BRAID CREATIVE & CONSULTING
branding | visioning | marketing
that blends who you are and what you do
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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7 Ways to Brand You + What You Do for Creative Business Owners

how to brand yourself

Branding can mean a lot of different things – for us, it’s the foundation of your business. It’s how you blend who you are into the work you do and want to be known for. It’s attracting dream customers by sharing your expertise. It’s having a creative process that you and your customers can rely on. Below are seven ways you can brand you and the work you do. These are excerpts from our 50-page eBook available for free.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets

7 ways to establish your personal brand

1. Get clear on what you want to be known for

The word “expert” might conjure up out-of-reach ideals – speaking at a TED talk, impressive certifications, credentials, and awards, never ever ever working from your kitchen table in yoga pants and surrounded by empty mugs. But over here, we believe branding yourself as an expert begins with getting clear on what you want to be known for.

how ot brand yourself

If you’re only branding yourself as a service-for-hire, then you’re only sharing half the picture of the creative expert you are (or want to become).

2. Create the work you actually want to be doing

If you could only sell one thing, what would it be? If you could stop selling one thing, what would you stop? You may offer lots of ways to hire or buy you. However, if you keep selling the stuff that you think will get you hired, but doesn’t exactly float your own creative boat, you could be setting yourself up to create a boring, unfulfilling day job of your own making—except now you have no one to blame but the boss.

3. Narrow in on your dream client

Imagine your dream client. They may be someone you’ve worked with in the past - or just the type you’d like to work with in the future. How real can you make them? The more specific you can get, the more you can narrow in on your tribe, and the more “psychic” you’ll feel when working with their needs and wants.

What job does your dream client work?
What are some of their personality traits and quirks?
What are they stressed out about? What worries them or keeps them stuck?
What are they proud of?
Who do they trust?
What do they value?
How does your work help them? What problem do you solve for them?

4. Define your style and point-of-view

Your process is what’s going to reassure your client they’ll get great work and a great experience. Your process is what gets you the collaborative input you need from your client. Of course, your work is created for them. But as you start sharing more of the work you really love, you’ll attract attention for your aesthetic or approach. Why not own that style of yours and become known for it?

You don’t have to be a creative chameleon, erasing all trace of your own style or point of view, to create, advise, guide, and make – for others.

5. Let your clients in on your process

There comes a point in a ‘hire me’ conversation where you shift from the sparkly and inspiring creative that attracted your dream clients in the first place to the expert who simply explains what you do. How do you ‘close the deal’ and set the stage for working together, without feeling awkward or sounding salesy? YOU SHARE YOUR STEPS.

When you stick to your process, you stay in the driver’s seat – with the flexibility to collaborate and create together with your client along the way.

6. Don’t forget to tell them what they actually get

So, obviously, we love process. We love getting hired for a complete “package,” not just a la carte design pieces. We love helping other designers go from order takers to experts who guide the client engagement. And we love helping coaches and consultants better express the journey they are going to take their clients on, so they trust them from the get-go. But just because you have a process doesn’t mean you aren’t giving your clients concrete deliverables. They get real “stuff.” Don’t forget to tell them what they get.

Don’t undersell what you bring to the table as a smart, strategic, authenticity-seeking creative. But beware of overcomplicating or over-proving your expertise, your specialty, or your steps – with too much talk and not enough show.

7. Blend you into what you do

A personal brand is your outer layer. So yeah, it’s your work style, but it's also your personal style – and even more than that, it’s your voice. It gives clients (and readers) a promise of the layers underneath. Your personal brand is one of the best ways to build your business as a creative expert who shares what they know with others, so they want to learn more – and hire you!

Express your personality in business

Expressing your personality + your deeper purpose will give you the freedom to grow into what’s next for you.




Want to learn more? In our free eBook we tell you how to take these 7 ways of branding yourself as a creative expert in conversations and on your website.

DOWNLOAD THE FREE EBOOK for tips, exercises, scripts, and worksheets

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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.


 


 

LETTERS for CREATIVES

Want more? Sign up for our exclusive weekly email letters from us, Kathleen and Tara, for insights and advice from our own personal and professional overlap – as sisters, business owners, content sharers, and creative entrepreneurs.

Thank you for signing up for our Braid Letters. Keep your eyes peeled on your inbox and in the meantime like us on Facebook.

 


 

BEING BOSS PODCAST

Listen to the Being Boss podcast with Kathleen Shannon & Emily Thompson for candid stories, insights and tips on how to be boss in work and life.

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