Polish your brand management and your image will shine
As a creative professional, you know how important image can be. Whether you are a designer, illustrator, writer, developer, photographer, project manager, or a member of an account team—helping elevate the identity of your clients is a daily task. But have you taken a step back and thought about your own brand management? As a busy professional, developing your own brand often gets pushed aside. But polishing your professional identity could be the difference in progressing your career or gaining a new client.
In this post let’s dive into the art of self-promotion and brand management. I’ll explore some tips about branding for creatives and pose questions to get the ball rolling in your professional development.
Treat yourself like a client.
Think about how you approach a new brand. Ask yourself the same questions you would ask a client about their company identity. Here are some high-level thoughts to get your gears turning:
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What are your immediate goals?
- What sets you apart from your competition?
- How do you want people to react to your brand?
- Who is your ideal audience?
- What does your audience expect from you?
These basic yet lofty questions should inform how you tell your story. It is important to focus on the future and create a brand that will propel you further. Whether you are interested in moving into a new niche or already have a specialized area of expertise, it’s critical to be clear about your intentions.
Keeping your ambitions in mind, take a look at your visual identity. Perhaps you already have your own mark, or maybe it’s on your to-do list. Whatever the case, consistency is key. You should also inject personality into your identity. Give your audience a glimpse of your humor, wit or charm and leave them with something to remember you by. Take time to do an audit for missing holes and areas to improve. While you’re at it, consider collecting inspiration—such as a mood board on Pinterest. During your exploration, ask yourself these questions:
- What visuals or images communicate your work?
- What colors do you prefer and what do they say about your brand?
- What typefaces best represent your work?
- How can you make your brand more memorable?
- What branding elements can be iterated across different initiatives?
Understand your competitive landscape.
Take a break from your personal reflection to see what others are doing in your field. Check out their own personal sites as well as their social media handles such as Twitter, VSCO, Behance, Dribble, and LinkedIn. Here are some of my favorites in different fields:
Front-end developer by day, UX designer by night, Michael Ngo’s website is simply beautiful. He works out of Vancouver, B.C. and his site was selected as Awwwards site of the day.
Feeling inspired? Branding and self-promotion is an investment in your future—so get excited! Once you feel confident in your brand, it’s time to test it out on your friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
It’s time to get out there.
Once you have a visual identity and well-informed direction, it’s time to get out there. Think beyond a personal website and into social and networking. Remember, consistency is important, so consider your options and make some choices. It’s important to be accessible and connected, but you can’t be everywhere at once. Explore your options and pick the best outlets that work for you. Here are a few considerations:
- Portfolio—Show off your best work on your website or service. For designers and developers, Behance is becoming one of the best places to find talent. Consistently update your work, but make sure your portfolio aligns with where you want your career to go (or stay). Get your work out there and share it across other sites such as LinkedIn. Make sure you have a professional biography and photograph to go boot!
- Blog—Position yourself as an expert and share your ideas by becoming a content generator. This shows employers, clients, and colleagues that you are invested in what you do.
- Social Media—These platforms are here to stay, so embrace being social online. Carve out time each week to updating your profiles and connecting with others. These sites can offer up inspiration as well as potential clients and job opportunities.
- Networking—This aspect of the professional world ends with “work” for a reason. Putting time into developing your professional relationships pays off in the end. Introduce yourself to professionals you admire and surround yourself with talented, energetic, and motivated people.
- Offline Life—Consider how you convey yourself beyond the screen. How do you dress or converse in public? These areas should be consistent with how you convey yourself professionally. As a creative, the line between work and play is probably pretty blurry. Where do you hang out on the weekends? What books are you reading and what films have you seen? Consider aligning your offline world to your career ambitions.
Promoting yourself is essential to moving forward in your career. There are a lot of components to consider, but once you lay down the groundwork, extending your reach will be a breeze. This is your career and ambitions. Putting energy behind this personal project should be exciting. Get started on this today and share your triumphs and tribulations with us below. Tell us where you are promoting yourself online and connect with Extensis on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Did you find these professional development tips for designers and creative tips helpful?
Also, join us for our upcoming webcast about creating a comprehensive brand management style guide. You’ll get an in-depth analysis of everything that goes into a brand’s presence, and how to put all of your requirements down into a cohesive style guide.