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A Brand Called You

Lesson 11 of 22

Crafting Your Message

Debbie Millman

A Brand Called You

Debbie Millman

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Lesson Info

11. Crafting Your Message


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:12:41
2 Defining Brand Duration:09:34
3 Finding Your Mindset Duration:04:57
5 Busy Is A Decision Duration:02:45
6 Honing your Mindset Duration:07:35
7 Generators vs. Drains Duration:19:39

Lesson Info

Crafting Your Message

One of the questions that I was asked during the break that was actually on the Facebook Live post was "What is my brand?" And it was a question that I wasn't expecting but I think it was a good question to open up this section of the class with because I think it's really important to make a distinction between people and brands. I don't consider myself to be a brand. I don't want to be a brand. Brands aren't people. People can be brands but then it's really about a construct. The reason that this class is called A Brand Called You is because what I'm hoping you'll be able to get out of the class is a way to create a construct to be able to present yourself out into the world with a sincerity and authenticity that results in people perceiving you as you. If that ultimately is a process that includes being thought of in a way that's consistent, then that is the result of creating a powerful brand. But I believe in my heart that people are people, and they have DNA and they have souls a...

nd they're ever changing and growing and morphing and evolving. Brands tend to be a bit more static even if they are changing, but the biggest difference between a person and between a brand is that a person has a soul, and we have choice, and we make those choices. Brands don't make those choices; people make those choices for brands. So it's really about this process to create your persona, and that persona is one that truly reflects who you are and that's done through this art of positioning. So this next session is all about the message. How do you, once you've done the hard work, you've gotten into the zone, you've gotten into the work, you've done the work to develop your mission. How do you then go about getting out there? How do you go about trying to make opportunities happen for yourself, because you don't get a job, you win a job. And how do you go about getting the opportunities to then ultimately result in winning those opportunities. And ultimately it comes down to one thing. It comes down to selling yourself. Not selling out... selling who you are to others. Now, everybody is looking at me with some sort of crestfallen face, like, "Oh no, we have to know how to sell." "We have to know how to talk about ourselves." Well you do have to know how to talk about yourselves, but believe it or not, you are selling yourself every single day, whether you know it or not. You are always selling. Who here thinks they know how to sell well? Be honest. Three people and Jim. (audience laughs) Alright, I'm going to ask you another question. Who here has ever... convinced someone... to go to a movie that they didn't really want to go to? Successfully? Okay, that's nearly everyone. How many people here have ever convinced somebody to go to a restaurant that they didn't really want to go to but you really wanted to go? Okay, so there's 100% success. Guess what that is, guys? That's selling. That's selling. We see selling as something that is inauthentic or something that is phony, or something that is false, inherently false. But all selling really is, is... urging somebody to do something that you are passionate about, that you want them to do with you. And the success of that experience, the success of getting somebody to go to a movie that they don't want to that you really want to go to with them, or a restaurant that you really want to go to that they don't want to go to but you want to go with them, is a process of what I call mutuality. And mutuality is the most... important aspect... of selling yourself... that there is. And I come back to mutuality over and over and over again now through the rest of the class. And mutuality is delivering a message to an audience, it could be an audience of one, you're significant other who you want to go to the movie or the restaurant with, or an audience of 2, people that you're maybe interviewing with, or an audience of 5,000 if you're making a campaign speech. And that process... is selling a message, or conveying a message to your audience that is persuasive, authentic, and memorable in the minds of that audience; that is the challenge, and what you want to do is believe it too. You want them to feel so passionate about what you are conveying, to feel so excited about what you are sharing, that they're willing to take the chance and consider it too. That's a mutuality. The process by which you share a message in a way that is so contagious, that who you are sharing that message with wants... that too. So in the case of job searching, the mutuality that you are looking for is essentially, you want the job, and you are conveying yourself with so much authenticity, and so much memorability, and so much ingenuity, and so much passion that they want to hire you too. That's a mutuality. Said scientifically,... a mutuality is when our brains resonate harmoniously with others. And that's what brings us back to the first half of the class. We feel happiest when our brains resonate harmoniously with others, and what we want to do is seek a mutuality, create an opportunity where people feel the same way that we do about something that we believe so strongly that we want to share that with them too. There's a question. So Debbie, Don't you really need to be a people person? Yeah, but that's table stakes, that's table stakes. Okay, but- So I'm not saying that you can't be a people person or you shouldn't be a people person, you absolutely should be a people person, you just don't want to go around saying, "You want to hire me because I'm a people person." Or you want to hire me because I'm passionate, or you want to hire me because I'm curious or smart or intelligent. Those are all table stakes, and you need to convey all of that every minute of every day because if you're not, in a job environment, if you're not conveying that to whoever you are interviewing with, somebody else is going to come in and convey it better than you are. So those are the table stakes that you have to show up with everyday, and being a people person is sort of an interesting phrase. People person, what does that mean? Does that mean that you're a people pleaser? Does it mean you want everybody to like you? Does it mean that you just want to say yes to everything so that nobody gets upset with you? I think you really want to be a person that has their own views and beliefs but is completely open to the possibility that somebody else's views and beliefs have validity too. The same respect that you would want from someone else. And the mutuality is being able to convey something that you believe so passionately, and so thoroughly, that it becomes contagious, and other people want to experience the possibility of that too. They're willing to test drive that belief, as well. And if you can share how much you want something or believe something so... Sincerely and so meaningfully and with enough purpose that other people believe it too, then they might be willing to take a chance on you. But it takes a lot of time to be able to do this in a way that is credible, and is believable, and it's about really getting to what it is you believe about yourself so that you don't have to rely on "I'm a people person who's passionate and very curious". Like, okay, join the club, you know. One of the things that I think is really important to consider is, would you... ever say the opposite of something. So for example, there are a lot of creative people in the room, we're all creative, right? So how many people here are designers? So, everybody's a designer, almost everybody. So you've heard of a creative brief, right? So a creative brief is what a client would give a designer at the beginning of a job to outline the objectives and the criteria for success of that project. Or the designers will give it to the client if they don't have it, just to make sure that everyone is literally and figuratively on the same page, right? So years and years and years ago, I was at a marketing summit where a whole bunch of different agencies got together for this big client of ours, and we were all talking about the creative brief, and the conundrum of a creative brief, because sometimes language can be used that's table stakes. And so, this young man from another agency said, "You know, I got a creative brief from this particular client and the target market for this particular product was for contemporary moms." "Contemporary moms." So his question to the client was, "If you hadn't told me that it was for contemporary moms, would I have designed this product for old-fashioned moms?" So what are the words that we are using to describe who we are and what we want to be able to convey. You need to be able to have that one specific benefit, or that one specific target that will allow you to be able to create a sense of what you are and what you aren't, and branding and positioning is really the art of sacrifice. You can't be everything to all people. You have to be able to take a stand for what it is you believe about yourself knowing full well that it's not possible to appease everyone at the same time, and at the end of the day, I think you will feel like you've had a more fulfilling experience if you are trying to just be who you are. It's much more stressful to have to put on the persona of somebody else and then deliver on it, as well. It's almost impossible to do that, at least it's impossible to do it consistently. So, what we're looking to create in any interview environment is this mutuality, the process by which you are passionately conveying a message in a way that is contagious, and they want to believe it too. And, in terms of getting a job, the mutuality that you are seeking is that you are the candidate for the job, and they should want to be the person that chooses you.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

