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[E4C21] Uncover the Storytelling Power of Your Brand – Design Kompany

I finally finished the Suitcase Entrepreneur, a book written by the woman who inspires me the most to live a digital nomad lifestyle – Natalie Sisson. The last couple chapters of her book explores the pros and cons of location independence, with the purpose of helping you decide whether this lifestyle is for you at all. And if so, how you might want to consider designing your life of continuous travel.

There are so many ways to do location independence. For some it involves being constantly on the move. For others, it looks like slow travel – establishing a place as a long-term base from which to do short term exploration. I personally, prefer the latter. I find being on the move all the time really disruptive to work, and kind of exhausting. I like to make local friends, discover the local scene, and not have to pack my stuff up and move it every week or 2, let alone hunt for reliable Internet and a good place to work.

Thailand is one of the best locations for digital nomads – getting set up is easy and fast. Within 2 hours of getting off the plane, I got a prepaid SIM card with data plan, checked into a serviced condo (which I booked online) and rented a scooter. I was ready to rock and roll in record time. Another awesome thing about Thailand is that it is a hub for other interesting long term travellers – not just backpackers, but people working on cool projects locally, as well as virtually.

One of those people is Akira Morita, who has been traveling with his wife and 4 year old kid. Currently, the family is traveling through Asia – they’ve visited six countries in over two years. The husband and wife team like to help doers and makers connect with each other and with the world.

One of the biggest limiting beliefs that holds families back from long term travel is the idea that it’s not good for the kids – but you’d be amazed at how resilient children are. According to Akira, his son, Kush is actually the most flexible person in his group. Plus, Kush opens up a lot of doors for Akira and his wife Dipika, in terms of welcome and good will from locals.

Akira emigrated from Japan to the US in the ’90s, where he studied event marketing and design. He has worked in Japan, Ireland, and cities in both coasts of the U.S. organizing beer festivals, golf tours, and creativity workshops. In 2005, he founded Design Kompany with his wife Dipika, a creative consultancy focused on helping people build their own legacy-making brands. Later, along with their son Kush, they created Orangutan Swing, an advocacy for playful living through listening.

In this interview, Akira and I discuss:

  • The power of storytelling, for personal & company brands, as well as for communities.
  • How storytelling can be facilitated in a way to unite communities and grow a tribe without borders.
  • Different web based tools you can use to connect diverse communities that have a shared vision and goals.
  • Practical steps to uncover your visual identity and brand.
  • And much more!

Mentioned in this interview

Where to Find Akira

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

0:04:30.3 Lorna: Akira I’m really glad to have you with on the show today cause I’m really inspired by some of your experiences that you had in the poll especially travelling with your wife and your young child. So, before we dive in to some of this stories I’d love to first of all have you tell our audience who you are and exactly what do you do?

0:04:51.0 Akira: Okay, well thanks for having me Lorna and my name is Akira and then I run a design business with my wife for 8 years and we have built numbers of small company identities and the branding strategies for them and we currently we’re taking a sort of a [inaudible]from that and travelling the world and meeting with the creatives and this kind of a feedback loop to the main business and also turning in to a new business from that. I can tell you a bit more about that but that’s what I’m doing.

0:05:28.4 Lorna: So, can you show with us the name of your design company?

0:05:31.0 Akira: It is called design company and the company spelled with the “K” which the K happens to be my wife’s initial and we came with this name when we were in school in the 90’s and we thought it was cool and tend to somehow stuck so.

0:05:46.3 Lorna: Okay and so tell me about the projects that you are working on right now and how you’re able to really integrate that world travels?

0:05:53.8 Akira: Okay, well the project that we’re working on is called Orangutan Swing and it actually has its own website. So it’s a sort of its own company although it’s formally still running on the design Kompany and the sort of the overall scheme of it is that we are taking our process that we use for our work at Design Kompany which is basically I’ve created a process of coming up with a compelling story from hearing and listening to people that we work with and the audiences and taking that and the [inaudible] in to world the global market as the playground. And what were is when we go to a place and we happen to 3 or 4 location so far and we spent about 2 to 3 months there on each places an we try and listen to as many voices as we can in each of these places find interesting voices and try connect to those voices to the next place and next and the next. And that way we are creating that this sort of a micro-global community that is not like the global market that we tend to see around us which is represented by Big Boxes Store and malls and everything turning in to Hollywood. America this is more about the individual voice this is more about indigenous cultures and the ingenuity of the individual creatives and how do we take that and connect that with everywhere else, voices from everywhere else and create something unique an the interesting for the rest of us to be part of.

