You may have heard or read about self branding before, but what exactly is it and what’s so important about it?
Branding as a whole is your entire identity as a business, the personality that portrays what you do and how you do it, and should exude the quality or emotion you want to be remembered for. If you’re a business owner or graphic designer, you should know this. Unfortunately many freelancers, entrepreneurs, and business owners either don’t know how important self branding is, or don’t do anything about it because they don’t know how to or where to start. This is a serious issue, especially for startups and small businesses.
The Most Common Problem With Branding
Let’s start from the roots here. You’ve got a logo, business cards, and other stationary that’s brand consistent, it’s well designed and you’re really happy with them. Your website has been freshly redesigned to be mobile responsive, and everyone you’ve shown it to compliments it, but you’re just not having as much success at pulling in new clients or prospects as you first thought you would, or clients and prospects seem to ask a lot of questions that may have obvious answers to you as a business owner. Ask yourself this; “Does my branding reflect what I/we do as a whole and who I/we are?.” Think long and hard about this and be brutally honest with yourself. If the answer is no, then your branding is likely inconsistent and a poor reflection of what your business model is, what you do, and how you do it. This is one of the most common mistakes people make when branding themselves. Business owners tend to lean heavily toward the most visually appealing design, not the best reflection of their business in their branding or logo design. However, it’s not really their fault. As a graphic designer, it’s our duty to capture the personality of a business or brand, then graphically represent it according to a brief of the client’s wishes. It’s our job as designers to educate our clients on why one concept of their logo may be a better selection than another, or why one color was used to compliment another etc… Remember that not all business owners are graphic designers, and vice versa.
Focus Your Brand On What You Want To Be Known For
Seems pretty simple right? Let’s say you’re a graphic designer, designing all things from T-shirts graphics to social media icons and user interfaces. Which of those types of projects would you rather be known for? Are there any specific kind of projects you’d rather take on and be known for designing? I personally love creating brand identities and marketing materials for print (logos, business cards, letterheads and other artwork that businesses use for branding). These are the kind of projects I like working on the most, and subsiqently like to showcase in my design portfolio. If there’s a certain neiche you specalize in then stick with it. Stay consistant with the types of clients or business you want to attract and inject that into your brand.
Consistency is Key
Consistency in your branding is vitally important for three main reasons.
- Consistency establishes and builds a dominance over less consistent and lesser known brands and businesses.
- Consistency puts your identity on everything you do and keeps you in the front of peoples minds.
- Consistency builds trust and makes you or your business more memorable.
These might seem like pretty obvious reasons to have when creating and maintain a consistent brand, but think about it a little deeper. Do you use the same fonts or typeface in all of your marketing materials? Do you have a specific day that you manage social media accounts and reply to questions and emails? If you use promotional mail-outs, is there a brand guideline you should follow? Come to think of it, do you have your own brand guideline, and if you don’t, why not? Look at some of your favorite brands, what are they doing continuously? Their logo is everywhere right? Yours should be too. Put your logo and business colors on everything. If they’re not on your social media, maybe you should think about hiring professional help to assist in your branding consistency and create the social media covers and profile pictures for you. If you’re a graphic designer, you can do it yourself!
Up your Branding Game and stand out by staying consistent. I personally know, it’s hard to be consistent with social media. I don’t always publish a lot of content to share, but when I do publish a new post, or find something worth sharing, I plaster it all over my social media accounts. You can automate your social accounts like twitter with something like socialoomph, or use Klout to help find content that your followers will enjoy and schedule posts or anything else you’d want to share.