8 Freelance Branding Tips to Get an Edge as a Person of Colour

My sister got a new phone recently and it came without accessories. 

Only one company can confidently pull that stunt.

APPLE

Why?

Branding

iPhones have been branded as expensive, durable, phones with great camera quality and

user experience. 

Samsung has the same branding, so why do people keep gagging for iPhones?

Exclusivity

iPhones have an entirely different operating system that is unique to Apple products. Samsung uses the same operating system as other android phones. 

The more out-of-reach you make a product, the more desirable it is.

The first time I got an iPhone, I felt like I had finally joined an elite social class. 

This is the feeling most people are paying for when buying Apple products. The feeling of belonging.

Now that’s good branding.

As a Bipoc freelancer, you have to be memorable. It takes about 7 seconds to make the first impression. 

This is why your entire brand image and persona have to be carefully curated to pass the right message.

In this article, we’re going to explore branding and the different ways to build a brand that will stay top-of-mind for your prospective clients.

 

What is Branding?

Oberlo defines branding as the process of creating a strong, positive perception of a company, its products, or services in the customer’s mind by combining such elements as logo, design, mission statement, and a consistent theme throughout all marketing communications.

Branding is what makes you stand out among the sea of other freelancers. You want to be one of the first persons a potential client thinks of when they need a service you offer.

 

Why is Branding Important?

77% of B2B marketers say branding is crucial for growth. Having a business without good branding is like covering a light bulb with an opaque bowl.

If no one is seeing it, no one is using it.

So what then is the point of starting a business?

Good branding lifts you above the rest and announces you to your target audience.

 

Distinguish Yourself

As a person of color, You’re already marginalized. Branding is what brings you out of obscurity.

The freelancing world is getting populated every day. You need to set yourself apart to be noticed and hired.

 

Land your Dream Clients

The process of branding involves you putting your business on every relevant platform. 

Add this to a pleasing image and more people, including your dream clients, can spot you easily.

 

Build Trust

Relaying the same message consistently over time establishes you as an authority in that field.

Customers believe that whatever you bring forth is great, and are more willing to come to you.

 

How to Establish Your Brand as a BIPOC Freelancer

1. Pick a Niche

If you are experiencing pain in your eye, would you rather go to a general practitioner or an optometrist?

You’ll most likely pick the optometrist because he has more experience with eye conditions than any other kind of doctor.

It’s the same in the freelance world. People are looking for someone to solve specific needs.

Picking a niche narrows your target audience to a smaller group of people. This makes it easier for both you and your ideal client to find each other.

Choosing a niche also gives you a clear vision for your freelance career. You know the exact service you want to offer. Focus on it and get better with every project you do.

As you improve, you gain more popularity and trust among your potential clients.

Over time, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in your field.

 

2. Determine your Target Audience

Now that you have chosen a niche, you need to figure out the answers to the following questions.

  1.  Who are you selling your services to?

Let’s say you’re a conversion copywriter. Your target audience is the head of content and CMOs of fashion companies.

  1. What problems do they face?

Their content is not convincing enough to convert visitors into buyers.

  1. How do you attract them?

Include lines in your social media bio that can tell them you know your stuff. E.g “I create product and landing pages that sell the heck out of your products”.

The answers to these questions vary depending on what you do. 

 

3. Build your online Persona

94% of people said they’d be highly likely to recommend a brand they were emotionally engaged with.

But here’s the thing. People connect with people, not products and services.

You are your brand. People need to connect with you on a personal level.

Get active on social media. 37% of employers pick up their new hires from social media.

Tell your story. 

Network with people in your target audience. Talk about how you birthed your brand. Crack jokes. Give compliments. Engage with other people’s content.

Build relationships with your colleagues. Develop a brand voice and stick to it. Create an online personality that is genuine, likable, and relatable

For example, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group has 12.6M followers on Twitter, while Virgin group has 243.8 followers. 

His strong social media presence greatly influences his brand. The Virgin group account may have only a fraction of his following, but his entire 12.6M are getting almost the same brand messages from his account.

 

4. Decide Your Brand Name

It’s important to pick a strong name that gives a hint about what you do. It’s also essential that people can remember the name.

This is where the age-old dilemma presents itself.

Your Name Vs a Brand Name

White people mostly have names that are easy to pronounce. It’s perfect for them. 

But you aren’t white

You’re a person of color whose name is most likely difficult for your target audience to pronounce.

You don’t want prospective clients to shy away from you because they are afraid of mispronouncing your name. You don’t even want them stressed about your name. They should be fixated on your work.

Also, let’s be factual, racial bias exists very strongly.

When some people see your name, they form an opinion about you. They expect you to not be good enough, they already plan to pay you less than your white colleagues.

Using a simple English name takes away all these issues. They see only your work without judgment. By the time they have to jump on a call with you, they are already halfway impressed.

 

5. Get a Logo

It only takes consumers 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo. I have completely dismissed brands because I found their logos to be tacky.

Your logo is a visual representation of your brand. You need something simple and aesthetically pleasing.

Be intentional about the colors you use. Color improves brand recognition by up to 80 percent.

Different hues can evoke a wide range of emotions. Use palettes that induce positive feelings in people and maintain them throughout every aspect of your business.

 

6. Get Professional Brand Pictures

Adding a photo to your LinkedIn profile makes you 36 times more likely to receive a message on LinkedIn, and LinkedIn profiles with a profile photo receive 21 times more views than those without a profile photo.

Many people need to at least be able to identify what the person they’re approaching looks like

Putting professional headshots across your websites and social media pages makes you more relatable. 

Smile and radiate warmth. Avoid looking uptight, it’s off-putting. You want your pictures to be welcoming.

If you want to take it up an extra notch, wear your brand colors. It reinforces your brand message and blends nicely with your logo and website.

 

7. Build a Website

How do you want a client to believe you can do a job for them if you haven’t done the same for yourself?

If you’re an SEO copywriter, the SEO on your website has to be tight.
If you’re a web designer, go off on your website and show prospective clients how great you are.

81% of people research a business or service online prior to making a purchase decision.

Your website is like your professional showroom where you take your prospective clients on tour. You want to give them a good time and convince them that you’re the person for the job.

The majority of freelancers do not have websites. Having a great one takes you steps ahead in your freelance career. 

A good website makes you more professional and gives a certain level of credibility.

 

8. Consistency is Key

it takes a minimum of 6-7 brand interactions for someone to remember your brand. And these interactions have to be regular.

Whether or not you are getting steady clients. You have to keep posting content on all your online platforms.

Update your blogs regularly. Post great pictures. Make video content. Drop little snippets of knowledge here and there.

Ensure that people are seeing you on their screens frequently.

Branding is all about passing the same message in various creative ways consistently.

Tell people who you are so often that they believe you.

 

Conclusion

Take your time to reflect on your career goals and map out your strategy. Share your ideas with other professionals to hear what they think.

Remember that you don’t need to spend so much money when you’re starting. You can upgrade as you grow.

At the heart of it, branding is just showing up authentically as yourself for the world to see.

 

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Chioma Mmeje

Uniquely communicate cross-media ROI without team building experiences. Appropriately re-engineer premium web services vis-a-vis customized niche markets.

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