Your Brand is Your Lifeline
Do any of these circumstances ring true?
You’re meeting an agent, pitching a project or meeting a potential collaborator. They smile at you and say, “Tell me about yourself,” and you babble on about God knows what or just draw a blank.
Or, you go to update your Instagram bio, to more accurately tell the world who you are and what you do. You end up wasting way too much time and come up with some sort of sarcastic, potentially self deprecating version of what you’d really like to say.
Or, you lie in bed and have a sudden existential crisis as it dawns on you that there are thousands of talented people in your field competing for their livelihood, too, and you’re just one of the nameless masses with seemingly nothing unique to offer.
I’ve been there! Trust me. And the remedy? Nail down your brand.
A brand is a unique story about yourself and your product that must be consistent throughout all of your marketing efforts. It is the foundation of any and all messaging around your product, whether you are building a visual identity for your website or simply talking to someone about what you do.
Your brand should be organic, created through diligent self-reflection and market feedback. A well-built brand is complex and unique, and isn’t reflected anywhere else in your market. Most importantly, it’s a story that exists outside of yourself. Although many of our clients find it difficult to market themselves, we remind them that just as they are not their business, they are not their brand. Built from the inside out, it eventually becomes something larger than them and therefore something they can market effectively.
So, how exactly does one build a brand? Well, there are two specific elements to consider:
Unique Values: These are specifically what makes you uniquely good at what you do. Be confident, get personal and be incredibly specific. What valuable assets do you uniquely bring to the table? Do you have world class training? Are you immensely empathetic because of a challenging past? Do you thrive on being independent or having a wicked sense of humor? Can you churn out content faster than anyone you know? What makes your product special?
Descriptive Traits: These tend to be a bit more surface level and, depending on your art, may even describe pieces of your personality. Either way, they’re incredibly important when it comes to building a brand story as they take your unique values and give you (and us!) context for what we could experience. Is your work evocative, dangerous, hilarious, intense? Are you boisterous, aggressive, goofy, swarthy, shy?
However, it is not enough to consider these elements from just your lens. Remember, a brand is complex and well rounded and must therefore be created using three different perspectives: who you are, how others view you, and who you want to be.
So, once you get clear about what you believe your Unique Values and Descriptive Traits are, reach out to trusted colleagues and get their opinions on these two elements.
Oftentimes, there will be some differing ideas…great!! That’s the beginning of a complex brand!
Finally, consider how you wish to be viewed in your industry. What niche and market need do you hope to fill? Incorporate those into your unique values and descriptive traits.
Now you have the raw materials needed to build a brand. You can use your greatest asset, your creativity, and use this data to create a wholly unique and true story about yourself. A story you believe in and will therefore market without any hesitancy or shame.
A brand is so much more than a “type” or a color scheme, it’s more like a North Star. Use it as a guide.