If you work as an individual, from singer to writer to wedding planner, you are (in the early days at least) 100% of your business. Your service is what people buy, and you are who they buy it from, so it’s easy to think ‘I don’t need a brand, it’s just me’.
True, if you are one person and your website or business cards try to emulate the feel of a much bigger corporation, then you’re not being true to your business. But in thinking that a ‘brand’ only belongs to a company and not an individual you would be mistaken. As an individual you are your brand.
As an individual you are your brand.
To help explain this, let me give you a hypothetical case. Meet Tom, a singer/songwriter from South London. He’s always loved music and has performed at a few bars and family events. His friends and family think he’s very talented and he has a regular slot at his local, so after a string of bad day jobs he’s decided to focus on singing as a career. After writing a business plan he knows the main commercial market for his music will be events and weddings so he decides to create some marketing materials. As he’s only just started out, he’s created a free website, a Facebook fan page and has ordered some business cards from Vistaprint. Here they are:
Well done Tom, not a bad start. His friends are impressed and he feels he’s channelled the right live performance vibe. Even better, he’s only spent £20 and he’s ready to (Rock ‘n’) roll.
What Tom has done is typical and I see this at least once a week from someone who contacts me. He’s forgotten that he actually has a brand. All his materials look different and he could be any of the thousands of singer/songwriters out there – there’s nothing easily recognisable about his marketing.
Beyond that, any one with access to the internet could end up creating a site just like his and since he’s used ready made designs the person he hands his business card to might have already been given one with the same design before. What Tom needs is a clear Brand Identity.
I’ve created a brand identity for Tom based on these insights:
- He cites rock’n’roll as an influence to his music
- He wants to keep a sense of the live gigging atmosphere in his website
- His main clients will be looking for a great performer who is professional and recommended
It’s very simple, but when combined with a professional portrait of Tom singing and a soft focus photograph of fireworks (inspired by his original look on his self made Facebook page) we get an altogether more professional and consistent look:
While this whole case is hypothetical, it’s my guess that the previous Tom Grant would be likely to only get poorly paid gigs, giving discounts or even performing in exchange for dinner at the events and weddings of friends of friends who knew he was a good performer. Despite having put time into marketing himself, largely he will be viewed as a hobbyist.
The new Tom Grant would be taken seriously by potential clients and looks so professional, I’m guessing this Tom Grant doesn’t need to offer discounts. Gaining a clear brand has set Tom up as a contender in his industry, which will gain him more clients and improve his business in general.
The only time it’s ok to have a cheap looking brand, is if you expect your customers to only buy your product/service if it’s the cheapest on the market.
So it’s clear – whether you’re a company or just an individual, if you want to be seen as professional, you need to decide on your brand.
Creating a brand identity needn’t be expensive, visit my website for further resources or a quote.Please note, all assets are fictional, Copyright: Cara Bendon