Build Your Brand

Build Your BrandCoca Cola, Nike, and Google. Have you heard of them?

Of course – because they are household ‘brands’!

When it comes to being creative, we often forget the significance of building a ‘brand’. After all, it’s a lot more fun to create a product or service that is fun, new and exciting rather than focusing on the “business end”. But your ‘brand’ is what sets you apart and gets you noticed. When you create your website, business, or just a personal following, it’s important to think about your ‘brand’ and the image you want to portray.

Consider these tips for branding that will help lead your creative career to greater heights of success:

  1. Become known for what you do. You ARE your brand when it comes to your online presence for creative individuals. People will associate you with your work and this is how they recognize your brand. Become known for delivering high quality, dependable, reliable, and friendly services or products. Make your brand count by living it every day!
  2. Own your space. That’s right. Don’t just create a website – OWN it! Make it yours by taking advantage of a domain name that is reflective of your business and that clearly says who you are and what you do. It can be your personal name or a catch word or phrase. Owning your name extends to social media too. Use the name throughout your online presence including Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. It’s quick and easy to create a Facebook page that says ‘facebook.com/8716283492384636’ – but that won’t work! Make it yours and customize the name as ‘facebook.com/YOURNAMEHERE’. Carry the brand name through all of your online sites for consistency and name recognition. Your brand will emerge stronger.
  3. Be unique. What separates you from others in this business? Why are you special? Why do people want to visit your sites? Maybe you offer a hard-to-find product, or perhaps you cater to the elite? Maybe you are offering unique services that are particularly affordable? Whatever sets you apart is important and it becomes a part of your brand.
  4. Focus, focus, focus. If you try to be everything to everyone, you are more likely to fail. Instead, consider your target audience and define your niche. Creative people often have a very clear niche and that helps drive visitors to your website and increases sales. Think about your target audience and then focus on them.
  5. You are not an expert in everything. Just like focusing on your product or service, you need to focus on what you do best for your business. As creatives, we often find ourselves bogged down in things we don’t like or don’t do well. Instead of trying to be everything to your business, tap into other resources. You may need to hire a bookkeeper or accountant to manage things for your business. It may be beneficial to hire someone to handle shipping so you can focus on creating. Figure out what you do best and what you need help with and then get organized with resources that help your business grow. This allows you to focus more closely on your brand image while others handle the details of running the business.
  6. Extend your brand beyond your business. Sound strange? Well, consider this. When people visit your website or business Facebook page, they become more interested in you. They may search for your personal Facebook page, Twitter account, or other online resources. If you are portraying a brand that is not consistent with your personal ‘brand’, it can create a chasm for potential customers and they are not willing to cross it. Make sure your personal and professional lives are in synch so your customers can trust what you say – ALL of the time!
  7. Keep your promises. Your brand is dependent on your ability to follow through and keep your promises. Make sure you focus on quality 100% of the time and deliver a product or service that people can depend on. Make promises that you can keep – and KEEP them 100% of the time! Consistency is the hallmark of success and people will associate quality, dependability, and satisfaction with your brand.
  8. Love your customers! Don’t just let customers know they are appreciated on your business page. Extend that appreciation throughout your daily actions and life. Have you ever seen someone complain about a customer on their Facebook page? That’s a total and complete no-no! NEVER post anything negative about your customers regardless of the situation. The customer is not always right, but the customer IS a major source of promotion and future sales for your business! Treat your customers fairly and respect them – it will go a long way in promoting your brand (even when the customer is wrong!).

Create a brand that makes a difference and continually refine and promote your brand. It’s one of the best investments you will make in your business and your future.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Day Rose. Print in photo courtesy of Lara Casey.

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