If you’re a creator aspiring to build a business around your work and your values, don’t fret over not having your brand identity design all sorted out before you start.
Don’t worry about logo design and sans serif fonts or typeface choice, competitors or color palettes. These visual elements and market analysis will develop over time.
Branding for creators is about sharing your values through your art.
Brand identity arises out of the work you do, it isn’t the cause of it.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com ®
Big businesses have employees responsible to learn typeface and study competitor analysis. You don’t. For now, your task is to focus on creating and publishing to Facebook and your other social channels so that potential customers can find you.
You don’t need to make branding a big deal or obsess over your those finer details. Your body of work will become your style guide over time and your values based direction will become more clear in the journey of doing your work.
Sure it’s fun to play with logo design and sort through color palettes for tools like business cards and websites. However, far better to spend time creating your art and sharing it on social media, especially in the beginning.
Your strong brand identity will evolve over time as you do. To spend a lot of time in up front planning and designing is really busy work that delays your doing the work that matters most: creating and honing your craft.
Your body of work will create your brand identity, not your business cards or even your website.
Brand Identity for creators begins with simply sharing your work and your values through your creations and commentary.
The Myth of Creating a Strong Brand Identity
A common mistake creators and startups make with the branding advice out there is to copy it. The problem is that the majority of brand identity tools are for establishing corporate identity for bigger businesses. Competitor analysis and positioning is not necessarily important data for creators in the beginning. In fact, to peruse too much potential competitive brands can be overwhelming and stymie you before your start.
While businesses like Apple and Coca Cola are globally recognized brands, neither of them started that way. Few startups do, and especially not individual creators.
Your strong brand identity will come first and foremost from the visual branding of putting your work out in the world. The more you publish and share across industry social channels, the more you will discover your target audience and what they resonate to.
Ideas for your branding will grow out of your body of work. Don’t waste time in the beginning on strategy and visual identity. That will evolve naturally over time. Instead, focus on cultivating your social media presence by sharing your work. Growing an audience of those interested in what you’re creating and in interacting with it and with you, will help you define and refine your brand identity and purpose.
If you’ve already identified a values based mission statement, start using it. If not, don’t worry. Begin to think on that daily and write down what comes to mind. This will expand and then shrink into a more refined version as it becomes more clear to you. Most of us cannot see the entire picture clearly in our heads. Much like a painting, or a novel, we have the general idea but it is embellished as we live in and interact with it consistently over time.
Not Interested In Going Pro?
Even if you don’t think you’re interested in selling your work, you never know where sharing it consistently over time could lead. And if you’re making it, you might as well share it, for the inspiration and delight it may bring to others.
You can begin to sift through to your brand identity by focusing on your ‘why’. The more we focus on the ‘why’ of what we do, the more we will find ourselves increasingly aligned with purpose.
Purpose is usually a “why”, not a “what”. The ‘why’ is the soul of what we do.
The ‘why’ is what moves through us compelling us to create.
The ‘what’ is the creation.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®
AUDIO ARTICLE: BRAND IDENTITY:
Identifying Purpose as Your Why – a Road Trip Analogy
Metaphorically, we can correlate your purpose or “why” as you being on a road trip. You are the driver, your car is the how, your destination is the what and your reason for going is the ‘why’.
The ‘what’ changes more often. Your ‘why’ can drive many vehicles of expression to reach its destination. But if you’re not yet clear on your “why”… your purpose, no worries. You can still proceed in the direction of “why”.
To start, you could reverse the order of discovery by starting with that which is clear for you.
- WHAT you stand for: what motivated you to create this?
- WHO will be drawn to that… that’s the audience you will serve
- WHY they will be drawn, (and why you must create it).
Coming up with the answers to these simple concepts helps to identify a slogan as well. However, if you have a hard time identifying these, then again, don’t worry. Your purpose will become more clear over time if it isn’t already evident.
We’ve been, and likely still will be, refining our brand identity as we go, because we’re in the journey. We started iCreateDaily as a “Movement for creators serious about their art“, which later morphed. Currently, it is:
“A community for creators serious about their craft.“
- “A movement for creators serious about their art.”
- “A movement for creators serious about their work.”
- “A community for creators serious about their craft.“
Here’s the current breakdown on the iCreateDaily branding and slogans, should it help you to see our example.
We’re using the first slogan more for the podcast and social communities. The second one is more for this website and our email sign-off, and the third tagline is our internal mantra… our ‘why’.
However, these slogans are naturally interchangeable, because ultimately, it’s the same brand, just different facets of the one brand.
The iCreateDaily ‘What’ and ‘Who’
1. A community for creators serious about their craft.
- Community = Our what
- Creators = Our who
The iCreateDaily ‘How’
2. The day is the way.™
Our how = Daily.
Consistent daily creativity and persistence in the direction of your dreams is our message, our mantra and our practice. Our “daily” theme is strongly stated in our name and supported by all that we do. We publish daily content between our website, podcast, and to our email list, as well as on our social pages.
The iCreateDaily ‘Why’, aka Purpose
3. Create… Connect… Contribute.
The purpose that drives us is our desire to connect with—and contribute to—others. Our vehicle of express, (our what), is through our own daily creating and creations, which includes the information, education, challenges and guidance through our communities, as well as products we create.
- What & Who: a community… a movement for creators serious about their work
- Why: to create, connect and contribute
- How: transformation through creativity, positivity and consistent daily effort.
We did have four slogans, now it’s three. The fourth one which we’re using less often is: ‘Start. Sustain. Succeed.‘ We still use it in communications and somewhat in our podcast interview structure, but lessening because it’s basically summed up in the “create daily” concept.