0:07:51.2 Lorna: Okay, so for me that’s a little bit abstract (Laughs) I’d understand and so you use some terminology so when you talk about individual creative. Who is in individual creative is that a project creator or a business founder?

0:08:06.9 Akira: They could be non-profit organizations working for the local community and to promote the quote and quote creativity in the community. They could be indvidual Odesk and people and they could be song writers they could be, we have anybody.

0:08:25.4 Lorna: So, you primarily work with the creative market, musician and artists for example?

0:08:31.0 Akira: Yeah, and business people right now we are working with a tiny start up activity school in Chiang Mai and the owner use to run a bar she’s this entrepreneur personality. She’s very, she’s got these really dynamic energy. She wants Thai people to be more creative, be more expressive, she wants to kind of like change the culture and she’s doing it through our her bar and she’s doing it through her school. Which is kind of a interesting combination I thought but for her it’s the same thing and what I want to do is to connect her with people that we’ve met in India or Nepal who are doing similar thing promoting more of awareness to thee individual creativity and tangibly we could come up with something interesting product to do our networks she knows a musician, she knows you know Odesk you always to know that an there’s an organization in Kathmandu who would do similar things they connected to us their Odesk [inaudible] is there. What if we could come up with a joint project were we are putting these things together in the book form or something else and you know that could be in the market
for sale.

0:10:00.5 Lorna: So , when you talk about connecting an individual creatives of voice with other voices essentially what your doing is you’re going out and finding like individuals organizations and bridging the individuals and groups together so that there’s more collaboration

0:10:15.4 Akira: Yeah

0:10:17.8 Lorna: Okay

0:10:17.8 Akira: Creating a space for them to collaborate and create something together so we came all benefit from that.

0:10:24.5 Lorna: You know it so interesting because you’re such a power to being able to create your tribe and like to grow your tribe and you know there’s so many different aspects of what cause to tribe but it’s no longer your local community in fact it’s almost like the tribe has gone hyper-global in a certain way and all you know empowered by the power of the internet the ability to communicate in real time so it’s so much easier than I think for small hyper-global organization to scale and make it impact.

0:10:59.6 Akira: Oh definitely, specially you know if we can keep this connectivity together instead of everybody working on their own sales which is what kind of we saw when we left sort of connected places like Seattle you know supposedly connected start up thee kind of a culture were you know you would think everyone is collaborating but there you know in reality their all working in their own little sales. And we want it to bust that and that’s been sort of a theme for us. Another thing that’s interesting for us that we were in the branding and sort of tribe building arena. So when we go in we end up helping each community to do what we can do for them in helping them market themselves and what we’re getting from them is their access to them to the other places.

0:11:53.9 Lorna: So, are there any specific tools or technology platforms that you use to be able to enable better communication among these different tribe?

0:12:02.5 Akira: That is a really good challenge that we’re facing right now the technology or the plat, you know in terms of platform base, there isn’t anything that’s out there that’s for us to use it’s special you know specifically for this. So figuring that out is going to be the next big piece of our puzzle.

0:12:22.0 Lorna: I think it’s so much better to use existing tools than try to build your own custom tools. What I’ve been exploring the idea of like you know where would you ideally build a community I see there’s different levels of complexity that you can go down and each level complexity really kind of require a certain amount of people in your community. So a great place to start off just to keep things simple as Facebook having a private Facebook group, a secret Facebook group were you know you have maybe 20 to 40 people who are highly engage in communicating. At the certain point that’s start to get a bit difficult I’d say when the group starts to increase beyond 200 plus members because in everyone, it’s harder for people to connect and meaningful conversations and there’s shift towards you know people going in there and spamming and promoting their own stuff and not really engaging.

0:13:19.8 Akira: Yeah, I think Facebook groups have the most potential right now.

0:13:24.5 Lorna: Yeah, and what I have been also seeing towards the next stage up once a Facebook groups starts getting really big people move to platform like NING and even then you know that also starts to from a bit unruly as well when that population grows and so than we’re looking at more custom platforms or even the possibility of setting up a you know forum section in you know your website and having people go in and but then you just have to, it’s a lot of moderation and all of that. So you know definitely I would say approach the tribe building and increments.

0:14:01.2 Akira: Sure.

