does your brand pass the asia dore test?
My favorite and most definitive question to ask entrepreneurs who are curious about discovering their unique brand strategy is: “what words would you use to describe your brand?”
I often hear words like:
“Modern, calming, blues and greens…”
“Professional, simple, clean…”
“Nice, bright, welcoming…”
And I’m like, whoa whoa whoa. Hold up. You’re not describing a brand.
You’re describing a couch.
HAHAHA! A GODDAMN COUCH! I die. And I’m not laughing at you – I’m laughing because I’m incredulous. It’s not your fault if you describe your brand in this way – it’s the branding industry’s fault for convincing you a brand is defined by how it looks instead of how it feels.
So this is officially the asia dore test for strong branding – if the three to five adjectives you use to describe your brand can also be used to describe a fucking couch, that’s a sign it’s time to develop your brand strategy.
We humans (specifically in Westernized cultures) are completely engrossed in our identities. We obsess over defining who we are because we want so badly to be individuals, to be special, to stand out. So as entrepreneurs we get stuck on color palettes and logos and design because the branding industry has erroneously taught us that those are the identifiers that make us unique.
I say this as a brand strategist but also as your newest branding BFF:
You can stop trying so hard to be unique.
You already are unique because no one else is you. You may think that’s cliche and you may be right, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
Now, there are three possible scenarios preventing you from fully embodying your unique power:
1. You don’t understand what makes you unique because you haven’t taken the time to figure it out
2. You think you know what makes you unique but you don’t know how to clearly articulate it
3. You know exactly what makes you unique but you’re scared to capitalize on it because it’s weird or feels too big or it goes against the grain
It’s a hell of a lot easier to hide behind logos than it is to do the deep work required for true brand clarity. But effective brands aren’t built on aesthetics – they’re built on values. Stories. Beliefs. Skills. Ambitions. Purpose. Emotions.
Anyone else can claim your color palette, but no one else can claim to be you.