Brand Feeling Dull? Shine It Up Like A STAR! {Free Workbook Download}

filed under: Branding

Trying to expand your business and manage your brand identity can feel like a hell of an emotional roller-coaster ride.

You get a spark of an idea that’s thrilling, exhilarating, genius… “This is gonna break the interwebs and bring in the moolah!” you proclaim to your cat that’s sleeping on the couch.

But then, execution time comes. Dun, dun DUN!
Cold sweat drenches your forehead out of nowhere. Your grand plan takes a nosedive into the “this is impossible” region, followed by a body slam right into the “this is so stupid” crag.

Your lizard brain begins ringing a red-level “time for flight, time for flight!” alert that chases away your productivity. The cat hides beneath the couch as objects start flying off your desk.

Instead of executing your idea, you start feeling like the idea is about to execute you and your entire business! GULP!

What happened?
Growing your brand was supposed to be a positive experience, wasn’t it?

Relax. Breathe. Take your fingers out your mouth. It’s okay. We all get a little crazy when trying to grow our brand.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The reason we all get overwhelmed when making changes or additions to our brand is because we lose focus in the process.

We look at (and stress over) the very minute details of our ideas for so long that we end up losing sight of the end goal and overall brand direction. We wanna take our brand as high as the stars but can’t even see the of our nose!

If you’re shooting for the stars, you can’t do it blind. Or with the naked eye. You need a powerful telescope with a damn good aim to help guide you through the interstellar black holes that are threatening to swallow you whole.

And what you need for your brand is a lil’ something we call:

Star Brand Aim

The Star Brand Aim is a brand management method that helps you identify problems and frustrations that arise when trying to grow your brand and isolate them into one of four distinct areas. That way you don’t mess up your entire brand just to make a small change. Or get your panties in a twist at every little road hump.

The original ideas for the Star Brand Aim came to us after seeing how Wolff Olins, a brand management partner to multinational organizations, uses quadrants to keep these massive brands on track with their goals. After applying the same system to our brand and adjusting it to the needs of small businesses like yours and ours, we got a system that’s as good as stardust!

Download your FREE Star Brand Aim Workbook here and let’s shoot your brand to the stars today!

Because growing your business shouldn’t drive you crazy. That’s what your customers are for! Juuuust kidding! 😉

Shooting Your Brand to the Stars: The Ambitious Business-Owner’s Manual


First things first: What’s every good aim made of? A set of intersecting lines and a circle that sits right where they meet, right?

In the very center of that circle goes the new project or offering or direction you have in mind for your brand. Write that aim down in your Start Brand Aim Workbook now, so we can take good aim. (Pst… Just click the box on the image. It’s editable!)

Central Aim

What’s the one goal you’re aiming at by completing this workbook today?

Some ideas: If you’re just starting out, it might be overall brand clarity. If you’re extending your biz, you may want to add a new product or service to your lineup. If you’re overhauling and readjusting, you might want to take your brand in a new direction. Or perhaps approach a new audience that might benefit from your services? Maybe even increase your prices.

Name your goal and write it down as specifically as possible.


To guide your brand towards that aim, we’ll use the cross hairs that pass through the circle as our guides. And in order to know where the lines are guiding us, we’ll need to name them. As you can see in the next, the vertical line extends from “External” to “Internal” and the horizontal one from “Hard” to “Soft.” These are all aspects of your brand.

“External” are the aspects of your brand that you put out into the world.
“Internal” are the aspects of your brand that happen behind the scenes in the production process.
“Hard” refers to the more tangible, and usually measurable, aspects that make up the core of your business.
While “Soft” are the more intangible, and often non-measurable, aspects of your business.

Each quarter of the crosshair deals with a different area of your brand according to which two half-lines define it. And breaking your brand down to these four areas will help you manage each one separately and steer your aim right onto that central target.

Understanding Your Target

With the right questions to ask, you’ll soon realize which quarter of your brand it is that needs tweaking and in what way. That way, you can focus your energy and attention on just that quarter without redoing your entire brand from scratch.


