Good branding will work for you. Think of it like an extra team member, getting you sales, reassuring your customers and educating your audience and encouraging potential leads. It will assist you, however only if you are using it properly. When used well, it helps align you with your audience and brings ease, clarity and growth.
Whether your business is large or small, ensuring your branding is working for you is vital. Why? More often than you may know, good branding is the reason people choose to work with you (or buy your products) over someone else. In fact, it is shown that most people choose to buy based on well-designed branding (yes, this includes a top-notch website).
You’ve likely invested a bit into your branding. Now, get it really working for you. Here are the 5 C’s of personal branding. Consistency, Creativity, Clarity, Commitment, and Consultation.
The 5 C’s of personal branding
The first of the 5 C’s of personal branding? Starts with consistency. On average, it takes people 5-7 impressions before they will remember your brand. And that number is said to be growing as our brains are now tuned to flick through info so quickly. Without brand consistency, you risk wiping that slate clean every single time. For instance, if you choose to use new fonts for each social media post, a new colour palette every time you create a new marketing piece, or pull the latest fun Canva template (without adapting it to your brand) whenever you need a new design, you are harming your credibility.
People buy when (and only when) they trust. So when you use your branding elements inconsistently, it gives your audience an uneasy feeling that they can’t fully trust who you are, where you are heading and what you will deliver. This is the subconscious in action here, but it is important to understand.
Did you know that it is from our subconscious minds, not our conscious decision-making minds, that we make purchases? This is the reason that subtleties in colour palettes, type, graphics, texture and brand voice all play a huge role. And this is why, when those have all been put in place (hopefully by a professional), that they need to be used over and over again consistently or all your messaging is flushed down the drain of your viewer’s minds.
“Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun.” -Albert Einstein
Fads in Design – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Another one of the 5 C’s of personal branding is creativity. The world of design, whether we’re talking fashion, architecture, music or art, has always been over-run by fads. Fads and trends make design accessible, understandable and familiar. Let’s face it, we don’t all want to be seen in the outrageous, jaw-droppingly wild runway piece. We may feel more comfy in something similar to what we see a few others wearing.
The world of branding design faces the same issue. (Just google ‘hipster logos’ and you’ll see common examples of the logos that were ev-er-y-where a few years back). Trends feel safe, and staying within their confines can feel warm and fuzzy. The latest fonts or the colours that everyone in the industry uses can feel like the right path. But there are problems. Using fad-based design means your brand becomes a wallflower. You fade into the same landscape as all of your peers and competitors.
The other issue here is that once the fad has done it’s time, it is ushered out the door to make room for the next one and it fades into oblivion. Then here you are looking outdated long before your time. Your branding should last at least a decade and it certainly won’t if it is all fad-based.
Thirdly, designing something that is quite similar to stuff you are seeing left, right and centre is a dangerous affair when it comes to potential copyright issues. If a larger brand decides that your design is threateningly close to theirs, you may be in trouble. Or if you are downloading a dime-a-dozen “logo” from Canva, be aware that not only do you not own your own logo (gulp – a topic for another time), it is likely that there are huge numbers of other people with the same thing going on.
Disrupt the Sameness
As brand strategists, we walk a tightrope. It is our aim to “disrupt the sameness”, to find a totally unique way of branding your business so that you stand out, whilst also ensuring you don’t sit so far outside the box that you become unrecognisable.
Ensure your brand identity is distinctive and confident and you are sure to earn a spot in the minds and memories of potential customers.
Clarity equals another C: Comprehension.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” – Ralf Speth
It is so easy to throw every piece of your branding toolkit into your advertising or social media posts (and yes, I too have been guilty of this) but the old KISS rule comes into play here (Keep it Simple Sillypants!). Clear, concise images, text and graphics will be easy on eyes and minds. Simplicity is like a breath of fresh air – but it also shows confidence.
As you compile bits and pieces for your next promotional piece, think of it like packing for a trip. Put all the little piles of items on your bed. Stare at them. Then take away half. You don’t need them all on this trip. You’ve already got three long-sleeve shirts – an extra couple won’t be necessary. (Again, talking to myself a little here).
Likewise, in your promotional pieces, put only enough in there to tell the story – adding all the bells and whistles, graphics, icons, images and patterns won’t do you any good. Instead it will clutter your suitcase, uh, I mean message.
Commitment is one of the most vital of the 5 C’s of personal branding. In order to really work for you, your brand needs some TLC. It’s no good if it’s not used. That doesn’t mean you need to post every day but you need to commit to your community. You need to show up, time and time again, and remind people that you are there and what you can do for them.
We humans are forgetful creatures and we need a gentle nudge every so often. Here are some examples:
- Remind them of your services (use images and photography when you can for this)
- Remind them of your mission. Don’t just write a mission statement and chuck it in the closet. Let people know why you do what you do. Let them see the heart of your brand and business. This will help them connect with you on a more personal level and create true allies and supporters, not just customers.
- Remind them of your existence. Seems like a good place to start. This comes from simply getting in front of your audience. A few more social media posts, ads or messages works a treat.
- Remind them of your humanity. Show your face. People connect with people, not with names and words. Let people see your face, hear your voice and even some of your not-so-perfectness. Remind them that you know and hear their struggles and are here for them.
The final C of the 5 C’s of personal branding is consultation. Branding is not set-and-forget. It is a living, breathing, growing entity. This means you need to keep re-evaluating whether it’s working well for you if not (same as you would your employees). The smartest business people I know are the ones who not only are unafraid of committing to an initial investment in branding but are always assessing it as well.
If you’ve invested in your branding (particularly with a designer who integrates a healthy dose of brand strategy) it should certainly last several years, but as your business grows and expands, you should keep looking at your branding.
Consult with people who are close to you and your brand to give you some feedback. Explain what your goals are and ask them if they think the branding is hitting the mark. Better yet, most branding designers are happy to offer a branding consultation to give you some honest thoughts on where it is working well for you, what might need re-tweaking and what can help gear you towards your future goals. The key is to keep checking in with it.
The Power of Good Branding
Understanding the 5 C’s of personal branding – Consistency, Creativity, Clarity, Commitment, and Consultation, can transform your brand into a powerful tool. It helps you stand out from the competition and sparks recognition and excitement among potential clients. An investment in your personal branding strategy today will continue to serve you every day for years to come. If you’re considering investing in your personal branding or need a rebrand, don’t hesitate to reach out.
If you are looking to invest in new branding or rebranding, I’d love for you to be in touch. If you have any questions at all, please reach out.
All the best,