The truth is – great branding starts with you.

It starts with your ability to be true to yourself and to your story first. The founders, stakeholders, and those invested in the success of your organization should understand the unique and authentic story you have from the start.

Once you know your story with conviction, all of your intentional brand development activities begin to take shape with a level of clarity, confidence, and creativity. In its simplest form, that’s what story is for: a delivery vehicle for who you are, why you matter, and why you’re worth having a relationship with.

To discover who you are and why you matter, you have to go deep and begin asking yourself some tough questions. Why you are the one to do this? Do you want to change the world? Do you want to meet Elon Musk? Do you want to make your former classmates and lovers jealous? None of those things are likely to happen.

Probability suggests you will find yourself somewhere between making a decent living and screaming, “Wilson!” like Tom Hanks in Castaway. Is that alright with you? Is your startup worth pursuing even if you fail? What drives you? What makes you get up in the morning?

Dive in by by asking yourself two simple questions. Distill your answers to these questions down to a single word or phrase that captures who you are and why you think you’re worth having a relationship with.

1) What are you fighting against?

2) What are you fighting for?

Think about your answers to these questions as your rallying point. Your rallying point creates a place where people can gather around you to join you in the fight. Test it rigourously. Iterate on your findings and learn how to authentically tell your story.

"Who Are You? Ask yourself two questions: 1) What are you fighting for? 2) What are you fighting against? [via]" (click to tweet)

Your rallying point becomes an experimentation vehicle to learn where customers connect with you. Can you convince one person to join you? Can you turn one into ten? How about ten into one hundred?

Every strategic and relational decision, from hiring and firing to packaging and shipping, should ultimately flow from your learnings around your rallying point. Because if you don’t know why you exist there are no reasons to understand where you’re going, what you do, and why a customer should engage with you.

So what are you fighting against? What are you fighting for? What is the change you want to make in this world? These are the questions that will lead you to discovering who you are...and why you matter.