Because branding is a snapshot that immediately informs customers about your creative business it's impact cannot be underestimated.
These essential tips will help designers or makers build a successful positive brand to use as a foundation to promote their business from.
Branding is a collective way for you to describe your work practise that is easily identifiable by your customers or clients. Used consistently it is also a way for you to prove your expertise, credibility and authority in what you do.
1. Why is branding important?
Positive professional visual branding is a powerful and effective marketing tool, creating a brand should be a priority for any new business.
Example : A while ago I changed my twitter name from @jewelleryace to @jewellerymentor and I did this because the jewelleryace name was more in keeping with my jewellery making business Dawnstorm.co.uk rather than what my priority is now which is assisting jewellers with their creative development via my company bespokejewellerytraining.co.uk
By making this change I could now include my twitter profile in my business branding to make my posts on twitter more relevant and to reinforce the credibility of my posts to potential customers interested in Jewellery courses or training.
For credibility purposes, your brand postings should have their own Social Media accounts. As nice as pictures of dogs, friends or funny videos are they have no place in the business environment. You can still post personal style messages but only about what you have been making, your making inspiration or journey, design process or anything you can directly associate with the things you create.
2. How is having a brand is of practical help in your business practise?
a) Branding in the form of a logo that you use consistently in all areas such as:
Marketing on Social Media / Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc
b) Customer Relations & Business Strategy
Carry your branding message across into the way you interact with your customers or potential customers. The tone of your emails or messages on social media etc should reflect the same brand profile you promote eg friendly, informative, formal, chatty etc.
3. Why is trust key to sales?
If you want to appeal to customers they'll be looking for branded professional messaging across the board. In fact everything that any potential customer will see will have a positive or negative effect. To build trust in you and what you do, branding needs to be used consistently to promote your business, and create:
a) Brand recognition
b) Brand loyalty
Both of these are very powerful marketing tools.
However well-meaning a low quality logo, unprofessional website or unintentional negative social media posts are, they could reflect badly on your business brand and could affect your commercial potential.
Think before you post; How will your comment reflect on your brand, your business, your credibility?
4. How to use your Brand successfully
a) Research / Targeting
Once you have your brand in place and this may only be your online presence, you can begin to create a strategy for reaching out or becoming more visible to potential clients.
Have a really good look at your work, how would you describe it? Now go to Google Chrome and type in the words you use to describe your work. At the bottom of the page you'll see Google suggestions for similar search words commonly used, you should be using these words or phrases in your hashtags on Instagram and in social post phrases where applicable.
Don't try to make your all your Jewellery work appeal to absolutely everyone, because you won't be specific enough to meet everyone's expectations.
Don't overload your posts with these keywords/phrases, Google see's this in a negative light, however thinking before hand about what you are posting and taking advantage of key phrases where appropriate will help you.
Also use some unique phrases too, think about what people might use the Jewellery for or how they could interpret the piece differently to what you might expect. For example a bird could have different meaning in different cultures. In general a combination of key phrases and unique phrases will widen your reach.
Instagram who are your competitors? which hashtags are they using to attract customers? Use them.
Etsy Who are your competitors which works and phrases are they using for popular similar style work to your own? Use them
Facebook/Etsy - Ask your Facebook /Etsy customers very nicely if they will add a review on your page (include a link to your page) and you could include an offer of a discount off their next purchase once you have received notification about their review. This is very important because it taps into the purchasing persuaders "Social Proof" and "Authority/Credibility". This means others have bought because they recognised your expertise enough to make a purchase and they like their purchase enough to take the time to review it positively, this can be very influential to other potential buyers.
You can promote ideas and create a particular strategy for your brand to promote what you do and why you do it, your brand will be the foundation for all promotional activity. Having a consistent brand also taps in the purchasing persuader of "Credibility" and the importance of this cannot be under estimated.
If you have a solid foundation for your brand in place you can use it to explore different marketing strategies for different parts of your business. But you do need to have a consistent brand message in place for this to be most effective.
Example - Valentine's Day: A seasonal marketing promotion for Valentine's day exploring a strategy using emotion to influence sales will still have your consistent brand message (brand recognition) as the back up that customers recognise and require in order to trust you.
c) Brand Ambassadors
Offering customers a simple way to recognise (brand recognition) and promote you if they love what you do is easier if you have a brand they can easily find and promote.
- Brand ambassadors are worth their weight in gold so make it easy for them.
- Be good at customer relations and recognise customer loyalty so thank them or offer incentives or gifts.
- Another avenue for asking for a product review, if they clearly like what you do already then you are more likely to get a positive response.
5. How to easily create a brand identity
Consider the important objectives for your business;
What do you do?
Why do you do it?
Who are your customers - how they will relate to and easily recognise your brand? (Who will your product most appeal to)
Create a good logo based on these findings and apply this to all you do. If you don't feel competent to produce a high quality logo yourself you should consider paying for professional help. This expenditure will be an investment in your future business potential not an expense you cannot afford.
Shape and colour
Colour and shape communicate meaning - fast. Do some research to make sure your choices reflect and compliment your type of business?
Be careful with colour, choices you make now will be used in all parts of your business, documents, website etc in order to tie your branding together cohesively.
More information about the power of colour and shape here
Naming your business
Carefully consider the name of your business, whatever you choose needs to be effective across a range of business practises, consider:
a) Social Media: How you will use it or shorten it for use on twitter and other social media outlets without losing your brand identity.
b) Short and simple: Can be a good idea but it doesn't always embody what your business is about.
c) Abbreviate? Not if the letters are meaningless or meaningful in the wrong way.
d) Spelling: Because my surname is long (Meaden-Johnson) and historically spelt incorrectly I had to choose a name for my Jewellery business that would work ( Dawnstorm Jewellery). If you have to spell your business name constantly because you have chosen something based on clever wordplay it could also ruin your google search potential.
e) Google: It's always a good idea to do some general research and local market research before making a final decision on your business name. Being found on Google is important for your business .Think you have the right name? check it out by searching it on google first to avoid any pitfalls later regarding domain names or similar companies. Getting mistaken for another business could be a disaster.
f) Website: Make sure your chosen business name is available for a Domain name AND Can be a successful URL (website name) on google.
Good luck with your creative endeavours,
-Founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company
-Jeweller / Silversmith
About the author | Dawn Meaden-Johnson
Dawn has over 30 years’ experience working in customer facing Creative and Commercial Industries and in Further Education, including at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery for 10 years, during which time she has worked extensively with national and international clients.
Dawn is a creative business development consultant and the founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company which provides national one-to-one practical tuition for Jewellers nationally and a member of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery.
A Silversmith graduate of Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, Dawn still creates contemporary jewellery under the brand Dawnstorm.co.uk