sensed the Lord say to me, “Choose small; tend large.” That’s been my theme for the year, and I even have that slogan hanging above my computer.

Truth: It takes work to remove one sign. Why? Because it means you are letting go of good for the sake of the very best. But it’s never easy to let go of good things. And there’s a huge amount of fear involved in that.

Fear makes me grab at things, fret, and make rash decisions, putting far more signs in my yard because I’m afraid if I don’t, I’ll fail. Oswald Chambers cautions, “We mistake panic for inspiration.”

Panic makes for poor branding. (Click to tweet this). Panic looks like desperation, not intentionality.

So what are we to do? Look at the yard of your ministry or business. Ask yourself:

  • How many signs are there?
  • How many messages are you advocating?
  • If a newbie came to your website, would they immediately know what you are about, and what kind of benefit they would receive? If not, you need to hurl some signs.

There is power in keeping it it simple. Let go of your branding ADD just for this moment. Ask your tribe, “What is my one thing?” or “What one thing do I offer (usually) to my readers/listeners?” Then heed their feedback.

Otherwise you’ll end up with a hoard of signs in your yard, and confusion will reign.

There is power in focus. There is success in honing. (Click to tweet this.)

Wednesday, I had the privilege of sharing just a snippet of this journey with an author friend. She reaffirmed the direction and the power of focus. Her prayer moved me, and her heart of wisdom confirmed what signs I’m pulling down. All that to say, this search for clarity of brand is a spiritual exercise, accomplished through silence, prayer, and good community.

What about you? What signs are in your yard? Which ones need to come down? What prevents you from focusing? Can a brand be several competing ideas?