As a small business owner, blogger and freelancer, I know first-hand the importance of branding yourself and creating an authentic experience for your customers.
With so many of my readers running boutiques, blogs and what-not, I decided to launch a branding blog series with the hope of providing a practical and inspiration guide for anyone who has ever tried to distinguish themselves or their products/services from others. Nothing frustrates me more than discovering a great product with no branding strategy, and being a big supporter of small businesses, I wanted to share my slivers of knowledge that I've gathered during my time in the marketing and design industries.
Maybe you're operating a small online shop, selling handmade items on Etsy, blogging about your outfits, pitching your freelance services to clients – or maybe you're not doing any of these – chances are, if you're reading this article, you've run into the challenge of wanting to be perceived a certain way.
That is precisely where branding comes into play.
Branding is a way of packaging your most authentic self, your essence, core values, mission, aesthetic and how you want others to perceive you into one neat box, tied with a bow on top. An effective branding strategy allows you to shape and capitalize on how current and potential consumers open that metaphorical box.
Every time a consumer engages with your brand (i.e. visits your website, purchases your product, reads your blog, comes across your social media, etc.), he or she will experience your brand in a way that connects to their emotional needs and desires. As a result, effective branding builds customer loyalty and, in turn, drives growth (i.e. increased website traffic or sales, a growing clientele, increased engagement, etc.)
Most people mistakenly associate branding with a logo. Although a logo is a major part of communicating a company's story, establishing a strong brand encompasses so much more than simply slapping an aesthetically pleasing graphic on some business cards. The website, packaging, social media, all visual and verbal communications are also integral parts of your brand.
The process of branding yourself is a form of self-discovery, so to speak. Whether you're branding a company or establishing your personal brand, get started by answering the questions below:
- What is the mission behind what you do?
- What are some practical ways you can infuse this mission into all forms of visual and verbal communication?
- What are your strengths? What are the benefits and features of what you offer, whether it's products, services, or digital content?
- What emotional needs or desires does your work fulfill in current or potential consumers?
- What qualities and values do you want consumers to associate with you or your work?
I hope you'll tune in to the blog over the next few weeks as I delve into the various aspects of branding yourself, discuss the branding strategy behind FOXY OXIE and reveal some very exciting projects currently in the works!
If you have any branding- or business-related questions, ask away in the comment section, and I'll be sure to answer them in the upcoming posts!
Oh, and in case you're wondering, the photo in this article is of my very first branding project. I'll be sharing more of my work throughout the series and hope you'll join the discussion next time!