BRANDING SERIES VOLUME VI
Over the past weeks we've been talking about the foundational aspects of branding and have discussed everything from the initial conversations about why your brand exists all the way to the more tangible questions about developing a logo and curating a cohesive visual presence. Today I want to put all the pieces together by talking about what is probably the most foundational and yet honestly the most complicated element of developing and building a brand – actually living out your brand in your day-to-day life.
BECAUSE BRANDING IS A LIFESTYLE.
One of the biggest things I realized when I first started my business was that branding wasn't something that I did, it was something that I lived. Is having a quality website a necessity, is being consistent on social media a must, is having a recognizable aesthetic extremely important? Absolutely, no question about it!
But at the end of the day, you don't own a brand – you are a brand.
YOU DON'T OWN A BRAND –
YOU ARE A BRAND.
When the rubber meets the road, it isn't your content that will make people want to hire you because, let's be honest, there's probably a lot of content out there like whatever it is you're trying to sell. **this is ABSOLUTELY true in my field – there are THOUSANDS of wedding photographers out there** At the end of the day, what will truly make people take the jump from curiosity to client is you. Your personality. Your style. Your story.
Because products don't inspire – people do.
So today I want to share some practical tips on what living out a brand actually looks like, based on my years of running my own business, making plenty of mistakes, and slowly figuring out what this whole branding thing is and why it's something that has to be lived, not simply created.
5 THINGS TO CONSIDER AS YOU LIVE OUT YOUR BRAND.
1. YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA IS A PLATFORM, NOT JUST A PORTFOLIO
Regardless of the field you're in, it's incredibly tempting to turn your social media into merely a portfolio to showcase your work. The problem with this approach, though, is that people resonate with people, not just products. Vulnerability on social media is incredibly hard (and you don't have to share everything!) but being honest about your life, sharing personal stories and life updates, and posting more than just your work is hugely crucial if you want your followers to engage with you on an emotional level rather than simply purchasing products.
2. CONSISTENCY IS AS IMPORTANT AS QUALITY
You've gotta show up. And keep doing it. In my business, I quickly learned that to truly engage with my clients, I couldn't simply create quality content, I needed to be actively present – across the board. This means my website is constantly being updated, my social media always has new posts, I reconnect with clients personally if we haven't talked for awhile, I make a point of scheduling in-person meetings frequently, etc. It's all about being present and engaged with the world – being good at your job doesn't mean anything if people never see you doing it.
3. THE WORLD IS ALWAYS WATCHING
When it comes to branding, you never get a day off. I could tell you endless stories of how I've made clients simply because they watched how I interacted with someone at a coffee shop, how I've run into someone in the grocery store and they ended up booking me for a job based on our conversation, how I posted photos from a vacation I took across the country and landed a client who loved my adventurous spirit – I could go on. My point is this...the world is always watching – you're never off the job. And this ultimately goes back to your "why"...because your "why" doesn't turn off when your "open" sign turns off. Even if you're not actively selling products you're always living out that "why".
(here's the blog on that if you have no idea what I'm talking about)
4. ISOLATION IS SUICIDE
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can build a business and navigate the roller-coaster of that life on your own – believe me, you can't. I learned quite quickly that the best way to stay inspired and keep innovating was to surround myself with other like-minded creatives who could encourage me when I'm down, congratulate me when I succeeded, and challenge me when I hit a plateau. The best part? These people don't have to be in your field at all!! Just find people who think the same way you do about running a business and build a support group!
5. GROWTH HAPPENS INCREMENTALLY
Whether you're just starting out or you've been at this for awhile, you'll quickly realize that you won't achieve your business goals immediately. Brands aren't built overnight and building a brand with a consistent voice takes a TON of work. You'll have sleepless nights. You'll fail. You'll wonder if you should throw in the towel.
But you'll also have moments of incredible encouragement, you'll catch sight of where things could be going, and that hope will inspire you to continue pushing for bigger and greater things.
IT'S A JOURNEY.
Whether you're an individual or a large business, building a brand isn't for the faint of heart. But that's why I'm here – to encourage, inspire, and hopefully resource you on this journey. I'm hoping this series has done exactly that. My goal has never been to provide a holistic look at branding, that would take an entire book :) But hopefully I've provided enough information to get you started and resource you enough to provide some direction as you continue walking this exciting journey called branding.
Want more help??
INSTAGRAM LIVE – THIS FRIDAY @ 1:00pm EST!
Still have questions? I thought you would :) That's why we're not done today – I have one more blog to post, tying all of this up, but I'm still not done there.
I've decided to wrap this series up with an Instagram Live broadcast on branding, happening this Friday at 1:00pm EST. But before I can make that broadcast happen...
I WANT YOUR QUESTIONS!!
Leave me a comment, shoot me an email, DM me on Instagram and let me know what questions you still have and I'll do my best to address them on Friday!!
See you all Friday...