Building a Brand Identity: How to Brand Yourself

Artistic talent is only part of owning an indie business. Thinking about how to brand yourself as an artist or crafter allows your company to distinguish itself from all the other crafters making cell phone cozies.  Here are a few tips for building a brand identity.

When thinking about how to brand yourself, having a good business idea is a good place to start — provided that no one else has already capitalized on the same idea. Begin your research on building a brand identity with a Google search on key terms that you would associate with your product. If you find something similar, analyze the level of similarity and ask yourself what makes your product special and unique enough to compete in the same market. For inspiration on how to brand yourself, check out Another Girl at Play, a website that showcases female entrepreneurs. The site’s founder, Alex Beauchamp, left her successful corporate job to become an artist in 2001 and shares her story and others like it on the site.

Find a "craft mentor"
Unless you’re a complete novice to the industry, you have likely purchased handmade goods. Now that you’re on the selling rather than the buying end, think about companies whose branding you noticed and admired. Offer to buy the owner lunch to pick his or her brain about the industry and how to brand yourself.

You didn’t think networking would end once you left the corporate world, did you? As with any industry, owning an indie business is all about who you know. So it’s a great idea to join some sort of craft collective. The Society of Arts and Crafts is a national non-profit and with a founding date of 1897, it’s the country’s oldest craft organization. More than 100 years later, nine Austin business women founded Craft Mafia in 2003 as a place to share ideas and network in the DIY community. Since then, similar chapters have popped up across the globe from Glasgow to Tulsa to Anchorage and Jersey City.

It's all in a name
Picking a name for your indie business is an essential component of building a brand identity, and it's like naming a child. Once it’s on paper, you’re kind of stuck. Just ask Prince, “Blanket” Michael Jackson or recently named baby, Lady Gaga. While you may not need nine months to decide something fitting, more than a day is probably necessary. A simple Google search should alert you to businesses with the same name and will give you an idea of the search results you’ll be competing with when you create your website. Beware of using a string of common words that may produce general results when you are developing your web presence. When you're deciding how to brand yourself, remember that the more unique your name, the easier it will be for people to find you and not a random page on Wiki Answers. 

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