Distillation is how you fit 10 pounds of gold into the 5-pound bag that is your logo.

To distill means to extract the essential meaning or most important aspects of something. Your brand should be the result of that distillation process; it should be the embodiment of the essential meaning or most important aspects of your company.

When I’m starting brand building work with a business owner, we have a long, rambling conversation about their company.* I ask lots of questions and we traipse off on lots of tangents. Often at some point they say, “I’m not sure — did that answer your question?” It’s like going into their bedroom and pulling everything out of their closets and bureaus and bathroom drawers and tossing it all into the middle of the room.

Invariably, they leave the meeting feeling like they’ve burdened me with a boatload of gibberish, wondering how I’ll ever make sense of it.

I make sense of it by distilling it. I pull out the most essential pieces, the pieces that carry the most meaning, the pieces that will communicate that meaning to the people who matter most: your best and favorite clients. People who really understand you, people who really want what you really want to give.

That’s what we build the brand on.

When your brand successfully does that, it sets off a nice chain of reactions.

If your brand is the result of a successful distillation process, then the people you interact with will truly understand you and what you stand for. If they truly understand you, then people who really want what you really want to provide, will be attracted to you; people who want something else, will be less attracted to you and more likely to go find a better fit elsewhere. That means a higher percentage of your client roster will be taken up by those best fit, favorite, adored clients; and you’ll have fewer clients who are just sort of okay.

When your brand is a result of distillation, it brings you more of what you want: your favorite people to work with.

* This is how it works with a sole proprietor. When I work with leadership teams, we do it in a different way. Click here to read more about how it works with teams.