As creatives with personal brands, it can be tempting to think, “well my brand is just me, I don’t need to do anything about it.” But intentional branding has the power to change everything.
This week I’m giving you the 10 reasons why branding is important for creatives.
A couple of weeks ago I was talking to you about what the heck branding is and giving you some clarification about different terms around branding, and today I want to talk to you about what the point of focusing on branding is.
What is it going to do for you as a creative entrepreneur if you spend some time working on, developing, and evolving your brand so that you can grow your business?
There are ten reasons that I think branding is important for you as a creative, so let’s dive in.
As a creative, I know that you are super passionate about what you do and you have incredible talent, but if you don’t have a great brand that goes along with that, people are missing out on the best version of you.
If you have an average brand that people don’t connect with, that’s confusing, or that’s all over the show, it’s going to take away from how amazing your work is. You’re missing out on the opportunity to reach more people and share your work with more of the world.
But having a brand that represents you in the best way possible allows people to connect with you, shows them the best side of you, and lets them see you as a professional, badass creative.
This is why you should focus on branding – you want to put your best foot forward and give yourself the best opportunity to grow your business and your audience.
If your audience sees a really fun, vibrant, engaging brand when they first encounter you, they know that when they buy your product or engage in your services, that’s what they can expect too. They’re going to expect a fun experience that’s really vibrant, and that you’ll be excited and bubbly to work with.
Having a brand that sets clear expectations tells people what working with you or buying your products is going to be like.
But if you don’t have a brand that does that, then those expectations are going to be confusing. For example, a customer might be excited for a super fun, bubbly, vibrant experience based on your brand, but then work with you and find out that you’re actually a lot more serious, focused, soulful, and deep. In this case the expectations won’t match and the experience can be disappointing or confusing.
Having a brand that represents your personality well and is clear on those expectations is going to be a much better experience for your customers because they’ll go from experiencing your brand online and then meeting you or buying your products and having the same experience. This will be really smooth, cohesive, and match what you and your products or your services are like in real life.
When you have a beautiful, intentional, thoughtful brand that’s done well, wow do you stand out. There are a lot of really average (some quite bad!!) brands out there, so when yours is done well, you are leaps and bounds ahead of the others.
If you have a product that you’re selling at a market – let’s say you’re selling prints – and your stall is so beautiful, intentional, and well-thought out, people will flock to you because you’ll stand out.
Or if you’re selling your services on social media and people see your eye-catching posts, you’ll get them to stop scrolling, pause on your content, hit like, maybe comment, and start engaging with you.
You’re going to capture people’s attention, and this is branding.
This is really important – you want people to recognise your brand, and it actually takes up to seven times for someone to do that.
Having a brand that’s consistent, cohesive, and well thought-through means that in all of those seven moments that they engage with your brand, they’ll come to recognise your brand.
Things like your profile picture, logo, patterns, colours, fonts, and all of the other brand elements that you’re using all play into people remembering who you are. They spot your face or your logo or something and know “that’s Hollie – I can tell that it’s her, I recognise her, I’ve seen her before,” and your brand will stick in their mind.
This is what you want, for people to recognise and remember who you are. And they should be able to do that without even seeing a logo. They should be able to tell from the feel and the general vibe of what you’re putting out, there that it’s yours.
I don’t really use my logo at all on social media, but people always say “I saw that post and I knew it was you because of how it felt, how you spoke in the caption, the colours that you used (usually my bright orange is what captures people’s attention.) They know that it’s me and can spot my work from a mile away.
This is what branding does.
If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you. — Zig Ziglar
There’s a well-known strategy in the marketing industry that says that in order for people to purchase from you or engage in your services,, they need to know, like, and trust you.
They need to go through this process of knowing you, then liking you, and then finally, trusting you. And branding is a great way to establish trust because if they know exactly who you are, can depend on you for what it is that you provide, and know that you’re going to show up in a certain way, they will come to trust you, your products and services, and who you are as a person when they connect with you and your brand.
And trust is exactly what you need to get people to engage with you more, buy your products and book your services, so setting up a brand that is consistent and cohesive is going to help you to build that trust with your audience.
