Brand Essence. Client: Me.

I recently had the opportunity to give a presentation to a class of design students on Brand Essence, a subject near and dear to my heart. I’m no brand strategist, nor did I ever study “marketing”, but I’ve been designing for over a decade now, and the branding process fascinates me. I love to get up close and personal and observe the strange machinations of a group of people (often a board of directors or top-level execs) twist and squirm their way through figuring out what they are all about – what the soul of their company is. And then, as a designer, take that information and make meaningful decisions that have longevity and that work. I love it! So, I was pretty excited to share my passion with these students.

As the instructor and I were discussing the upcoming presentation, we thought it would be interesting to take the students through a branding process to try to uncover their own brand essence. Not only would that be an interesting exercise, but potentially very powerful. In the end, we decided we didn’t have enough time, but the idea stuck with me and I kept wondering, “What is my brand essence?”

I happen to be currently looking for an agency that I can work with locally as I’ve been mostly working remotely in the Bay Area for many years, and as such, I’ve been doing quite a bit of talking about myself. In a way, I’ve been in a prolonged, informal branding process. Thanks to this, my brand essence rose to the surface pretty quick. What is it you ask?

Helping.

Yes, I am a helper. I love to help! To start with, mentorship has been on my personal passion list for a long time. When I talk about working with brands, I often think of my role as helping them. If you’re standing on a corner in my neighborhood consulting a map, I can’t NOT ask if you need directions. My first career (pre-design) was as a swim instructor, and later an Aquatics Director. Even in that role, I tried very hard to help my teenaged staff develop career skills for the future. Come to think of it, my first job was as a tutor. Helping is my heart and soul. Always has been, always will.