Pre-holidays thoughts – Rebranding – Chapter 2

On Cephalopods and Multipotentialites

It is said that Cephalopods (Octopus, Cuttlefish and Squid, in general) are extremely intelligent creatures. That in order to survive, they need to have their brains constantly stimulated, challenged, otherwise they wither.

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Cuttlefish. Photo by Richard Ling

Why am I telling you this now? And what does it have to do with branding?

Well, I feel I have a similar mechanism built in. Always having to add more layers, more levels and keep complicating matters. When presented with a problem (especially when someone else shares a problem of theirs) I can’t look away, and sometimes against my will, I am drawn to it, seeing it as a riddle I need to solve. I imagine it as a trap in the ground – you know the kind I mean, we all saw it in movies – a hole in the ground, camouflaged, covered with dry leaves – that once you step on it you fall down into a deep hole with no way out. For me there is a big sudoku grid on it, and I can see where I need to put a 6. I have to put it there, solve the puzzle, despite realizing it’s probably a trap.

I also relate to the numerous tentacles – I always seem to be going in several directions, never focusing on one venue, one method, one task. At any given moment, I probably have several ideas that are hatching, lots of other things that are in progress, and some quite close to the finish line. And I keep jumping between them, advancing some, ideating new ones, and of course each and every one of them may grow several new tentacles.

Emilie Wapnick calls this type of person a Multipotentialite. See her wonderful TEDx talk here:
In a world of in-depth, narrow expertise, where everyone is looking for focus and finding one’s niche, multipotentialites are those people who keep jumping from one thing to another, diving into new interests, exploring different subjects. Emilie describes it very well, and explains why there is room for both personality types, and moreover, why it is beneficial to have both.

Still, so many years of education, environment and culture cannot be dismissed, and I am forever striving to find my One – this glowing ball of light that is my destination, the ultimate reason for my existance, that thing that is always just out of reach, hovering close by, teasing and enticing me.
Most of the time I remember that that’s just not me, that there is no One thing, or not yet at least, that it’s OK, that this is my rythme. But that’s always the initial aspiration.

Tulla, Tulla, weren’t you going to talk about rebranding? This post is getting long, and you haven’t even started on your subject!

Yes, I haven’t forgotten, I’m getting there… Hang on.
And let me add, on the subject of multi-talented, multi-faceted people:
I think I may have made it sound like a very superficial interest. For me – it is not. I dive deep into each field I’m curious about, I read, I learn, I absorb information.

Warming up towards our subject – If you look at my Etsy shop, at the range of items I offer – You can see there is no one theme to my works, no one type of product, or even one type of style. I have a strong feeling this may confuse visitors. the diversity could be confusing: “Ok, what’s going on here? What is she selling? What’s this shop about?”
Well, this is actually one of the best things about Etsy in my opinion – I don’t need to restrict myself, and can offer anything I wish. I just hope my visitors and precious customers manage to make sense of it, and possibly see a thread going through the range, that I am blind to.

In any case, I must and am following my heart and my passion(s).

Brief clarification

One last point before I get to the beef.
On the previous post I wrote:

I well remember this time period last year

This is testimony to my bad memory. Anyone who may have browsed through my older posts, would see a conflict here, as last year I closed my shop in protest, following the infamous EU VAT rule, and Etsy’s refusal to step up and take responsibility as a marketplace. Eventually they did. And I re-openned.
So please accept my apology. I did not intend to deceive, I have truly forgotten the facts! All that remained was that empty, echoing walls feeling…

The Beef

So in the last post I identified my target audience, defined the vision for my business for the near future, and created a mental picture of the look and feel of my Etsy shop.

A while ago, when I started thinking about re-branding, I assembled this bulletin board that is all Etsy shop.

Cork Board
A visual work plan – What do I want to change in my shop? General plan, per item, and related other tasks. when I really need to think, I find it helpful to clear and clean my desk :-)

Visual thinking

I love to think visually, and encourage everyone to try it. Seeing it in front of you, getting the thoughts out of your head and putting them on paper. Not so much in this case, but many times, especially when trying to think creatively, I will place my text in different areas of the paper, and not have it as a neat, orderly list. I find that if I take time to decorate the text and page, I have more time to muse over my ideas, generate new ones or develop existing ones (that’s the main reason many of the “forms” I create and sell are empty – to encourage users to take their time filling them up, letting the mind wander and focus at the same time).

In this case, this bulletin board is more of an action plan. Enough of the general ideas – I was at a stage where I need concrete action steps.

I started out with the larger page in the center – General guidelines for myself. What types of items I want to offer. The text in Hebrew says I’m not narrowing myself to one niche, that the shop will follow whatever I am interested in.

I decided breaking the tasks down according to existing items, is a good direction to go. I printed out all the thumbnails, and created a card for each product, listing changes I want to make to it.

Cork Board 02
Item cards

The row of cards on the right (in the previous photo) are a list of things I want to do that are indirectly related to the shop. For example, documenting my work process – in blog posts, photos and videos – these do not appear in the shop, but they do back it up, and enhance, in my opinion, the brand experience.

I confess I am a process junkie. I love to follow the process, preferably starting from the initial thinking, to rough sketches, and upto the final creation. I read process bolg posts, watch videos – I find it fascinating, and learn a lot from it, and it seems I’m not the only one. I don’t remember how I got this piece of information, but it turns out people love to see the process of creating something.

Of course it is a major reason behind my blog – I learn so much from others, and wish to pay it forward, in the hope that sharing my process, and what I’ve learned is helping you develop as well.

Anyway, I started working on specific items, changed the setting of my product photography, and then my tentacles got restless – I created a few new items, advanced some rough ideas that are still in the making, learned about photography and experimented with my new camera, and of course – got the itch to change my website, to suit the changes I’m making to the business.

I don’t know when you are reading this, and how my website looks at your “now”, but at my “now” it is not ideal. It is not as intuitive to navigate as I would like it to be, and there are some things in the theme I want to change, but am not sure how. With my level of coding knowledge, making changes in the code is time consuming, frustrating and requires a specific mindset. Despite all that it is also a primary inclination. Changes needed to the business? – Redo the website. Automatic. Part of the experience I’ve accumulated is when and how to try to resist these urges.

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