Last night we had the pleasure of spending time with a local group of creative, ambitious and rather lovely people at a Skillshare event in Chichester.
Alys Bryan, a gifted and community-minded contemporary furniture designer is our organiser extraordinaire – tirelessly juggling her many commitments and never failing to bring people together over their mutual love of creativity and innovation. So, a big thanks to you, Alys!
Building Brand Awareness with Design
We were asked by Alys to give a talk on branding and brand awareness, along with veteran blogger Clare Mansell of Maybush Studio. Our talk looked specifically at how our ‘Daily Icon’ project has helped us to stay focused on the continual development of our own brand, as well as sparking follower engagement, contribution and new client projects.
Our talk was centred around the idea of a daily ritual (you can read Joe’s previous blog on this subject) and how developing your own daily habit can help you maintain consistency, awareness and productivity. Despite merrily extolling the virtues of regular daily brand activity – whether that be via social media or blogging – make no mistake, we struggle as much as the next business to keep the ball rolling!
This year has been a wild ride for us. We’ve experienced significant change, upheaval, inspiration, joy, and challenge. Every day brings us something new, something that tests our skills, something exciting, something rewarding and often something humbling.
What has this meant for our own ‘consistent’ approach? Well, sometimes it has made it inconsistent!
We had to weigh up our priorities and do the best we can in the time we have each day. For us, this can be seen in the (almost) daily icons posted on our Instagram feed. Half an hour a day is (usually!) achievable for Joe, so we figured if we do nothing else for our brand each day, at least we’re keeping our Instagram account plump with playful and engaging posts that will reach our followers and keep Odes and Ink as close to front-of-mind as possible. Our blog? Well, it has certainly suffered in the production drought of the past few months, but we’re ok with that. We know it will be revived shortly.
As the year draws to a close, we’re finally balancing a little more steadily – allowing a bit more time to write for ourselves, work on the website, engage in networking events and meet like-minded and inspirational people who remind us exactly why we love what we do. It feels good. This, for us, is progress. It isn’t perfect, but as some wise chap once said…
As a new business, the pressure to secure clients, build retainers and keep up with the workload can be pretty intense. Invariably a young business comprises of just one or two people. These people often work another job and have a family, so the feeling of being spread too thin becomes quite a familiar one.
This sentiment was one that I heard echoing around the room last night – the common bind of wanting to achieve specific things for your business, build your own personal brand, spend every hour doing what you love but being caught in the continual struggle between number of hours in the day Vs. the demands of your dreams Vs. earning a living Vs. spending time with people you love.
It’s a tough one, isn’t it?
My feeling is that there is no such thing as balance because when I hear that word, it makes me feel unmovable, it implies in my mind (rightly or wrongly) a non-fluid state. For me, it’s all about balancing. A subtle yet profound difference. This tiny change makes the pressures of continued ‘balance’ fall away – nothing is static long enough to just balance. So long as you’re balancing, wobbling a little, on your own personal tightrope in a state of almost constant movement, arms stretched wide, embracing everything that means something to you, in my book, you’re winning.
As much as we were at last night’s event to talk and share a small area of our business and story with everyone, from our point of view, we were also there to be inspired. And we were, to a joyous degree! We spoke with young furniture designers who have skill crackling in their fingertips and ambition buzzing through their veins, a silversmith gushing passion and inspiration, sellers of beautiful handmade crafts…the list goes on. For us, what came across from every person present was a genuine desire to find and master the most effective way of showcasing their passion, products and knowledge. That was exciting because it means that they will find a way, that they will put the time, energy, commitment and love into pursuing what drives them, what they wake at night musing on, what they think about when there’s a lull in conversation, what they jot down in an over-stuffed notebook to remember for later.
In our opinion, the most vital and valuable thing you can do for yourself and your brand is to be authentic. It’s good to know what your competitors are up to, but don’t let it become a preoccupation that overshadows what your brand is up to. Remember why you started your business, what your brand means to you, what you want it to mean to other people and what it says about the type of people you are.
People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic. (Seth Godin)
Thanks to everyone who came along to the event, engaged with us and shared their own stories!