0:14:01.8 Lorna: (Chuckles) So you guys have been traveling for the past 18 months I remember you said to me.

0:14:08.0 Akira: That’s right

0:14:07.9 Lorna: So, where have you been?

0:14:09.6 Akira: Sorry not 18 months its been 9 months. 18 months of focusing on this project but most of the time or the half of the time we were preparing for this trip.

0:14:19.2 Lorna: I see, okay.

0:14:20.9 Akira: So we left last April and we’ve on the road since then, we started in this part of the neck of the world my wife and our 4 year old they spent two months in Vietnam and on their own which was an interesting thing [inaudible] itself. I was back in the U.S fining up client work and doing couple other things that night that we were involved in. Once that wrap up I joined them in Laos came down to Thailand for a brief period and then we went to India and we spent 6 months there. Two of them in Kathmandu and in Nepal because they just kind to work that way but the rest of the we split between the west of Nepal in a place called Sikkim which is in India but it’s, unlike anywhere else in India it’s a very different culture, different place and they took any country, it used to be a country until 35 years ago.

0:15:22.6 Lorna: It seems like, I don’t know it much Sikkim at all but it seems like there’s a strong Tibetan influence in Sikkim.

0:15:29.7 Akira: Yes, It’s Tibetan, Nepali, Bhutanese and their own Sikkimese culture all blended in and it’s such an interesting and there’s you know a bit of Indian influence as well so, it’s a truly a melting pot sort of a place and the people very peaceful, harmonious in leaving next to this ethnic groups and its wonderful place.

0:15:55.1 Lorna: Wow, that’s a lesson for us all. (laughs) So during your travel if you had any experiences that [inaudible] in your mind is being very meaningful or somewhat life changing.

0:16:06.0 Akira: Being there had a big impact for me having grown up as a Japanese you know I don’t have a lot of experience leaving in sort of a multi-culture place and you know America to me was the first exposure but you know, you never felt like what I would picture in my head as sort of people, different people leaving together from you know with the differences and in Sikkim I felt they were much closer than anybody else to thee ideal form of sort co-existing and I don’t know that the culture, their generosity, we arrive with no contact and we actually we had one contact from America which quickly fell through in the first being there and so, we have the choice of okay, now do we leave? or do we stick it out and see what happens? and we decided okay whatever you know brought us here there must me something so we will just stick it out see what happens. And we went to a tourist office and told them our story and told them like what we want it to do and this random guy who are just you know intently listening to us rumble for like 15 minutes, it’s like you are doing right now (laughs) but after we were done talking he’s like okay well, you want to do something for our community I want to help you. So, why do I make some calls and to find out and you know what I had a family member who runs a hotel so maybe I can find a good deal for you and you know we were like okay great! but we didn’t really you know expect anything you know this is India, so.

0:17:55.7 Lorna: So this is a local person? a Sikkimese?

0:17:59.2 Akira: Yeah, Sikkimese person he was, I don’t want to get it wrong I think he was [inaudible] but I don’t call me on that, but yeah he had a family and he made the call and we thought it was going to be like really like run down place that’s just me laying around and you know they weren’t, it wasn’t going to be anything. When we got there, by the way there’s a random another person who took our bag and they carry it for us in front of us to get to this hotel because we don’t know the area and you know we walk 10 minute or so and together and this guy doesn’t speak English while he does but like a little bit and we get there and it’s the best hotel we had to stay in India so far. And you know I don’t want to sound like I’m slugging India too much but (laughs). You know it’s not like Thailand you know hotels don’t have the sort of basics figured that out most of the time you have to bare concrete bathroom and you have to sometimes you know hot water for showers and all that you know that what sort of they are expectation when we were staying in those kinds of places and this [inaudible] like a legitimate 3 to 4 star hotel and they were saying like in [inaudible] season we have a room so why don’t’ you use it you know for a month until people start to fill-in. And so we base our self there and from then you know just met all kinds of people and every time we drop in and talk to strangers they were like, great! why don’t you have a seat get some tea and will chat. They were so open you know we got tot meet that the mayor of the town and had a like a 2 hour conversation with him and [inaudible] bunch of others [inaudible] you know seating around talking about you know our travels and what we want to do and what they want it to do and there childhood and you know all sort of stories start to come up and that’s sort of what we want to do everywhere we go and we got to that in the sort of most ideal form [inaudible] just because we didn’t give up.

