April 13, 2016

On Building Our Brand: Gayle’s Reflections

By Gayle Carney

Working on Pulse Forward’s messaging and brand was harder than we expected it to be. We have so much more appreciation for the challenges our clients face right now. Gayle talks about some of the deeper issues we touched on in the process and how that is paying off. See Kate’s here.

Getting Beyond What We Say

Lawyers are advised not to represent themselves. And no one could fathom a doctor performing her own heart surgery. Branding Pulse Forward has been something like that for us. We have a vision for what the final product should look like and we understand the steps to get us there. Applying that knowledge to ourselves has proven to be trickier than applying it with our clients. We’re just too close and too invested to be objective. Like anyone else, viagra dosage we fall prey to the inner chatter about “good enough,” “what will people think,” and “what if this doesn’t work?” It clouds the way. And that’s just for starters.

Crafting a shared identity with someone else brings up even more issues. The variations in your perspectives and sensibilities can come as a surprise, especially when you think your core values are closely aligned with your partner’s. Separately, Kate and I have each worked hard to bring a similar product to a common customer base. However, that does not make us the same. Our age, race, life and work experiences, not to mention our quirky personalities, cause us to go about things very differently. Working through these differences with a goal of offering a cohesive set of services to the world forces each of us to go beyond what we say and reveal what we believe. There are times when you feel, well…exposed.

One shared Pulse Forward value that is emerging is that of inclusiveness. We’ll continue to tease out the implications of this but so far, to us this means:

  • We believe in participatory leadership. First, we practice it. Admittedly, this not a huge feat with two principals, but as we grow and gain partners, decisions will be made with the engagement of those they impact. Then, we often recommend this approach to our clients.  Low or no buy-in from staff, supporters and external audiences can be the undoing of a branding effort. Regarding diverse voices and opinions often fits with the values our clients hold for themselves.
  • We also have a desire to make our work available to a wide range of organizations. We look for opportunities to offer workshops and coaching to organizations that may not be ready for our full-fare offerings.

In the Space Between Our Differences

The more Kate and I explore our differences, the more clarity we gain about our messaging. We want our clients to know what we’re learning—that process of developing your message is as important as the end product. The insights and self discovery that happen while creating a brand can help build a stronger organization, internally and externally. We learned so much more than what our brand should be. We learned that we do share core values and that we can make room for the different ways we bring those values to our work. We learned (are learning) when to let the other have her way and when to push back. We learned to ask for help from other people, and how to accept it.

The magic happens in the space between our differences. We are exploring better ways to serve our clients. We help them to become more aware of and then navigate the spaces between their internal and external stakeholders and their services and products. We’ve come to the realization that we’ll never be done and we’re seeing that as a positive. It means we’ll always be questioning and in a constant state of emergence. It’s what we ask our clients to do and I might add, I now have a renewed appreciation for how hard and rewarding that work can be.

Read Kate’s reflections here.