Why I’m a Brand Therapist (and Not a Branding Consultant)

Brand Therapy

I used to be a branding consultant, for the record. And, when it comes to a few other topics, I still consult regularly. So, if this reads as if I have a problem with consultants now that I’m a Brand Therapist, I apologize. That simply isn’t the case.

But if you want to know what the hell Brand Therapy is, or if you’re thinking “How can I get some of that!?” then you might just want to learn a little more about me and Brand Therapy here.

While I was a branding consultant and designer, I spent more time than I liked discussing the look of a brand, A.K.A. a brand’s visual identity (logo, colors, and design related stuff). My clients hired me because they felt the most important thing they could do was create a brand that “looks professional”—which usually meant, “looks like it can outperform a company that has way more resources than I have”.

I’m all for a good looking brand, but I’m not here for a shallow and meaningless brand. When I’d ask my clients to tell me about their brand, so that I’d know what design approach to take, they’d say “well our new website/logo/business card will be our brand, once you design it”.

Meaning, we don’t know who we are, but we’re hoping you can make us look good anyway.

That is a recipe for a “rebrand” in a year.

Picture this: you hire a stylist online to pick out an entirely new wardrobe for you, but you don’t tell them anything about who you are. You tell them you like the color yellow and you love Lady Gaga’s latest record.

When they fill your closet with yellow fishnets and amber tutus, you might love it—or, I’d expect, hate it.

Oh, also, you’re a man who doesn’t care for fishnets or tutus.

How your brand looks should be a reflection of who your brand is. Hands down. Not up for discussion.

If you had mentioned your interests, the work you do, where you’ll wear the clothes, who might see you in the clothes, what size you are—the fact that you’re male—you might have gotten better results.

Brands fail (especially new brands managed by people new to branding) when they don’t know who they are, what purpose they serve, who they serve, or why they are better for the people they intend to serve than any other option out there.

When you’re only focused on looking good, you might get attention…but you probably won’t keep it.

How your brand looks should be a reflection of who your brand is. Click To Tweet

Anyway, in order to consult or design well, I had to ask my clients for more information about their brands than they even knew they had. I ask challenging questions. I ask questions that make you feel uncomfortable and, honestly, a little embarrassed that you hadn’t asked them before.

Don’t feel bad—every single one of my clients has felt this. It’s my job to make you dig deep. I promise it’s not too painful!

And after all that digging and getting to the bottom of the issues my clients were facing, I found that my approach was really intimate—way more intimate than my consulting sessions in any other area of expertise.

My clients come to the end of our sessions feeling relieved, enthusiastic, hopeful, and excited about getting to work on what we’ve discussed.

I found that more exciting and more beneficial in the brand’s long-run than talking about which font would make for a good logo.

Most important, my clients found it more helpful. We’d end our sessions with them invigorated, fired up, and ready to go be great. That’s a great way to feel when you’ve got work to do!

But those were not consultations. Those were something else.

Consultants are amazing resources for brain picking. They’re like human libraries on a particular topic. If you want to know how things are done, and how they’ve been done in the past, there’s likely no one better to ask.

My approach as a Brand Therapist is intentionally (and insanely) personal. We can spend our sessions talking about how things have been done in the past, by other brands, if you’d like. However, I’d rather discuss how you can do things better than the competition based on who you are. I’d like to help you make better connections by using your brand—intimate connections that only you can make.

Yes, there are opportunities out there that are only for you.

Sometimes attracting these opportunities requires breaking the “rules”. Sometimes this means knowing why those rules don’t even apply to your brand.

But you have to know your brand in order to make that distinction.

And in order to really get that concept, you have to understand that brands aren’t “made”.

Your brand exists in the mind of every person you or your business comes into contact with. You can refine your brand and you can work on the way your brand is perceived, but—and I really need you to catch this—people get this wrong all the time because they are trying to be something instead of showing how they already are that thing.

If you try to be someone else, you will fail. If you dress your brand up in a style that doesn’t match who it is, people will not trust it—and eventually, you will hate it, too. Your brand already exists. Get to know it and then learn to use it. As a Brand Therapist, I help you do that.

If you try to be someone else, you will fail. Click To Tweet

When you get to know your brand, you’ll also learn a few things about yourself. These realizations prove really valuable as you encounter new opportunities in business or otherwise. Your brand is a personal guide for how you should conduct yourself and your business in specific settings. However, if you don’t know your brand, you’re bound to be inconsistent in a way that makes it difficult for people to trust you—making it difficult for them to bring opportunities to you.

As those opportunities come your way, you’ll achieve things you didn’t think could happen for you. And, quite honestly, it’s not because you got better at something or learned a new skill. Nope. More often than not, it’s because people are seeing you in a more capable light now that you’ve brought to their attention what you can already do well. This works really well for people who rebrand their careers.

This is why I’m a Brand Therapist and not a Brand Consultant. Consulting isn’t designed to get this deep into who you are. Therapy is.

You need to know who your brand is if you want it to be successful.

In actuality, if you watched a consultation session and a therapy session, you might notice that they don’t function very differently. But if you listen to what’s being asked—and what answers come out of those sessions—you hear the differences.

I prefer people do some brand therapy with me before they use their brands the wrong way (like focusing on how it looks before crafting a captivating story). Clearly, I still work with clients after things go in some undesired direction, but I want people to really understand what they’re doing with their brands from the beginning.

It’s frustrating to get your brand wrong and then find out months, or years, later that you’ve been over-complicating it, or overlooking what was right in front of you.

So, while I think consultants do amazing work, helping people maximize their brands, I think therapy is the right option for people who don’t even know what to say to a consultant.

Therapy is a very personal, intimate, focused journey to success. I think every brand (and person) should have that.

Speak your piece

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: