Marketing, Branding

Communicating Your Brand Messaging Through Your Packaging

When you set up a product-based business, you spend a lot of time thinking about the product itself. You’ll devote time to planning how to market and communicate it to potential customers. But often, packaging is last on the to-do list, because it’s seen as a practical way to protect and ship, and nothing more.

When you set up a creative business, you spend a lot of time thinking about the product itself. You’ll devote time to planning how to market and communicate it to potential customers. But often, packaging is last on the to-do list, because it’s seen as a practical way to protect and ship, and nothing more.  |  Think Creative Collective

Why Packaging Counts

Even for small startups, a little creativity and care in packaging goes a long way when it comes to impressing your first customers and gaining those loyal advocates. Gently wrapped tissue paper and handwritten notes are often what is remembered by recipients of the first parcels you send.

As your business grows a little though, the time may come for you to invest in some branded packaging. This doesn’t have to be kept for when you have production lines of items rolling out globally. With the growth of print on demand services it’s becoming ever easier and cost-effective for small businesses to create unique packaging.

You see, consumers of all products, be they bespoke pieces or mass produced items, all want that post-purchase glow and the thrill of their delivery arriving. Often in the online transaction world, the packaging in which they receive your item in is the only really physical interaction you have with them. So it’s important to make it is as strong and personal a first impression as you would if they were standing in front of you.

The Social Media Economy

Product packaging has always been as much about the emotion it induces in us as it is about the protection of products or the descriptions on boxes.

Now we live in a world where our excitement at buying beautiful things is expressed less by the swinging of branded shopping bags on our arms and has been replaced by the sharing of boxes and bags arriving by post across our personal social channels.

The growth of beauty and fashion bloggers or influencers even gave rise to the craze known as “unboxing” where the entire act of receiving, opening and admiring a package is caught on film for fans to enjoy. This has turned packaging into a very important advertising and marketing opportunity for fledgling businesses.  

Once upon a time packaging design was about converting people to buy at the point of sale - on a shelf or in a magazine advert. Now, it’s about how a box looks, what material it is made from, how it feels to open and what surprises may lie inside. This may be the all important sales converter to future business, when the nature of online shopping means that people have time to “go cold” on their order by the time it arrives.

Communicating Your Brand Values With Design

Communicating your brand ethos and narrative has always been important. Small businesses, especially those who create and design their own products, have no shortage of authentic voice, true story and ethical standards.

However, an opportunity is often missed to fully utilize product packaging to reinforce all these points and continue to connect with customers at the point of delivery.

You could, for example;

  • Convey luxury and individuality through the use of weighty materials, UV gloss coatings or metallic foiling, little touches that show the customer they have invested wisely
  • Use colours, patterns and design more flamboyantly to really stand out from competitors and show your personality, or
  • Prove dedication to environmental causes through the use of tightly-sized boxes to avoid wastage, using natural paper products and recycled padding such as degradable hardwood strands to protect products.

Communicating Your Brand Values With Shipping Strategy

Of course the other element of packaging is the logistics side of actually getting a parcel to its new owner.

While its tempting to completely offload this element of the process onto a logistics specialist, it’s important that you work closely on this strategy so that it aligns with the way in which you conduct every other side of your business.

So, for example, ensuring your beautifully designed boxes arrive in good condition is important in making a good first impression to new customers. Working with these suppliers on a strong shipping strategy will also show your customers you care about them - trying your best to find the most cost-effective solution to getting their items delivered on time. Similarly, a generous returns policy, if you can afford it, will help convert new customers into regular buyers and reduce the risk for them in trying something new.

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

No matter how impressive your packaging, or your shipping strategy, of course your product is the most important element of them all.

But remember, it doesn’t have to be the only thing that arrives inside the box!

Another often missed opportunity is the chance to brand the inside of packaging boxes and cartons - with fun messages, returns instructions, or hashtags and competitions that might encourage social media sharing and help you spread the word about your business more quickly.

Inserts are another easy way to send additional messages to customers. You might send a discount code as a thank you note for example, or perhaps give them a VIP heads up about upcoming sales or new product designs. Samples, miniature products and coupons are all opportunities to up-sell and incentivize re-purchasing.

This could even be the perfect opportunity to remind them of the love and care you’ve put into choosing the packaging materials and design and how it matches your whole ethos and mission.

