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Leadership in Your Industry

All our work and collaborations are like an intertwined web. We help each other grow and understand who we are and where we are headed. Leaders are people that choose to stand before the others and speak upon their values and beliefs. “There is no substitute for accurate knowledge. Know yourself, know your business, know your men.” – Lee Iacocca. Graphic design can bring you closer to understanding what make you the next leader in your industry.

If you don’t know what you stand for, how can people follow you? I think we tend to focus too much on innovation thinking it’s the key aspect of leading industry standards. In reality, branding yourself by combining your personal and companies’ mission is much more important. Being different from your competition requires solid trust from your consumer and creating loyalty with your buyers. Gaining recognition stems from a consistent effort in making your vision relatable. Compiling a brand is researching, deducting, and understanding how visual components of your company play a part in how others perceive you. Branding is the reason companies like Apple garner worldwide attention. Your control over your image and reputation are the first step on putting yourself ahead of the game.

A great road map for understanding where you are in your branding journey are the four P’s.

  • Position: What your brand does and for whom (elevator pitches)
  • Promise: What do you deliver upon (every time)
  • Personality: What are you known for (unique selling points)
  • Portrayal: Where do you come from (your relatability)
  • Physical: What makes you recognizable (visual components)

Remember you’re always evolving and as a leader be prepared that these aspects may change over the course of your growth in the industry.

Understanding the goal that you want to reach is the step on your ladder to domination! Are you interested in becoming recognized? Having more traffic on your website, may be what you’re after. Being a local business or an eCommerce site will change the way you market yourself. Knowing what you’re after will determine the types of visuals, advertising, or social media you use. Also, overtime stretching to details like, what is the most optimal time or season to start selling yourself. This is where you can make a change by knowing current trends and social impacts happening around the world. Finding an authentic way to get involved specific to your industry can help you connect with your audience on a whole new level. Your brand is always evolving and so is social media, growing with the times is essential. Marketing steps in after branding knows what to deliver.

Where I proudly coin the 5 P’s of branding there are 4 key aspects that have existed in marketing for a while.

  • Product: Life cycle of a good or service (fulfillment of demand)
  • Price: Luxury vs affordability (mass market or quality product)
  • Place: Where to sell and how to deliver (in front of your customer)
  • Promotion: Advertising, public view, and strategy (what attract market)

These marketing steps can help you evaluate the execution of your business and optimize your sales.

When you feel secure in your identity and goal, it leaves room for creativity. The recent trend for companies is trying to become the next big thing. Opening to the new and fresh ideas is what makes up the entrepreneurial spirit. As a designer I love innovation the most, it combines every day with a new flash of story and color. Talking about your path in a visual and compelling way opens the door achievement in your field. Keeping your companies’ employees stimulated and involved in discussion can create history. You never know where an interesting new viewpoint can come from. The best way to keep the inspiration flowing is using it in the day to day. It does have to be art, as there are many forms of innovation. Anything from cooking, listening to music, writing and much more.

Why don’t you take a part of everyone’s day or a part of a meeting and ask for ideas? Create a non-judgemental environment where even the wackiest ideas can be considered. Not everyone is a business owner, but all can bring innovation to life. As per tradition my main p’s to consider are:

  • Practice: Creativity develops (spend time on ideas)
  • Patience: Idea need development (leave no concept half backed)
  • Most importantly don’t forget to have fun and get your hands on the experience!

Leadership in the industry sounds like an overarching mountain that seems unattainable at times. When you feel that reread this article and keep in mind that everything is a series of steps. As you take those steps in your daily life, you will progress beyond measure. Understanding where to start and recognizing where you are in your journey is important! Take the time and celebrate your achievements. Let graphic design be your guide!

Sofiya Zhukova, Creative Director, LayerBeyond.Graphics

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