In the creative world the word Branding has been tossed to and fro and far too many people don’t fully understand what branding is nor do they understand its importance. Most people believe that branding is having a logo, business cards, and a website. While these are a part of your brand, branding far more extends further than just a logo, business cards, and your website. Your brand should include every single aspect of your business – from your logo to your social media to how you engage with your audience and customers.
Your brand as a creative is what makes you different than your fellow creatives whether as a blogger or entrepreneur. Your brand is what you offer your audience that consistently draws them to you vs your competition. When branding yourself, the important question to always ask is “what makes me unique”? or “what am I bringing to the table that is different than my competitor”?
When you think about it, there is no shortage of web designers, make-up artists, lifestyle bloggers, travel bloggers and the list goes on. But if you take the time to study each creative you follow on social, you will notice that they are all different in the way they serve their audiences. Whether it’s their style, their content or the way they represent themselves that makes them attractive to you – that is what branding does for you. My friend Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon said it best when he said: “Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. At the end of the day, your brand isn’t as much as what you say it is rather what your audience says it is. So beyond your beautifully curated social media feed, well-designed website, logo, and business card – what are people saying about you? What impact do you have on others that makes you stand out from the crowd? Being able to answer these simple yet complex questions is what separates strong brands from weak brands.
Because social media isn’t going anywhere and there will continue to be an influx of bloggers and other creatives – it is important to distinguish your brand from others. Here are 5 simple ways you can grow your brand today.
1. Be authentic
Most people can smell fakes and phonies from a mile away. By putting yourself on social, there’s an expectation from your audience that they will know you. The real you. Being authentic is what will separate you from other creatives. Your audience understands that you are human so rather than constantly posting perfectly curated posts that only shows how perfect you are because after all you woke up like that…or did you? How about occasionally taking your audience with you in your messy work area, in the morning while you’re fixing your face or at night while making dinner etc. The point is to not try to portray this perfect persona that makes you different than the real you. Don’t be afraid to be who you are and to show your audience that you are just a gal and guy like them.
2. Be relatable
There is nothing that annoys me like seeing a perfectly curated feed on social and not relate to the person behind it. Most people genuinely want to follow you and engage with you – but the question is how relatable are you? Can Jane Smith follow you on social and see a piece of her life thru your lens? Can she find herself as she’s reading your posts? One thing that I have purposed to do to grow my brand is to not only be authentic but also relatable in the way I share content. My posts are filled with real-life stories and issues I go through as a creative entrepreneur, daughter, sister, friend and soon to be newlywed. I share from a place of what I have been through and often what I am going through. Sharing my truths with my audience helps humanize my brand which helps them relate to me and build trust with me. If your audience can’t trust you, they won’t buy from you. Now the question is, are you building a trustworthy brand?
3. Be Consistent
Consistency is king. I have heard this phrase over and over again in the creative world and can attest to it. Because there are so many creatives, the thing that will differentiate you from others is your consistency. From the moment I decided to become a creative entrepreneur, I have witnessed a number of friends, acquaintances and other social media friends launch their blogs or businesses. One thing I have noticed between those that have grown in the course of a year and those that have remained stagnant is how consistent they are. Those that have remained consistent have grown tremendously, I noticed their confidence level ride and their blogs and businesses boom. However, those that only feel like showing up to their audience when they feel like it, have barely made any stride. I made a commitment to myself to show up for my audience when I feel like it and especially when I don’t feel like it because I understand that my feelings don’t care about my goals or my brand. Because of that, every day I make a conscious effort to show up and the rewards have been more than what I imagined when I decided to start
Related: How to stay motivated to blog consistently
4. Be Valuable
To get better at branding yourself, you have to provide value to your audience. As a brand strategist, I make sure the content I put out for my audience is practical and valuable to them. Sharing tips and stories about how they can grow and improve their brand is what distinguishes me from others who may be in the same field. To be valuable, you first have to understand your audience’s pain points. What are their biggest struggles? How can you help them grow? Being able to answer these questions with your content and your voice makes your brand stand out. The value you provide will then help you to position yourself at the subject matter expert in your field and before you know you will become the go-to person because you consistently offer value to your audience.
Related: What you need to know as an entrepreneur
In essence, your brand determines your growth. As you look at your brand today, Is the content you are putting out a true reflection of your brand? Remember that before people engage or decide to do business with you, they Google your brand, look at your logo, website, the content you create – they even ask others about their experience with you. It’s important to evaluate your brand from the audience’s perspective and make changes accordingly if you must because your brand exists to serve them. If you’re still struggling in defining your brand, my 90 days sprint program will walk you through the process of discovering your niche, using your voice and branding yourself in a way that resonates and impacts your audience.