Branding is 80 percent positioning.
It’s one of the most important lessons I have learned, and I learned it from one of the best branding consultants in the world, Andy Cunningham.
In 2018 I took part in a workshop in San Francisco for our startup Duckling about branding. Facilitated by one of Cunningham’s consultants it was a huge eye opener for me when it comes to branding.
A learning mindset
Having been in communication for 20 years and spend some of those years as a political speech writer at top government level I thought I knew strategic communication, message architecture and branding.
But it turned out I only knew two thirds of it. The last third was unknown to me at the time, and it had everything to do with positioning. Because I was unaware of it I was not able to position myself accurately, and as a result my personal branding suffered from it — as did our startup.
Andy Cunningham’s method introduced me to a category of brands that she calls missionaries. People who want to change the world and invent solutions for problems that people are not yet aware that they have. The best example of it is Steve Jobs, but we come in many different shapes and sizes.
It was a complete revelation to me, and everything about how I functioned as an entrepreneur, writer and person clicked into place. It was simply the explanation on why I didn’t fit in to any existing categories, and why I always found myself having to invent my own method, because what I needed didn’t exist.
At that exact moment I became an evangelist. I had always been an evangelist. I think like one, talk like one, write like one. Everything about me has always been an evangelist. I even had the job title Chief Evangelist for years. But not until that moment did I fully grasp the essence of it.
The Michell Leon method
Since then I have experimented extensively with Cunningham’s method for both companies and people, and I have taken a thin slice of it and created synthesis that specifically fits my role as an evangelist.
After two years of ground work it has become a method in its own right, and it grows directly out of me as an evangelist. It’s the Michell Léon method.
However, I rest on the shoulders of a giant in the branding game, and I’m forever grateful for the eye opener I got at Andy Cunningham’s workshop in San Francisco during the early spring of 2018.