There are many aspects of forming a successful brand: creating an eye-catching logo with carefully selected colors, building a good website, designing creative marketing materials, and more. The list is long and daunting, but before you get started on those tasks, there is one important thing to do first. According to my latest interview guest, the key to building a successful brand is to start by thinking about your business’s soul.
Sarah Endline is the founder of Sweetriot, a company that is building a sweet movement to fix the world through candy and chocolate. I interviewed her back in 2015, and when I saw her at SXSW this year, I stopped by to get more branding tips from this small business that is still growing strong.
Sarah said that when she started building Sweetriot, the team never sat around talking about what the brand would be. “Brand” can feel commercial and artificial; instead, they started with some simple questions:
- What is our soul?
- What do we stand for?
- What do we care about?
- What are our core values?
Sara recalls that as she started this conversation with partners, team members, and designers, the company’s soul actually unfolded right in front of her. The process allowed them to start from the inside and move outward; as the soul was revealed, the visual design elements naturally flowed. “Your brand is what it radiates,” says Sarah. Identifying the company’s soul is how you create an authentic brand that will resonate with customers.
The ‘soul’ of Sweetriot is heavily focused on social entrepreneurship, which can mean different things to different people, but for Sarah, it means the ability to weave social good into her business model. Cacao is sourced from small farms in Latin America, artwork from emerging artists decorates each wrapper, and they only choose natural, organic ingredients.
Social entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be the center of your small business’s soul, but as companies like Toms (which donates shoes and services to people in need for each pair they sell) and Sweetriot have taught us, it can be a wonderful way to stand out in a crowded market. For more advice on small business soul searching and social entrepreneurship, be sure to listen to the full interview above.