 

So there you have it. Modern ecommerce businesses large and small know that packaging is much more than a functional piece of the process. It’s a way to communicate who you are and continue to build relationships with your customers. Whether you’re a new company that wants to grow a customer base through Instagram or an existing business that simply wants to build lasting loyalty among current customers, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of packaging in an ecommerce economy.



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Instagram, Branding

5 Easy Ways to Ensure Your Instagram Branding Is On Point

By now, we all know that Instagram is the place to be for creatives. This network provides an amazing opportunity to build authentic relationships that feel intimate and true. Plus, Instagram is all about beautiful, artistic, bold images. But while we pride ourselves on being creative, let’s be honest here: it is hard to post stunning content every single day. At the same time, we stumble upon these gorgeous feeds with hundreds of thousands of followers and we start doubting our abilities. We get impostor syndrome, and think that our Insta feed will never look nearly as cool and polished.

By now, we all know that Instagram is the place to be for creatives. This network provides an amazing opportunity to build authentic relationships that feel intimate and true. Plus, Instagram is all about beautiful, artistic, bold images. But while we pride ourselves on being creative, let’s be honest here: it is hard to post stunning content every single day. At the same time, we stumble upon these gorgeous feeds with hundreds of thousands of followers and we start doubting our abilities. We get impostor syndrome, and think that our Insta feed will never look nearly as cool and polished.  |  Think Creative Collective

Yet, the secret to an awesome and popular Instagram account is simple: Keep it consistent and be very strategic with it.

It seems that Instagram is about “being in the moment” and randomly snapping breathtaking images; however, if you want Instagram to become your friend and a truly effective marketing channel, there is definitely a lot more going on in the background than meets the eye.

Get clear on branding

Let’s start with Instagram branding 101. Get very clear on why you are on the platform, who you are trying to reach, and what the end goal is for being on the platform. It’s a relatively easy task if you have all of that figured out in your business and on your website. Just think of Instagram as another channel for your brand. Do not – I repeat, do not – create a whole new brand identity on Instagram. This platform should organically fit in with whatever you are doing already on the interwebs.

Consistency is key

Think of every post not as a separate entity out there, but as a single piece of a huge puzzle that is your Instagram presence. All of those pieces have to fit together cohesively and tell a story about your brand. Before you post an image, evaluate whether it really fits into your overall feed on a conceptual basis. Then, decide how you can make it fit in visually. Keep your brand colors in mind. More importantly, keep your overall brand mood consistent.

If your brand has a very glamorous feel, imagine what a grainy, dark image will do to it. If your brand feels homey, warm and natural, posting images with neon colors (even if they’re pretty) will leave your followers very confused.

You might want to share your new cool headshot made by a professional photographer, share a picture of your cat napping, or talk about this awesome new product you’re about launch. How do you go about logically crafting those posts on your Instagram? Through consistent use of colors, filters and styles. Pick two filters to use consistently on all of your images. Remember that different filters add different levels of saturation, temperature and brightness. Also, remember that they accentuate different colors. So, if your brand colors are greens and blues, try the Perpetua filter. If your brand incorporates pink hues, give the Nashville filter a try.

Plus, once you select a filter, you can double tap on it to control the intensity. You can also hone in on brightness, contrast and other details by going to individual settings. If you can’t find an Instagram filter that truly hits home, try VSCO. In my opinion, their filters are a bit more sophisticated than Instagram’s standard ones. Some filters do cost a couple of dollars, but you get to keep them once you’ve bought them and make your images stand out from the rest. I think it’s worth the investment.

Stand out from the crowd with graphics

Since Instagram is obviously very visual, try spicing it up with graphics. Text-based content will stand out on this image-heavy network. I love using Canva for all my graphic needs. You can use their free stock images, or upload your own. Add a color overlay with your brand colors. Play with fonts. You can truly make your graphics shine and be a coherent part of your feed.

Speaking of Canva, you can also play with their filters and customize them. Once you’re happy with settings, you can copy the filter code that appears on the bottom, and apply those exact same specifications to any other image you’re creating in Canva by simply pasting the code. How much time and sanity would that save you?

Planning and visualizing are your friends

Consistency should not only be present in your visuals and storytelling, it also should be evident in your posting schedule. No one wants to follow a person who might not be posting another awesome photo any time soon. You might unknowingly be hurting your follower counts by appearing and then disappearing off the platform.

