Here’s what some prominent people in the creative and transformational business space have said about The Human Centered Brand:
“The Human Centered Brand is not your typical approach to branding. It’s designed specifically for heart-centered professionals and visionary souls who yearn to authentically show the world how exceptional and unique their work is.
Though branding has many moving parts, Nela clearly and thoroughly explains it all in a way that anyone can understand and use to elevate their creative business to the next level. The book balances theory, practice and examples with some fun visuals and personal stories that will teach, guide, and inspire you to create a truly original brand with your core values at the center.”
“Nela Dunato has given us a valuable gift in this book. She unpacks why traditional approaches to branding feel too creepy to many creative and social impact oriented business owners. Then, she takes the reader step by step through a process that will help you land on a brand for your business that is resonate and effective with your ideal clients. The part I appreciated most about The Human Centered Brand is how granular Nela is in her suggestions – this book goes way beyond theory to practical strategies that I feel deeply aligned with and use similar practices with my own marketing clients.”
“What I love most about Nela’s approach is that it emphasizes the importance of discovering and embracing our strengths, weaknesses, and values to build a brand we feel truly in alignment with. We all have unique things to contribute. We all have a distinct way of seeing the world. We all have different qualities and ways that make us effective. Nela’s framework shows how to make those elements the linchpin of our brand.”
“With The Human Centered Brand, Nela takes the confusion and overwhelm out of creating a brand for your business.
This book goes far beyond font and colour choice. The Human Centered Brand is a comprehensive guide to constructing a brand for your business and ensuring that it reflects your values as a business owner.”
I’ve had the pleasure to talk to journalists and fellow business owners and share some insights from the book The Human Centered Brand with their audience. Since the questions are different, my responses are as well, so it’s a useful read even if you’re familiar with my work and my own articles.
Awarepreneurs is one of my favorite podcasts, so it was a great honor to be invited as a guest to discuss the intersection between business, awareness practices and social impact with conscious business coach Paul Zelizer. Paul was also one of my book beta readers, and has given a glowing endorsement of the book.
“What happens when you have a relationship with a client that you’ve been working on for a while, you get to know them, you get to know what their family situation is, maybe even about some personal details that they don’t tell to everyone else, and you also get to know their business (if you’re a business to business provider). So you get to see things that the public doesn’t see. That’s quite vulnerable for them. Like, they’re letting you see parts of their business that they may not want people to know about. But if you’re gonna help them, then you have to know about that. (…) I think it’s important for us to make the first step in showing our own vulnerability so they can think ‘Ok, this person is safe to be around because obivously they’re putting their cards on the table, they’re not hiding anything. I can trust them. They’re not gonna laugh at me, they’re not gonna think I’m a loser because I need help with this thing.’”
Listen to the podcast episode: Grow Meaningful Relationships with Clients Through Human Centered Branding with Nela Dunato
GoDaddy UK interview
Oliver Lindberg has interviewed me at WordCamp Europe 2018 in Belgrade, where I gave a talk titled The Human Centered Brand, giving people a small taste of the subject I explored in detail in the book.
“What are some common mistakes designers do when creating a brand for a client or a small business?
ND: Any kind of templated approach is just not going to work. You have to approach each business individually. Their core values and underlying principles are important to communicate because it’s what the customer sees and interprets. We all do it. You see a logo and form an idea of what the business is like. Is it an expensive or a budget business? Is it eco-friendly? Colours and textures tell your story, so we have to be mindful of these shortcuts. We really need to make a decision that’s rooted in the client’s approach. The way they speak to their customers really needs to harmonise with the way they present themselves visually. It all has to connect and make sense as a whole.”
Read the interview: Build a human-centred brand: an interview with Nela Dunato
Netokracija is one of the leading Croatian IT portals, which has already interviewed me twice before regarding my other projects. This interview is in Croatian.
“Poanta je identificirati ono što nam već jako dobro ide – što možda uzimamo zdravo za gotovo – i po čemu nas nama bliski ljudi znaju, i odvrnuti to na maksimum. Najbolja stvar koju možemo učiniti je da svojim klijentima pokažemo da smo ljudi baš kao i oni, da ih nećemo osuđivati jer nemaju znanje koje mi imamo, ili im podvaliti nešto što im ne treba. Umjesto da se skrivamo iza “mi”, pokažimo im tko smo to mi, zašto se bavimo ovim poslom, čime se bavimo kad ne radimo, što nam je najbitnije… Tu nastaje potencijal za povezivanje na dubljem ljudskom nivou, ne samo financijskom.”
