Ep 121 Featured Image Podcast

Know Your Story – Jon Ritt – Ep 121

February 14, 2024


Jon Ritt is a close friend, artist, designer, and next-level storyteller who helps brands identify their core principles and brings them to life. Jon takes the fundamentals he learned as a painter and applies them to how he works as a designer. He helps brands sculpt their identity in visual form.

In this conversation, we dive into gaining clarity around your “why,” why knowing yourself is the most important first step in creative endeavors, and how branding is your company’s identity. Your perspective on branding will never be the same.

Listen if you are interested in…

  • Jon shares his love for art and design [2:56]
  • How Jon helps brands sculpt their identity in visual form [15:09]
  • Breadcrumbs: Gaining clarity around your “why” [19:40]
  • Is honing in on your style what matters? [32:20]
  • A conversation on Tesla design; brand equity [40:36]
  • How Jon shifts perspectives about branding [43:35]
  • What Jon does that contributes to his purpose [50:57]

Breadcrumbs: Gaining clarity around your “why”

Jon aptly points out that “You don’t brand a product; you brand the metaproduct. You don’t brand the feature; you brand the benefit.” Airbnb doesn’t sell a low-cost experience that’s cheaper than a hotel; they sell an immersive experience. Nike doesn’t sell shoes; they sell human potential.

Jon helped an accountant build his brand. When meeting someone, instead of saying “I’m an accountant, he says “I help people sleep at night.” He advises people on money and helps them set a course to live their best life. Jon helped someone with a “boring” profession as an accountant become someone who people want to have a deeper conversation with.

How you present your work to the world should align with what you’re trying to do. Jon used to use a three-step process to help businesses with branding. It was knowing your audience, articulating your purpose, and expressing your brand. But he realized a critical first step was missing: Knowing yourself.

How Jon helps brands sculpt their identity in visual form

Jon talks about how having a distinctive brand character is a competitive advantage. It’s about being interesting, magnetic, and distinctive. People are drawn to brands because they feel connected to them.

When Jon started working with Brita®, he told them, “I think it’s time to refresh your identity.” Someone on the marketing team asked, “You mean change our blue?”

Your brand is your story; it’s who you are. It isn’t just the color you’ve chosen for your logo. You build a brand’s story from the inside out, starting with its purpose. So Jon brought the entire team—from marketers to salespeople—together in the same room to talk about water.

He asked questions like, “What is Brita® today? What do they stand for? What does clean water mean for your life? What does water make you think of?”

You have to articulate the value you bring to someone’s life. Everything else flows from that. It was only then that they shifted to talking about their long-term purpose. The foundation of strategy is who you are, what you’re telling people, and understanding your audience.

Is honing in on your style what matters?

Jon had a friend working on a big ski resort who sent him three possible agencies to work with. They’d all done beautiful work. Their style was flawless but Jon noticed something important missing: They lacked character.

Style can be unrefined and naive—some would say unskilled—but the artist can lean into it. Let your style be you. You feel more at home when you’re making your marks. Anyone can train their hand and eye for a certain style. You can teach yourself how to render. But it will never be your style.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jon Ritt

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Nicholas Wilton

Hi! I’m
Nicholas Wilton
the founder of Art2Life.

With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.

Join me and artists from all over the world in our Free Art2Life Artists Facebook Group or learn more here about Art2Life.

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