Beyonce’s showmanship. Lil B’s swag. Lady Gaga’s style. RuPaul’s uniqueness. To some, entertainers have become so synonymous with certain characteristics that they are the measurement to which others are judged. But these associations didn’t happen by accident.
Entertainers carefully craft a brand and an image. Once established, they build on the basic concept. While entertainers such as Madonna built a brand based around reinvention, she never veers too far from what fans love about her.
While creative business owners may not be packing arenas, they are definitely looking to develop a strong brand identity. The idea is that someone should be able to look at a photo or a constructed piece and associate it with your brand without being told you’re the one that made it.
Here are a few tips for identifying and developing brand identity:
Even if you have an awesome idea for a creative business, putting a product out without considering branding elements may hurt the product’s reception. Consider what you want to be known for and how you can get that message out to potential customers.
Keep the Audience in Mind
Speaking of customers, you won’t have any if you don’t first think about who might want to buy this product. The brand identity should be tailored to this audience. Talk to friends or colleagues who you think fit the bill and ask for feedback on things such as logos, design, and the product itself.
Don’t Limit Yourself
While you may think you’ve created the next big trend for fashion-forward, 30-something women, you may also be appealing to 20-something drag queens. While you shouldn’t force an audience for your product, you should be open to the fact that this audience may not match your original idea. This doesn’t mean you need to change your brand, but rather that your brand has a wider range than originally thought.
Whether you want to be known for your wacky styling or your sleek lines and edges, don’t change it. Consistency is what helps build your brand. Carry this brand across platforms. The tone used on social media also contributes to brand identity. Don’t act all sassy on Twitter and refined on your website. Find what works for you; figure out how to do it well and do it over and over and over again.
You may have a friend who has the best gossip or tells the funniest jokes, but that doesn’t necessarily make them an ideal collaborator. While you may enjoy spending time with them, the communication styles required for hanging out differ from those required to make tough decisions about things such as finance, branding and marketing. You not only have to get along but you have to be brand cohesive. When collaborating, make sure you are willing to risk someone else’s brand being mistaken for yours. Don’t sacrifice your brand to help a friend.
A brand is difficult to build and easy to destroy. It requires trust from your audience. Remember to stay true to the brand and, when necessary, make small, comfortable changes so that your fans can still trust you to bring them the product they love.