The main challenges designers, makers, artists face when building a brand, and how to overcome them

Scrapbook ,scissors, cloth and labels

Building a brand is a way of packaging, presenting and connecting your work, purpose, and mission to your audience through your visuals and the stories you tell. When you transform your work into a business one aspect of the process is attracting customers. And, to do that you need to be seen, and being seen requires promoting your work and business in a way that enables you to stand out from the crowd. Branding is a way to do this.

Creating a brand helps you take control of your narrative and direct how you want to show up in the world, and how you want your audience to see your work. The process of building a brand, however, does come with challenges and in this post, I share the main challenges designers, makers, artists face when building a brand, and how to overcome them, as follows:

1. Lacking clarity on why you are building a brand

Your brand is about communicating the reason why your business exists, why you do the work you. Successful brands are built on the foundation of their why. It is important that your get clear on the purpose of your business because this will inform everything you do from how you position your brand in your market to the visuals and messages you create. Defining your purpose, your values and your mission can be a difficult thing to do. To overcome this carve out some time for a spot of self-reflection and jot down the reasons why ypu started your busines, your vision and what you hope to achieve.

2. Not taking the time to understand the market or customers

Your work is not just about you, it is also about your audience and their needs and wants. Building a brand requires understanding your marketplace and your customers. A brand is a vehicle to help you connect to your audience, if you don’t know who they are or what is going on in your market how can you successfully position your brand or sell your work? Many business owners, however, bypass the crucial step of researching their market going straight into launching their business. To overcome this pay attention to the behaviours of your existing and potential customers and ensure that you are aware of developments in your industry.

3. Not being aware of your peers

The contemporary craft & design sector is crowded with many designers, makers, and artists competing for attention. This means it can be difficult to stand out and get noticed. To overcome this, put the effort into identifying and understanding your fellow makers. Make a note of how they promote themselves and identify the opportunities to differentiate your work and business. Being aware of your peers can focus your attention on what makes your work unique and build a brand that reflects this.

4. Not building a strong online presence

Building a strong online presence is a must, as it helps you showcase your work and reach your desired customers. However, this can be challenging, as you may not have the technical skills or resources to build and maintain a professional website and cultivate a social media presence. To overcome this, you can seek out online courses and resources, or budget permitting hire the services of a professional to help. And keep in mind that a strong online presence is not only about being on social media, you could choose to focus on building a blog, podcasting, or using YouTube or Pinterest to boost your search engine rankings.

5. Inconsistent branding

Building a brand requires consistency in maintaining how your brand, looks, feels and behaves across all platforms and channels you use. Maintaining consistency can be challenging, because it requires chunks of your valuable time. To overcome this, consistency requires monitoring your brand by creating a brand style guide that outlines the different areas of your visual and messaging standards, and use it as a reference as you share your brand. Consistency is also about how you show up, this doesn’t mean posting several hours a day every day, it means creating a realistic schedule that works for the time and resources that you have.

6. Not investing in expert help

One of the main challenges faced by creative business owners is trying to do it all on their own. Unless you happen to be a branding expert, seek help to fill in the gaps and get you on the right track is a smart thing to do. There are numerous resources and professionals out there who specialise in branding and are there to help you. A branding expert will help you to clarify your brand’s vision, goals, and look and feel. Getting help to build your brand will save you time, money and effort in the long run.

Building a brand takes time, effort, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and evolve. Overcoming these challenges enables you to focus on doing what you do best, producing high-quality work and mastering your craft. If you’re interested in building a brand that represents your work I invite you to have a look at the ways I can help you.

– Tapiwa

[Image credits: The image shown belongs to Photo by Eugenia Remark: . If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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