Another important thing that planning enables you to do is to be even more strategic, even more engaging, and even more appealing to follow. Say you have a launch coming up soon, so for a whole month leading up to it, all you do is hard sell. All you do is share the same image of a future product over and over and over again. Doesn’t sound too appealing to follow, right?

However, if you plan your content just a bit ahead, you can mix up your self-promotional posts with educational posts, behind-the-scenes moments of your launch, and so forth. While you still may be talking about the same thing, you will be doing it much more engagingly and gracefully. You will be able to see so many more angles to your launch than just a hard sell.

What’s cool about new scheduling apps popping up on the market is that some of them are specifically designed for Instagram. Many of these apps now also have an ability for you to visualize your feed before posting individual images.

It may not seem like a biggie, but I will share a personal story with you. My Insta feed is pretty consistent: I use the same font and logo placement on all of my images. I also make sure that my photos are mostly blue in hue. Seems easy, doesn’t it? Find a blue image, put a predefined font on it, slap a logo and you’re done. However, on more than one occasion I have run into an issue of one blue hue not working with a blue hue next to it. This blue was greenish, and this was purplish, and this was much darker or brighter, and was sticking out from the bunch. I also could have multiple images of ocean scenes and then people for the next three images, so there was really no reason or rhythm to any of it. I’ve found that visual planning tools like Planoly, Plann and Tailwind work really well to avoid this, because you can play around with how it all looks together as a whole.

Don’t shy away from stock

Finally, once in awhile we all hit a creative block. Our minds just go blank and we anxiously start scrambling for ideas, and the pressure to post something doesn’t really help.

For instances like that, use stock images. Before you shake your head in disapproval, I will give you a few key reasons why it’s more than ok to post stock images on Instagram.

First of all, there are a ton of websites where attribution is not required. So you’re not mentioning anyone else or ruining an image with a watermark. Better yet, some of these sites are free, or charge a very modest monthly fee. Also, stock photography is much better than it used to be even five years ago. I am not talking about people in black suits against a white background or a guy giving you a thumbs up with a cheesy smile. I am talking about images that are of such high quality that you won’t even realize they’re stock.

In fact, using stock images is a pretty widespread practice on Instagram. Even influencers use quality – key word here being “quality” – stock images. Plus, don’t forget that with the use of filters, photo-editing tools, and text overlays, you can make that stock image truly fit your brand.

Having a gorgeous Instagram feed takes some work and dedication, but not as much as it may seem at first. To make your job less daunting, get very clear on your overall branding first, plan ahead and use the tools that are available at your disposal.



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Branding, Marketing

Putting Personality into Your Branding

With the huge influx of new solo or small group entrepreneurs into the world, the realm of branding has shifted. Where “personal branding” used to refer to the act of dressing up your personality, packaging yourself as a commodity in order to climb the corporate ladder, it now means something very, very different. Now personal branding refers to bloggers, solo photographers, freelancers, and all kinds of entrepreneurs and how they market themselves and their products or services. Furthermore, as these talented and capable people begin to brand themselves, a trend of DIY personal branding has taken over the blogosphere and social media marketing genres.

With the huge influx of new solo or small group entrepreneurs into the world, the realm of branding has shifted. Where “personal branding” used to refer to the act of dressing up your personality, packaging yourself as a commodity in order to climb the corporate ladder, it now means something very, very different. Now personal branding refers to bloggers, solo photographers, freelancers, and all kinds of entrepreneurs and how they market themselves and their products or services. Furthermore, as these talented and capable people begin to brand themselves, a trend of DIY personal branding has taken over the blogosphere and social media marketing genres.  |  Think Creative Collective

There is nothing wrong with DIY branding, particularly in the creative sector. After all, branding is something many creatives learn by trade and doing it in-house can save a lot of upfront cash for a new or small business. However, there is an unfortunate downside to the the DIY approach, especially in today’s post Pinterest world. Too often creatives, bloggers, and infopreneurs build a brand from shallow trends in their niche. Driven by the time stresses of the #sidehustle, or the ever-present comparison game, they abandon the core concept of authenticity and originality in branding and clamor to make something, anything so that they can launch their endeavors and build their businesses.

This struggle is one that I can deeply relate to, being jealous of others in my genre, wanting to look like they look, have the website they have, grow the audience they’ve grown. It can be so easy to just mimic in an effort to maximize the returns on our time investment. The harsh reality is, however, that this IKEA way of branding with low cost, mass produced assets and a little home assembly is not authentic or original. These cookie-cutter looks are a dime a dozen, which means they don’t stand out to anyone — the exact opposite of what branding should do.

