It doesn’t matter how good you are. What matters is how good you are at showing it!” This statement represents the ABCs of personal branding, self marketing or whatever you prefer to name it. As a designer, you are so fortunate that your work is pure creativity. As a result, your self- branding strategies should be equally creative. Let’s discuss some of them.
Your Name Says it All…
Most of, if not all, renowned graphic designers use their own name to shine and create a lasting personal brand. Rather than having a website named “CeativeDesignServices”, how about giving it the most important name in your life: your own! Soon enough, your name will be equally important to your niche market after you deliver quality work.
Why AUTHENTIC Branding is the Way to Go…
Out of all the marketing jargon I came across, “authentic branding” struck me the most. When I say authentic, I mean that you need to honor the essence of how you really are and embrace it. As a result, your artwork will reflect your personality, character, values, ambitions, vision, you name it. While in some fields people could get away with false pretends, that’s impossible to achieve in graphic design in particular. You simply can NOT ”fake” creativity or tailor it to become something else. It’s a clever idea to focus your branding on at most 3 values based on your core personality definitions. You might ask me: what if my authentic branding is not appealing to my niche market? I would say: you chose he wrong niche. Change it!
Too much too soon versus slowly but surely…
Quite often some designers, especially beginners, fall into the trap of taking on too many projects, hoping to create a rich and versatile profile as quickly as possible. That’s a HUGE mistakes because you will be scattering your energy and out of the pressure of meeting endless near-future deadlines, you’ll end-up producing “so and so” work. One of the obvious shortcomings of such approach is that your existing clients will be unhappy and yes you will build a big “so and so” portfolio in 2 months! How effective is that?! What if, instead, you FOCUSED on two projects and did an outstanding job on them? Yes, you will take longer to build a portfolio, but you will be creating it slowly but surely and it’ll standout eventually. Even better, your satisfied customers will not only use your service again but will gladly do some marketing on your behalf and refer others to you. Sweet!
CONSISTENCY is a keyword…
In order to stand on the front lines of the fierce web design war, you must establish yourself as a passionate designer who consistently delivers quality work. In other words, you must continually produce great work that’s linked to your name. Don’t ever compromise quality under any circumstances. If your work value starts dropping, so will your name alongside your brand! Moreover, you need to be consistent in establishing your personal brand. For example, I always use the same avatar and main website picture so that the public will connect that picture of myself to my brand. I might change my logo zillion times along the way but my picture will never change. (Unless I get hit by a truck and 6 surgeons have extensively remodeled my face)
When it comes to visibility, work smart not hard!
Here are some intelligent ideas to get your name out there and create massive visibility easily and effortlessly:
- Start guest posting on high-traffic blogs about web design
- Establish yourself as an expert in your field by blog-commenting on relevant posts. (CSS3, jQuery, Photoshop or even MS Paint)
- Introduce yourself to other people in your niche. Get yourself out there and get to know the big players around. It wouldn’t hurt to make a few phone calls would it?
- Learn how to become recognizable and increase your added value by taking advantage of popular social websites in order to spread the word about your brand and expand your network
- Build your personal equity while offering meaningful contribution to your community. For example, you could volunteer to give free tutorials or give some design work for free to an organization that you support. Even better, do the same for an organization that your niche is likely to support
- How about some offline presence as well? Face-to-face communication is very powerful. Make it a habit to attend relevant media events and try out some public speaking. Public speaking is very effective in creating the “expert” image
What do you think? I can’t wait to read your comments. Good luck!