Are you wondering how to stand out from your competition, build brand credibility with your audience and increase your bottom line?
Branding is everything that represents you as a business. Your brand is how your audience views you. It’s what makes you, you. A brand is a perception that others have of you. And it is differentiation, not just with a logo, but a conglomeration of things.
First and foremost, Lydia is a designer. She has always been a designer and can’t imagine not being one in the future. Her first phase was as an in-house designer working in corporate settings — as a junior designer at a publication right out of college, as an art director at a retail packaging company in Philly, and, then, as a creative director at a pharmaceutical company for 12 years. During those last 12 years, she built her design business on the side, which ended up being a good safety net and her full-time business when she was laid off from her full-time job.
She was cast into it when she was laid off from the full-time job, she held for 12 years with the same company. Her side gig became her full-time business. People saw her work and liked it and started to hire her on the side.
Steps to Moving a Side Gig to Full-time Entrepreneurship
Lydia was fortunate that she had a client base for consistent work. When she became a full-time entrepreneur, she had to document her processes, create workflows, and put an infrastructure in place.
Branding her business was also a necessity. She had to build her website SEO, her mailing list, and her social media accounts, and do marketing and sales as well.
Attracting New Clients
First and foremost, as a personal brand, you have to identify your ideal clients. Start with identifying your niche so that you can define your target audience.
Networking became a key to growing her referral source. Consistent messaging is key. Branding is about consistency. The consistency must be across all platforms, print, and digital media.
You need an attractive, memorable brand that is consistent. Doing so is the key to building brand credibility and the know, like, and trust factor.
Recognizability is also key! Think of quality over quantity. Quality messaging is key to reaching your target audience. As you build trust, you will increase your bottom line.
First Steps to Creating Brand Credibility
The starting point is to take a look at what you already have. Put everything you have out in front of you and evaluate if it is consistent.
Do you have a color palette? Use a minimum of four colors, but no more than five to use across all of your platforms.
Establish a consistent logo. It is hard to have just one file because social media profile images are not in the same format as what you might use on your website. You can create a logo mark for social media and the original full logo on your website and print materials.
Creating a Color Palette
Use Pinterest to create a color palette. Collect visual references and get a feel for what colors trigger the emotions you want for your brand. Create a private board and use this as your working document to narrow down the feels you want. Start with color and then do a separate board for the typography and shapes you want to use. As you narrow these down, combine the boards.
All of these steps can be applied to creating a brand or rebranding.
Websites are Important
Having a website is important for building brand credibility and reputation. If you don’t have an aesthetically pleasing, professional website people will move right off of your site.
A website is a validation that you will provide quality services and products. Your website doesn’t have to have a lot of bells and whistles, but it must look professional.
Remember, you get what you pay for! It’s important to decipher the service the person offering the cheapest price is offering. Look at portfolios and ask designers how they create their sites. Do they build from scratch, do they use themes? What hosting services do they recommend?
Keep in mind that as the number of pages increases, the price is going to go up. If you want to blog, that is going to increase the price. You can start with a one-page website, but it is going to provide less SEO value.
What is SEO
SEO is making sure you have keywords and appropriate content that explains the services you offer. The main goal of SEO is to make your business searchable and demonstrate brand credibility. You want to attract search engines to your website so that they will rank you in searches.
Everything from the quality of hosting, having an SSL certificate, which is now mandatory as a security measure for websites, the speed of your website, all the way up to optimizing the photos on your website, and having relative and rich content.
Most of the time people are thinking of the word part of SEO when they reference it. However, it is so much more than that. Search engines like content, unique, reputable, and relative content and that is hard to have in just one page.
You want your website content to be interesting to keep readers on your site. Good informative content helps reader retention, and this also impacts SEO.
Lydia is a branding innovator with 20+ years of experience and a passion for creating bold and impactful designs that position her clients as leaders in their fields. She has been in the design, web, and digital strategy trenches since 1995, working with corporations, retail packaging, pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations, magazines, direct mail agencies, small businesses, and entrepreneurs alike. Today she consults on the brand, website, and digital strategy leads all design projects and specializes in print and digital design. She also leads training sessions and speaks at both virtual and live events.
To learn more about me, your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.