1. Skills.

The section defined by the “Internal” and “Hard” aspects of your brand is marked with the number 1 in your workbook. These are your Skills. They are “Internal” because they come from you and your knowledge, rather than any external influences. And “Hard” because you can measure how good and/or experienced you are against other people in your industry. In other words, this section represents the expertise that you possess.

Answer the question in the Skills section of your workbook and see if there’s anything you need to work in this section of your brand to help it change and grow.


2. Offers.

The section marked with number 2 is defined by the “Hard” and “External” aspects of your brand. These are your business Offers. They are “hard” because they are tangible products or services that can be exchanged for (hard) cash. And they are “External” because they’re what the world sees of your brand.

When packaged, you internal Skills become external Offers.

Are you offers on point or is there anything you need to change and adjust in order to take you brand to the next level? Answer the questions in your workbook to discover how your offers align with your new goals.


3. Role.

Section number 3 is defined by the “External” and “Soft” aspects of your brand. And this is your Role in your industry. It’s “External” because it depends on how others perceive your brand. And “Soft” because it’s not measurable in any concrete way. You can’t be more of your role than someone else. The top-notch technical expert, the inspirational guru, the DIY King or Queen, the exclusive done-for-you solutions provider, the theoretical strategists, the good-hearted joker. All these and many others can be different roles within the same industry. Which one you fulfill depends on how you present your brand, how you like to work with your clients, and how you carve out your niche around your expertise.

If you never thought about your role within your industry and how your colleagues and clients perceive you, then this is the perfect to do so. Answer the questions for section 3 in your workbook and see if what you need to change to pivot your brand is your general role, or if you’re good to keep playing the same part.


4. Personality.

The fourth and final section is defined by the “Internal” and “Soft” aspects of your brand. And that’s your brand’s Personality. This isn’t your personality, even if you’re a solo-preneur. It’s the personality of your brand: how you present your offers, how you connect with your customers and clients, how you promote your products and services. (In a big organization, we would call this the “internal culture” of the company). It’s “Internal” because it’s defined by you rather than the world. And “Soft,” because, again, it’s not measurable. We can’t measure “degree of personality.” Every brand has a distinct personality and a unique mix of different characteristics that make up its character. Yours may be funny, quirky, methodical, imaginative, pragmatic, inspirational, friendly, stern, approachable, playful, and a million other things or combinations thereof.

Answer the questions in section 4 of your workbook to discover your true brand personality. If you’re not sure about others perceive your brand personality ask trusted friends or even loyal clients to give you some feedback. Does your brand personality align with your overall brand goals or is it standing in the way of your success?

Landing on the Stars

By putting your new target in the central circle, and breaking it down into the four sections of your brand, you can easily guide your aim towards that target. The questions provided in your workbook will help you figure out which sections of your brand align with your goal and which need to be adjusted to reach your targets.

Take a good honest look at where you stand and answer the questions to find your solutions. (For detailed examples of how exactly you can put the Star Brand Aim into action, scroll down to the bottom of this post.)

And before you know it?

Foooooooooooom! Houston, we got take off!

Don’t let fears, doubts, and confusion stop you from aiming for the stars.

Managing your brand should be as fun and enjoyable as frolicking in the park with your cat in tow. (Rollercoaster rides totally optional).

Where are you taking your brand next?
Come stargaze with us!

The Star Brand Aim in Action

Let’s make up a some hypothetical examples to see how you can put the Star Brand Aim in action in different situations by answering the questions provided in your workbook.

Hypothesis: Your business offers 1-on-1 services (coaching, designing, photography, massage, private training, etc), but based on multiple requests from your blog readers for general help, you start thinking about ways you have help multiple people at once.

