Establishing and Organizing Your Creative Brand

What is a Creative Brand?

This first step to building a solid foundation for your creative brand and business focuses on the importance of prioritizing consistency and practical tips that will help you get started on the right (digital) foot.

We will discuss what constitutes a brand, the facets of a strong brand, why an organized brand should be your top priority, and how to organize your brand for optimal success.

Your creative brand is more than simple titles and imagery. It is an identity that represents you, your career, and your business—the experience you create in the minds of your targeted audience, as well as how they perceive the IP. You have the power and ability to shape your brand into anything, but it is up to you.

Your brand is built on every interaction you have with your clients and the public. A brand is not the same thing as a logo, a website, or even your business name. A brand is an emotional connection between yourself and your audience built over time and reinforced through consistent messaging. It is ultimately how you are perceived in the world.

Your brand is not something you can just whip up—it takes time for people to understand who you are and what value you provide them with. A brand is a promise. It's a promise that you will deliver on what your partners are expecting from you. Your brand is also the personality of your business—it's how people think, feel, and act when interacting with your products or services. It is an extension of who you are as a person. To gain new ventures and collaborators, it needs to be done with careful consideration and fostering to get it right. Before you step into any room, your creative brand precedes you.

Reese Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine is a great example of a thoughtful and successful creative brand. The production company is one of the most recognizable in the entertainment industry as well as to the general public. When someone rattles off a Hello Sunshine produced TV show or movie, someone may visualize the sunny logo, a smiling Witherspoon with the book of the month, or think of one of the many female protagonists that lead one of their projects.
How did Witherspoon grow Hello Sunshine to be a Blackstone-backed powerhouse production company generating buzz and accolades? Witherspoon knew her brand. She had a strong sense of what her brand was.

What is a Strong Brand?

A strong brand is one that is easily recognizable, memorable, and relatable. People automatically know what you stand for and can personally identify with it. Over time, this will spur collaborators and consumers to desire to be associated with the brand because they can see the value in your products and services.

Attributes of a strong brand center around a consistent message that resonates with your audience. A mission statement stems from your goals and vision which need to be established first as you dive into your new venture. Once that has been set, colors, logos, and messaging will be chosen and created to support the sentiment and further proliferate your message to reach more people. To achieve that, a brand must be cohesive. A strong brand is valuable and will be recognized as such by other people in your industry.

Let us take a look at Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon began with the idea of telling female-driven stories. She paired that with the decision to name the company Hello Sunshine which lead to the mission of “shining a light on female authorship and agency”. With these anchor points in tow, a sunny yellow logo and website were created. Along with the prioritization of female-created media from podcasts to books to narratives, the rights to existing IP were secured and new voices were sought out. All of these factors allowed the company to expand into a new-age brand that transcends conventional standards.

The other key component that a strong brand emits is reliability. Once the foundation of a brand has been laid and honed, coupled with the production of projects, it attracts potential partners which will allow you to land more deals to grow faster than ever before. A strong brand gives a sense of security because collaborators know their needs will be met from how they perceive your brand.

How to Establish a Brand

In order to have a strong brand, you must create a brand. Wherever you are in your journey, whether starting out fresh with a new company or revitalizing an existing one, utilizing these steps will strengthen your brand to land more opportunities.

Know Your Niche

Witherspoon did not have divine intervention strike her one day to reveal that female-led narratives were lacking. Through her personal experience as an actress, she carefully crafted her image. She knew she wanted to start a production company after being in the industry for a few years. She had witnessed countless type-casting instances and recognized the disparity of women-led and driven TV and film stories as a niche. These aligned with her personal goals to further new voices. To modernize her career, Witherspoon went down the path with Hello Sunshine to reignite females and put women, like herself, at the center.

Personal experience and careful research will help determine your focus. Your niche should be unique and personal to you. Reese recognized the lack of opportunities for roles for someone like her and sought to change them.
Your aim doesn’t necessarily have to change the world, but remember that it must align with your vision and goals. Also, consider what makes your projects different. What spin will you put on your intellectual property to make it stand out? Balancing uniqueness and authenticity to your mission will reveal your niche.

