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Branding and Business Strategy for Creatives
Suzi Istvan

Suzi Istvan is a graphic & web designer and brand strategist who loves to work with creatives in business.

Three Best Practices...


Examine how you're offering your services and ask "what's next?" often. This allows you to extend the life cycle of your favorite clients, provide a service or product that may be missing from the market, and keep your offerings reigned in to what makes the most sense for your brand. 


Your visual brand is worth investing in. If you can't afford your dream visual brand right away, remember that simple and quality is far superior to cheap, quick, and cluttered.


Choose a focus! It may be your primary goal for the year, and achievement you want to see in a quarter, or even a dream to achieve 5 years in the future. Every time a new option comes up in your business, ask if it moves you further away from or closer to your focus area. This keeps you from creating a scattered brand and shiny-object syndrome!

To Do: What do you do better than anyone else?

What do you do better than anyone else? What do people in your life (friends, family, and clients) always ask you to do for them? What comes so easily to you that you can't believe others find it difficult (hint: this may be the thing you feel weird about charging for!). Do a brain dump now of everything you can think of.

Some of these may be skills you use in your business. Some may not be (are you amazing at planning the perfect dinner party? Able to stay calm in a family crisis?)...and that's ok!

Now look through your list. For everything you wrote down, imagine how you can use that skill to do your job better than anyone else out there. NOW look at your current business brand. Is it playing up these superpowers? Is it highlighting these strengths? Is it making you the obvious choice to hire because you're leaning into the best things your bring to the table?


Look for branding inspiration outside of your industry. Getting away from your industry bubble will let you discover new delivery methods, messaging techniques, and visual styles that your competitors aren't using and that may resonate with your audience.

Remember that your brand is more than your logo and website colors. It's the foundation you're building your business on: from what products you create to how you serve them and sell them to where and when you promote yourself, price yourself, and present yourself. Deep research, thought, and staying updated is needed for a healthy brand!


Don't assume that YOU are your target client. I see people make branding decisions all the time based on the colors THEY love, the price THEY can afford, the product delivery form THEY prefer. While you probably have similarities to your client, make sure you're actually doing the research to learn how your client, thinks, speaks, buys, and loves to be served before taking your similarities for granted.

Don't get too clever with your branding. Of course you want to stand out, but too many gimmicks or tricky language in your marketing material, packaging, and website just leaves your audience unclear about exactly what you offer and why they should hire you.

More from Suzie...

Tired of feeling burned out?   Growing Your Creative Business Shouldn't Leave You Totally Drained.  Get 12 Burnout Free ways to grow your creative brand. 

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