BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do

stand out in a saturated market

I recently received an email from a follower of Braid who admitted to wanting a career path very similar to well, what we do here at Braid. And then she said this:

“I can’t do that, you [Braid] are already doing that.”

She followed up by asking for a no-nonsense response to how you make it in a saturated market where it feels like everyone is doing the thing you want to be doing.

Whether you’re a coach, photographer, painter, marketer, leadership consultant – or even a whole team of people working toward a common goal – it can be easy to question whether you’re adding to the noise or actually contributing something special with your services and talent.

The feel-good response to this self doubt would be: “Only you can combine your personal + professional experience to offer something special (like a unique snowflake!) that nobody else can”

And while there’s truth to that sentiment, I can think of far more practical and straight-forward insights that will help you cut through the noise and stand out among your competitors. And that’s what I want to share with you today.

FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT TALENT + EXPERTISE

If you follow Braid Creative, it’s probably because you value how branding and marketing help grow your business. And yes, they’re totally necessary! But what’s even more crucial than branding what you want to be known for is working toward becoming the best at what you offer.

Yes, we’re all unique snowflakes, but the momentum comes from rolling that snowball up that hill! Then you see what sticks, what’s working for you, and what you can really start to build.

We all want to be different and “brand” what we do best, but are the hours and attention you’re putting in focused on creating what you want to be known for?

create what you want to be known for

Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, says that it takes 10,000 hours of intentional and deliberate practice to be an expert or leader in your industry. So don’t be so concerned about what everyone else around you is doing – start putting in the time.

get focused

THERE’S ENOUGH ROOM FOR ALL OF US. BUT ALSO, NARROW IN ON YOUR NICHE

The world is a very big place and there is enough work for all of us. Even here at Braid Creative, there is no way we could meet the demands of every single person who needs branding. Branding itself can be a pretty elusive word that we’re constantly defining in order to attract the best fit for the work we do.

If you can get incredibly clear about what you do (and don’t do) and what your customers can expect along the way, then you’re going to be able to serve the people who very specifically need exactly what you offer.

Fit matters for the clients you attract. It’s not just what you deliver, it's your philosophy and how you work together. If specializing on a niche is unrealistic for what you offer – then “fit” can help you narrow in on who you work best with.

FINALLY, YOU HAVE TO ARTICULATE WHAT YOU DO & WHO IT’S FOR

This is where our expertise (that would be branding) comes into the equation. There’s a lot of pressure to be completely, wildly different from everyone else to cut through all the clutter – and that’s just not true. You don’t have to be one-of-a-kind to stand out. You just have to be able to articulate what you do and for whom.

be clear about what you do

When you clearly articulate through your messaging, design, photography, tone – both your practicality and purposefulness – you will absolutely stand out from the competition. You will attract the people you’re for and repel the ones who might be best served by someone else.

Don’t take for granted the impression a cohesive brand makes. From your website to your storefront to your social media feed – your dream customer is smarter than you think, and they’re seeking too – not just for the “stand-outs” but for the simple, clear, confident message that helps them really decide where their dollars go.

Need more ideas on how to articulate your brand to stand out?

Download this PDF: 7 Ways to Brand You and What You Do

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What's Next for Braid Creative & Consulting | Branding for Businesses

what's next for Braid Creative

Over the past 5+ years at Braid Creative we’ve helped hundreds of creative entrepreneurs blend more of who they are into the work they want to be known for by collaboratively and methodically designing and writing their brand platforms, identities, positioning, and messaging.

Braid started as two sisters who harnessed an untraditional combination of experience: strategy methodology + creative execution. Our vision was to carve out our own work and life so we could help others do the same for themselves.

After five+ years, we’re proud to say mission accomplished. The vision we launched with has grown into something much bigger, and we’re looking forward to what’s next. (“So what’s next?!” you say. I’m glad you asked!)

We’re now working with businesses and organizations

We’re known for the space we’ve carved out helping hundreds of creative entrepreneurs with their personal brands, but what you might not know is that behind the scenes we’ve been working with people-driven businesses and purpose-driven organizations to bring more clarity and personality to their brands as well. From A Good Egg restaurant group in Oklahoma City to Brené Brown’s Daring Way and Courage Works to the University of San Francisco to a credit union in Texas. More of that, please!

We’re bringing on a partner!

We’re proud to announce that Holly Arter is joining Braid Creative as a partner. Holly Arter is a marketing and media strategist that not only brings research, goal-setting, and big picture guidance to our clients, but rounds out our capabilities as a branding agency now offering advertising on TV, radio, and web with her extensive background as a media director. We love the confidence she brings to decision-making here at Braid and the businesses we work with.

Holly Arter

Holly Arter at Braid Creative

“Branding begins from the inside out – so my favorite thing about taking organizations and companies through the Braid Method is getting their team on the same page and leaving them with a deeper understanding of their brand and what their business can really accomplish.” - Holly Arter, Braid Creative

We’re expanding our team and capabilities so we can offer full service beyond branding, but what’s staying the same is our own brand of bringing who we are to the table – we’re insightful, generous, and smart (if I do say so myself). We’ll continue to bring our logical and collaborative method to every client we work with – whether or not they define themselves as creatives, entrepreneurs, or companies – and we’ll continue to share our gifts of knowledge and insights through our articles and newsletters.


