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Three Things That Threaten Your Brand | Braid Creative & Consulting

three threats to your brand

If I had a rallying cry, it would be something along the lines of “Just be who you are 100% of the time!” I can’t help but believe that blending your true personality into the work that you do will make the world a better place—or at the very least make the desk you work at a better place.

But the problem with bringing authenticity to your brand is if you don’t really know who you are, that will be reflected in your business as vague, confusing, and bland.

Know who you are

Vague, confusing, and bland don’t instill a lot of confidence or trust in your dream customer—and that’s the whole point of a brand. Now, I feel like “vague,” “confusing,” and “bland” are my own worst nightmares, but they can also pose a big threat to your brand. Let’s dig into these monsters a little more and start to unpack how we can keep them out of our brands.

Three words that threaten your brand

VAGUE: You might describe Vague to a friend as, “You know the one! With the hair. And the mouth! You know!” (Your friend doesn’t know.) Our monster Vague is just too… vague.

CONFUSING: At first glance, Confusing is the opposite of Vague. They’re wearing something very fashion forward that you either absolutely love … or love to hate. Now, this is actually a really great branding tactic and an outward display of authenticity and being who you are. But Confusing’s problem isn’t his outward style—it’s how he talks about how he affords all the clothes (not to mention vacations to Dubai) he buys. Nobody knows how Confusing makes a living even though he’s constantly networking and saying things like, “Call me! We’ll disrupt something together!”

BLAND: Bland is a lot like Vague. If you get seated next to Vague at a dinner party, you might get one-word answers to your brilliant questions or a long-winded work story with all the wrong details and dead-end plot lines. The difference between Bland and Vague is that you’re never trying to describe Bland to your friend. You just never think about them again.

The antidote to all three of these brand boogeymen:

Get specific with your brand

Get specific. One of my favorite ways to get specific in business is to paint a before and after picture of my dream customer. What were their problems before they hired me? How were they describing these problems to a friend? What do they think they need help with? But where do they actually need help? And after working with me what results did they achieve? What will they do next?

Say what you mean in your brand

Say what you mean. Being authentic boils down to saying exactly what you mean in your style. We see far too many professional creatives hiding behind vague jargon or the same corporate speak everyone else is saying. We see creative entrepreneurs espousing big ideals without really saying anything at all. Try starting your conversations or blog posts with “What I’m really trying to say is…” for a while to bring real conversations to the surface.

Be consistent in your brand

Be consistent. When you consistently show up as who you are with your style, specificity, and authenticity, people will begin to trust you. Consistency is what will keep them coming back and evangelizing your brand to their friends.

P.S. In The Braid Method Branding ECourse we share all of our best branding tips, philosophies, and tactics so you can better articulate what you do to attract more dream customers eager to buy. This self-guided online course is now open to new students. Learn more and see if it’s a fit here.

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What's Your Core Genius as a Creative Entrepreneur? | Braid Creative

What's your core genius

I recently read this “fluffy” statistic (you know, the kind that always shows up as a cute infographic on the front page of USA Today) that said an alarming number of first-graders, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, respond with, “Famous.” Okay, but how? As an actor, the president, a professional athlete? They don’t know—they’re still only first-graders—they just want to be famous. We laugh, but as grown-ups, we’re sometimes just as vaguely hopeful.

The hopeful part is fine—it’s the vague part that gets us in trouble. Here’s what well-meaning but unspecific creatives tell us all the time:

  • “I want to inspire others to create and live an authentic life.”
  • “I want to inspire people to not give up.”
  • “I want to inspire and empower creatives to be brave.”

Those all sound nice—empowering and inspiring sounds like a dream. However, inspiring others shouldn’t be the only goal. Fame, recognition, money, and even something as noble as inspiring others shouldn’t be the things that drive you or your brand messaging. If they are, you’ll never measure up and you’ll always be chasing a moving target.

There is probably a broad label, or even job title, for what you actually do—like marketing, photography, graphic design, interior decorating, coding, writing, yoga, or cooking. That refers to your skills and talents, which are a huge part of what you do.

