Rebranding can be tricky. Especially if you have been in business for a while. However, sometimes it can't be avoided. Small businesses are constantly evolving as they find their niche. Here is a helpful article of Creating a Strong Brand and Consistent Message. http://www.graphicdesignbyvictoria.com/#!Creating-a-Strong-Brand-and-Consistent-Message/cjy3/CDD4FD5A-114E-405E-829F-46DECBD95C94
You said you want to "re-brand" yourself. Why "re-brand"? Have you been unsuccessful and failed and want to restart? In that case, the first thing you shall do is to identify what were the reasons and causes of your failure. You shall study them first to avoid another failure.
Otherwise, what Amanda said I think is the best answer.
A brand is essentially a story, so you have to ask yourself what's your story or what story do you want to tell. Whatever you pick, you have to make sure its consistent across all your touch points - site, logo, tagline, messaging, etc...
It will take time to build your brand, and you should first start to think about how you want to position yourself in the minds of your customers. You can position yourself in many ways: price, quality, market, clients, etc...
Are you particularly good at certain style, or do you do web design for a certain market. Having a specific position and maintaining it helps tell a story and build a brand - Example - Eugene Muka - Automotive Industry Web Design
Successful branding is all about differentiating yourself from your competition. Here is an article I wrote recently about how to stand out -- even if you don't think you're particularly unique. You might find it informative:
So you'll want to consider what makes your services unique compared to all of the other web designers and design studios in your area. Anything special or unique about your process? Anything unique about your overall approach? What makes working with you interesting? In addition to that, what kind of clients are you trying to attract? What's your ideal client/customer? Thinking of these things is what will make your brand a great one to begin with.
After that, you want to figure out a name that perfectly reflects your brand and its attributes. When that's figured out, you'll go into designing your logo and brand identity (color palette and typography) which will ultimately translate into your marketing materials and website. It sounds like a fairly straightforward process, but from one designer to another, we both know that design is an iterative process that takes substantial time and consideration.
Best of luck!
It's such a big subject and there are already several good posts suggesting things you should do, so I will approach my response from the opposite direction - what NOT to do and the most common mistakes people make in branding...
The most common mistake is positioning yourself, naming the company and leading your marketing materials by explaining WHAT you do. But a strong USP (unique selling proposition) is based on WHY you do what you do.
There are several reasons. First, most of your competition are naming their companies and advertising themselves based on WHAT they do, so doing the same works against your ability to stand out in the crowd.
The second reason is the way people are hard wired. The part of the human brain known as the neo cortex is responsible for processing facts and figures and WHAT you do is information it handles. But the older part of the brain, known as the limbic region controls human behaviour, instincts, our moods and most importantly is responsible for ALL decisions. The neo cortex may collect all kinds of data, but it is incapable of making a choice.
By first "connecting" with potential customers with WHY you do what you do, you engage them on an emotional, decision making level. When you start there, customers are far more likely to take the time to learn WHAT you do.
Well known examples:
Apple - Think Different : it does not say anything about electronics or computers
Nike - Just Do It : says nothing about making sports shoes or equipment
Both of those outstanding are beloved brands because they connect with WHY they do what they do. In doing so they have positioned themselves in such a way that sounds nothing like their competition. Their customers are "proud" of the brand based on their shared beliefs of WHY they do what they do - it emotionally connects them.
This is not always an easy thing to do. To find a unique position, start by answering one question:
Why do you do what you do? To make money is not a good answer. ; )
my page on the subject: http://rowecodesign.com/brand-genesis
It depends on-
what value proposition you wish to communicate;
with what benefits you wish your target customers should associate you with;
what is your unique selling proposition?
If you have a website, it should speak for it self as you are a web-designer! Include some recommendations and/or links to the websites that you have designed. Link to your blog page will help. So if you do not have one, create a blog page with tips and facts about latest trends in web designing. The information on the blog should be interesting and simple and position you as an expert.
Hope this helps.
The first answer is the most powerful (by Amanda Farmer)! Because she's correct... Branding yourself as a "freelancer" means you're locking yourself in to a particular target market. However, being that there is such a high competition of freelancers who do web designing, "branding yourself" is probably the right choice to somehow make yourself stand out a bit above the rest! Keep in mind when you're branding yourself that you should consider things such as your pricing, your customer service, and how you can be more than just the average freelancer who does websites like everybody else. Do you prefer doing websites that are edgy or clean and corporate... which of these are you best at, or is it both? Thinking about things like this can help you narrow down what type of customers you service and who you should target. Some freelancers brand themselves with Corporate jobs only and are known by corporate america as a freelancer to call when they need extra help on big campaigns. Some brand themselves to work with smaller businesses or even just personal and quick websites, like for weddings or special events. Branding is about people recognizing you or your company for the type of work you do, the services or products you offer, and what they see in your business that makes you different from other companies or freelancers that are similar to yours. You have to figure out what makes you unique enough to grow yourself or your company into a brand. Hope this makes sense.
Hi Eugene, I recommend developing a website of your own featuring your work and abilities.
Here's a white paper we wrote some time ago that might be useful in your consideration: