You have a great idea, concept, or product. You might even have a really cool name. Back “in the day” (sadly, I am referring to just 8 to 10 years ago) you would pay a fee, get a business license, and voilá! You’re up and running! Nowadays, the list has grown by a few items: grab a matching domain name, Facebook page, Twitter handle, go back to the drawing board if any of these isn’t available, and voila! But then what?

 I will admit, three-ish years ago I spent less than $200 on my logo. I needed something a bit fiesty with a large chunk of style, elegance, and grace, sitting on top of a strong and solid foundation. I figured that those qualities defined who I was since my great-grandmother once told me that, ” if I could drink beer with the homeless and enjoy tea with the Queen, I would be good in any situation.”  Add in the fact that I will give my honest opinion when asked (and when asking is not necessary) and that I tend to do things the least-traveled way, paving the route with red glitter,  I always make sure my actions are Fire Marshall Approved.  Which is why my “script-y letters sitting above straight, solid letters, accented by a red flame” logo fit me, my company, and the overall vibe perfectly! Brand – done!

 But I wasn’t done. That was just the beginning. Too many times I see people living double lives: one as their company and the other as themselves. They have a very prim and proper brand, but are anything but. On the flip side, their branding has them to be a mix of Laura Croft, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn, but they are MUCH more comfortable as the girl next door. To these I want to say: Academy Awards only get passed out one night a year. Who is the show for the remaining 364 days? Informed consumers can see right through it.

So, before you take a sketched up cocktail napkin to the first graphic artist you see, put the glass of wine down and ask yourself: can I live this? If your answer is “yes,” tie your laces and run like heck! You are in a very talented and lucky group of fabulously-branded folks! And to the rest, you are truly at a crossroads. Do you want to spend your career-life as one person, thinking out of one mind, being one personality, or do you want to be split personalities, making sure to be “that” personality around “those” folks, and always double-checking who’s around you?

It’s your call. Which will you chose?