Do you also want to build a brand? Your own brand, God forbid? Then keep on reading. Have you heard about it a lot lately? Does it seem to you that it is cool and necessary to have your own brand? Are you looking for a printed guide to lead you reliably through the perils of this brand swamp and over to the other side? If so, stop reading right now. Or go ahead and keep on reading, but prepare yourself for further questions rather than for answers, even after you have read the books I lovingly recommend to you.
For starters, however, let me give you a short lesson to make your choice and the reading of the recommended literature easier. Well. Try to forget about building a brand. A brand is not a house. You cannot just build it. It cannot be started. Finished. A brand is born in your head with the first thought of your business. You do not even know when or how it was born. And it will live for as long as your business does. Instead of building a brand, think about becoming aware of a brand, structuring a brand or developing a brand. Just playing with words? Maybe. It will help you, though. Promise.
Well, we are getting close to the point of this text – for starters, go read several bits of psychology. And only then go buy the proven hits by overseas authors. You know, they are absolutely right. However, if you read psychology first it will be much easier to search for the truth and, mainly, to transfer it to your business’s reality. It was not for nothing when I was taught at school to read the most primary sources possible. Try to read my four musketeers. I love them. And you will too, you will see. Eventually maybe more for yourself than for your brand. But that’s the beauty of it – where is that damn boundary anyway?
Max Wertheimer (1880–1943) – you certainly know the hackneyed formula 1+1=3, right? Imagine, however, that it was Max’s colleague Wolfgang Köhler who was already saying that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Welcome to Gestalt. Enter gestalt into Wikipedia and start playing. Only after you’ve read the book, though (see below)! Hopefully, all this will help you realize one of the key principles of human perception. And transfer this knowledge into business. Into webdesign. Into your printed materials. And also into your business model. Human resources management. Communication with clients. Yes, into all these areas. And all this is where brand is. All this is where the overall shape will be more important for your surroundings than the sum of your parts. Here I am referring to, for example, we desperately need to create new business cards. Sound familiar?
Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) – have you ever heard of archetypes? Do you believe they can help you set the correct azimuth for your business? Have you been racking your brains as to whether you are a hero or an outlaw? Well, be careful not to make yourself and your brand a fool for the others in the end. Carol S. Pearson is excellent, but before you start to read her work, take a moment for the phenomenal Jung. Yes, he is the father of archetypes. And, surprise surprise, there are no mentions of wise men or magicians. So many people are obsessed with those gods’ archetypes while so few really understand them. Well, let’s see: what archetypes did Carl Gustav define? I bet that once you learn this you will find Carol much more useful. And did you know that those introverts and extroverts, so popular today, were first described by Jung?
Abraham Maslow (1908– 1970) – Abraham is among the leading representatives of humanistic psychology. This may not say much to you, even though (almost) everyone knows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Forget about the empty message that you must not be hungry in order to be happy. Get absorbed in the work of excellent Maslow. You will love him. Just like he loved people. What is self-actualization? And what is self-actualization of your brand? Study. Acquire his hierarchy of needs and I can guarantee that you will find it even easier to wear your brand. His hierarchy in particular may help you search for the magical boundary of me vs. my brand. And yes, Maslow has had a number of erudite critics. Those who have none are not worth anything, though.
Erik Erikson (1902– 1994) – Erik lays the foundations of modern developmental psychology. His 8 developmental phases are more than useful to apply to your business, as well. I can’t tell you how many times I have refused cooperation when I was addressed by a subject from the first or second phase asking for advise for the sixth or seventh phase. Yes, we people learn first to run and only then to walk. It is alright and it is the logic of Erikson’s developmental crises, and overcoming them pushes us to further phases. However, if you cannot walk yet, it is hard to ride a bicycle. Or drive a car. And still a big number of business beginners tend to start from adulthood – not to move forward one phase at a time but to skip five phases. What to tell such people? You do not need me. Not yet. Go work, fight on and learn. If you survive, let’s meet in six or twelve months. And then we’ll get to work. And if your brand does not survive? Then it was not worth it.
Well, finished? Got it? Next time we may continue and take a look at Freud, social psychology or this so popular Frankl. And remember – no book is bad. Or good. It is just a question of your expectations how this or that book manages to help you eventually. Good luck, then, a tight squeeze of hand, and persistence, my brand developers!