How to build an unforgettable brand as a creator

Marketing Take Yourself Pro
12 min read
In this Article

Your business has been chugging along for some time now, but you’re not growing as quickly as you’d like.

You feel like you’ve tried it all: ads, writing blog posts to improve SEO, posting everyday to the ‘gram, yet nothing seems to move the needle.

If you can relate, it’s time to take a step back, get back to your roots, and spend some time establishing your brand.

What is branding?

Branding is the process of cultivating and communicating a repeatable message to your audience; it’s how you position yourself in the creator economy.

There’s a good chance branding was one of the first steps you took when you started your business. Think back to those early days when you got your logo from your designer and you uploaded it to your website—it was an exciting time!

But logos and websites are just the tip of the iceberg, and powerful brands are born when you weave your messaging into every single touchpoint of your biz.

5 benefits of developing your brand

From more loyal customers to increased income, here’s what you stand to gain when you nail down your branding.

1. Branding fosters customer loyalty

Branding helps you convey your values to your audience so they stick around long-term.

82% of shoppers want a brand’s values to align with theirs, and three-quarters of shoppers have no problem ditching brands if they have conflicting values. Use your brand to convey your values and keep your audience around for longer.

2. Branding increases customer recognition

There are over 200 million people creating content worldwide. Standing out is a challenge, but a consistent brand makes it easier.

ConvertKit creator and writer Heather Ritchie notes how having a consistent brand helps her audience recognize her across a variety of platforms:

Having a cohesive brand across all communication and social media networks has helped people recognize my brand. For example, I've had people say that they knew Pinterest pins and other social media graphics were mine as soon as they saw them.

– Heather Ritchie

Brand recognition helps you stay top of mind for your audience so they keep coming back to consume your content, buy your products, and refer you to their friends.

3. Branding builds credibility

As your audience sees consistent messaging from you—that aligns with their values—they’ll view you as a credible source. Being credible helps build a trustworthy relationship between you and your audience.

4. Branding increases your income

On the topic of trust, 61% of consumers say they’ll recommend a business they trust to others. What’s more, 57% of consumers will buy new products or services the business offers, even if they are more expensive than the competition.

When consumers trust your brand, you don’t need to rely on “race to the bottom” pricing to sell your offers.

5. Branding attracts your ideal customer

People are drawn to creators whom they share similar values with. ConvertKit creator and designer Zoë Dove-Many says that thanks to branding, she doesn’t have to put in as many hours finding her ideal clients:

Having a strong brand draws the right clients to me so I don't have to work so hard to find them all individually. But it also aligns things internally. With a good brand, you can feel confident about the direction you're putting your energy into. Without it, you can feel scattered, like you're running in five directions at once. – Zoë Dove-Many

3 steps to build your brand

1. Research your audience

Before defining any elements of your brand—like choosing colors or fonts—you need to know who you’re talking to and what they care about. Your audience’s values will drive every aspect of your brand strategy and ensure your brand is one they wholeheartedly love and trust.

Through research, collect the following:

  1. Demographics: things like age, gender, income, occupation, location, and marital status
  2. Psychographics: things like personality traits, interests, values, lifestyle, pain points, and beliefs

Here are some easy ways to gather the above information:

  • Join communities—like Facebook groups and Slack channels—where your audience hangs out. Notice how they talk to one another and which topics they bring up.
  • Use forums like Reddit and Quora to discover the main questions your audience is asking related to your niche.
  • View the profiles of people following you on social media. Make note of any trends in the types of content they post, the information in their bios, and the other accounts they follow.
  • Use ConvertKit to send a survey with tags to learn more about your subscribers and segment your email list simultaneously.

After compiling your research, create a buyer persona—a fictional character of your ideal customer. Your buyer persona will make the next steps much easier to implement.

2. Define your brand pillars

With your buyer persona in tow, it’s time to define your brand pillars. The five pillars of branding are:

  1. Purpose: Your mission as a creator and why you exist
  2. Perception: How your audience currently perceives you
  3. Personality: Adjectives to describe the tone and voice you wish to have. At ConvertKit, some of our adjectives are inspiring and genuine
  4. Positioning: What makes you unique and stand out from the crowd?
  5. Promotion: The experience you want your audience to have when they interact with the different touch points of your brand

To see the purpose and position pillars in action, we don’t need to go any further than email and copywriting expert Tarzan Kay’s website. Take a read through her mission and values to get inspiration for your own.

Image via Tarzan Kay

And while Tarzan published hers, you don’t need to make yours public. Feel free to keep your brand pillar document private.

3. Pick your type—or types—of branding

After defining your pillars, you’re ready to choose which types of branding you want to develop. There are five core types of branding for creators, but there may be one or two you don’t use. For example, if you don’t offer any services, you won’t need to do service branding.

Let’s get to know the different types.

1. Personal branding

Personal branding is perfect for influencers, coaches, athletes, and any other creators who are the face of their brand.

Use touchpoints like your website and social channels to convey who you are. Just make sure you keep everything consistent across all channels, like Influencer Aileen Xu. Aileen has a very soft, kind, and nurturing brand based on the aesthetic she presents through her various platforms. And no matter which platform her audience visits, they get the same brand experience.

Image via Lavendaire

2. Digital product branding

The digital products you sell—like ebooks, courses, and downloadables—are also extensions of your brand.

