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What a 2000s-era makeover show taught me about building a brand aesthetic for the long-haul

TBH, when I say “brand aesthetic” it seems kind of superficial, like maybe it’s just all about making your logo and Instagram posts look pretty. But wow, is it SO much more than that. Let me explain.

There used to be a TLC show called “What Not to Wear” where family and friends nominated their loved one to receive a wardrobe makeover. Hosts Stacy and Clinton would edit the contestant’s closet down to almost nothing, then give them new style guidelines to go shopping with a big fat allowance. After a hair and makeup refresh, there would be a big reveal to the fine folks who turned their loved ones over to the fashion police. It was always a big WOW.

While the contestants ended up looking fantastic, the aesthetic was always kind of the same and didn’t reflect a whole lot of their individual personalities. Womp womp. Honestly, I always wondered how the contestants fared once they got back to the real world, where the temptations to break their new style rules would surely win out.

If they did go back to their old ways, you can’t really blame them. A wardrobe that feels inauthentic and impractical to your life would be hard to maintain. (Sometimes a girl just wants to rock some sweats, am I right?) But I think there’s a deeper problem.

Let’s take it back to branding. A quick scroll will reveal a whole lot of sameness, all in the name of following what’s “in” stylewise. That’s fun for a little while, but it ultimately leaves us with two big problems:

  1. You’re not stopping anyone’s scroll when your branding looks just like everyone else’s, and
  2. It’s hard to stay excited about maintaining your visual identity long-term when it isn’t your true vibe.

If you’ve ever gone all-in on a fashion trend that quickly faded, you know what I mean. The goal is to create a brand identity that you can love for the long-haul. To do that, you have to dig deeper than what’s popular right now.

No more choosing a brand aesthetic that looks pretty but has no substance. I challenge you to put more thought into the why behind it. I’ve created a free workbook (with a bonus moodboard template in Canva) to show you how. Grab it here to get started right away.

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