How to Brand Your Business

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How to Brand Your Business With 5 Key Elements

by D'Arcy Benincosa

Go Beyond the Visuals For a Truly Authentic, Captivating Brand

how to brand your business
Photography By Sam Areman

As creatives, I know you are familiar with the concept of branding. But do you know how to brand your business?

To avoid any confusion, let’s talk about what branding is. 

Branding is what sets you apart from your competition, what distinguishes you from others in your same industry. 

This is done through your brand identity such as logo, color palette and website but the core of your brand—and what really sets you apart—is found when you dive deeper into your values and vision as a business owner. 

All too often when we think of branding we think of the visual aspect.  This isn’t to say that the visuals aren’t important because, as creatives, we know that they are. 

Logos and colors and websites are easy,  fun and exciting but they don’t make up the heart of your identity. 

So let’s go  beyond the visuals and talk about how to brand your business in 5 easy steps. 

How To Brand Your Business with 5 Key Elements

Vision

One of the most important elements of your brand is your vision. 

When looking at how to brand your business, you need to be looking at where you want to go.  What is the future of both your life and your business? Always be thinking 1, 2, 5, even 10 years in the future. 

Take those long-term goals and reverse engineer them into actionable and obtainable steps. 

And, as you are looking forward, ask yourself why? Why is this your vision? Why do you want this?  I know we hear this a lot so it can be easy to detach from thinking about your why but  having this clarity can make a huge difference in the outcome of your goals. 

I also suggest talking through your vision with other creatives (not your father, the accountant- other creatives) so that they can help you gain more clarity in your vision.  

Values

The second core aspect of your branding is found in your values. 

Understanding your values means asking yourself questions, digging in deep, and really figuring out who you are and what you stand for. 

Ask yourself:

What are the values of your business?

Who do you want to impact?

How much money do you want to make?

What is your business transitioning into next?

Do you have non-profits that you support? 

Let’s look at two well-known corporations-Walmart and Anthropologie.

Walmart’s brand values are that they are the cheapest out there. They don’t pay their employees livable wages and, honestly, don’t treat them great either. 

Then look at Anthropologie. They support fair wages, fair trade, true artistry, and are ecologically sound. 

Anthropologie and Walmart clearly have different values and therefore attract a wildly different audience. Neither is necessarily wrong (well, in my mind one is morally superior, but I digress) but there are very few overlaps in their perceived values. 

And it is the same with your business’ values. 

There is a difference between the brand values of a $3,500 photographer versus an $8,000 one. You can clearly see the difference in what they show in their portfolio, how they market themselves, and what they talk about.  And a client who is willing to pay $8,000 will have different values than one willing to pay $3,500. 

So much is found in your brand values.

Photography By Heather Nan

Market Research

The third key step in branding your business is doing the right market research. 

And by this I mean, you need to understand where you are at in your market and how to make yourself stand out from the other photographers in your area.  This is brand positioning.

It’s a saturated market but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you. Not every need has been filled and no one else has given the world what you have to offer. 

Market research involves doing the research on your main competitors. Not so that you can be cutthroat or be afraid of them or (heaven forbid) copy them but so that you can figure out how you are different than them and what you can offer that is different. Fill in those gaps.

It could be through something as simple as how you present the personality of your brand or something as industry-altering as a brand new way to offer wedding photography.

Use your problem solving skills—along with some excitement and curiosity. Not fear. 

Lose the belief that you have nothing to add. Properly positioning yourself in your market requires that you learn to empower yourself.

Constantly Be Working On Yourself

For you to stand out in the crowd, you need to be the best possible version of yourself—the most unique, amazing, confident, stunning version that I know you are. 

Stop worrying that you are too similar to others (you aren’t) or that you are sharing too much. Instead, start looking within yourself. Sit in quiet, meditate, explore, and really dive into who you are and how we can use our special gifts to better the world. 

Personally, I do at least one hour of personal growth every day – The Hour of Power!!. This allows me to approach my business in a more holistic, positive way.  I find I have less bad days and more aligned, abundant days with this approach. 

I truly feel that the most important attribute that you can bring to your business is emotional maturity and the ability to handle all the emotions and difficult issues that are thrown your way. 

When you start to feel hopeless, worried and like you have nothing to contribute, your business will start to fail. This is why doing your personal work is so important. 

If you are constantly battling disempowerment, low self-worth, accusatory towards other people your business will suffer. 

Likewise, if you don’t have a clear, ever-evolving focus on who you are and what you stand for, your brand will seem weak and you won’t have strong connection to your audience. 

Remember – they come to you for what you do but stay around for who you are. The biggest difference that you can make is who you are. So make sure you are the best version of yourself. 

Define Your Brand Personality

Just like you have a personality, your brand needs one too. 

Dig into what your personality as a business is… 

Are you quiet, sharing only beautiful images? Or are you a bit more outspoken and loud, unafraid to say it like it is? Or are you an adventure photographer, constantly finding your next hiking adventure?  

What is your brand personality? 

Myself, I am more straight forward than other people. I just want to get to the point. I don’t make excuses or play gently; I am more likely to be outspoke and chance upsetting people on the daily. 

This is my brand. 

And here is where it gets even deeper. You don’t necessarily have to be the face of your brand.  

If you are the sole-service provider, you probably will be the face of your brand. 

But if you are a product-based business, you don’t have to be the face (think: Coca Cola) and instead can rely on influencers or other people to be the face—the personality—of your business. 

Influencers are actually key to selling products these days. Have people that are trusted with a large audience talking about your product and you will have no problem getting your product sold. 

But for most of us, our service is our product so we do tend to be the one to embody our brand personality. It is our face, our character, that is front and center in front of our audience. How can you be the main character of your business?

This is why we must have a concrete idea of what our personality is and what our business (brand) personality is. To keep a consistent and relevant presence online.

How To Brand Your Business Even If You Feel Stuck

It’s not easy to dig really deep into your brand and create a cohesive, memorable experience for your audience. It takes a lot of time and energy.

If you feel really stuck and have been for a long time, I recommend hiring a brand strategist to help you on your journey. Great brand strategists will interview people outside of your business and past clients, talk to you about your values, goals, and all the things that go into branding, and then help you come up with a brand strategy. 

I used one for my last rebrand and it was really the best decision. It obviously saved me time but, more importantly, gave me a very well-developed plan of action. 

So there you have it; my 5 key brand strategies that help you figure out how to brand you business. 

Do you want to go deeper into Play it Brave? And BIG? And BOLD? Come listen to the Play it Brave podcast and binge your way to a better business and a better life.

Want to up level your portfolio so that it screams elegance and luxury? And brings in a luxury paycheck? Check out my most popular course, The Profitable Portfolio and be on your way to $10k wedding clients.

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free training

Get my Top 10 Tips to Grow Your Destination Wedding Business

binge-listen

Play

It Brave

podcast

free training

Learn how to Shoot
& Meter Film for
Window Light

A few of my favorite business tools:

CREATIVE LAW SHOP

Contracts, Privacy Policies, and more. Use code DARCYB10 for 10% off!

goodlight presets

Struggle to match your digital to your film? You've met your match. Use code PLAYITBRAVE to get $50 off!

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Say au revoir to lazy galleries! Use code DARCY15 to get 15% off annual plans.

tonic site shop

Crappy website? Say no more. Get 20% off a template with code PLAYITBRAVE. You're welcome.

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