Many companies today can be described in one sentence sometimes even a word. You name a company and a picture comes straight to your mind, this is the effect of branding. These companies have worked over the years to develop their brand, by painting themselves in a particular manner so that the public will associate them with a particular thing. In today’s business world, competition has become so tough that companies or businesses are no longer differentiated by what they offer but by the image they show to the public. So for example, two clothing companies may make exactly the same piece of cloth with the same material, using the same design, tools, and skill, but clients will still judge one to be better than the other simply by checking the name of the designer. Branding has become one of the most important skills today, and it is not only important to companies but also to freelancers.
The number of freelancers has increased to a large extent making it harder to get clients or even get noticed. Every freelancer who wants to succeed must learn how to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few things you should know about branding.
What is branding?
Branding can simply be defined as the market practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. A brand tells people what they should expect from you. It is a kind of statement on the value that your service would add to a client. It is based on the questions. Who are you? Who do you want to be? How do you think people perceive you?
What is unique about your freelance business that would set you apart from other freelancers. Is it your high level of experience or expertise, is it your low cost or high cost of doing your work, is it your aesthetic ability? Clients search for specific characteristics, and branding is when you make yourself appear in a certain manner to fit a certain characteristic.
Why should freelancers brand their businesses?
Branding is fundamental to many freelancers and yet very few of us know this. As a freelancer, you sell your skills and talents and make money out of them. This means that freelancing is intrinsically a personal type of business, it is seldom differentiated from the person who owns it. The biggest importance of branding to a freelancer is that it increases the value of your service. People tend to pay more money to established brands because they believe that those brands have an established level of expertise. Like the saying goes “their reputation precedes them.”
Branding is also essential to a freelancer because it helps you to define the services that you render in a specific manner, thereby increasing your chances of being found by potential clients. People do not just want to hear that you are a freelance designer, they want to know that you design for fashion blogs and lifestyle page. They do not just want to hear that you write, they want to know what you specialise in writing. It saves them the time and energy of having to find out whether or not you would be able to render the particular service they are searching for.
How to brand as a freelancer.
How to brand is a very wide subject to talk about, it involves so many aspects that cannot be addressed in one post. However, I shall talk about some few important things people should know about branding.
First of all, you must define how you want your freelance service to exist, either as a separate entity or as you. Many people go with the second one since freelancing is mostly a one-man kind of job, however, regardless of which one you choose there is still some branding to be done. If you choose to create a separate entity, you must first decide on what name you would be using. Basically, you can use any type of name, but such name must be one you are certain of because you would be stuck with it for a long while. If you choose to make your freelance exist as your personal brand, it is much easier. Many people go with their real name, especially where such name is short and not very common. That way, it would be an easy to find on the Internet.
The next important thing is the visual impression you create. This includes things such as your logo, avatar, and profile pictures. It is really important to create good visual impressions as they go a long way in advertising your freelance business. Think about it, how can a really good writer, photographer or programmer be seen as such by a person seeing them for the first time? People do not see your skill or ability when they first discover you, what they notice is your appearance. Therefore create a great logo that conveys your message. Put up a great profile picture or avatar, fill it up with good information about what you do and you are on the right track.
Finally, give your business a voice. One key ingredient of good branding is consistency in message and voice. People want to know you for something, give it to them. Your business voice is your approach or tone of communication and it applies whether you freelancing as yourself or a separate entity. Therefore, choose whether you want to create a funny impression, serious impression, techy impression… whatever. Just make sure you keep it consistent on all platforms. Many freelancers make the mistake of changing their voice to suit the platform they are on, so they might sound overly playful on twitter and then come across as serious on Linkedin. It is okay to suit your message to fit different platforms but always maintain the same voice throughout. It is what people will identify you with, do not confuse them.