Think branding is only for big businesses? Think again. Many freelancers think their operation is too small for big things like branding and logos.
However, any business big or small can use branding to further their reach and influence in the industry they work in.
What is branding?
First of all, what exactly is branding? Is it just creating a logo and throwing it on a t-shirt?
Branding is the process of creating a unique name and image for a business or product by using consistency to stay in the mind of the consumer.
This is usually done through advertising campaigns but branding should be considered at every step of your business, from your logo, to your website design, your social media presence and how you engage with people online.
Why branding is important
Branding can help you become more recognisable and memorable. This can help give your marketing efforts a boost by increasing traffic and therefore helping you get more custom.
Think of a car manufacturer, think of a soft drinks company. The chances are one or two names and logos will immediately pop into your head. That’s because they’ve established their brand in a way that’s consistent, instantly memorable and familiar.
People will always buy from brands they’re more familiar with.
Freelancers who have a strong brand are seen as more professional straight away. One thing freelancers often struggle with is that clients don’t take them seriously, usually in the form of gracing them with free work or trying to get out of paying a full fee.
Unfortunately, some people don’t see freelancers as what they are: small business owners. Branding can help to establish yourself as not “just” a freelancer, but as a brand and a business.
A strong personal brand can go a long way to make clients trust you as a professional. Clients are often more likely to trust big, well-established businesses over one-man or woman bands for the same reasons outlined in the point above. Emulating some of the techniques that bigger businesses use, like strong branding, can help you become a name that clients trust.
Show off your personality
Branding can also be a great way to present your personality and uniqueness to your clients. We don’t mean you should hide behind a brand, quite the opposite.
Many freelancers use bright colours in their logos, chatty copy, no-nonsense tones or even swear words because that’s who they are and what makes them different. How are you presenting yourself?
How to build a brand
Many freelancers feel that a logo is probably overkill but it doesn’t have to be a fancy graphic trying to be the next Coca Cola. It can simply be your name or the name you trade under in a certain style and colour. That’s as simple as it needs to be.
Many freelancers design their own which, depending on your skill, can be a good way to save money. If you don’t feel comfortable designing it, you might want to hire another freelancer to create one for you.
Try to pick a colour that reflects your personality and the industry you work in if possible. For example, people working in healthcare often go for soft blues or greens because of the calming effect those colours have.
The way you lay out and design your website is a reflection of you and your brand. If your website has clunky navigation or unclear copy, clients are going to get the wrong idea about your brand. You need to treat your website like your storefront, if people don’t like what they see, they’ll go elsewhere quickly.
If you’re using a Gmail account for your business dealings, that’s fine for the beginning but you can go one step further and get your own email address. Having your own, personalised email address is much more professional and shows clients that you’re running a serious business.
Let your website copy reflect your personality. There’s no need to write in stiff, formal prose unless that suits the industry you work in. Most people prefer a conversational style as it feels more natural and helps to build trust.
Branding can give your website the boost it needs to propel it from just another freelancing site to a well-established small business website. Whichever direction or design you choose, try to be memorable, consistent and reflect yourself as the heart of your brand.
Are you on your way to creating a strong personal brand? Has anything been holding you back from doing so? Please let us know what you think.