The most obvious way to keep your digital products in line with your brand is by selecting the right colors, fonts, and design elements to package up your products. Career and confidence coach Jennifer Lowry uses ConvertKit Commerce to design product pages that match her brand aesthetic.

Jennifer Lowry’s landing page for her product matches the brand identity she uses across other touchpoints. Image via Jennifer Lowry.

But there are other ways to let your digital product brand shine:

  1. Product types: What you sell needs to line up with your brand. For example, if you’re a luxury home designer, it might not make sense to sell an ebook about furniture thrifting. Before creating new products, make sure they align with your brand.
  2. Product price: Price your products so they reflect your brand. For example, if one of your values is inclusivity and accessibility, consider using a Pay What You Want (PWYW) pricing structure. With ConvertKit Commerce, you can add PWYW capability to your products easily.
  3. Product features: Think of additional features to add to your products that support your brand. Things like return policies, instructional guides, and post-purchase customer support are worth considering.

3. Service branding

Like your products, you also want to infuse your brand into the services you offer. But because service branding is more abstract than branding digital products, it can cause some confusion. Here are some tips to help:

  • Use sites like Canva to create on-brand paperwork, like invoices and contracts.
  • Customize your client-onboarding process in a way that’s unique to your biz. Freelancer Shweta Dawar uses tools like ConvertKit and Zapier to automate her custom onboarding process.
  • Work in additional elements to your services that reflect your brand. Consider things like the number of revisions you offer, complimentary/paid consult calls, and the turnaround time for your services.
  • Communicate with clients how fast they can expect replies to any questions they ask. For example, if lightning-fast support is part of your brand, consider hiring a team to respond to client queries at all hours of the day.

Create a client/customer journey map to help you pinpoint all the steps a potential client takes from the moment they search for your services until you finish the work. Ask yourself what you can add to their journey that would reflect your brand—and help you stand out.

4. Online branding

All online touchpoints fall under online branding, and include (but aren’t limited to) your:

  • Website
  • Social channels
  • Email signature
  • Email auto-replies
  • Ads
  • Landing pages
  • Email newsletter design
  • Partnerships and features (like guest blog posts, influencer partnerships, or podcast appearances)

With so many different areas to juggle, having a style guide and brand voice guide will help you keep everything consistent.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of creators who rock their online branding. Designer Ingrid Fetell Lee uses ConvertKit’s form builder to create beautiful on-brand opt-ins to collect leads for her email newsletter.

Image via Ingrid Fetell Lee

Nicki Christmas, creator of the Managing Up conference for virtual assistants, uses ConvertKit to make sure her emails match the visual brand of the conference.

Image via Practically Perfect VA

Therapist Leah Cohen used ConvertKit’s landing page builder to build themself a serene landing page that directs visitors to other online platforms.

Image via Kindred Therapy

And marketing agency owner Allison Lancaster’s email signature is not only professional, it matches the branding through other online touchpoints like her website. Her email signature includes important information that clients—and potential clients—would find useful like her office hours, social proof, and a legal disclaimer.

Image via Allison Lancaster

With ConvertKit, you can create a customized email signature that repeats for every email you send to your audience so your emails stay on brand from top to bottom.

4. Keep your brand consistent across all touchpoints

62% of consumers expect brands to deliver a consistent experience. But there are lots of moving parts to a brand—how are you supposed to keep them all aligned?

Consider creating a style guide with fonts, colors, logos and icons, and photography that you’ll use across your brand. Turn your style guide into a PDF, or do what John D. Saunders did and publish it to your website. Adding a style guide to your website is useful if you work with brands or have a team, and need it to be in an easy-to-access location.

Image via John D. Saunders

The next way to keep your brand consistent is to create a brand voice guide—a guide that details the language and emotion you use to communicate with your audience. Your brand voice guide should detail things like:

  • The personality you’d like your voice to have.
  • Dos and don’ts. For example, is it OK if you use slang in your writing? Will you try to be humorous?
An example of brand voice guidelines

And of course, make sure your brand voice is in line with your brand. Social media advisor, Sakshi Shukla, has an easy tip for those who struggle to keep their brand voice consistent:

Write as you talk. The way you talk is consistent, so don’t try to “over-polish” your writing. This is especially applicable to headlines, intros for videos, articles, or newsletter, and even the way you greet people.

– Sakshi Shukla

5. Revisit your brand and rebrand as necessary

As you grow as a creator, so will your brand. Revisit your brand pillars yearly to make sure they’re still in line with your values and the perception you want your audience to have of you.

If your values have shifted, it might be time to rebrand. Here’s when to consider rebranding:

  • You begin to attract the wrong customers/clients
  • Your brand no longer aligns with your values
  • You shifted your offerings into a different niche
  • You find it challenging to differentiate from other people in your niche

Keep in mind that rebrands are expensive and time-consuming, so before investing your resources into a rebrand, ask yourself if one is truly necessary.

Use ConvertKit to help your brand shine

Great creator brands require a little bit of elbow grease, but all the work you put into your brand will pay off in dividends.

To simplify your branding strategy, use ConvertKit to whip up onbrand product pages, landing pages, opt-in forms, and emails newsletters.

Ready to start? Try ConvertKit today!

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Dana Nicole

Dana is a freelance writer who works closely with B2B SaaS brands to create content people enjoy reading. When she’s not working, you’ll find her sipping on a warm cup of tea and reading a good book (the scarier, the better). See what she’s up to at www.dananicoledesigns.com

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