What is the difference between your “Work” and your “brand”?

Your art speaks for itself.

Often times, creative entrepreneurs build a business around their art – be it photography, graphic design, books, productions, the list goes on.  Your art speaks volumes of who you are and the beauty that you can provide to this world. We want to help you discern the difference from your incredible hard work you do as your craft and your brand so you can succeed in both areas.

Your work is your product. And while for creative businesses, it’s often the compelling centerpiece of your “brand”, that isn’t all you need to position your company firmly in the minds of your potential clients and customers and build their trust.

Let’s lead this with an example.



This is a great tennis shoe.  It looks comfy.  Looks sturdy.  Looks nice.

Now tell me what company made it.

You probably can’t just by a 2 dimensional view of the product. (Unless you are the Imelda Marcos of tennis shoes. There are always exceptions.)

Your work is unique — and yet, it’s also going to fit within a genre or bucket that other creative professionals inhabit.  Once people know your work and study it well, they will recognize the differences that make you stand out from everyone else. By that point, they are already loyal believers.  But super fans aside, when you’re looking to gain that fanbase, you need a clear, identifiable way that lets them know, “THIS IS ME” every single time.


That is what a brand does. Your work will pull that visceral emotional connection in them.  But your brand will help them trust that emotional connection and trust you.

Which comes first? The brand or the trust?

So, how about if I show you that same tennis shoe above, but with the logo of the company who made that tennis shoe?


How do you feel about that shoe now?

What changed inside? What emotion do you associate with the Nike logo? What elements do you now believe about that shoe, without ever putting it on your foot?

How powerful is that?  You don’t have to even interact with the product in any other way than seeing who made it to know how you feel about that company and that product. A well-positioned brand will do that.  It will ensure that every time your audience sees your brand, that same emotional pull is repeated inside them.  It’s a visceral, physical thing.  If you love something, you feel that burst of pleasure inside and that smile cross your lips.  If you don’t trust them or aren’t sure about them, your gut tenses up and your body pauses as it decides if this is fight-or-flight time.

Test the theory yourself.  Think of a brand you love.  Me? Starbucks.  My hands reach for my wallet just saying the name.

Now think of a brand you don’t like at all.  Feel that gut pull in a little tighter?

Our bodies tell us what we trust and what we don’t.  That visceral reaction is something you can build within your audience.

[Tweet ” If you love something, you feel that burst of pleasure inside and that smile cross your lips.”]

4 Ways To Go Beyond Your Work

Gaining trust in your clients is the same with any relationship you have, and it is the heart of building a brand.  It’s about consistency, it’s about promise, and it’s about how they feel when they connect with you.  Those are three things you can control.  So how do you build that trust?

Here are four simple things to focus on that help you build your work into a brand that that builds trust:

  1. Speak their language.  Your art can speak for itself, but you have to speak to your customers. Understand how they look at what you offer, so you are talking with them, not at them. (Find the terminology they understand.)
  2. Make sure that every interaction you have with your customers is consistent. (Your voice, your colors, your look and that matches all modes of communication.)
  3. Only promise what you can deliver on, every time (see item 2).
  4. Understand how you need and want your customers to feel about you. What emotional need does your product or service fulfill for them? Make sure you solve that need in your interactions.  (In the way they understand it, while staying consistent and promising ONLY what you can deliver on.)

[Tweet “Every interaction with your customer should be consistent.”]

Those four core elements are what good marketing is about.  It’s what helps make the difference between a company with loyal customers and a company who will lose those customers to the next great company who offers what they offer.  Test every communication with your audience against the above points.

Now go be a brand.    You can do this!



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