Home Content Articles Building your business More than just a logo: the human side of branding

More than just a logo: the human side of branding

More than just a logo: the human side of branding

Brands are a fundamental part of our culture; they reflect our world and connect us with our passions. A good brand will make you feel something. A great brand will change the conversation.

So how can we, as portfolio professionals, create branding that does more than just fill space on a website? How can we build an identity that showcases our unique personality and our value, all whilst inspiring customers to align with our vision for the world?

It’s a lot less complicated than you might think, though there is plenty of work that needs to be done before you can settle on things like logos and colour palettes.

In anticipation of our upcoming Branding Masterclass, we thought we’d sit down with our COO Fiona Chorlton-Voong and Strange Creative Studio’s Alex Pitt to learn about the human side of branding. Here’s what they had to say.

You are your brand - don’t be afraid to embrace that

A common mistake a lot of portfolio professionals make is thinking that their brand needs to be separate from themselves. We are telling you now that you can – and should – infuse your personality into everything you do. If people don’t like what you have to say, then they’re probably not the clients you want to be working with anyway.

Before Alex founded Strange, she worked as a graphic designer. The work was enjoyable, but she felt unfulfilled. So she spoke with a career coach to try and figure out what her next move should be. That’s when the coach asked her a truly life changing question: How committed are you to being the best graphic designer in the world?

Turns out, she wasn’t. The very idea sounded awful, and she realised that she wasn’t doing work she was passionate about. Her work wasn’t changing people’s lives, and she needed to do something that was. So she made a shift and launched Strange, a branding agency that helps founders step out outside the box and carve their place in the world.

Strange Creative Studio, projects
© Strange Creative Studio 2022

Alex is passionate about helping others go against the grain and be unapologetically offbeat, and that vision is imprinted across everything she does, from her visual identity to the way she communicates. She is her brand, and her brand is unique.

Embracing the weird and wonderful: Alex’s story
©Jane O'Sullivan/The Portfolio Collective 2021

“There are brands that are so strong because they’re not trying to sell you something, they’re just telling you what their story is. That’s where the personal part of it comes into play.”

Alex Pitt

Alex Pitt

Creative Director and founder of Strange Creative Studio

Every brand should have a purpose

Think about the brands that have resonated with you over the years. Why did they stick with you? Was it because of their products or their vision? Was it what they asked you to buy or how they made you feel?

These days, it’s becoming more common for brands to take a stand and advocate for what they believe in. Take Patagonia, for example. Yes, they’re an outdoor clothing company, but they’re also on a mission to save the planet. Then you have brands like Thursday who are giving a less-than-metaphorical middle finger to the concept of traditional advertising, reminding us that being single is nothing to be ashamed of.

Now that brings us to another important question you should be asking yourself when you start to formulate your brand: Why do you want to wake up every day and do what you do? What impact do you want to have?

Fiona became a co-founder in The Portfolio Collective because she wanted to challenge conventional ways of working and create a better future for millions of professionals. When she built TPC’s brand, she imbued integrity, adaptability, commitment and celebration into everything the company does.

© The Portfolio Collective 2022

Because she was passionate about those values, they became an inherent part of the way TPC communicates and interacts with community members. These values are part of the fibre of our identity.

“If you want to get your brand out there as much as possible, you have to go deeper within yourself and figure out what you want to share with the world. It’s not just about your story, it’s also about your values.”

Fiona Chorlton-Voong

Fiona Chorlton-Voong

COO and co-founder of TPC

Telling your story is the first step towards finding your voice

When you approach someone and tell them what you do and what you’re selling, there’s very little chance you’ll build an authentic connection with them. But when you offer them something that they feel they can be a part of, that emotional spark triggers a new sort of relationship.

Connecting with a brand_3
© The Portfolio Collective 2022

Remember, your brand is not just about selling. It’s about asking yourself: What would the world look like if everyone benefited from what I do?

When many people think about branding, they think about their audience. That is a mistake. It should never be just about your audience. It’s about you as much as it’s about the people you are serving. It’s about your story and the ‘why’ that drives you.

What inspired you to want to do what you do? What moments in your life led you to this point? Logos and colours should be the last thing on your mind when you’re formulating your brand. First, you need to explore your story and ask yourself these questions to figure out your motivations. From there, it will be much easier to translate that into your voice and your visual identity.

“Getting to that story and the core understanding of what you’re doing is how you get a reaction and how you get people on board.”

Alex Pitt

Alex Pitt

Creative Director and founder of Strange Creative Studio

Remember, a brand doesn’t happen overnight

There’s a lot of work that has to go into it. Don’t be impatient and just pick a logo to get something out there – that isn’t genuine. If you want to build an authentic brand, it takes time. You need to give it thought. You need to put in the effort. But you’ll be so happy in the end that you did, trust us.

Branding masterclass, not just a pretty logo
© The Portfolio Collective/Strange Creative Studio 2022

If you’d like to learn more about telling your brand story, come along to our next branding masterclass. Or for a more extensive deep dive into your personality, your fanbase and your visual design, join Strange’s Not Just a Pretty Logo online programme.

Think this sounds like the right path for you? Come along to our monthly Get started event for new members to find out what a portfolio career could look like and how The Portfolio Collective can help you take those first steps towards professional success – and don’t forget to connect with our community!

Keep up to date with the latest portfolio career news, tips and advice

Related articles

Join the conversation

Contact us

Keep up to date with the latest portfolio career news, opportunities, tips and advice

Ready to reshape the future of work?