It takes work to get the work you love. It takes knowing how to interview well, how to communicate flawlessly, how to articulate your own purpose and to simultaneously do this while facing tremendous rejection. Debbie Millman is one of the most influential design minds of our time; an author, educator, brand strategist, and founder and host of the acclaimed podcast Design Matters. In her class you'll learn how to:

  • Create a meaningful philosophy that will guide your career
  • Present yourself in meetings and interviews
  • Network and standout from your competition
  • Find discipline in your approach to work
  • Sell yourself with more confidence

Are you spending enough time on looking for, finding and working towards winning a great job? Are you doing everything you can—every single day—to stay in “career shape”? What else should you be doing?

Join Debbie and answer these questions you should be asking yourself...


a Creativelive Student

B R I LLIANNNNNNT !!!! I love the such solid human being that she is and her grandiosity of holding our shoulder and say : go head! Dare to be your best self, own it. Here are some tips .... !!!! Uhuuuuuuuuu!! So inspiring! Thank you so much, Debbie. For couple of days you were my very BEST FRIEND :) Thanks Creative Live!! This is NOT a live "manual" on technical skills. If that is what you are looking for go some steps down and there are plenty of people teaching that, like traditional schools do. You will only learn what is "there" for you to learn if you are open TO HEAR with sincerity. Debbie tells several things that works and that doesn't in professional field besides showing what successful business look for in the people, or partners. Out standing!! I would love to watch another class with her.


I loved this course. Five Stars. I was initially drawn to this course because of the title. I had read Tom Peter's article (with the same name) in Fast Company magazine many years ago, and found it really inspiring. This was before 'brand' was a household word. Anyway, the course is geared more towards designers looking for their dream job than a typical branding course, but as it happens, I am a designer, so it was quite informative. I can also use much of the advice and lessons and apply them to my own business. From contacting potential employers or clients to creative self promotion, there's valuable lesson to be had. I watched and listened to this course in one day, almost straight through. I highly recommend it. Great insight, great advice - whether you're a design student or not. If you're the creative type, I think you'll find this both enlightening and very enjoyable.