Creating a personal brand for your creative business is essential. Your personal brand helps differentiate you from the competition by showing the unique things that you offer. It tells people who you are and the value you bring. People remember you before they remember your products or services. No matter what your particular goal is, your personal brand has a huge impact on whether or not people want to buy from or work with you. This applies to anyone not just million dollar businesses, so whether you’re a photographer, writer or an artist, your branding will make a difference in your business.
Developing a strong personal brand brings huge advantages to your business. But it also helps build your confidence in your own work as you focus on what you do well and how you can help your customers.
The whole idea of developing a personal brand is uncomfortable for many people. If this is you, then be honest with yourself about how you feel.
- Is it a big ego trip?
- Will you become an unbearable self-promoter?
If any of these statements resonate with you, you need a mindset change to see the positive impact you can have.
What is a Personal Brand?
A personal brand is essential for solopreneurs where personal interaction with customers is key; like an artist or writer who is directly tied to the work they sell.
Here are the key characteristics of a personal brand.
Your brand is successful if it is:
- Consistent – Communicate the same message across all platforms
- Clear – Express your message consistently
- Unique – Explain the value you offer which makes you different
- Memorable – Use wording and images that stand out, but are easy to remember
- Personal – Show your authentic self
Review Your Brand
Whether you are aware of it or not, you already have a personal brand. It’s how you present yourself online and in person.
Conduct a brand review to see if your current brand exhibits the five characteristics above. Look at all the branding elements you already have in place: your website, blog posts, social media accounts…
Even if these aren’t focused on your personal brand (yet), think about how they match up.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How consistent is my branding?
- How clear is my branding for people new to me?
- How unique is my branding?
- How memorable is my branding?
- How personal is my branding?
Ask someone you know to answer these questions too, and then compare your results. From completing this branding review, you’ll see what needs to change.
Identify Your Strengths
Many people struggle to identify their strengths and expertise. Here’s an exercise to help you with this.
Brainstorm and list:
- What you’re really great at
- What do you struggle with
Now you want to get another point of view. Create a short survey to send to your best customers or call some of them to ask their opinion.
Ask them these questions:
- What they value in you
- What they see as your strengths
- What they see as your strongest skills or expertise
- Why they enjoy working with you
Putting the two viewpoints together will give you a better idea of what to include in your branding.
What Do You Want to Be Known For
Your personal brand is all about who you are and want you want to be known for in your field.
People with strong personal brands are noticed because they share their passion for what they do. This passion comes from within and is usually connected to their strengths and expertise.
Ask yourself what you want to be the go-to person for in your industry? Choose the areas of your expertise to help you stand out.
What Type of Look Do You Want for Your Brand Style
You need to create a cohesive look to your brand to make you memorable as well as professional. This encompasses the colors and images you use, your logo design, fonts, social media images, infographics, and more.
You can do some or all of the brand design work yourself, depending on how skilled you are. There are a variety free and paid graphic design tools to help you create cost-effective and easy graphics including PicMonkey and Canva. You can also try a more advanced set of programs like Adobe Creative Cloud. Using your own quality photos is always a good idea otherwise there are some excellent stock photo sites.
Your visuals will be used on everything you create to promote your brand, including your website, logo, marketing materials, etc. Consistency across all these channels will help reinforce your personal brand.
You may have specific ideas about the colors and fonts you want to use, or you may not know where to start. The colors, fonts, images… you choose should reflect your personal style, since this is your personal brand after all.
Are you fun and quirky? Serious? Feminine? Bright and bold? Soft and subdued?
Here are some ways to get inspiration:
- Create a vision board. What images did you use? What color palette? What words did you add? Does it give you an idea about how you want your brand to look and feel?
- Do some research online to see the different styles that others have.
You want your brand’s design to be clear, uncluttered, and professional.
At this stage, you need to choose:
- Color palette
- Visual Style
Once you have made these choices a Brand Style Guide should be created. This is used as a set of rules that you or others who work on your brand follow to make sure everything you create is consistent.
If you aren’t completely confident in your design skills, you can outsource the work to a brand designer who has experience and training in this area.
These are just some of the areas need to create a consistent brand.