0:20:10.5 Lorna: Yeah, I think that’s also really refreshing to be in the culture were people are genuinely curious about you and intrigue about what brought you to their country and specially in countries were an cultures were a lot really happens purely to personal relationships Yeah, I think for me when I was in Brazil basically if you want anything done in Brazil it’s all through personal relationship because there system is, I don’t know it’s somewhat broken in a certain way and so like people are used to helping each other out because that’s the only way you can get things done.

0:20:51.8 Akira: That’s true.

0:20:52.6 Lorna: So did you end up working on [inaudible] while you’re in Sikkim?

0:20:55.4 Akira: So, what we did there we organize this series of conversations modern Sikkim. And afterwhile we, one of the key people we met after couple of weeks been there was a head of this design studio and he had a very interesting organization that he built from ground. Having studied design in [inaudible] school in Ahmedabad in India which is like the top school as far as design [inaudible] and he came back and started this company and it’s all about collaboration and open structures and everything kind of made with hands. They had their studio that sort of like made with bamboos, and [inaudible] everything and he want it, he and the my partner [inaudible] had a chat and they were talking about what can we you know you know what’s interesting here who’s, you know what kind of topic can we talk about with the community and the topic of modernity came up there’s a lot of development going on there, there’s a lot of money that government of India is sort of [inaudible] in to the community to sort of modernized the country and that’s good things and bad things and you know there are neutral things that happen because of that and people had opinions people have stories people had lots of feelings around this and what we did was we kind a design that these conversation events and we had a poster that just said Modern Sikkim is dot dot dot. And we just put that everywhere in the coffee shops and other places and invite a people to write in what they thought modern Sikkim was, and you know we took pictures of [inaudible] and we brought those together and then we had talks around the mayor and then we had talks around the studio with architect and all its like sort of a [inaudible] leads you know coming together to talk about these things and we had tapped to its student groups who came to do a workshop at the studio and we ask them the same question and kind of like a story gathering and that was the project that we did there. We had a sort of a visual story telling workshop after one of the events and we kind a start to collage pictures and the words clipping from magazines something like that together to create this board of what we thought modern Sikkim could look like and we’re planning to publish a book a sort of a coffee table book around this topic and see it where that goes.

0:23:39.8 Lorna: So what is like to travel with a young child? There’s a lot of people say you know they hold themselves back from traveling around the world because they think you can’t do it with kids. So I want to bust that niche.

0:23:54.9 Akira: Sure Yeah, we heard so many people say like, first of all when we got married a lot of people said you know before you have kids you should travel or you know when we were our kid was like infants they said before he starts moving around you should take them around or it’s this always the next thing like you can’t do anymore and I feel like it’s just complete !@#$%^&* you know (laughs) you can’t, it’s just a way to stop yourself from doing what you want our kid is the most adoptable person in the team you know we complain (laughs) about this and that and also it’s a sort of [inaudible] comforts and Krish just sleeps through anything and never complains about cold or hunger or anything it’s just like, he doesn’t like spicy food and that’s about the biggest thing that he complains about in India he wouldn’t eat anything because everything was spicy I don’t know we don’t have the same problem in Thailand, so I’m not sure if what spices talking about but he’s the most friendly human being there and wherever we go he’s the one opening doors everywhere it’s quite amazing specially when it comes just like [inaudible] on places we go you know just because we have a small child the people are just so much more friendly to us and you know he just calls up and ask question and you know the kind of form his own friendship you know relationship with the people which is wonderful to watch.

0:25:34.2 Lorna: I love that, so I want to circle back to the whole art of being able to grow a tribe specially grow a tribe around your company and I think one the core elements really drives cohesion around that motivation and inspiration for people to really get behind what you do is the power of your brand. So I’d love for you to help demystify what goes into creating a powerful magnetic brand?

0:26:07.9 Akira: Yeah, brand is such a loaded word it consist up so many things in so many people and there are like dramatically different from each other in a lot of cases and I’m uneasy list the word from brand even though I call myself a branding consultant and I you know my company does branding and all that you know it’s on our own but it comes down to what my recent thought around that it comes down to stories what you tell people and how you make sense all the world around you and if your story resonates with the people that you’re telling it to that forms connection and that you know it’s like a building a campfire and having a good conversation around it and that’s what branding is to me you know sort of creating this fire having people seat around and take time telling stories and at the end of the night everybody’s one big happy family you know.