But can you get really specific about what makes you a great marketer, designer, photographer, writer, developer, or cook? Maybe it’s your use of color or typography, or your knack for capturing light or blending really interesting flavor combinations, or the way you hear what people are really trying to say and then capture that in words.

what are you good at

Here are some questions to get you thinking:

  • What comes easily to you that seems to impress the people around you?
  • What isn’t so easy but is something you want to be really good at?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What can you do that people will pay you for and that you will enjoy?
  • What have your current clients been asking for?
  • What do all of your clients have in common?
  • What could you stop doing that would make you feel like more of an expert?

your core genius list

Take a few minutes to jot down some of your answers to these questions above. This is going to help you warm up for the serious work that’s waiting for you in the worksheets coming up in this lesson.*

How do you share your gifts of knowledge?

Now that you’ve got the paper and pen handy, here’s another quick warm up. Take just another five minutes (time yourself, that’s ALL you get) to go with your gut and fill out your gift tag. We call it a gift tag because creative experts share their gifts of knowledge with other people—whether that’s for free (in blog posts, newsletters, emails) or something they are hired for (consultation, ecourses, program, products).

So if you think of your creative knowledge all wrapped up in a package, what do you write on the tag you tie on top?

creative entrepreneur gift tag

Fill out your Gift Tag:
How to _______ [advice, know-how, or inspiration you share]
From a _______ [your field of expertise] Expert!
To a _______ [your dream client or audience] Like You!

This is a great way to just jump in and really start practicing saying what you do in that creative expert voice and style. Try it a few different ways, and then experiment with what you come up with.

*This excerpt comes from the Braid Method Branding ECourse. It’s a DIY self-paced course that will help you articulate what you do, and position yourself as a creative expert with brand messaging templates and scripts. The Braid Method Branding ECourse is now open to new student. Click here to learn more and see if it’s a good fit.

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Does Narrowing in on your Niche Freak You Out? | Braid Creative

Whether you’re a creative entrepreneur, small business owner, or even a larger organization – the idea of getting daringly narrow with your brand positioning and marketing efforts can sometimes feel like boxing yourself in, painting yourself in a corner, and alienating potential customers (who can pay you) and help your business grow.

So today I want to share three simple brand exercises for narrowing in on your niche without freaking out.

Brand Exercise: Narrow in on your dream customer

It’s not uncommon for us to get pushback from our clients who are uncomfortable with narrowing in on their dream customer. They might say it’s because they don’t want to leave anyone out. But if we’re reading between the lines, we always sense an underlying fear of losing out on any customer willing to pay them. If money were no object, who would your dream customer be? What exactly would you offer them? Why do they need it – what problem are you solving for them?

If you’re having a hard time imagining who your dream customer is, think of a real person. Either a previous customer you’ve already worked with, a friend you know would benefit from your offering, or maybe even a character on a TV show you could imagine hiring you!

Brand Exercise: Experiment with getting specific in your content and promotional launches

One of the reasons narrowing in can feel so intimidating is because it means a lot of work for your entire brand. But you don’t need an entire rebrand to get daringly narrow. You can experiment with speaking to your dream customer in your content like blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, and even sales campaigns targeting a specific segment of your audience.

For example, let’s say you love working with decisive women between the ages of 25-40 who are typically moms. Maybe you already have a Mother’s Day marketing initiative planned, but perhaps you want to get daringly narrow. What if you spoke directly to working moms? Or single moms? Or moms who have kids that are obsessed with fidget spinners?

These experiments will show you how getting niched with your offering and who you’re talking to (and how you’re talking to them) can increase engagement and your bottom line even to a seemingly smaller audience.

Brand Exercise: Show what you want more of in your portfolio and testimonials

Focusing your thoughts, intentions, and actions on what you want to happen is so much in the mainstream now that we’ve all heard the phrases “put what you want out into the universe” or “like attracts like.” But this law of attraction sentiment isn’t just for those who believe in metaphysics or magic. If your testimonials, portfolio, or case studies come from projects you’re proud of and dream customers you’d like more of – then you will naturally attract people who like your style and trust you to deliver.

When was the last time you asked your dream clients for testimonials or shared recent work, results, or success stories you loved? One of the easiest ways to narrow in is by focusing in on (and sharing!) what you want more of.

Need more help to narrow in? We’re having a webinar on four different ways to narrow in on your niche while staying true to your brand and business vision on September 15th. See more about what you’ll learn and register here.

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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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