“Branding is for products. Also, for cattle. People-even artists- aren’t products. You may make things, but you aren’t a thing. Resist the temptation to climb into a perfectly-crafted brand identity. Instead, practice claiming your whole self- your wild, weird, ever-changing, ever-learning, mistake-making, beautiful/ awful whole self, something so much more powerful and honest than a brand.”- Shauna Neiquist
Recently I can’t escape from the word “Authenticity”.
It’s like every blog, Instagram post, book, and talk show is talking about Authenticity. I've loved it. It’s a conversation that has been needing to be had for a long time! In many ways Authenticity signals a huge paradigm shift in our culture. Authenticity is definitely a step in the right direction!
HOWEVER, I’ve had this little thing in the back of mind that has rolled around like a pebble in my shoe for the last 6 months. This idea that maybe authenticity isn’t the WHOLE story. It’s great, but I’ve just sensed that if we keep digging there is something even deeper on offer. The problem is I haven’t been able to grasp the idea, so I’ve continued along with the authenticity parade knowing that at least that parade is leading to somewhere better then where we have been.
A couple months ago I came across this quote from Shauna Neiquist (at the top of post), and it knocked me around! I even shared a little bit about it here in this blog post. You see my WHOLE business is built around branding! I really struggled with Ms. Neiguist’s quote because it forced me to hold up a mirror and admit that I’m not completely sold on the idea of reducing ourselves down to a brand image. But then our good friend Authenticity came in and reminded me that as long as the brands that I am helping to build are authentic then it’s okay.
For a little while I was appeased, but one fine Autumn day recently I was sitting with my very dear and wise friend, and in a brief moment of conversation I admitted to her that I was struggling with the idea of selling “Branding” to people. The words tumbled out of my mouth as if my heart was speaking truth that my mind hadn’t quite processed yet and ever since then my mind has been trying to figure out this conundrum…
And here is what I’ve come up with…
If we just aim for authenticity, it’s not enough. We need to start aiming for Legacy.
Authenticity is about sharing a complete and whole version of yourself. Legacy is about leaving a mark that is completely unique to you. Legacy absolutely, 100% requires authenticity, but when authenticity lacks legacy it can become self-focused. Let me say that again, because this is so important, when authenticity lacks legacy it can become self-focused.
So please excuse the click-bait title that go you here, but I hope you see what I'm trying to say. The world needs our authentic voice, but it needs it because the world needs the positive legacy that only our voice can leave. An authentic voice without legacy is just noise. As a branding photographer I can no longer just add more noise to the cacophony, which is why moving forward I’m dedicating myself to helping my clients build Legacy Branding.
We have lost the call to be patrons. We have lost the call to build and achieve something that is greater than our own life span. We have become so focused on becoming influencers we have forgotten the importance of leaving an influence. When we become legacy focused, we become other focused and this is the piece that has been missing in authentic branding.
Personally, I want to be a patron. The definition of a patron is:
“a person who supports with money, gifts, efforts, or endorsement an artist, writer, museum, cause, charity, institution, special event, or the like.”
Being a patron is about legacy. It’s about investing time, energy, and resources that will effect positive change for others that are outside of self. I want my legacy to be that I shone a light on the people and stories of legacy leaders. I want to be part of building Renaissance Communities. I want to help the brands I work with communicate their legacy.
In so many ways this is what we have always done here at Life as Art we just didn’t have the language to express it. We don’t want to just help people build their branding. What we want is to help people build their LEGACY! When our clients work with us we are helping them share their legacy with the market not just their brand.
Legacy Branding is focused on the long-lasting solutions and voice that are unique to you rather than being focused solely on your unique you. Your unique “you” is important, but your unique legacy is vital.
Are you ready to share your legacy? If so, we have several different ways we can help.
What are some ways that you are actively curating the legacy you want to leave in your business? Is there a specific area or cause that you are or would like to be a patron? We would love to hear how you are helping to build Renaissance Communities where you live and work.