You’ll often hear people saying that branding is all about the customer and making them happy, but I actually think branding has a lot to do with you, how you feel, and how you run your business. Because when you have a brand that’s representative of you, your mission, and everything that you’re passionate about, and it feels like you, you are going to feel SO confident. You’ll have so much clarity about what you’re doing, where you’re going, and who you’re talking to because you have an awesome brand strategy (hopefully!)
But then with a visual identity and everything else that comes with creating a brand, you are going to feel on top of the world. And this is what you need to feel to create an awesome business! If you’re worried about handing out your business cards or sending people to your website because it doesn’t feel right, you’re ashamed of it, and it doesn’t represent you or say what you want it to say, that’s going to hold you back. That’s the worst thing to feel about your business. Instead, you should feel on top of the world, proud of your brand, and ready to shout about your business from the freaking rooftops because it’s so good, looks so good, and you can’t wait to share it with people. That is what you should feel.
When we work on your brand and spend that time getting clarity, infusing it into things that your audience can engage and with, then you are going to feel that confidence that is so powerful.
Branding is less about what you sell – that’s still really important – but it’s more about why you sell it, how you’re selling it, and who you’re selling it to. This is what takes you to the next level.
Instead of someone thinking, “that person sells earrings,” what branding does is take you above and beyond that to a place where people recognise you for the things that are important to you. They might instead say, “ I love that brand so much because they make their earrings out of recycled materials, they’re really passionate about sustainability which is important to me too, and they give back to a charity and raise money for environmental issues, so I connect with their vision, I respect that, and that’s what brings me back again and again.”
This is what branding does – it helps people to see beyond just what products you sell.
You could start selling earrings and then start also selling necklaces, and then jewelry stands – it doesn’t actually matter what you sell, because when you build a brand it helps you to go beyond that. This means that when you do add different products or services, your audience is connected with you and your mission, so you can keep those clients and customers.
Let’s keep the earring analogy going – you might be one of a million people making handmade earrings, but branding helps you to stand out so that among those million people, you are unique.
I have some handmade earrings, and I could have gotten earrings from anyone, but I chose the ones I did because I connected with the person and their brand online. I enjoyed what they were all about, liked seeing their Instagram stories, and engaged with them. They stood out among all the earring brands that were pretty similar, and I knew that they were the brand I wanted to buy from.
I was a graphic designer and there are definitely millions of us so I had to figure out a way to stand out. How I did that was defining my niche and the audience I wanted to talk to, and the colours that I used. I’ve talked a lot about my brand colour, orange, but that’s one way that my brand stands out because not a lot of other designers use orange as their brand colour.
Thinking about this and being intentional about it helps you to stand out.
As people get to know, like and trust you, they become loyal to you and your brand. This is so important – this is how you get repeat customers and referrals. Having a really thoughtful, cohesive, and consistent brand that people can connect with on a regular basis, knowing that every time they come back it’s going to be the same great experience time and time again and they can confidently send referrals your way, this will help to build that loyalty.
If you have a brand that’s all over the place and hasn’t been thought through at all, people aren’t going to come back.
But a meaningful brand with a powerful mission that people can connect with will mean that people will come back to you and be loyal to you over those without a clear purpose.
Often as creatives, we start doing things as hobbies just because we love to do them – I’m a hand-lettering artist outside of my business and I just started doing it because I loved it, enjoyed doing it, and was so passionate about, and then over time it grew and I wanted to keep doing it but I didn’t have the brand behind it that would enable it to keep going.
When you want to take your business to the next level, you really need a professional, cohesive, and consistent brand that will allow you to do that.
I had a past client who was a writer who had a newsletter series, a blog, and was writing a book, all of which were separate brands that grew from starting things she loved and was passionate about. But then she reached a point where she realized that she wanted to pitch her book to publishers and pitch herself as a writer, author, and storyteller, so she needed a professional, thought-through brand that made her feel professional, confident, and like she could be in those big leagues.
That might be you. You might be someone who has started hand lettering for example as a hobby that was something you love and now its grown and you want to get your art into galleries, sell your prints in local stores, or pitch to companies to sponsor you or do collaborations. Whatever it is that you want to do to take your business to the next level, branding will help you do that.
It will elevate you, show that you’re serious about what you’re doing, present you as a recognisable, trusted expert who is known for what they do.