Reading Time: 21 minutes
Some time ago I did a little poll on my Instagram stories and asked what topics people would like me to cover on my blog, and I was quite surprised to see how often branding & visual identity were mentioned. Before we get started, bear in mind that figuring out your brand requires a fair bit of time, research and deep thinking, and that it won’t happen overnight. You might even be wondering whether you need to be thinking about branding at all! But I really believe that in the long term it’ll be hugely beneficial to you and your creative venture, so here are a few tips and tools to help you get started.
Brand identity is a lot more than just a fancy logo, pretty colour palettes and a neat style guide. It’s the way your brand looks, feels and speaks to your audience, not just visually, but also in the way you communicate. It’s how you present yourself to, interact with and want to be perceived by your audience and/or your customers.
Honestly? For the longest time, I didn’t think I needed any of this. I’m a photographer, so the only thing I really need is for my photos to be consistent, right?! Besides, who am I to think of myself as a brand? I’m just one person with a camera. Here’s the thing though: in order to stand out among the sea of small businesses and creatives who put out similar content, services and products, you need to cultivate emotional connection, and people are more likely to trust and be loyal to brands who appear to know who they are. Good branding won’t make people magically appear and buy into what you have to say or sell, and it won’t replace networking, pitching or putting yourself out there, but it’ll help you get recognised and remembered.
Besides… putting aside all thoughts about marketing, engagement and ideal customer, I’ve found it incredibly helpful to have a clear vision for what I do and a good idea of what my brand identity is, because like many people I’m prone to self-doubt, impostor syndrome, feeling like I’m never going to be good enough, wondering whether I should just pack it in and get a 9-5. But having done all the hard work and worked out why I do what I do and who I do it for, every time I feel those negative, nagging, nasty thoughts creep in, I can go “Hang on a minute. No. This is really important to me and I’m not letting it go”, which helps see things more objectively and work through them.
So… where do we start?