When many people think of launching a business, they think about the financials, clients, and other logistics—but building a strong brand identity often falls to the wayside. Bliss Lau and Jasmine Takanikos, the instructors of the Centering Your Brand course at Open Campus at The New School, want to change that. After all, creating a strong brand is integral to your company’s success. Below, Bliss and Jasmine share why personal branding matters, the details of their class, and the branding tips you need to know for your biz.
Q: First things first: For those who aren’t convinced, why should I care about crafting my personal brand?
BLISS: Regardless if you are an entrepreneur launching a business or an individual, knowing how to tell your own story is imperative to the process of crafting your future. I don't see it as a personal brand, but rather being in control of your own narrative.
JASMINE: You are building a personal brand everyday, whether you are conscious of it or not. One of the principles in my BrandHuman Methodology is “Perception Value,” which is a strong currency in our current age of the social economy.
Q: Tell us a bit about your New School class, Centering Your Brand. What takeaways do you hope your students leave with?
JASMINE: We created our course, Centering Your Brand because we believe that creative companies need more than just a good idea to thrive in today's economy. I help bring strategy and a clearly defined purpose while Bliss helps nurture the creative expression with a long-term mindset. The class is built upon a Socratic method that aids each student in their development to bring an idea to reality. We want our students to experience some form of transformation. We have built a program around the concept of intensive learning- there are big wins for our students if they commit to the process. If they apply discipline and passion, the learning outcome is a full brand outline, inclusive of back-end strategy and development.
BLISS: CYB is a self-discovery process explored through our Socratic method of teaching paired with real life examples from our own experiences growing our companies. We are honest with our students about both our successes and failures. Students hopefully take away a comfort in knowing that perceived risk in taking the next leap is important. And whether they “fail” or not, it is all part of the process of growth. We hope the class will help them move on a realistic path towards their goal.
Q: Jasmine, your company, BrandHuman, goes beyond the average branding and marketing firm. Can you tell us a bit about your mission?
JASMINE: BrandHuman is a methodology, and daily practice of how you function as an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. We are committed to serving the creative communities through directional and profound programming. My branding firm is called Candor Branding.
BLISS: If I may chime in here, BrandHuman is also incorporated into CYB, and Jasmine’s firm Candor incorporates BrandHuman with her strategy work. Her firm not only helps with naming, but also provides a full multi-dimensional kit for a company of colors, sound, atmosphere, strategic targets, expansion and has now begun to explore how spaces and environment are important to a brand’s footprint. Candor takes a holistic approach to working with creative clients by acting as a vessel to refine and communicate their vision.
Q: Let’s say I’m launching a new company. What are the top three branding tips you’d offer to a business newbie who wants to connect deeply with their audience?
1) You only get one chance to launch. Make sure you are really prepared. There is no need to rush.
2) Be flexible and ready to fine-tune and adjust details based on how your audience reacts. Often times, what we think they want is different than what they actually want. An entrepreneur’s flexibility to pivot can affect their success or failure.
3) At this moment, every brand needs someone to be the face of it. Prepare yourself for how to communicate your mission at the drop of a dime. You never know who you might meet!
1) Ask yourself why you are in the game—have a deep purpose, this creates the drive.
2) Know your value and or the value of your services, be confident in this.
3) Hire a designer or agency who understands how your brand needs to be activated through design.
Q: Especially in today’s social-first market, the personal really is professional—what advice do you have for the entrepreneur who might feel uncomfortable building their personal brand alongside their company?
JASMINE: Develop a strategy for what is considered personal. Not every business requires that the owner is personally exposed. Often it is not necessary. Take a deep dive into what value it brings your work. If it is a must, then it is time for you to evolve. This is a vital part of growth. Map out what you are willing to share and create a content strategy.
BLISS: The beauty of owning your own business is that you make the rules. There is no need to be personal if you are not comfortable doing so. As long as you know your boundaries, then sharing your ideas, thoughts, mission, and vision do not need to cross over to exposing personal information.
This post is sponsored by Open Campus at The New School.