P.S. If you’re a company or organization be sure to sign up for our newsletter – we’ll deliver weekly articles on branding, marketing, and company culture straight to your inbox.

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Your Brand’s First Impression is the Icing on a Cake | Braid Creative

branding your outer layer

One of the first cakes I can remember eating was a spongy Betty Crocker lemon cake with chocolate icing at my grandma’s house. Today my favorite kind of cake is a cuppie called the Boom Boom Pow from a local cupcake and coffee shop made with vanilla cake, chocolate icing, a dollop of caramel, and flaky sea salt sprinkled on top. For some reason I especially love how the icing doesn’t touch the edges of the paper – it means no trace of icing gets left behind and misses consumption!

I want you to think of your brand as a whole cake. The center of your cake—the sponge-y part—is the core of your brand and business vision and made up of ingredients like:

  • what you want to be known for,
  • your expertise,
  • your purpose,
  • your dream clients,
  • and what you deliver!

The more specific, clear, and intentional you can get about these ingredients, the more you will create these “fully baked” inside layers of your brand. Think of it as the difference between making a moist, fluffy, perfectly layered cake versus an underbaked, messy, collapsing one. Brand clarity and an articulate business vision is essential, but unfortunately, it’s not enough.

your brand is like a cake

What’s a cake without icing? That outer layer, the icing, is how you actually show up with your brand positioning, messaging, voice, style, look, and feel. The icing is how you attract and inspire your dream customers – so it should be consistent, irresistible and sprinkled with clues that let them know what they’re promised to get on the inside if they take a bite.

how to brand your business

Let me put down the cake metaphor for just a moment, but I do want you to keep that mindset of “inside layers / outside impression” as I share some specific ways your cake brand shows up in the world:

how to create a personal brand

YOUR BRAND LIVES ON YOUR WEBSITE

We officially live in a time and place where if you don’t have a website you need one. Think of your website as your online storefront. And it needs to communicate who you are, the work you do, and for whom in an instant. Your brand will show up on your website with things like your name, logo, colors, photography, typography, along with messaging pieces from your tagline to your about me page.

Try this: Look at your website through the lens of your dream customer: Is it clear or maybe a little confusing at first glance who you are and what you offer? And does it feel like you? Does your website reflect who you are and the work you do or does something feel off?

YOUR BRAND HAS A PLACE “IRL” – IN REAL LIFE

Whether you’re a solopreneur, a brick-and-mortar shop owner, or an organization, your brand lives in your personal style, on your business card, stationery, brochures, and building signage. And don’t forget that your team is a reflection of your brand too! Does their style and attitude reflect what you stand for and what you want your business to be known for?

Take stock: grab a pen and paper and list out all the physical places your brand shows up. Is it consistent?

YOUR BRAND SHOWS UP ON SOCIAL MEDIA

From your avatar image, to your short 140 word bio, to the content you share – social media has become a primary entry-point for your potential customers and clients – so you gotta make sure you’re making the first impression you want to have on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

On which social media platforms are you sharing your expertise? Is it consistent from platform to platform? Which social media channels have more traction? Why do you think that is?




Let’s zoom out a little. Between your website, your social media presence, and how your brand shows up in-person does everything feel cohesive and clear? Does it feel like you? Does it articulate what you’re really wanting to say in an instance?

If the answer to any of those seemingly rhetorical questions is “no,” you might be having the opposite of an “aha” moment.

It’s okay. Don’t freak out. You can test out small ways to improve your brand cake inside and out.

Hopefully this is just an icing issue. If the problem is in your core (that would be your business vision – your purpose, what you want to be known for, and how your dream customers hire you) then you’ve got some work to do.*

(*Pssstt… think the problem might be in your cake batter? Check out our free eBook: 7 Ways to Brand You and The Work You Do)

But if the problem is just in your icing here’s what you’ll want to do next:

  1. Identify what you want your brand to look like – hop on Pinterest (you can even use our boards as a starting point for inspiration) and begin pinning images you like the look and feel of. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be logos or branding materials – it can be photography, interiors, magazines, textiles, or even food!
  2. Hire a designer & a copywriter – it’s ideal to hire someone who can strategically design the icing (the outward facing parts of your brand people see online and offline—like your website, business cards, and signage) so it creates a reliable expectation as to what the cake underneath will be. And when it comes to copy, a concise tagline and clear brand story will marry your business vision with the outer layer of your brand into one tasty package.
  3. Be consistent – maintaining a brand reputation takes daily practice and vigilance. In other words, you want to nail your cake recipe and show up to every single party with the cake you’re known for.


Sign up for our newsletter for weekly branding tips, actions, and advice:

create a 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.

Learn more about how to work with Braid here >

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blend who you are & what you do,

share & sell your creative expertise,

attract your dream customers,

& make your business vision real

This ecourse is for creative people like designers, photographers, stylists, lifestyle coaches, wellness professionals, yogis, foodies, writers, bloggers, and creative consultants. Whether you’re just starting out, or have lots of experience, our step-by-step guidance will help you create a brand and business vision that feels more clear, confident, and like the true you.


 


 

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