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Chapter
1

Set your brand objective

There’s a very common freelancing myth that because you're a solo business owner, you don’t need a brand. Or that you are the brand.

However, having a clear brand and clear brand strategy creates a strong foundation for the marketing, sales, and client services you need to do as a freelancer or solopreneur. 

A brand strategy will:

  • Build and demonstrate your authority and build trust with clients.

  • Differentiate yourself from the competition.

  • Remove decision-fatigue and analysis-paralysis because a clear and consistent brand strategy tells you what’s right for your brand and what’s not.

  • Allow you to bring on subcontractors or virtual assistants and gives them guidelines to your business’ positioning, voice, tone, etc.

  • Validate ideas because instead of wondering whether something is a fit, you can assess the decision in regards to your brand objectives, mission, vision, and audience.

With this playbook, we’ll put together your brand one-pager, making all of the above simple and easy. Your one-pager will include:

  • A clear objective for your brand.

  • Your brand’s mission and vision.

  • Your brand’s voice and tone. 

  • A strong positioning statem

Set your foundation with brand objectives

In your workbook, you’ll evaluate the current state of your brand, set objectives to help drive you through this playbook, and prep the groundwork to build your brand.

  1. Gather any existing brand documents about your brand.

  2. Check out your website, socials, email, videos, etc.

  3. Pull together any documents about your audience or ideal customer profiles (ICP).

  4. Find any positive feedback you’ve received from clients.

  5. Write down 3-5 brand objectives (reminder brand objectives are goals regarding your brand image — how you want to be perceived or seen). If these objectives work, what will they do for your brand? 

Note: We recommend having a file on your computer or in the cloud of all the positive feedback you’ve ever received. This can come in handy when you’re building your website and need to share with a potential client but also can be a nice place to go if you’re having a tough day or struggling with a client/project.

Try your best to put yourself in the shoes of your client as you go through this playbook. What would they want from you? How can you set yourself up for success by prioritizing what they’re asking for or looking for? 

Meet our friend Maya. Maya is a graphic designer who’s been freelancing for about two years. Until now, she hasn’t had a clear brand strategy. She wants to create one and leverage it to build a stronger, more successful business.

She reviews her current website, socials, feedback from customers and comes away with these three main brand objectives:

  1. Be more thoughtful about the content she posts and how it aligns with her messaging. Right now there’s no consistency across the content she’s putting out there. 

  2. Put words and structure behind the “vibes” she’s been using to guide the business. “Vibes” aren't tangible, have no clear direction, and can't be shared with the virtual assistant she hopes to hire in six months to help with content creation.

  3. Gain more authority in her niche, so clients will look to her as an expert.

Let’s define key terms

Your brand represents the sum of every perception of you and your freelance business. Your brand is your reputation, public image, impact on the industry, and the space you take up.

Your brand personality is the persona, vibe, or cluster of characteristics at the forefront of your brand’s communications. You can use your identity descriptors to communicate on your brand’s behalf and maintain cohesion. 

Your brand strategy is the plan to launch, monitor, and maintain your brand. A great brand strategy allows you to create a clear brand identity and launch it. 

Your brand objective is your goals regarding your brand image. How you want to be perceived or seen. Some common brand objectives include image and identity, recognition, awareness, engagement, brand loyalty, brand advocates, market share, and revenue.

To be ready to develop and maintain your brand, you should already have your industry, core offerings, target customers, and niche (if you’ve niched down) identified. From this point, we’ll begin to define and refine aspects of your brand together.

How is marketing different from branding?

Marketing is a subset of business development and feeds sales and revenue. Your brand is an umbrella for business development, product development, research and development, audience and community, and culture. 

Your brand informs your marketing, but it does a whole lot more, too. 

Brand

Marketing

The macro strategy for your business 

One of several micro strategies for your business

Long term trajectory for your future

Tactical stepping stones to reach the future

“The why?”: why are you in business, why this niche, why this community?

“The how?”: How will people find you, how should you present yourself, how will you make sales?

The whole puzzle

Several important pieces of the puzzle

Recap 

  • Explored the reasons for building a brand strategy.

  • Cultivated a better understanding of what “brand” means.

  • Clarified the difference between branding and marketing.

  • Identified your brand objectives.

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