chalkbox newsletter: august 2023

Good morning, class

Here in Seattle, the first day of school is next Wednesday. A lot changes with each year of school. And each first day is a transition from the last year of learning into the next.

My son is heading into seventh grade. He’ll have new peers and instructors. He’ll face new intellectual and personal challenges. And there are some things he’ll need in order to be successful. A growth mindset will go far: “I can’t do this…yet.” And on the practical side, he needs new supplies and new clothes that fit (when did those pants get so short?). Let’s call this investing in the next year of growth.

YOU (sarcastically): “Real subtle, Josh. Cue the obvious seg—”

Thanks for asking!

Business growth comes in phases too, with transitions in between. From solo to staffed, bootstrapped to profitable, surviving to scaling, and so on. Each phase requires new inputs: talent, skills, advisors and vendors, customers, and strategies. Brand strategy and design are among those inputs. They allow a business to survive and thrive in the ecosystem of that next phase. They help it speak and look right for its new peers, competitors, customers, and hires.

You probably know a business that is branded like a kid wearing old clothes; a bad fit in the wrong time. We see them all the time. That branding remains a technical fit—it displays the name. But does it fit with the expectations of customers or job candidates this year? And does it fit the current ecosystem and maturity of the business?

Nope and nope.

We love to talk about this stuff. If you or someone you know is pondering this, we’re ready to chat.

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