There is a better way. Personal branding that stays closer to the things you love, the things that represent you and your business, will equate to more authenticity and more connection with your audience. It just takes some evaluation of your current standing, introspection about yourself and some personality. The best part is that you can still use some of those easy to find and minimal investment assets, and you can still do it yourself.

Evaluate Where You Are

The first step in a DIY overhaul of your personal brand is in finding out where you are right now. Take a break and stand back, evaluating what you have with an honest and critical eye. I help clients to do this by asking a few poignant questions:

  • Are you being represented?
    When you look at your business, do you see yourself there? Or do you see the same thing that hundreds of others are doing? Even if your name is in the logo, if the colors aren’t from you or the voice isn’t yours, then you aren’t being represented. This is a big deal because at the end of the day you aren’t just selling a product or service. You’re selling a product or service provided by the human being that is you, and that is what makes it special.

  • Do you like to look at it?
    I could be pretty well represented by a cold cup of coffee in a teal mug, but it wouldn’t be a great brand decision. Evaluate your current personal brand with your creative intuition. Is it attractive? Do you, as a creative professional, like it? Chances are your gut will tell you if something isn’t up to par.

  • Is your audience responding?
    Does your current look and feel support you in getting new clients or sales? Do you feel like you’re successful in spite of it or because of it? Like a cold cup of coffee won’t entice a new customer, a personal brand that doesn’t key into the overlap of what you want and what your audience wants might fall flat.

Evaluate WHO you are

If your current setup passed the evaluation, then you are probably in a pretty great place. If it didn’t, then chances are you need an update, DIY or otherwise. Possibly the most important element of a personal brand is the personal part. To strengthen any weak spots you might have on that front, you’ll have to look inward.

  • Why are you in this business?
    I’m in it to pay my bills while also doing something I enjoy, but there’s probably something deeper. Why this business, instead of countless others? I find that understanding what roots a person in their business, while not directly related to branding, helps tackle the solution from a place of understanding.

  • What is your favorite part about what you do?
    Find the thing that builds your own excitement, and then hold on to that. In a lot of cases this can be the cornerstone of a personal brand. Love talking to new clients? Then ideas like “handshake, open, welcoming, smile” could be a springboard for your brand update. Love putting pen to paper? Then you might try “ink, tactile, black and white, paper texture, traditional” as a place to start.

Embrace Your Personality

One of the most enjoyable things about a Personal Brand versus a Corporate Brand is the opportunity to infuse it with real personality. In a solo business, the connection with your customer can be much, much more immediate. That one-on-one relationship makes it not only possible, but beneficial to show a little bit of the real you. There’s an added bonus too — adding a bit of your own flair is one of the easiest ways to update your personal brand.

Giving your audience a glimpse into your way of life isn’t a science, but there are some guardrails. Start small, and with your natural way of speaking. Instead of tweeting a proper Oxford style sentence, consider using a bit of your own slang, or a favorite catchphrase. Regina Anaejionu of ByRegina is a great example of this. She calls her email newsletter “Ninja Notes” and refers to being “Epic” as a business strategy.

In a similar way, you can use informal platforms like Instagram to branch out even further. Show yourself with bare feet, or covered in paint creating a new product. Let people see the human side of your business, but don’t go overboard.

When it comes to showing your personality, there can be too much of a good thing. Avoid using your brand as a stage to rant or complain about your life, and definitely don’t post any inappropriate photos. The internet is forever, folks, and slip ups like that can damage your brand as well as your reputation.

Love the Look

I know, I’m avoiding the elephant in the room. What about the graphics? After all, a visual identity is the first thing your audience sees about you. In many cases they make dozens of assumptions in the first seconds of landing on your website or other brand material, so it has got to be original, and great.

If tweaking your existing brand with the tactics above doesn’t go far enough to make you stand out, then it is time to consider larger scale changes. This is where things can go awry, and you might end up with something incongruent with who you are, or what you sell. In order to keep on track, I recommend a mood board. Pull together not only elements of your personal visual style, but some of the words or themes from your evaluation of who you are in your business, and elements of your personality as well. This is where a picture of cold coffee might fit for me, alongside mint watercolors, my favorite sweater and beautiful ocean views.

