Branding is tricky. A lot of people use the words branding, marketing, and advertising interchangeably when in reality, they are all different. So we’re going to dig into branding today and why marketing and advertising is entirely pointless before you’ve built your brand identity.
So what is branding? Your brand is your business’s personal story. It’s the whole of what makes your business, your business. It encompasses all visual and mental queues that a prospective client takes away from your business. It’s your logo, your type font, your website layout, your business card, your email footer, your story, your services, etc. It is, in essence, the conveyance of everything having to do with your business and how it is perceived by the world in general.
There are five key elements to consider when building your brand:
Your brand position is used to describe what you do, and for whom. It should clearly convey your strengths, what sets you apart from your competition, and give a prospective client a reason to want to contact you. It’s almost like a resume header. For example:
“Professionally trained bridal makeup artist, servicing the tri-county area for more than two decades. Experience working with all skin tones, and cultural wedding ceremonies. Lengthy track record of providing excellent service to wedding parties both small and large.”
Promise / Value Proposition
I touched on your value proposition in Freelance Makeup Business 101 (v5.0). Your value proposition is one of the most important aspects of your business that you need to clearly convey. It is WHY a prospective client will want to contact you. Your value proposition is an unwritten contract between you and your client – it is the value that you promise to deliver to them in exchange for their business.
Your brand personality as a freelance makeup artist will most likely need to be a reflection of your own. Across most facets of business, a brand personality is a completely separate thing but as a freelancer, it’s my opinion that you and your business should be one in the same. That said, if you are a fun loving free spirit…don’t try to create a brand personality that gives prospective clients the idea that you’re a suit and tie kind of person. When you show up to the project, and you are not what they were expecting…you’re going to have a hard time. On the other side of the coin, if your personality is so intense and you feel like you may have to tone it down a bit when you’re on the job, your brand personality should follow.
As an example, if you follow Frends Beauty’s social media outlets you’ll see that there are only two things we care about: 1) Having a really good time, and 2) providing the best service we can to our clients. That’s it. So our brand personality pretty much flows with our own personalities here. We play loud music and drink champagne and whiskey at trade shows. And we bring extra cups so we can share it with our customers. But we also deliver on every promise we make. We deliver on our Value Proposition better than all of our competitors, as evidenced by our reviews on Yelp, where we have held the highest rating since that site came into existence.
Most prospective clients who are considering hiring you will be at least somewhat interested in knowing where you came from. So don’t be shy, tell them. How long have you been doing makeup professionally? What professional training do you have? Be sure to display your story in a way that adds credibility to your business, and displays your value clearly. Your story should also summarize your services and validate them.
This is everything a prospective client sees that tells them that it is your brand. Your logo, color scheme, website layout, business cards, marketing creatives, etc. When a prospective client sees any of these, even independent of others, it makes them think of you. For example…Apple, or McDonalds. When you see that silver Apple with a bite missing, or those golden arches, you know what company it belongs to without actually having to read the brand names. The association to those brands is as strong as it can be.
In 2011 we began rebranding Frends Beauty. Our old logo was a bit tired and other companies had begun to take queues from it when creating theirs and they just looked too similar. So we spent several months working with a creative team to make some changes. And in reality…we just simplified it. We have a basic look and color scheme that is unique to Frends Beauty and it follows everywhere in our business.
When you are on one of our websites or social networks, it is immediately clear that it is a Frends Beauty domain. The brand association is rather strong and getting stronger.
When we run advertising and marketing campaigns, we have an established brand to fall back on. Although we have been in business since 1940, before 2011 if you were not in the industry, the Frends “brand” was hard to describe because we didn’t spend time building our brand position, our story, etc. Now though, it’s common knowledge in the industry and out. All because we spent the time it took, to build it. Our advertising and marketing campaigns are very uniquely ours. And the power that our brand brings, to what we say, pays off.
So pay attention to your brand. Create your brand, and display your brand proudly. As an artist, your brand will be as unique as you are.