SXSW Recap: Brands & Cultural Identity

I was excited to attend SXSWi through work and have had so many reflections and thoughts on the ideas I heard in keynotes and panels. I’ll be sharing what I learned at SXSWi, focusing on specific themes, over the next couple of weeks. To begin the recapping, I’d like to share the key things I took away from the session ‘Using Brands to Create Cultural Identity,’ which was led by Chris Wink, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of The Blue Man Group, and Jarret Myer, GM at Woven & CEO of UPROXX.

What is branding?
It’s the combination of employee buy-in, the product, the marketing, and the performance of the company over time.
Your product must live up to the vision. Find others who understand your vision and are willing to work with you to bring it to life. Find pieces of evidence of progress and share them. Take your journey seriously because eventually others will too. Make sure everything is authentic.

Success is stretched between audacity and humility.
Audacity: “I want to be the best.” Humility: “I will work hard to be the best.” You have to have both to succeed. Success, creating a brand doesn’t happen without hard work. This quote by Martha Graham was mentioned:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others”

Give people stories so that they can create their own persona.
People like being a part of something, like the audacity of The Ramones starting a revolution. Help people see themselves and what they could become in your vision.

Remember your why.
They reminded me of this great TED talk about how great leaders inspire action. Check it out:

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