Put these elements, colors, fonts, and favorite outfits, together into one master document. This should be informal, not at all like an official brand identity. Use the result as a guide while you find new visual assets, and incorporate them into your personal brand. Having a solid foundation built with care and thought can take the cookie-cutter DIY branding trend and transform it into budget savvy, excellent personal branding.

It is likely that solo entrepreneurs will continue to change the definitions of the traditional business lexicon, and the internet will serve to make ready-to-use visual assets more and more available to the masses. Overall, this is good news and with a little soul searching, a little DIY spirit and a good foundation, personal branding can become an integral part of any creative person’s skillset.



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Branding, Marketing

5 Steps to Build an Authentic Brand You Love

Building a brand that’s authentic and that you love could be the difference between having a successful business and one that’s not. Why? Because having a brand that’s authentic means being more in tune with who you are and where your passions lie as well as the needs of your audience. When I started my business as a branding strategist and designer 10 years ago, I wasn’t authentic at all. I did what I thought I needed to do. I offered a limitless amount of services, I talked about everything that I did, and I left “me” out of the equation. As I progressed in my career, I came to realize that I was making a huge mistake that was basically limiting my success.

Building a brand that’s authentic and that you love could be the difference between having a successful business and one that’s not. Why? Because having a brand that’s authentic means being more in tune with who you are and where your passions lie as well as the needs of your audience. When I started my business as a branding strategist and designer 10 years ago, I wasn’t authentic at all. I did what I thought I needed to do. I offered a limitless amount of services, I talked about everything that I did, and I left “me” out of the equation. As I progressed in my career, I came to realize that I was making a huge mistake that was basically limiting my success.  |  Think Creative Collective

So, I made a shift in the way I communicated with my audience and with myself, understanding my passions and being unapologetic about doing what I love. Here are the five steps you should follow in order to build an authentic brand that you love.

1. Define Your Purpose + Passions

A lot of times, we become entrepreneurs to “make money”, not necessarily out of passion, but out of need. I began my career with an idea that I wanted to be independent and have total control of my time. I created a business out of what I knew how to do, which was graphic design. I had studied it, had experience in it and liked it quite a bit. So, it simply made sense. At first, it was automatic and all about making money. However, as the years progressed, I discovered that I truly had a passion for branding. Helping people transform their businesses, and ultimately their lives, through branding and design fuels me.

I would say that understanding your passion from the start and building a business around this will ultimately create a business you love. You want to ask yourself:

What do I love?

What fuels me?

What would I do for free?

These questions might seem obvious, but they are so important moving forward. In my case, the answers to these questions meant eliminating 80% of the services I was offering. I feel that it’s better to be known as the expert and go-to person who does ONE thing incredibly well and with passion, than known for doing a lot of things, but nothing special. What are you confident that you can do best for others? Do that.

2. Understand Your Audience

One of the biggest lessons that I have learned in business is that unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), nobody really cares about you. People mostly care about themselves and the problems that they have and how you can solve them. You see, in life, everything comes down to problems and solutions. Your audience has a problem. That problem might be the simplest thing in the world, like feeling bored on a Friday night, or the most complex thing, like being overweight. Your job is to discover what that problem is and offer a solution that will benefit them.

Building an authentic brand that you love means getting to know and understand your audience and genuinely care about creating those solutions for them. The better you understand your audience, the better you will get at solving their problems. You have to do everything in your power to find out what their pain points are. How do you do that? By asking questions. Contact every client that you’ve worked with and ask them where they were before they hired you. Research through Facebook Groups, or simply ask Google. All of these things will get you closer to understanding your audience better than they do.

3. Create an Experience of Transformation

Once you are clear on your audience and their needs, you want to make sure that you build an experience of transformation. Building a brand that’s authentic means really making an effort to move people from their problems to their solutions, and you want to make sure you communicate it clearly. For a long time, my marketing and website communicated that I was a graphic designer who created logos, brands, and websites. I would go on to talk about how much experience I had and who I had worked with and that I had an MBA and this and that, me. me. me. me. Eventually, I realized that focusing so much about what I did, took the attention away from what was important: my audience. So I reframed the way I communicated by stating: I help entrepreneurs create unique brands that attract. Can you see the distinction? Now it’s not about me, but what I do for others. There’s clarity about the type of transformation entrepreneurs will go through when they hire me. Where before it was about someone designing a logo for you, now it’s about building a unique brand.