Read the interview: Knjiga koja nas uči kako privući (i zadržati) klijente s kojima će nam biti užitak raditi
The Digital Commuter interview
One of my readers, Jennette Cajucom, founder of The Digital Commuter invited me to share my tips and insights with her community of entrepreneurial women, and I was very happy to do that because the more women learn how to step into their full self-expression and power, the better our world will become.
“No one else can tell you what your brand strategy is, it needs to come from within you. Consultants can guide you through a discovery process, but they can’t tell you to be or act a certain way. You need to be ready to own what comes from inside, even if it scares you. Often the vision of our brand seems too big, and we want to shrink and make it more “ordinary” so we don’t stand out too much. Try to resist this temptation. Your unique brand lies in this quirky, bold, brave, even outrageous vision. This is what you were made to do, and when you finally accept it, your branding will take less effort to envision and implement. It just feels natural.”
Read the interview: An Interview with Nela Dunato
Another radio interview is coming up soon, I’ll edit this post once the recording is published.
I knew a fair amount about branding before reading this book, as I teach branding basics to authors and I’ve been interested in this topic for a long time. This book reinforced something I’d been thinking about, but hadn’t heard anyone talk about: that the brand stems from who we are, not the client and what they want. I learned way more about the complexity of branding and really appreciated that.
I enjoyed all the questions and that there’s a bonus workbook that I can’t wait to dig into. This book gave me a roadmap to follow and motivation to do so, which I really appreciate.
Overall, I’d recommend “The Human Centered Brand” for Nela’s humanity, humor, realness, and heart-centeredness! Creating one’s brand is doable and Nela’s book can help you do that at your speed.
Before reading “The Human Centered Brand”, I thought of branding as an ‘external’ thing – the physical stuff like the logo and colours, and the kind of image you project. I now see branding as a complete philosophy for attracting the kind of clients I really want to work with.
It was empowering and validating to do things the way that feel good to you. It puts the decision-making squarely in the hands of the business owner whilst allowing them to have a clear system. I also really like the Brand Discovery Pyramid and how ideal client comes last before the visual identity itself. One thing I’ve learned in my (multiple) business lives is that your ideal clients may often lurk in hitherto unsuspected places! You can look at someone else’s business that appears similar to yours and assume that your client model will be similar but it’s not necessarily the case.
It seems to me that this system means that the heart of the brand is allowed to speak before unnaturally hobbling it with preconceived ideas about who it will appeal to. And if the heart of the brand appeals to people you didn’t expect it to, you might discover that, in a sense, your previous ideas about ‘ideal clients’ had a lot of bias in them!
This book will help people understand branding as a means to attract clients who resonate with what they do and the way they do it. Branding is about a hell of a lot more than what your logo looks like and the picture you’ve got on your About Me page!
Although I have studied various areas of business for years, I’ve never dived in on branding. After reading this book, I realized that it is doable, and that I can do it as myself. I used to think that branding was kind of like going to get professional help with how you dress, that you get a “style”, from outside, so I resisted it. Now I understand that branding is more about finding the core elements of my business and myself, becoming really clear about how to consistently bring them out in every part of my business, and then do that.
I enjoyed the friendly style of writing, the combination of “inner” and “outer” and the hands on, practical approach. I got a lot of practical ideas for consistently following my “red thread”.
I like that it is easy to read, and yet has the quality of a handbook, a resource you can come back to again and again. This book would be a good use of money for anyone who wants to get serious about branding.
If branding has felt like something fake or externally motivated, and you like to do things in your own authentic way, this book will help you brand your business or creative project from the inside out.
The Human Centered Brand is a clearly and eloquently written book on branding that eschews empty phrases, buzzwords and rigid step by step rules for experience-based advice and simple but wise guidelines. There’s no handholding but rather the impression of setting off on a journey with a basic map annotated by an expert pathfinder both pointing out the difficult terrain (i.e. where they tumbled into a thorny bush) and teaching you to recognize it on your own (while also noting that thorny bushes are a valuable lesson in themselves). Dunato is genuinely interested in helping out, not making a quick buck.
Providing a plethora of sensible advice and valuable insights, the Human Centered Brand will surely be of use to both those just starting out on their entrepreneurial journey as well as those who’ve found themselves at a crossroads or in need of a new direction. My favorite thing about the book, however, is that there is much advice to be found between the pages that is applicable to other (creative) pursuits and areas of life as well.
While not a doorstopper the HBC nevertheless packs an equivalent punch, providing a masterclass for the price of a few cups of coffee (and if you ever get a chance to have one with the author and pick her brain, go for it).