As a new small business owner-and, especially as a creative entrepreneur-we, see a lot of talk about branding. There are thousands of how-tos and blog posts on “creating a brand” that talks all about logos and brand colors and font consistency. I’ve watched webinars dedicated to this topic and they all say the same things: your brand needs to be visually consistent so potential clients can recognize you in the crowd of social media. I believed, like many, that this was the definition of a brand…until I actually took a no shit marketing class (you know, like at a college).
Okay, so are you ready for this knowledge bomb? Here it is:
A brand is not made, it’s built.
Whoo! 🤯 So here’s the deal, the reason you don’t have a brand when you first start out isn’t that you don’t have a color scheme or a logo or a catchy tagline: it’s because a brand evolves over time. As we work in our business and build it up, we build our brand.
Our brand is more than colors and phrases and products. Our brand is our business’s identity and personality. Think of it this way: if your business was a person, how would you describe her/him? Is he super friendly, funny and treats everyone like a best friend? Is she a no-nonsense, clean-cut, power suit kinda girl? Is she a free-thinking bohemian who loves bright, vibrant colors and patterns? Is he a minimal master who works from a portal standing desk because it’s more efficient?
I know this can sound weird, but for those in the beginning stages of creating a business, giving your business an identity can help you decide what you want your brand to look like over time. This can give you clarity on many aspects of your business, from color schemes to how you interact with clients, if/who you affiliate or partner with, working hours, travel, etc.
You can take this exercise as far as you want. Some will write it down, get the clarity and move on; others will keep this in a folder to pull out when they need to make decisions for their business. Some may not feel this a huge deal or this exercise is silly; others may create an entire avatar that lives in the back of their mind and has its own opinions. However you decide to do it, keep in mind your business, like you, will change and develop over time, you’ll probably need to set time aside at least yearly to revise your vision.
To make it easier, I made this free printable to walk you through the steps and get crystal clear on the brand to want to build.