What you want to do is fill the gap between the problems and the solutions of your audience, and make sure that your communication is geared in that direction. It all comes down to how you frame and package what you do; in other words, it’s all about positioning. How are you communicating who you are and what you do?

4. Be Unique

Another thing I used to struggle with when I started my business, was the idea that there were other designers out there that were probably cheaper and better than I was. I would wonder why anybody would hire me, when they could get a better product for less elsewhere. Here’s the thing — yes, people do hire you in part for your skills. But, the truth is that people hire you mostly for you. There are millions of businesses out there that are doing exactly the same thing you are, but the one thing that makes yours different, is you. Your experiences, your education, your skills, your personality, your values, your “you”. In my case, there might be millions of designers out there, but only I have lived all over the world, am married to a famous Latin pop singer, graduated top 10 from one of the top MBA schools in Latin America, have done dozens of online courses, have had my clients, built a successful business and have my personal unique fresh style. Only I can say that I have done those things. Building an authentic brand means bringing YOU to the table. Showing up, with your qualities and imperfections and being genuine and real.

The truth is that in the end, we all want to connect. That means that we don’t want to feel like we’re alone in our journey, that we’re the only ones going through whatever it is that we’re going through. We connect when we hear people that understand us. We connect when we feel seen; not invisible. It all comes down to bringing your story to your brand.

5. Create a Brand That’s Authentic

In the end, if you are creating a business that’s aligned with your passions, offering solutions that are capable of making experiences of transformation for your audience while building your business around what makes you unique, you need to make sure you’re reflecting that in your brand. Branding is fundamental to making that happen, because branding is all about building perceptions from the inside out. You begin by determining your Unique Selling Proposition and positioning and you end with making sure your brand looks the part. You need to make sure your logo, website, and images in general, build you the necessary credibility while looking authentic and unique at the same time. Having an image that brings everything I mentioned to the table is fundamental to really creating something extraordinary that’s capable of standing out.

We’re very visual beings and are quick to judge when something doesn’t look valuable. It might be the most incredible and delicious food in the world, but if the restaurant looks ugly and sketchy on the outside, we won’t go in. It’s the same with our brands. If the image doesn’t reflect the value you offer and if it doesn’t make you stand out, people will take 3 seconds to form a decision and leave. Branding the right way will actually be capable of making you stand out as different — GOOD different — from everyone else. At the same time, it will build you recognition and ultimately create more credibility and trust. All of these are the perfect ingredients to building an authentic brand that you love.

 

Applying all of these things to my business has been a game changer. I believe that the more I connect with being authentic, genuine, and unique, the more I love my business, the more I wake up happily and excited every Monday morning because I am building a business I’m passionate about, while transforming people’s lives every single day. Now, I ask you, what makes your brand authentic? Make sure to share in the comments below.



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Entrepreneur, Branding

How to Dress like a Boss & Create Your Own Distinct Look with Your Wardrobe

Okay, boss lady. You’ve got a killer website, an awesome team, amazing clients, and a brand that is flourishing beautifully. Things are popping right now for your business. Take a look at your schedule for next week. I’m sure your endless list of to-dos looks a little something like this:

  • Monday: Meetings, meetings and more meetings.
  • Tuesday: Skype call with your business bestie.
  • Wednesday: You’ve got an awesome webinar packed with helpful information.
  • Thursday: A speaking engagement. Oh, and you have to pack for that conference next week.
  • Friday: Happy hour with your boo.

But, wait..hello??? What are you going to wear, girl?!

As entrepreneurs, our schedules and lives can get a little hectic. Okay, a lot hectic. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse not to look your best. Crafting a cohesive, consistent, and curated wardrobe that aligns with the aesthetic of your brand will not only do wonders for your business, but it will greatly impact your self-confidence, which will in turn make you more successful.  |  Think Creative Collective

As entrepreneurs, our schedules and lives can get a little hectic. Okay, a lot hectic. Nonetheless, that’s no excuse not to look your best. Crafting a cohesive, consistent, and curated wardrobe that aligns with the aesthetic of your brand will not only do wonders for your business, but it will greatly impact your self-confidence, which will in turn make you more successful.

Do I have your attention yet? No? Okay, well what if I told you that you could make more money from your business by cultivating and elevating your style and your wardrobe?

“If you want to be the boss, you’ve got to dress like a boss.”

