Building Your Brand is a fresh series of guest posts from our friend and fellow crafter Holly Hall of Sweetheartville. Holly has successfully created a strong identity for her line of products and now she has graciously offered to share her tips with Deluxe readers. Thank you, Holly!
Building Your Brand
Do you own a handmade business?
What do your customers think of when they think of you?
What words might they use to describe the look or feel of your products?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you have some work to do! Your brand is a combination of images, feelings, words and emotions evoked in the minds of your customers and potential customers every time they come in contact with you, your business, and your handmade products.
Building a strong brand will increase your sales, cement your customers’ loyalty to you, and give you a framework that will aid you in making many business decisions.
If you are just starting your business, or are looking to revamp an existing one, a good way to begin building your brand is to sit down for an old-fashioned brainstorming session. Start with a list of words that characterize your business. Think of adjectives that you would like your ideal customer to use if he or she were to describe your products to a friend.
What? You don’t have an ideal customer? You simply must get one! You have to know your target market before you can build your brand. You can’t just put your products out into the world and hope for the best. Decide who is most likely to buy your goods, and always keep them in mind when building your brand.
Maybe you create chunky, funky, colorful necklaces and hair accessories. It’s unlikely that middle aged men are going to be your customer base. While a man might stumble upon one of your necklaces and purchase it as the perfect gift for his wife or daughter, the majority of your customers will probably be fashion forward young women. Maybe your target customer looks very much like yourself and your circle of friends. That makes your branding task that much easier, because you know exactly the sort of thing that appeals to you and your
Now, back to that list of words–don’t think too much or aim for perfection as you brainstorm. Just list any and all of the words that appeal to you, and don’t stop at adjectives. List nouns, emotions, feelings, even colors that evoke the feel you want your business to have.
After you have emptied your brain of all those evocative words, take a good look at your list. You will probably begin to see an overall pattern emerging. Strike anything that doesn’t seem to mesh with the overall feel of the list.
When I began selling my handmade goods I used this exercise to obtain a clearer picture of the image I hoped to project. At that time, I made mostly fancy floral and feather hair accessories, jeweled vintage handbags, and sequined, vintage-style hostess aprons, in addition to the Beauty Buttons I still sell.
My list included words like “glamour”, “rhinestones”, “beauty parlor”, “vintage”, “1950s” and “Burlesque”. This gave me a jumping off point when designing my promotional materials and the booth for my first craft show (the very first Deluxe Indie Craft Bazaar!). Your list will be your compass for all of the branding decisions you make, so keep it handy.
Now, please spend some time brainstorming and creating your list. Tomorrow, we’ll continue this Branding lesson on the topic of Choosing a Name.