If you’re a photographer, maybe you want to start teaching other photographers how to create a business like yours. Or maybe you want to start teaching non-photographers how to take good pictures. If you’re a business consultant, you may want to make your business knowledge available to larger audience. You may be thinking about writing a book, or creating a video course, or holding a live training series. If you’re an artist or craftsperson, you may want to show other creatives how to set up an internationally shipping company like yours. Or perhaps you want to share your artistic skills and knowledge with the general public.

The idea itself is brilliant! But you’ve got NO CLUE how to move on.
Before you get overwhelmed, let’s break your new goal down and see what you need to work on!

After working through the questions in the workbook, you may realize that your fear of this new idea stems from a lack of specific skills.

You know how to give individual consulting, for example, but are not sure how to package your material for a video course. No problem, you can find a course or an expert to work with on how to package information for online students.

Or maybe you know you can package the material, but don’t have any skills in creating videos and editing them and all that jazz. No problem. You can find resources on the equipment you’ll need all over the internet, and you can get programs to help you create the videos.

You can even get a course on course creation!

Pinpoint the skills you can lack and you can learn them or hire them. Problem solved.

Or maybe you realize that you have all the skills you need already. Your real fear is that the new offer may contradict your existing consulting offers.

How can you package the new course in a way that compliments your existing offers?
For example, if you’re a business or life coach, there may be people who can’t afford your private sessions but would still like to learn from you.

Can you create a video course to help those people implement some of your techniques? Of course you can! This won’t take away from your private clientele who like to go really in-depth with you, but it will attract new prospective clients who want to see what your methods are all about first, or who can’t afford your private sessions yet.
Similarly, if you’re a designer, photographer, copywriter, marketer or , you might want to offer a course on your basic techniques for those want to learn for themselves.
Other examples (and there are countless ones): Offering private tutoring to people who take your class and need extra help working through the material. Offering a retainer package for clients who have already worked with you in the past and want easy access to your expertise. Offering a course or individual training on in-depth technical issues discussed but not covered in your main course, etc, etc, etc.)

The trick here is to find a way to package your existing skills into offers that complement, rather than undercut, your existing offers and align with your overall brand goals.

Now let’s say you discover that there are similar services offered by others in your industry. And in the grip of a terrible panic attack you start thinking that there’s no room for you and you should scrap your idea altogether. Stop! Take a deep breath! Think about your unique role in your industry.

Your audience comes to you for a specific reason. What’s that reason? What role do you fulfill for them? Understand if you’re the expert, the innovator, the inspirer, the cultivator of creativity, the off-beat advisor, or what have you… and think about how you can put your own spin on your offer based on your unique role within your industry.
You might also discover, however, that you haven’t been true to your role in thinking about your new offer but has been star-struck by someone else. No problem-o. Outline the role you’d like to fulfill in your industry and start making notes on how to shift your brand to get there.

It doesn’t matter if something has been done before. Everything has been done before. But if it hasn’t been done by you, it’s unlikely that it serves YOUR audience.

And maybe you discover that you actually do have all the skills, and all the right offers, and a strong role in your industry. You’re just going though a bit of a personality crisis.

After looking for too long at your mentors and other experts you admire in your industry, you find yourself inadvertently following a little too close in their footsteps. (Shock, horror!) Don’t worry. You’re not an evil person. All you have to do is take yourself away from external influences, and allow yourself to rediscover your own personality.

In thinking about your brand personality, you should always remember that people don’t just want information. Information is everywhere nowadays.

What people are really looking for is good context and delivery. Your customers are wondering: “Who has the message I want packaged in a way that I like and connect to?” Aren’t you that person?

Find your key core values, and go back to the basics. What makes you YOU?

When left unchecked, fears and doubts can blow up in your face and make you think you can’t do anything.

But once you break your idea down into separate areas, you can identify the source of the challenge, isolate it, and solve it, without having to do a complete brand overhaul.

Or losing your sanity and countless nights of sleep. (Both sleep and sanity are important for doing business.)

Don’t let fear run the show.

Set your goal for the stars, adjust your AIM accordingly, and fly up through the sky.

Before you know it, you’ll be shining bright!