Hate to break it to you, babe, but as much as you may not want to admit it,  your image is really important, especially when you are a boss. When you walk into a room full of new faces, your personality isn’t the first thing people notice. It’s what you put on your back, and the confidence that radiates through when you put an awesome outfit on. Yeah, they really do matter.

“The first step to a great personal brand is a distinct look.”

But before you go running to your closet and start freaking out about what you need to wear to look like the boss babe that you are, breathe. Branding your wardrobe is no walk in the park without a strategic plan of action.

What is the message you’re trying to convey with your image and branding style?

Define Your Target Market:

This is a question I’m sure you’ve asked yourself many times during the long and stressful process of building your brand and business from the ground up, but I’m going to ask you again anyway.

If you want to attract your ideal target market, then you need to dress accordingly. That way, they will respond positively to the overall personal brand that you present to them. If you know what they need, want, and enjoy, then it will be a walk in the park to create a connection with your brand. The following questions will help you become more relatable to your client, but don’t lose yourself in the process. It’s okay to please your target audience, but don’t wear or promote anything that you don’t feel comfortable with or believe in.

  • Are your products or services most likely going to be purchased by a younger audience or an older audience?
  • What characteristics define your target market? Are they younger or older? Are they outgoing or conservative?
  • What is your target market interested in? What do they read? Hobbies? Passions?
  • Where does your target audience hang out? Where are they more likely to hear about what you are offering? A Facebook group? A local coffee shop? A networking party?
  • What words speak to the consumer? Balance, health, security, stability, quality, etc.?
  • What colors are your target market drawn to?

What is your typical work environment like?

It’s important to adjust your wardrobe to your everyday lifestyle. You can have style and be comfortable. Do you work from home? Do you travel a lot while you work? Or do you like to go to the neighborhood coffee shop when you zone out and work? Remember, wherever you decide to work, look like a boss. You never know who’s sticking their nose in your business (literally) and may look at your screen, enquire about what it is that you do, then BOOM! You have a new client. Cool, right?

What is the impression you’re trying to give?

What type of vibes are you trying to give off to your target market? Does your target market see you as an expert in your field? Who is an expert in your field? If you can’t think of anyone, look it up. When you see photos of that person, what do you notice with their wardrobe? Does the person look polished, prepared, outgoing, and hardworking? Or do they look fashionable and on trend? What personal or professional characteristics can you implement into your style?

How well does your wardrobe differentiate you positively from your competitors?

You should aim to stand out with your brand in any way possible. The way you present yourself is just as important as how you present your brand on your website, or on social media. For example, when I first joined Think Creative Collective, I was immediately drawn to  Abagail & Emylee’s signature look (they both look amazing in a red lip and bold accessories). These are the types of things that you may not think that your potential clients or customers will pick up on, but trust me, it matters.

How Does your Wardrobe Affect Your Brand?

We all know that being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. We are always working. Between posting on social media, creating content for our brands, and networking, there’s never really an off-switch when it comes to our personal brands.

Think about how many times a day or a week you put yourself out there for your target market to see: business meetings; Facebook Live chats; webinars; conferences; emails; headshots; social media; a networking happy hour; or a corporate dinner with your spouse.

If you market yourself as a badass, vivacious, and bold designer and you show up to a client meeting wearing a stuffy pantsuit, your client will be a little confused.

You have to present yourself with the same consistency and authenticity that you do with your other marketing strategies.

Show your clients the real you. After all, that’s what personal style is all about.
 

How to Create Your BossBabe Wardrobe

  • Define Your Style (Would you describe your style as chic, glam, trendy, laid back, boho, etc?)

  • Create a Mood Board

    • Choose your color palette.

    • Add Textures & Prints

    • Find your style inspiration.

    • This is what Pinterest is for!

  • Detox Your Closet

    • Get rid of the things that no longer serve a purpose in your closet.

    • Create a shopping list to fill in the gaps of your wardrobe.

    • Organize your wardrobe.

  • Shop the Basics

    • Start off with the essentials, then start adding statement pieces to your wardrobe.

  • Add the Extras

    • Accessories, shoes, etc.

Now do you understand where I’m coming from? Creating a cohesive and consistent wardrobe will do wonders for your personal brand, whether you’re the boss of your own business or you’re killing it in your career with a company you love. I’ve included a little extra-special something to help you plan your new branded wardrobe. Happy planning!



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