0:27:16.7 Lorna: How do you go bout tapping in to the inner story of your, the hidden story of your company? I think that’s the idea of telling stories might be a little hard for some entrepreneurs to really grasp because you know when I think about story. I associated story, I associate stories with people you know, peoples personal experienced as my personal experience and so how do you tell a company or brands personal experience?

0:27:45.5 Akira: Well, any company is collection of people you know, it’s start with the person whose starting the company and the people who’d you know who are hired around that person you know and there is story there you know like how did you….

0:28:00.6 Lorna: The story of the founder.

0:28:02.4 Akira: Yeah, the story of the founder, how did you make the first hire? How did you create this team? This is a story you know and one thing that I would think that stops from people to tell their story is that the idea that you have to have one story that is about your company or product and it has to be perfect. I think my personal opinion is that rather than driven to that singular story why not just start telling your stories just anything you know. Simpler, smaller it doesn’t have to be you know important sounding it could be just what happened today at the office? you know that’s a story and documentation this is why like blogging is powerful maybe not so much today but there’s ways to tell stories everywhere it’s not just blogging it’s you know it could be Facebook, twitter anywhere and it doesn’t have to be through the internet you know it could be just like a post cards that you sent to your favorite clients every year you know anything you do is a part of the story and….

0:29:16.5 Lorna: Is it critical to tie the story with a value?

0:29:20.3 Akira: I think value is something that just comes through any story that you tell just whether you like it or not. I mean your value is always there.

0:29:31.4 Lorna: So you don’t say, oh we specifically send post cards to our customers because we value them there’s no need to actually tie that in because the gesture itself is already showing that you care about your customers.

0:29:45.4 Akira: Yeah

0:29:45.8 Lorna: So, if you’re working with in start-up company through the process of setting up there brand and visual identity are there specific stages that you walk them through and what were there stages be?

0:29:59.5 Akira: Well there’s lot of stages but they always starts with knowing yourself and knowing who you want to talk to and that those two questions are really just one question about who you are and why that matters and that is the biggest and the most important. If there’s a stage that you can’t skip and by the way this is the part that you can do on your own you don’t need to hire anybody you can hire us but you don’t have to you know, they tell for to have somebody to talk to, but you can’t just only do it to yourself but, your really have to figure out, who you are, and why that matters, what your doing this for? The natural next step is like well, who cares, right? like who around you are impacted by who you are and what you do, and you go from there and that’s the biggest point and after that you know you can have your visuals, you can have your the messaging and you can have your you know namings and all the different components but those aren’t really just a buy product and you will never have perfect ones I mean you don’t have to look around and see like the multi-national big companies stumbling on these things to know that there is no such thing as a perfect logo.

0:31:24.4 Lorna: Yeah, it’s amazing but some really powerful well-known brands have ugly logo. (laughs)

0:31:35.9 Akira: Yeah, uglier new version of their logos and they get all like you know dead mouse on the web and they retracted and this like this whole kinds of [inaudible] because its just how it is this is practice everybody is who thinks it’s thing that you do once and then for get about it’s mistake and it is a continues thing and the important thing is to start. And just to start messing up and start putting things out and figure it out as you go.

0:32:05.5 Lorna: So, in terms of tangibles so you know there’s of course this process of knowing you are and who want to serve, but in terms of how to get from that personal you know space of inquiry to thee visual identity and the name of your company there is a process, so when I hear describe the process I would say the first part is come up with the revision and mission statement and then the second part of that would be you know start to go through describing your ideal customers and creating the customer avatars that best represent them. So you know exactly who your trying to reach because trying to market everyone is just not going to work you dilute your message and no ones going to like you . So it’s really important to get very hyper targeted in identifying who you want to work with because what’s better than working with customers that you would love to work with versus customers that are going to be a drag to work with right?

0:33:10.1 Akira: Definitely

0:33:10.7 Lorna: Another aspect to the practical process I think of coming up with the brand I learn this myself. Is finding the words that really resonates with your customers once you’ve identified who they are. And in coming up with those words describing not so much what your product or your company does, but more thee end result of what they want to achieve once they’ve work with you.

0:33:41.9 Akira: Yeah, this might sound a little [inaudible] but once of the things that the first step that I describe it does, is kind like a center as you right? And once you have centered and the sort of your end up position of equanimity yeah, you’re so much more efficient whatever you do next right? And to get to that space is what you’re describing like find your words, find your colors or pictures through a thing. This is practical as well at sort of is that we did these thing could Mood board. Its kind a like vision board and things like.