We may yet refine these over time. Some companies would call some of these Vision and Mission type phraseology. In this example, ‘vision’ would be the ‘what’, and ‘mission’ would be the ‘why’.
Don’t Force Your Brand Identity
There’s often confusion over the differences of vision and mission. Some find the ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’, to be more straightforward toward honing in on specifics. For others, it’s just as unclear.
We’ve gone through a number of approaches over the years and there’s no one best way for everybody. So go with whatever approach resonates most with you.
Don’t try to force a slogan or fit into an existing mission, vision or purpose mold. If you’re spending more time laboring over how to choose your brand identity, let it go for now. Let it simmer on the back burner while you focus on what’s cooking now in your business.
Start with the best one you can identify for now. Like driving by the road ahead. You don’t have to see it all before you can head in that direction.
For more on slogans, you may enjoy this slogan makers article.
Your brand identity will become increasingly clear over time. You don’t have to know it to start it.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
K.I.S.S. – Keep it Super Simple
IMPORTANT: Again… It’s super important to keep it simple—especially at first—and not spend too much time identifying the “perfect” brand name or slogan.
The perfect slogan may not exist. Or, what’s perfect today, may not be perfect for your company a year from now. The perfect plan, doesn’t exist because it always changes in the field, and—like us—it evolves over time.
Do not waste precious time in theory.
As you begin working your plan, then can you better continue to plan your work. Dive into daily doing. It is there that your vision becomes more clear. Come up for air, reassess your direction and dive in again.
If it’s too confusing for now for you to assess your why, what, who and how, then start with whichever one is easiest for you to connect with at first.
It’s in the journey that the way becomes more clear.
~LeAura Alderson, iCreateDaily.com®
Many of the most prolific artists and authors are actually introverts. Of course, every profession has it’s introverts and extroverts, and it’s the same for the arts. However, it makes sense because the nature of the creator’s craft requires many long hours working alone day after day.
The creative process is between the writer and his page… the painter and her canvas… the potter and his wheel… the composer and her piano. Even entrepreneurs spend many hours alone in their journey of building a business.
Introverted artists would rather create than converse… would rather retreat than socialize.
The act of creating is a generally solitary act of wresting the internal cacophony into existence.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
But Creators Need Fans
The serious creator would create even if none were to enjoy her creation. She can’t but create. It is who she is. However, what is an actor without an audience; an author without a reader; an artist without a patron?
Creators need fans. And fans need the creator to reveal beauty and inspire creativity. Artists elevate, entertain and inspire. A fan enjoying a creation returns joy to the creator.
Connect with and listen to your audience. There, purpose may be revealed to you.
iCreateDaily’s Audience Discovery
When we started with our first slogan of: “A movement for creators serious about their art.”, we thought we were primarily serving creators who were interested in—or already—going pro and earning from their creativity.
What we’ve discovered along the way is that there are a number of organizations and businesses serving these folks. Further, that about half of the people consuming our articles and podcast content, joining our community, signing up for our challenges and buying our journals were not sure if they wanted to earn from their creative interests.
People are interested in making meaning, pursuing passions, and life enrichment through creativity.
Many in the iCreateDaily community have—or had—good careers, but now they’re seeking their next level of fulfillment. Creativity enriches lives with greater meaning, purpose, connection and personal discovery. Add gratitude, mindset, and daily creating and you’re on your way to a happier, more fulfilled life.
A creator needs an audience to be complete, as the flower needs the bee.
Brand building is a story… a conversation, a caring and sharing of yourself. Create, share, serve, repeat.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
Tell the story of your art to help connect with your audience. Humans are wired for stories.
Other Branding Articles You May Enjoy
If you’d like to immerse in more branding concepts, you may also enjoy these articles:
- Creative branding for authors and artists
- Personal branding examples.
- You as a brand as well as
- Branding with purpose
There’s Another Way
Creators just want to create. Taking time to learn all the branding and marketing strategies is probably not what you want to do. If that’s true for you, there are definitely ways to short circuit the process by following proven models that work for other artists.
If your bottom line goal is how to sell your art online, you may benefit first and foremost by taking courses from those who help artists do just that. Here, you can find more on how to make money as an artist and creator in this article.
The Who, the What and the Why
Thought leader and author, Simon Sinek, is often quoted for his book and speeches titled: Start with Why. Sinek recommends that approach for brand building as well as for individuals in their journey of life.
The simple process of seeking and aligning with purpose is so vital to a fulfilling life, yet it’s rarely if ever a part of the traditional education system.
Hello! I’m LeAura, owner and co-creator of iCreateDaily.com®. As an autodidactic philosopher, generalist, personal development advocate, entrepreneur, writer, editor, author, ideator, media publisher, and podcaster, I’m passionate about helping others achieve their best possible life! Our small family of entrepreneurs, writers, investors, educators and creators own and run websites around topics we enjoy, such as gardening, health and fitness, creativity and pets, with more to come.
While my greatest teacher is Life… my formal training includes certifications in mediation, fitness, and strategic intervention coaching, including marriage and family. Today, the synergy of creating websites, articles and podcasts, brings together all my favorite things: family, learning, growth, creating, connecting and contributing. To share these with you is a privilege, that serves my lifelong aspiration to help others.
My personal areas of creativity are in writing, masterminding, ideation, synthesis and bringing ideas to life through business and entrepreneurship, all with a pervasive spiritual foundation with a focus on elevating the lives of others.
Want to submit your photos, videos and/or article content for publication? We love to consider your contribution for publication! firstname.lastname@example.org