This post is a part of our 10 Elements of an Influential Brand series where we cover the essentials to building a powerful brand. Follow this series to learn how to attract an audience, keep them engaged, and turn them into loyal fans.
A brand without a clear vision cannot determine a path to success.
A clear vision is essential and acts like a glue, informing and uniting the goals, values and culture of your brand. Without a clear vision, a brand can’t tell a consistent story. Most importantly, it can’t communicate the values that will attract fans and create an emotional connection.
What is a Vision?
Your vision should be a clearly defined purpose that will always steer the road-map of your career. No matter what happens, it will be the north star that you’re always moving towards.
As you progress towards that vision, it’ll align with your brand, strategy and mission. Your mission will give you purpose. Your brand will anchor you. Your strategy will guide you. All while your vision keeps you focused and inspired.
A vision can be a product, event, accomplishment, values, persona, impact, etc. However, it has to be a clearly defined goal. Even if it’s something that doesn’t exist, you need to define it and be able to explain the vision.
Your vision should drive your overall strategy and align with your brand. Without an established vision at the center of your strategy, you’ll have zero guidance as to where to take your career as an artist.
A vision is the best way to keep you laser-focused on what’s important. As an artist, you will be overwhelmed with a never ending to-do list, but you need to use your vision to prioritize tasks and make decisions. If you need to make a strategic decision about where to take your brand or music, then consider whether it fits within your vision. If a potential partnership or product doesn’t align with the end goal of your vision, then it’s an easy no. Make sure that anything that you might invest your time, money and energy in will help you move forward towards your vision.
How Do You Develop Your Vision?
Initially, take some time to imagine what the world will look like at a defined point of the future. Then imagine yourself, your music, and your brand as a part of that future. How will you contribute to that future world and be recognized?
From there, begin thinking about everything that it will take you to, not only reach that level, but stay there. What exactly will be the necessary steps to accomplish this?
Be sure to list all of the challenges and personal sacrifices that you will have to make. This will help you set the expectations for yourself, so there are no surprises. It’s important that you fully understand the level of commitment you will be required to give in order to make this happen. If at this point, the vision scares you a bit, but you still desire it, then you’re in a good place.
You should create milestones, which are shorter dates of specific goals that you will continuously strive to reach. Developing the specific steps and details will make the impossible seem more feasible.
I suggest taking this time to write down every small detail for each task. For me, it helps to ask yourself “how?” for every small task that will need to get done. Keep asking yourself how until you can no longer answer. At that point, you’ll know where you’ll have a gap in your plan and where you could use some outside help or expertise.
Getting Others On Board with Your Vision
Having a clear vision with detailed steps and milestones will not only simplify the process for you, but it will also make it easy for others to understand.
No one accomplishes life-changing goals on their own, and it’s crucial to recruit people to help you out.
The only way to gather help from others is to transfer your vision so that they can make it their own. If you can clearly lay out a vision and direction, then others will be able to imagine themselves being a part of it and going along for the ride. Until then, it will be hard to convince people that you can make this happen. As we mentioned in a recent blog post, storytelling can help you communicate and emotionally connect with others. This will help you get people to see your vision, so that they can experience it as if it was their own.
Additionally, you should develop a mission or purpose that explains why you’re going after that vision. What’s the difference and impact you’re looking to make in the world and why? A clearly defined mission can help inspire people to help you, because you can explain where someone can help you and why helping you will benefit them.
Finally, you’ll need to lead with action and put in some work in order for people to buy into your vision. Without some traction, it’ll be difficult for people to fully see the potential of your vision based on your word. For example, if you’re trying to be innovative and create a new sound, product or experience that hasn’t been done before, do some research on the target audience and have proof that there’s a demand for your vision. Or take the time to develop a prototype or sample. At the end of the day, if you display some progress with your vision, then the right people will get excited about it and want to contribute.
No matter what, you can expect that your strategy WILL change and evolve as you grow as a person and artist. A pivot is something that you cannot avoid and should embrace. There will always be outside, internal, or personal influences that will drive your strategy in a unique direction, so be flexible.
However, keep in mind that a pivot in your strategy doesn’t mean that you pivot or change your vision. Even if your vision expands or retracts due to a change in your strategy, the core principles and goals of your vision need to remain stable as your overarching target. If you change your vision, then ultimately, you’re going to have to redefine your brand.
A clear vision is one of the essential pillars for building your brand. It will help you avoid getting lost or distracted and help you make smart decisions that align with your long-term goals. It’s essentially the compass for your brand.