Branding your creative business is important. Last week we took a close look at what it means to be a brand. We identified important components of a brand message. If you missed that post or need a refresher, you can reread it here. This week we will investigate:
- personal branding vs. business branding
- the benefits of sharing YOU in your brand image
- how to create a consistent look across all your media channels (websites and social media platforms)
Personal Branding vs. Business Branding
In recent my recent posts Being YOU in Business and Maintaining a DIY Craft Blog, we established that you are your business. In other words, you are the brand. You may be thinking right now that you are a legitimate, established business with all proper papers filed, therefore you should be branding your business. Yes…and no. So, what is the difference then?
Think about a large corporation for a minute. Let's use Ford Motor Corporation. They are HUGE conglomerate with thousands of employees. If one of their dealerships, for example, is doing a spectacular job it reflects on the entire corporation. No one is thinking about Henry Ford, per se…they are only thinking about the brand. Then you have large corporations like Martha Stewart. She IS her brand. When something exciting happens around the Martha Stewart brand, you naturally think of Martha herself. It is this second type of branding…personal branding…that we are going to focus on today.
What is the benefit of personal branding?
There are benefits to branding yourself, especially for independent creative entrepreneurs. If you were to Google the benefits of personal branding, you will find all sorts of posts about it. I, however, am going to speak from a place of personal experience. I have a company name. It is even trademarked. I have used it for years, but I noticed…ohhhh, sometime last year that no one in my industry recognizes me by my company name, but they know exactly who I am. It was around that time that I completely rebranded. I did not change my brand message. I did change who was delivering that message. Now it comes from me. Why? Because I realized that I was the brand.
So the benefits of personal branding for me are as follows:
- I am recognizable in my niche.
- I am establishing myself as the expert and authority in my niche.
- I can put my own personal flair into how I deliver my brand, me!
How do I look?
In addition to a clear brand message, having a consistent look is also important. As business owners, we all use several different avenues to reach potential clients and deliver our message. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus (and more) are platforms where we have an opportunity to deliver a uniform look to our audience….which for creative businesses is our own unique style. Think about your own artwork for a minute. Are people who are familiar with your art able to pick a piece you've designed from the crowd? Many times, yes! How your brand looks…and having cohesion…is just as important. This is how people recognize you.
Some of us have logos, avatars and slogans that we are already using in our business. However, I cannot tell you how many times I have visited someone's blog then followed their social media links to find that each one looks different. Their pictures are all different or sometimes there is no photograph of them at all…just a photo of a random piece of art or their logo. Additionally, and more horrifying if you ask me, is the fact that sometimes when I visit a blog I can't even identify WHO the artist is in the first place! There is no picture of a human face, no name or about page…just a company name that means nothing at all to someone who is looking at it. Remember this fact as we move forward here….people connect with people…not with businesses! You are your brand…show yourself! (steps down off soap box)
I am not against logos at all. There are a lot of awesome logos out there! Some of them have even been designed by my colleagues. That's fantastic! I am saying, incorporate your logo where it is most appropriate. That means, if you are an independent like myself, you should have a picture of a human, not your logo, on your profiles. I am less likely to click away if I feel I am connecting with a person.
Here are some tips to help you with being consistent across the web and with your physical marketing materials:
- Post a photograph of yourself in the sidebar of your blog (or on your About page) and on your social media profiles.
- Create a Gravatar.com account with the same picture so that when you are commenting on other's blogs, your photo will appear.
- Be consistent with colors. Whenever possible, use your colors from your logo and that are on your blog. Some places to make sure you are using those colors: all your social networks, business cards, flyers, invoices, brochures, posters, opt-in offers, etc.
- Know the codes for your colors. If you do your own graphics or hire someone else, knowing the Hex, RGB and CMYK for your colors will help with uniformity and save time overall.
- Always fill out the "About" section on any profiles you have across the web. Use the same description on your social networks unless there is a character limit, as on Twitter.
That's all for today, my friends! Next week will be Part Three where will will talk about how to deliver your brand message. Hope you have enjoyed and I cannot wait to read your responses.