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The #1 thing that every brand needs

Brand Strategy
min read
In this article

There are lots of things that go into building a brand, from your brand strategy to your visuals to the way you share and grow your brand. But what’s the number one thing every brand needs?

The #1 thing that every brand needs is a clear message.

How a clear message impacts a creative business

Throughout my business, I’ve pivoted four times.

My business started as a hand lettering & typography studio. I sold my work and did lettering & type layouts for clients. I ran workshops, got my work in exhibitions & stores, tabled at markets, and more.

Being a lettering artist, I was often asked to create hand-drawn logos which I loved doing. So I pivoted into doing logo design.

Then I realised that a brand is so much more than just a logo, and that you need more than that to create a truly effective brand. So I became a full branding designer.

That eventually led me to understand that you need a strategy before you can create the brand identity, and I’d been doing some form of strategy with my clients without even realising it! So I formalised my process and transitioned into doing brand strategy.

And lastly, I pinpointed my people and decided that I wanted to work with my favourite people, creatives, so I niched down! Now I’m a brand strategist & coach for creatives.

What’s helped me get sales, engagement, and opportunities every single time is having a clear brand message and being vocal about it.

Every single time, I’ve said publicly, everywhere, THIS IS WHAT I DO. And I don’t shut up about it.

I changed my bio, updated my website, redid my email signature. My content became all about that thing so that way there’s no way anyone could NOT know that that’s what I do.

You have to do the same.

It’s not enough to say I’m an artist or I’m a creative. You have to get specific, clear, and confident about what you do.

If you don’t have a clear message, or you do but you don’t feel confident enough in it to proudly shout about it, then you’re not going to get to that next level that you’re dreaming of. No matter what your brand goals, you need a clear message to make them happen.

How to define your brand’s message

1. Decide what you want to be known and remembered for

Ask yourself:

  • What is the ONE thing I want to be known for?
  • If I overheard people talking about my business, what would I want to hear them say?
  • What do I want to be remembered by?

2. Write a sentence that clearly communicates who you are and what you create

You need to have one, repeatable, easy to remember statement that clearly communicates what you’re all about.

For example, mine is that I’m a Brand Strategist & Coach for Creatives. Whenever someone asks me what I do, I’m featured on a podcast, I create a new social media profile, or I need to talk about my work in any way, that’s what I say. I’m Hollie and I’m a Brand Strategist & Coach for Creatives.

That way, when someone’s looking for brand strategy help, or someone to speak to a group of creatives, or a guest writer for their creative blog, they remember that Hollie’s a brand strategist and coach for creatives, know that I’m the perfect person for the job, and boom, I’ve got an opportunity for sales, visibility, growth, and more.

Be specific about what you want people to know and make sure your message conveys that. You’re going to be repeating this over and over again and the goal is to become known for this message, so make it something you care about and want to be known for.

3. Apply your message across your brand

When you have your sentence that clearly communicates your brand message, it’s time to plaster it everywhere. And I mean everywhere!

It takes seven times for someone to see your brand to remember it, so you need to make sure your message is clearly stated on every touchpoint that someone could experience so they’ll see it at least seven times no matter where they interact with your brand.

This could include your:

  • Social media profiles
  • Email signature
  • Business card
  • Stickers
  • Packaging
  • Website header
  • Website about page
  • Online store
  • Official bio
  • Signage
  • Merch
  • Community profiles (Discord, Slack, Circle, etc)
  • Email templates
  • Freebies/downloadables

4. Outline 3–5 content pillars that reinforce that message

Just like in a good novel, communicating your brand message is often more about showing than telling. So while we need your message plastered everywhere across your brand, you also need to share evidence and reminders that that’s what you’re all about as much as possible.

A great way to do this is through the content you create. Whether you’re creating social media posts, email newsletters, long-form content like blogs or podcasts, or updates on your Patreon, you can use this to remind people what your brand is all about.

For example, I’m a brand strategist and coach for creatives, so my content pillars (topics) are:

  • Brand strategy
  • Brand design
  • Brand growth
  • Creative business
  • Being a creative

These content pillars constantly reinforce and remind people of my brand message. As I create content about brand strategy, people remember that that’s my expertise. When I talk about being a creative, or create content about running a creative business, my audience is reminded that I’m a creative too, I get what it’s like to be a creative, and that I can help them with their own creative business.

So now it’s your turn. Choose 3–5 content pillars that will reinforce your brand message.

5. Create content that reinforces your message

Lastly, it’s time to actually create that content. You could create one social media post a week for each pillar, or dedicate one podcast episode a month to each topic, if you want to take a structured approach like that. Or, you can just use these pillars to come up with a bunch of content ideas for each and post them whenever works for you and your content calendar.

It can be overwhelming knowing where to start when it comes to building your brand, but if you start anywhere, start here. Decide what you want to be known for, and don’t shut up about it. That’s how you’ll create a community of dedicated fans who know what you’re about, want more of it, and can’t wait to tell everyone else what you’re about.

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April 19, 2023

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The Ultimate Branding Checklist

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