In 2022, I was approached with a unique opportunity to collaborate with two other gifted women founders to re-launch a personal branding startup. Our first order of business was to go through a rebranding effort. I led a naming discovery workshop resulting in a company name change from Ossu to Distinctly, a bold and deliberate adverb accurately reflective of our mission - to build distinct personal brands for influential leaders fighting inequality and seeking positive change.
Once the name and mission were locked in, we dove into user research to understand the product demand and better demarcate our target audiences. We heard a typical sentiment across all cohorts best summarized as "I'm not sure how or where to communicate who I am and what I do." This foundational discovery led us to restructure the product by pivoting away from the previously offered personal brand package (logo, business cards, etc.) and focusing our deliverables on the customers' foundational needs (personality pyramid, copy tonality, content strategy, etc.) Furthermore, we identified LinkedIn as the optimal platform for personal branding and voice amplification versus Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Early data showed LinkedIn conversion outperforming peer platforms by as much as 277% in generating leads and building professional connections.
With this project, I had the opportunity to combine creativity and human-centered research to construct an entirely new brand narrative and identity design. The Distinctly identity embodies the complexity of human nature and the duality between strength and imperfection, with a relaxed yet rebellious brand color palette. We've created an equilibrium between two contrasting elements within the mark—a bold sans serif vs. hand-scripted 'ly,' evocative of what you might see when someone signs their name—and throughout our verbal expression (i.e., "we are tough and we care about others"). Distinctly is powerful and impactful like its clients.
It was an enjoyable experience crafting stories for the different personas - from Uplifting Executives striving toward success to Revolutionary Activists changing the world. Building a company and designing a product that elevates the unique and authentic voices of those who've overcome pain and hardships yet march on with meaning and purpose to create positive change in their social circles was humbling and gratifying.