0:34:19.4 Lorna: Aha, Okay

0:34:21.3 Akira: You do, you select words that are really important to your brand and then go out find pictures that really resonates with you and your team members and this is really fun with teams because people have different ideas what this concept means, but in pictures it’s attracted and it’s easier to kind a like see accept multiple [inaudible] of meanings right? and you can kind of collaboratively come up with this thing and when we do this exercise it’s amazing people have this attachment to this collage you know it’s just pictures out of magazines or postcards or anything that they took a snapshot of or anything right? and you know people would have like they have like a wall of that you know they blow it up and put it on the company walls they do, they handed to photographers to have taken photographs of their product. There’s lot of ways to use that but it really does magic to kind a annoying what your brand is all about. In a very sort of a [inaudible] way.

0:35:34.8 Lorna: So if you created a mood board you could start off with just a big sheet of paper and they start cutting and pasting images that pallete and then would you then create a postcard out of it that you would pass around to, I mean any of the partners or vendors you work with, well to the companies to that?

0:35:55.0 Akira: Well, nearly ten companies that I, we’ve work for use in many different ways but mostly it’s for internal use you know, it’s not something that you would print out in a bush and saying this is why our companies…..(audible)nobody of the outside would understand that really but then like if you are hiring professional photographer to work on something on your project it’s a good way to communicate this is kind of the mood we’re going for you know. If visual people would definitely understand that. So you know once that there you can hand that as a part of your brief to a designer do you working fro your mobile design right? You might go to unspeaking for the you know sort of boots trappers out there who you know wouldn’t have their budget to hire professional designer who would do this as their part of their process we would something to that, but even if you don’t you can do this process on your own have a mood board already and then when it comes to contracting a 99designer, 99design.com designer to draw up your logo. You can hand out that as a part of your brief and it would make the process so much easier I guarantee that.

0:37:11.3 Lorna: Absolutely, yeah I mean I’ve outsourced to number of designs on 99designs and it’s always you know challenge to get your concept out of your head and in to somebody else’s head. I think also I’d love to have your advice on, how do you recommend are there any resources that you recommend for you know entrepreneurs who are not really you know visual designers or have no graphic design background, how do you help them figure out where to go, figure out what color scheme they want for their visual identity and what fonts to choose?

0:37:46.8Akira: Well, the mood board is a good place to start because then you know naturally there will be a color pallete or pattern or a sort of a kind of a mood that your going for that would emerge out of this collage and you can pick these things out pretty quickly you know you can see, you can immediately notice, Oh! there’s a lot of green here and didn’t know, you know or a there’s a lot of circular pattern here or that there’s like this feels modern or feels very classic or professional whatever right? whatever words, and also the words that you pick out for yourself that helps as well so it’s just matching these words and colors and the patterns to what’s out there. It could be like a collection of fonts that you have to work with and you can just look at them and this feel modern, this feel classic you know and that’s pretty universal you can do that as a non-design person with a little bit of background information.

0:38:54.6 Lorna: Yeah, I always kind of think that it’s very useful if you know your going through a visual branding process just start bookmarking the websites that you like.

0:39:02.2 Akira: There you go, yeah the mood board exercise can be done in entirely on Pinterest we’ve done that way too.

0:39:09.0 Lorna: Oh my God , that’s a really great resource yeah totally. So I’d love to ask you in your entrepreneurial journey has there been any major mistake or seat back that you guys made that you would do differently if you had the chance.

0:39:28.2 Akira: Well, for me failure is about when you get this itchy feeling and the bad taste on your mouth, regardless of the outcome the financial outcome or you know the outcome of that project you know whether the customer were happy or not you know it’s just sort of like and did I do this right? and I don’t have like a major catastrophe [inaudible] so far in my business career but every failure [inaudible] from skipping the process that I go and talk about the sort of finding the story, finding the your core values and sort of [inaudible] self for the clients and knowing that having that clarity before we put the pen to paper. If we skip that and you know the in a hurry or you know somebody just like, oh yeah I have to all figure it out you don’t have known about it or whatever the reason we say, okay we’ll just like do the design for or we will just like you know the cheap version of the process and like skip over some of thing. Always without a fail it becomes something that left something to be desired at the end.

