BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do
7 Ways to Brand You + What You Do for Creative Business Owners

how to brand yourself

Branding can mean a lot of different things – for us, it’s the foundation of your business. It’s how you blend who you are into the work you do and want to be known for. It’s attracting dream customers by sharing your expertise. It’s having a creative process that you and your customers can rely on. Below are seven ways you can brand you and the work you do. These are excerpts from our 50-page eBook available for free.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets

7 ways to establish your personal brand

1. Get clear on what you want to be known for

The word “expert” might conjure up out-of-reach ideals – speaking at a TED talk, impressive certifications, credentials, and awards, never ever ever working from your kitchen table in yoga pants and surrounded by empty mugs. But over here, we believe branding yourself as an expert begins with getting clear on what you want to be known for.

how ot brand yourself

If you’re only branding yourself as a service-for-hire, then you’re only sharing half the picture of the creative expert you are (or want to become).

2. Create the work you actually want to be doing

If you could only sell one thing, what would it be? If you could stop selling one thing, what would you stop? You may offer lots of ways to hire or buy you. However, if you keep selling the stuff that you think will get you hired, but doesn’t exactly float your own creative boat, you could be setting yourself up to create a boring, unfulfilling day job of your own making—except now you have no one to blame but the boss.

3. Narrow in on your dream client

Imagine your dream client. They may be someone you’ve worked with in the past - or just the type you’d like to work with in the future. How real can you make them? The more specific you can get, the more you can narrow in on your tribe, and the more “psychic” you’ll feel when working with their needs and wants.

What job does your dream client work?
What are some of their personality traits and quirks?
What are they stressed out about? What worries them or keeps them stuck?
What are they proud of?
Who do they trust?
What do they value?
How does your work help them? What problem do you solve for them?

4. Define your style and point-of-view

Your process is what’s going to reassure your client they’ll get great work and a great experience. Your process is what gets you the collaborative input you need from your client. Of course, your work is created for them. But as you start sharing more of the work you really love, you’ll attract attention for your aesthetic or approach. Why not own that style of yours and become known for it?

You don’t have to be a creative chameleon, erasing all trace of your own style or point of view, to create, advise, guide, and make – for others.

5. Let your clients in on your process

There comes a point in a ‘hire me’ conversation where you shift from the sparkly and inspiring creative that attracted your dream clients in the first place to the expert who simply explains what you do. How do you ‘close the deal’ and set the stage for working together, without feeling awkward or sounding salesy? YOU SHARE YOUR STEPS.

When you stick to your process, you stay in the driver’s seat – with the flexibility to collaborate and create together with your client along the way.

6. Don’t forget to tell them what they actually get

So, obviously, we love process. We love getting hired for a complete “package,” not just a la carte design pieces. We love helping other designers go from order takers to experts who guide the client engagement. And we love helping coaches and consultants better express the journey they are going to take their clients on, so they trust them from the get-go. But just because you have a process doesn’t mean you aren’t giving your clients concrete deliverables. They get real “stuff.” Don’t forget to tell them what they get.

Don’t undersell what you bring to the table as a smart, strategic, authenticity-seeking creative. But beware of overcomplicating or over-proving your expertise, your specialty, or your steps – with too much talk and not enough show.

7. Blend you into what you do

A personal brand is your outer layer. So yeah, it’s your work style, but it's also your personal style – and even more than that, it’s your voice. It gives clients (and readers) a promise of the layers underneath. Your personal brand is one of the best ways to build your business as a creative expert who shares what they know with others, so they want to learn more – and hire you!

Express your personality in business

Expressing your personality + your deeper purpose will give you the freedom to grow into what’s next for you.




Want to learn more? In our free eBook we tell you how to take these 7 ways of branding yourself as a creative expert in conversations and on your website.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets

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Do You Need a Rebrand or Just a Refresh? | Braid Creative & Consulting

You might be surprised to hear that, as a branding agency, we tell a lot of creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses that they do not in fact need a total rebrand, but maybe just a refresh. This might be you if you see your brand as boring, dated, or even a barrier to attracting your dream customers. But oftentimes what we see is potential for a refresh without throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. We’re always going to err on the side of a refresh – incorporating what works and evolving what could be working better.

You might feel like you need a new brand if:

  1. You're embarrassed to send anyone to your website.
  2. You can't describe what you offer and why it matters in less than three sentences.
  3. You feel like most of your competition is moving on without you.

But you might be able to get by with a refresh. If you’re not a creative director or a copywriter, it might feel like you’re light years away from having a brand that articulates your true vision, but you may be closer than you think. Here are a few tactics you can try that will take you further than you think:

Refresh your dated logo

A few years ago, the logo trend was to try and replicate the classic Nike mark with an abstract swoosh – but unless you’re Nike, this is a trend that is potentially making your logo look vague, dated, stuffy, or just “not you.” Try this: ask yourself, “What was the intention of that mark in the first place? Was it to look like Nike? What story was I trying to tell?” Retell that story to yourself (or a designer) and see what you’d come up with today. While you’re at it, you can simplify and update your typography and color palette to something more modern.

Feeling resistant? Even if you aren’t in love with your logo, it can be hard to embrace change. Think of the refresh more so as an evolution than as a total rebrand. It’s like cutting bangs or shaving your beard—you might think nobody will ever recognize you ever again, but the truth is the majority of people will only notice whether you’re confident in the change or not.

