When you’re ready to launch (or scale!) a company, you’ll probably field a lot of questions about your “brand.” When I work with start-ups, from entertainment to tech to educational organizations, I ask them to set aside the tempting visions of brochures and logos and style guides. Visuals come later. Promotional materials reflect your brand; they don’t constitute it!

The truth is, your brand is an emotional state. It is an internal space, a state of mind, that your target audience members are seeking and that your brand offerings provide. Think of words like “connected,” “healed,” “prioritized,” “championed.” This is what brands make someone feel.  And your brand experience consistently transforms your target audience(s) from an undesirable state of mind to the desirable state your brand delivers.

To honor your audience, your duty is to deliver that transition every time someone engages with your brand. Whether it is as a book, a software app, a TV show,  a speaker’s series, it doesn’t matter. You can do all of those things — you should! — as long as every single offering delivers the same emotional shift: your brand experience.

So how do you identify your company’s brand? Actually, it’s inseparable from your own. (Your company is just one possible manifestation of your branded offerings.) And your personal brand is easy to identify…if you’re willing to do the work. You see, your personal brand, at its most authentic, is the emotional shift you want most deeply for yourself.

In a world driven by the #routine #appearance of #247 #awesomeness on social media, you might think that a strong brand hides your fears and flaws and challenges. But the opposite is true! Your pain IS your purpose.

Your PAIN is your PURPOSE.

You will endlessly give to others that which you most want for yourself. For myself, I connect still to the many times I was the brightest girl or person of color in a classroom, the most talented on a field, the most productive in a company, but no one could “see” my accomplishments. Instead, they saw what they already believed to be true about people like me—and cheerfully let me know how little they saw. But I was driven to actualize myself, so with constant guidance from my parents and mentors throughout my life, I just kept reaching new levels and stretching for more. And now through Planet DMA, I create gameplans to swiftly close the success gap for extremely disciplined professionals who finally are helming their own ventures.

As you begin to explore and develop your own brand, ask yourself, what is the gap, the longing, the trigger that makes it agonizing to watch someone else receive this one thing instead of you? What is your deepest personal void? Because getting real about what could fill that void is the fastest, simplest, surest path towards understanding what your company’s offerings must deliver to your audience.

DMA is a veteran entertainment industry executive, organizational leadership consultant and patented tech entrepreneur who designs and executes transformative gameplans, resources and results for your content and your company.

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