What comes to mind when you hear the words brand and platform?
For some, these are just the tools of the trade: words that have to do with taking over the world online. I’ve been throwing both around for a few years and it doesn’t bother me. At all. But often I have conversations with people where there is a general sense of UGH about both terms.
I think for many artists and writers, there is the sense that platform and brand are somehow icky things: the antithesis of art. As though promotion somehow negates the quality or the truth in the work itself.
Can we reframe this discussion?
Listen to Create If Writing – Episode 024
This is how I see it: when you are talking about brand and platform, you are talking about connecting with your perfect audience. There is nothing icky about that. If you want to write in a cave where no one reads your word, then that’s cool. But if you want a reader or maybe even a bunch of them, then stop thinking of brand and platform as dirty words.
I love thinking of brand like cattle branding. (Not because I’m into animal cruelty.) I like this idea because it’s simple: a mark visibly identifies who owns the cows. At a glance, this brand gives identity. It communicates information. In the same way, as you build your personal or business brand, you are creating something that identifies what you create as YOURS. When you build your brand, you are uniquely marking everything as your own.
As for platform, many people balk at this idea because they think of putting themselves in the middle of a stage in a stadium, shining the spotlight on themselves. People feel like this idea is somehow selfish or self-serving. But platform isn’t about being the center of attention. It’s about gaining visibility. It’s about finding your audience, large or small. Coffeeshop or stadium.
As Michael Hyatt says, “Your platform is the means by which you connect with your existing and potential fans.” (Platform, page xvi)
Platform is about connections and your brand is sort of the vehicle by which those connections come to know, trust, and connect with you. Having a brand means that you have a consistency. It helps people know you better and become familiar with you.
Do you think of brand and platform as dirty words? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!