Refresh your tagline

You know when you’re remodeling your home and procrastinate on putting the baseboards back on until one day you don’t even notice and go years without baseboards? Just me? Anyway, this can happen to your brand too. So go to your website right now and read your tagline out loud. Is it clear what you do? Is it too corporate or cold? Could it be more genuine and specific?

Read more: How to write your tagline >>

Refresh your imagery

If you've been relying on cheesy stock images that have nothing to do with you or your dream client, then this is a barrier that can become an opportunity for a brand refresh:

  • Try more candid, atmospheric imagery, natural light, people not looking right at the camera
  • Use imagery that sets a mood instead of trying to set the stage – in other words, yes, a picture can say a thousand words, but it doesn't have to. You don't have to show the entire literal story of what you're trying to say in one picture with people doing exactly what it is you are selling with big smiley faces. Instead, think of images that suggest the feeling behind what you want to say. Your imagery can be a metaphor or abstraction of a concept to convey the feeling of what it is you want your dream customer to feel.
  • Begin noticing or mood boarding the kind of images you would like to use and use them for your next photo shoot or stock photo search.
  • We always recommend custom photoshoots that make you and your business “real” to your audience or potential customer. Invest in a photographer whose style you like to take “day in the life of” vignettes that you can use on your website.

Start talking to a specific segment of your audience.

The content you share is a great place to dip your toe into getting specific with your brand messaging. For example, let’s say your broad audience is typically “women ages 25-54” for most of your services. You might be afraid to narrow in, but you’ve noticed that you’ve been attracting a following of single moms. Think about how your services can more specifically help them, and look for ways to target this segment with your blog posts, newsletters, and social media. Where are these women spending time—online and in life? How could you meet them where they are at?

Freaking out about alienating the rest of your audience by getting specific? Just think of this as a promotion or experiment you’re trying out seasonally. Also, give the rest of your customers more credit – they won’t necessarily opt-out just because you’re not speaking directly to them, and the audience you are speaking to – they’re going to convert from aware of your brand to totally engaged and ready to buy.


Think your brand needs a refresh? Join our mailing list – we’re sending out branding and visioning advice weekly that will help you clearly articulate who you are, what you do, and for whom.

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Here's Why You Can't Afford to Be Vague | Braid Creative & Consulting

get specific in your brand

Most of us as individuals have big hearts and a big vision for our brand and our business that doesn’t exclude anybody from the discussion (or our services, product, or offering). In fact, we work with a lot of leadership development professionals, coaches, educators, and purpose-driven organizations who have all but eradicated the word “or” from their vocabularies to embrace the tone of “and.”

The word “and” opens up the dialogue to new ideas, collaboration, and expansion. The word “or” implies a choice that needs to be made. “And” is super dreamy, but when it comes to differentiating your brand, you are going to have to make some “or” choices. When you can proactively choose who you are and who you’re for, only then can you truly reach the audience your business is built to help.

A good brand is easy to understand

If you’re still having a hard time embracing the idea of getting narrow, think of it less as “being vague vs. being specific” and more as just being easy to understand. For example, imagine you’re getting your teeth cleaned and your dental hygienist asks what you do for a living? You tell her and her reply is “huh, what’s that? What does that mean?” That’s okay because it’s just small talk, right? Probably to distract you from the fact that you’re in a dentist chair. But if you’re telling a potential dream client what you or your business does, and they don’t understand what it is … that’s a branding problem.

how to get specific in your brand message

Getting aggressively narrow

The fear of eliminating a potential customer from the conversation (or *ahem* marketing plan) might feel entirely counter-intuitive. So we want you to hear this little bit of tough love: you can’t afford to be vague if you’re trying to differentiate your brand, attract your dream customers, and close the deal. Your desire to reach more people by being everything to everyone is actually negatively impacting your ability to reach the customers you can best help. It’s the brands who are willing to go out on a limb and be specific that are making money for themselves and creating impact for their communities. It’s the specificity of their brand that builds instant trust, credibility, and buy-in from their dream customers and brand evangelists.

you can't afford to be vague in branding

TRY THIS: Imagine your brand through the eyes of just one person – your dream client. This can feel aggressively narrow, but just remember it’s an exercise in specificity, even if you just make a few changes to speak to “them” more clearly. Audit your entire website—from your sales page to your contact form—through their eyes. Is it easy to understand what you do? Is it clear you’re for them? What’s missing? Then go through your social media feed and even your physical space if you have one. Does it strike the tone that appeals to them? What could make them feel more at home in your brand – in person and online? What kind of impression are you leaving on them?

Once you audit your brand through the lens of your dream customer and their first impression, you’ll start to see how getting aggressively narrow isn’t as exclusive as you may have thought. For example, let’s say your dreamiest potential client loves cacti (because who doesn’t?). Her feed is filled with photos of cacti and brunch. So you start bringing more cacti into your space to make her feel more at home in your space. Now this cactus is not going to completely repel that one guy who needs what you have to offer but couldn’t care less about succulents. Or you might find that more people love cacti than you gave them credit for. P.S. The cactus is not just a cactus: it’s the words, colors, photography, and style you use to talk about your brand.

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THE BRAID BLOG from TARA AND KATHLEEN
Braid Creative & Consulting is branding and visioning for creative entrepreneurs and purposeful businesses. The Braid Blog is where we share weekly insights and resources for getting clear about your vision and voice, sharing content that attracts your dream client, and creating the brand positioning you want to be known for.

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blend who you are & what you do,

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attract your dream customers,

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