If your business was an actor…your brand is the character that it plays.

Let’s think about that for a minute. We go to all these workshops (dreadful ones that I’ve seen where crayons, markers, paper, and artwork prevail) and we learn that brand is more than just a logo.

It’s getting to be obnoxious.

I recently started working with a startup where it started to fall into place: there is very little brand identity. Because of this, there was no process in place. While these are two very separate problems, what is the best process to put into place if you have no idea what brand identity you are?

Think about it this way: we’ve seen Brad Pitt play the strong silent type in Legend of the Falls, we’ve seen him play the fast-talker in Moneyball, and we’ve seen him play the investigator in World War Z. Your first thought is…my business’ brand is Brad Pitt. And this is where you need to be corrected. Your business is Brad Pitt. Your brand is the character that he is playing.

As an actor, his job is to understand what the character’s persona is:

an individual’s social facade or front that especially in the analytic psychology of C. G. Jung reflects the role in life the individual is playing – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/persona

An actor reads the script and begins to consider: how does this guy talk? What kind of clothing does he wear? How does he answer the phone? Does he talk factually? Does he shoot from the hip? How do people perceive him? What kind of friends does he have? Where would he hang out? Would he talk loud? Soft? What kind of vernacular would he use?

We fall in love with movies and we believe the characters because actors do a great job. They immerse themselves into doing it well and being great at this brand. And they get paid big dollars to do it. We watch the final product and there is so much authenticity and it seems so genuine that these actors get hired again and again…

Now let’s think about your business. Are you doing the same thing?

When’s the last time you thought about how your employees answer the phone? Are they sitting, standing, walking, or picking up the phone while driving? Is there background music? Laughing? What about a zoom meeting background? Are they shooting from the hip or talking on a script? What would be the pros and cons of either?

And yet we hit up these workshops time and time again and break out color-wheels. Sure, color has a lot to do with it: if all these characters were actors, Brad Pitt in Legend of the Falls would be earthy colors and in Moneyball he would be bold, strong colors like Royal Blue, Grass Green, and in World War Z he would be greys, blacks, and reds. Oh wait…now that we think of it, aren’t those the colors they used on the movie posters and advertising?

But we can’t stop there. Think of your website. Your office. Your fonts. Think about YOU. Think about who you hire and how they represent YOU. The information that you and your employees hand out…the WAY they distribute that information…does it reflect your brand? Is the delivery and method accurate and representative and fall in line with how you WANT to be perceived?

Most people think that branding and marketing are the same thing. They think that marketing handles the creatives – and in truth, a great marketing SHOULD understand branding. How can you set a good performance indicator without understanding the brand? Understanding your brand leads to things like – who would be interested in it? Who might buy it? At that point, you put these KPI’s in place and marketing’s job is to make sure you have enough of the right stuff in place to hit them or exceed them. For example: the right amount of branded social media, the right amount of content and information on the website, the right amount of paid advertising or SEO…

Marketing is a great director and producer — they’re looking at the location, the clothing, the music, the props, and how much you need of each to make a great scene…and how much this scene should be emphasized within the movie overall. It’s also important for the entire team to understand their role within that scene to make it believable. This is where process comes into play.

There are things that have to happen in certain orders to make sure that the movie goes on without and hiccups and to ensure that the budget is blown out of control. We want to make sure our lighting and our sound is working so we don’t have to waste time and shoot the same scene twice. We want to make sure corrections to the script happen BEFORE we start shooting, and we want to get the scene right the first time to avoid costly edits later.

Often as a business owner, we don’t consider these things. There is an attitude of ‘we’ll see when we get there’ or ‘we’ll figure it out as we go’. When you shift and consider your business from this new perspective…that idea doesn’t seem so great anymore. In fact, it makes you wonder why you ever thought it would work like that!

We understand that circumstances and interruptions will cause us to pivot, and we SHOULD. Sometimes the story line has to change to accommodate things that don’t work or make sense. And there are plenty of examples where the character has had to change and does it successfully.

When you hear people talk about scaling and growing…this is what they mean. If you have no idea why this article is important — your business isn’t ready to grow.