Branding is a big subject, but to keep this pretty general, I'd recommend you start by figuring out what kind of clients you want to attract. Is there a specific size of company or type of company you want? A specific type of content you specialize in designing? Sometimes picking a specialty can be a good way to "brand" yourself and set yourself apart from competitors.
Once you have a strategy in place, I'd look at some websites of both successful web designers and the types of clients you want to attract. Take inspiration from their looks - do they use a lot of white space? What kind of iconography/colors/layout seems to be popular? I'm not saying to copy them - you want to make it your own - but it always helps me to look at what others are doing.
After that, I'd just approach your website and materials like you would a client's. Have a page about your services, maybe with some design packages that clients commonly request from you. You also need to show some of your past work and client testimonials, but remember to always include bold, visible calls to action toward the top of every page, where prospects can click a button to contact you. Having a blog about design can also help bring traffic to your site and show prospects that you know your stuff.
Again, it's a big subject, but if you have any more specific questions, I'm happy to help as much as I can. I'm a freelancer too (writer), and I know sometimes it's easier to work on branding for other people than for yourself.
Best wishes for your rebrand!
What does your brand stand for?
What is the brand all about? If there isn't an official mission statement, there’ll still be an unofficial, possibly unspoken one – we need to find out what it is.
Why was the company name chosen?
It’s important that we understand the reason why you chose the name you did. If the name has any special meaning or significance, this is something we need to know. It cannot come through in an image unless you convey the thought.
What’s the business story?
Review with us the services you provide. We may ask you to for the “elevator pitch” to the question “What do you do for a living?” Or, “what is your company about?”
An elevator pitch is a conversation that hopefully leads into a deeper dialogue about the functionality, and specialty, of what you and your company can offer. In practice you typically have just 60 seconds to leave a meaningful impression with whomever you come in contact with. So make them count.
What’s specific about this business?
With so much competition out there on the market today, what is it about you that people should choose you over your rivals? That might be a unique approach to customer service, or a thousand other things. Whatever it is, that unique factor should shine through in your brand.
What’s the brand’s personality?
Yes, a brand has a personality. And if it does not, we will develop one. You should be able to describe the business using five adjectives – what are they? Once you figure them out and share them we work on branding.
Answer these questions honestly and you will instinctively come to know your brand. Or using your answers any branding consultant will be able to create a brand that reflects your business identity.
Answer these questions first:
1. Why do you need to re-brand yourself? <-- clarify your motives behind this re-branding. (are you not happy with your career? type of clients you work with? financial reasons? etc...list those and ask yourself what would change the result to clarify possibly main goals of this exercise)
2. What has changed between then and now in respect to your experience, offerings etc?
3. 3 top values or benefits you offer to who? (who is your niche/target market and drill down to personas so you don't end up with vague : biz owners in their 30s-70s)
4. Who is your top competition, why?
5. What can you do/offer to stand out, contribute in addition or do better?
6. Case studies - 3-5 of your work that you're most proud of - why should be in description. Focus on problem/solution
7. Explain what you offer, pick 3 types of customers or problems- package it and offer directly on the page
8. Testimonials & reviews if you have any - link to linkedin account.
9. Your story - what made you choose your career, what keeps you passionate, who are you as a person not only a pro - what should they expect from building a relationship with you - people love to connect through stories
10. Think of 5-10 problems and suggest solutions for your content/blog
Treat your brand/yourself as a problem solver. What problems are you solving daily? People don't buy brands, services or products...they buy a relationship, want to connect to be helped and will pay you if you solve their problems.
Ask to solve problems, don't offer solutions when clients reach out. Provide 1 solution to 1 problem. People usually try to solve very particular problems when they seek us.
Web designers are numerous. Create a niche and do it very well. Become the best in that niche. Choose a type of business you have done allot of work in and target those types with references from very satisfied customers...
Hi Eugene, I recommend developing a website of your own featuring your work and abilities.
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.
All the information Amanda Joe and Pam provided was spot on.
Use this info when choosing a branding consultant to work with. Remember it is all about defining your company and making the message relevant to your target market.
really focus on the niche you want to explore. you can't be everything to everyone. Once you define your target market (niche) find out what motivates them. How do you solve their problem? How are you equipped to resolve their specific issues, problems, needs? are there any other companies in your area that provide the same solutions to the same target market. How do you do it better?
Make sure that whomever you choose that your personalities fit well together. Make sure he/she get what you are about. That they listen and aren't interested in just providing their basic package. It really should take some time to come up with your own individual solution.
Best of luck and I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Here's a white paper we wrote some time ago that might be useful in your consideration:
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.
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
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!
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:
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
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.
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