Branding for the Independent Contractor

PERSONAL BRANDING (For Independent Contractors) penniless

Personal Branding is one of those phrases that is rarely often used and is very misunderstood. Although the process involves several steps, the idea is really quite simple.

Branding is what Oprah Winfrey®* has you might say done well– the minute you catch sight of her “O,” you know beyond a shadow of a doubt who you’re dealing with. Images may come into your mind, from movies to magazines to lavish parties to her well-know talk show. All this may have seemed easy to see now, but it took a lot of hard work and creativity to brand that single letter!

To do what Oprah did, you’ll need to create a brand for yourself. How? Simple. Present an image and message that appeals to your target audience over and over again until your customers begin to associate that image and message with you. The great thing about Personal Branding is once you’ve begun to succeed in one area you tend to succeed in other non-related areas, think Tiger Woods or Billy Mays.

The personal branding process usually begins with the creation of a logo, iconic photo image and a tagline.

  • A logo may be made up of words (your company name), an illustration and/or graphics.
  • An iconic image may be staged from a key moment (Joe Plumber), great photo shoot with an already well-known person (Dr. Phil) or the classic from a position of authority, Think Doctor in his/her scrubs or Venture Capitalist in his/her powersuit  
  • A tagline should sum up what you offer to customers that they can’t get anywhere else.

Important! Personal Branding is extremely important for the Independent Contractor- Remember you want your clients/users to recall YOU, even over the company (ies) that you may represent!!!

Who is writing this?

You sell services and related products to [fill in the blank with your niche]. Who else does that? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? Can you wrapper your company around a greater mission – like buy American or Go Green! Do you have a broader selection of products? Then your tagline might be “Your place for all things (fill in your niche) here in your own neighborhood.”

Unless you’re a graphic designer, creating your own logo can be tricky – it needs to work in a variety of mediums and that kind of flexibility and takes some skill. We recommend even if you are sure to of what you desire design-wise, give a professional the chance to create with some freedom. You may be surprised with what happens. SO, regardless of whether you do it yourself or hire someone else to create your logo and tagline, be sure to run them past people who represent your target market (not your couch-potato uncle if your company caters to women runners) before putting them to use.

Once you have a logo, use it everywhere – on every page of your storefront, in newsletters, on receipts, on stationery, signage and business cards. You can even incorporate it into your Email Marketing Campaigns – even with a little HTML know-how.

If it’s short enough, your tagline can appear with your logo except in cases where the logo is too small to make the tagline readable. Your tagline should also appear on every page of your Web site. For bonus points, make your tagline clickable and link it to a page that describes your key promises and how your company delivers on them.

Over the long haul, personal branding pays off. BUT here is the key! – make it PERSONAL – surprise, if you don’t create a cause, you won’t get the desired effect! Personal branding not only increases customer loyalty, ensuring that your customers continue to buy from you for years to come, but allows you to charge more than your non-branded competitors, which in turn helps you to better service your clients and enjoy life more fully. How sweet is that???

>Test. Get feedback on your logo and tagline from people who represent your target market.
>Follow up. Your long-term success depends on how well you deliver on your promises.
>Stick with it. Coca-Cola’s been doing it for decades; that’s why their brand is so powerful.

>Alter the individual elements of a logo once it’s been created and approved. You want the viewer to take one look at that logo and think of you, so don’t confuse them. Use it consistently.

Don’t feel comfortable creating your own logo? Ask our Dream Design Team to create one for you.

*Oprah® is a registered trademark of trademarks of Harpo, Inc..


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