0:40:49.1 Lorna: I see, interesting so how do you respond if you have gone to this process I’ve coming up with more brand identity and you know some people don’t like it you know for example I recently reach out to a an amazing social entrepreneur for interview and he hop to my website and he just was turned off by my website and it was really kind of interesting because I you know would have been reflecting upon this and there’s a part of me like you know okay maybe it’s just not the right fit you know his organization is a non-profit organization and so when I look at the non-profit world and the types of you know sites that their organization might be featured on it would have like a totally different you know [inaudible] of feeling. Whereas most of my audience are social entrepreneurs on the for profit side. So their trying to figure out you know how to start businesses that make a positive impact that allow them to be rewarded abundantly whether not working too long for too little money and so you know most of my messaging has been oriented around this audience of entrepreneurs and the colors that I chose were very similar to thee Obama campaign is it kind of I wanted to tap in to the power of change cause I really think that right now we’re in these incredible, we experience an incredible movement of entrepreneurs who are you know changing the way we do business I mean back in the old days you know the whole concept of social enterprise was you know none profits but with an earned income stream that would you know bring an additional source of revenue beyond you know charity beyond like charitable donations from individuals or foundation grants and now we see these amazing companies like you know Tom Suisse that have for one you know model what we have back to the roots that you know is really driving you know a lot of a sustainability initiatives that are you know generating millions of dollars.

So you know what do you do if you reach out to someone who you think is a stakeholder or there are stakeholders in your space that just don’t like your brand.

0:43:05.7 Akira: Well, it’s like you know when you have a family member who hates your vision you know it like what do you do with that? you know you could, it’s either you say you’re just not a good fit and it’s okay like you know whether you make the call yourself and say okay you know that’s okay I will focus on these people or if you really want these people who hate your brand of visual or whatever some part of your brand to be part of your tribe then maybe there’s room for adjustment but you know that you have to make the call you know whether you want them or not yeah I think it’s easy to end up in this you know kind of like tail-spin were you’re trying to please everyone you end up pleasing nobody because somewhere along the way there’s going to be some group of people that’s down on what you’re doing and that’s just part of the game.

0:44:05.1 Akira: So, yeah like my first reaction usually is just to like not pay attention to those sort of feedbacks you know it’s not very useful if somebody’s like[inaudible] whatever you’re doing that they have to voice it, it’s about them you know not so much about you and you have to make a call okay do I want these person in my tribe or not and if the answer is really like resounding in the yes then maybe there’s some room but you know most incase it’s not you know like it’s your company.

0:44:47.1 Lorna: That’s really great advice so let me ask you Akira, what is your life purpose and how are you fulfilling your life purpose right now?

0:44:56.2 Akira: (Laughs) It’s a heavy one but

0:45:03.4 Lorna: Oh no! it’s joyful and [inaudible](laughs) this isn’t have to be heavy.(laughs)

0:45:10.3 Akira: Right, My Life purpose is to be useful to people and this you know like as soon as I say that like my you know the other part of my brain goes like that’s me I mean that’s like you that’s what everybody wants to do, but helping others is a big part of my personality and a for me highlighting these sort of unheard voices is a really big theme I tended to leave in the margins of whatever, wherever I am you know. I grow up in Japan not really fitting in and wanting to get out. Once I got out I found out you know that my ways and to my culture made me in my minority anywhere I went and that I wouldn’t fit in anywhere else either and so I like to kind of poke around to that area and to find interesting voices on the highlight that and you know kind of that’s my theme that’s what I work on consistently be it on through my design work or through thee [inaudible] project that we’re doing or just talking to you.

0:46:40.0 Lorna: (Laughs) Well thank you so much for talking with me and sharing your stories with our audience how can we best in touch with you Akira?

0:46:47.7 Akira: We have a couple of mailing list, I don’t want to call it mailing list it’s a invitation to receive our e-letters every once in a while and though there’s one for design Kompany @designkompany.com that’s Komapny with the K and another @orangutanswing.com and if your a business person design Kompany is a good resource and orangutanswing focuses more on the social site and also the world travel side of things.

0:47:28.4 Lorna: So, what value, what would you be receiving if you signed up for the email list? What kinds of content do you share?

0:47:37.0 Akira: Stories, Tips but more than anything I want those places to be where you can share you’re stories with us and with the rest of the people as well I do a lot of like asking questions in my emails to people and highlighting the answers that I get with my commentaries and things like that, so that I’m trying to create conversations there, so if you are in to that sort of interaction this are great places to be I think.

0:48:08.8 Lorna: Fantastic, thank you so much.

0:48:10.7 Akira: Thank you!

[END OF RECORDING]

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