Create a Brand Identity

Brand identity constitutes the tangible digital assets that contribute to how people will visually associate with your brand. Cultivating a consistent and positive image will translate into recognition and opportunities.
Everything like name, colors, design, font, website, and social media fall under the umbrella of brand identity. If you are starting out, play with ideas and be open to changing assets as you progress on your journey. For well-established companies, consider a rebrand to update the current state of the brand. With brand identity, consult trusted advisors and peers to gather opinions in order to ensure your message is being translated through your brand identity.

Make a Business Plan

Creative ventures are unfortunately not all about creativity. To achieve lasting success, making a business plan will guide the logistical side of your brand. Paperwork is not fun, but it is necessary. From your vision and goals, create separate business goals to keep everything on track. Details like incorporating the business, filing tax forms, and hiring an attorney will all come into play. Performing these seemingly menial tasks early on will set you up for success and allow for more creative time.

Assemble Your Team

Everyone needs some help time and again. Who you choose to surround yourself with may be one of the most important choices you can make as you establish your brand. Identify your own strengths and weaknesses to gain insight to where you will need the most help with your brand and business. Outsourcing bookkeeping and social media may free up valuable time to develop projects. Most importantly, hire people you trust to get the job done.

It is Vital to Organize Your Brand

Success does not happen overnight. Success comes from organization.

Organizing your brand is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your success. When you organize your brand, you will focus on what matters most, see the big picture, and stay on track with your goals. These truths hold true:

  • Organized brands are more productive. If you can find what you're looking for quickly, then you can do the work that needs to be done, saving time and money.
  • Organized brands are more efficient. If your system is well-designed, it will help ensure that tasks are completed on time and without unnecessary steps or errors. This saves time for future creative and business endeavors as well as ensures quality control throughout the process of creating, which ultimately saves money too.
  • Organized brands are effective at identifying new opportunities for growth within existing markets. When you understand your brand, you may begin to look at different angles because the foundation has been established. New perspectives, lead to new opportunities.
  • Organized brands are more accessible. If you have a system that allows you to find what you're looking for quickly and easily, then it can save time on every future creative and business operation. This means that things are running more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Organizing your brand is a process that takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth the wait.

Put a System In Place

What is a System?

By definition, a system is “a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized framework or method”. There should be a method to the madness. After hammering out the beginning details of getting the brand going or updating it, assess the general workflow of your business.
Creative brands are tricky because of the creative process. There must be freeform time for ideas to develop, however, having systems in place will allow for more time dedicated to just that.

Set a Standard

A proper, successful system must be simple, manageable, and repeatable. With this formula, you will establish a command center and attain continuing success.

Brand elements and business affairs will be set first. It is important to consistently remain within those parameters and teach team members the standard. If people are deviating from the design, your brand becomes unrecognizable. Likewise, if the deviation is happening across business obligations, internally there are issues.

Next, consider overlooked items like naming conventions and saving documents. Simplicity will be your friend to avoid the sprawl of creation. With Symbonic, house any project link and materials in the library. Create custom names to easily find what you are looking for and quickly send them out to decision-makers.

A good measure is to have other team members perform tasks; sometimes what makes sense to us does not make sense to others. If they are able to generate an identical outcome, you have a successful system. Over time, these systems become routine, and your efficiency increases.

Invest in Tools

Digital tools can make or break your system. Tools are ways to help streamline your process, yet should not hinder development. It’s a fine line to tread. Too many tools can cause chaos while too few can waste time.
As you consider which tools to choose, always prioritize the optimization of functions. Symbonic, for example, allows for content management, internal and external collaboration, and project storage in one place. The search for tools depends on your greatest needs.

New tools are always emerging. This process will take some time, so allocate time to tinker and explore what is out on the market.

Plan for Future Growth

As you continue to work and grow, so will your brand. With a solid foundation, scaling towards an upward trajectory will be easy, saving you time and money as more collaborators enter the picture and team members are hired.

Learn, Revisit, and Hone Your Brand

With Symbonic, it's easy to collect and upload what you currently have. Update your information and render beautiful brand elements:

  • Digital Business Card - Accurate, always up-to-date information about your Personal, Team, or Company Brand, combining features of LinkedIn, IMDb, and Linktree.
  • Email Signature - A professionally rendered email signature located only on your Personal Workspace that you can add to all your emails.

Constantly checking in and assessing if your brand is aligning with your IP and what message you are trying to convey is necessary to keep your brand fresh and effective. Your brand needs to evolve as you do, so don't be afraid to revisit it every now and then just to make sure that nothing has changed

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