How to find your brand. By @christinems_

By Christine Smith


How to find your brand.

This is probably the thing I’ve struggled the most with during SCA. From the right beginning people have asked “so what makes you different to everyone else here”? And I was always desperately trying to sound interesting.. (don’t do that. Just makes you sound desperate to seem ‘different’. Ew. No.)
Everyone in advertising has some sort of ego. They want to be special, feel unique – like it or not, it’s the truth. We all want to be that person who made that ad that everyone will remember you for. We all want a legacy. But there’s a very fine line between ego and having a strong personality. I don’t think there is a guide for how to “find your brand”. It’s a feeling. It’s listening to yourself.
What work makes you excited? What feedback do you believe in? What do you disagree with and how does that shape your opinions?

The first book crits made me want to completely remake the book every time I left the agency. Because I did understand their advice and I did find it inspiring. But every time I jumped on to a new brief or went back to my book ready to make their changes I sort of knew where it was going – and it didn’t feel like me. This is not to say I wasn’t grateful for the advice. So I started to go through our book with a pair of new glasses on; what does my work have in common? What’s good? What’s bad? Self-criticism was an exercise in honesty. Here is what I found:
I do like work with a social purpose. I do like using tech in the execution or developing a new product.
I do like including design and channelling unexpected mediums. And even though some agencies didn’t like that, I’ve concluded that’s not the right place for me then.

At this point at SCA we have a couple of weeks left. Every Friday Marc and the crew flick through our books through and give every team a score. In the beginning of the course I would have aimed to be number 1 at this thing (deep down inside I will always be very competitive) but at this point it’s not about the general point of view any more. I have to think about what I stand for and how to improve what me and my partner have.
Max and my book has been HUGE. We even had two a few months ago. But we got to a point where we decided to focus on quality in stead of quantity. Editing whilst we iterated. We made, and then removed everything. Leaving 6 campaigns we were proud of. That we could talk about. We even boiled those down to their essence to make sure it was as simple as possible. Tried to make every idea fit a maximum of two pages in our portfolio.
This has been really helpful for us and I will advice everyone else to do this at one point. Be brutal. Kill your babies. Be honest with yourself. Every campaign should be something that makes you proud and that reflects you as a person. This portfolio is truly an extension of your person, your values and your direction. Everything should make you feel something – either make you cry, laugh, angry, excited or teach you something. If you can have one of each you’re very close to the target of a good book.
Because when the mentors look at those very clean, simple ideas they can see the potential of a growing campaign. They can add bits and bobs and you can slowly choose what to add and in what direction to push the simple ideas. Your ideas should be conversation worthy, they should spark debate and fuel controversy where necessary.

The last bit is you. Further analysis.
What do you look like if you were a brand? Do you have any weird things you could play on?
For me and my partner we both share extremely weird humour but also a loving passion for beautiful executions. Our design eyes work in sync. We have chosen to make all our captions/organising thoughts with the purpose of leaving the reader questioning, they are absurd on their own, but own executions justify them. Behind this goofy statement we provide extensive research when called upon, and have a purpose within our weirdness. Madness is close to genius and we like to walk the tightrope between those.

Take a look at our portfolio here:

My final learning, be nice. It sounds a bit cheesy but something’s it’s the simplest things that works. You don’t have to hand craft wooden tables in your spare time to display your work. Do what YOU like. Listen to YOURSELF. And the work will speak for you, and itself.

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