Branding 101 for Creators: How to Establish Your Distinct Creative Identity
The door is wide open for creators, but the competition can be fierce. Developing a distinctive identity is key to turning your creative pursuits into a career. The art may come naturally, but marketing your stock footage may not.
Your brand is the essence of your company. If you want customers as passionate about your product as you are, you need a strong and consistent voice. We spoke with Johannes Oppewal, a VideoBlocks contributor and founder of TravelTelly (now TellyVision), about how he developed a compelling identity for his growing company.
Oppewal began his career studying multimedia, graphic design, animation, and film. After four years working in the field, he had an itch to see the world outside of his home in the Netherlands. So, he decided to buy a camera and start traveling.
Oppewal captured video during his travels, which led to the birth of TravelTelly. What started as a desire to explore the world and share beautiful sights grew into an online community where others can share and sell mobile photography and video. On top of that, Oppewal still does what he originally set out to do—explore, create, and earn a living from his passion.
Here’s his advice for branding as a creator:
VB: Did you begin developing the message or look of your brand first?
Johannes Oppewal: We created the name followed by the design. Design was maybe my first love—my life is all about creation and being inspired by art. Just like traveling, it’s part of who I am.
VB: How do you begin to establish your brand’s visual identity?
JO: First, start with a color, a font, and the look and feel of what describes your vision. Our brand is all about travel, so we included a map of the world in our logo.
Our logo is very colorful because the world is filled with different cultures and colors. I have now visited more than 80 countries and I am inspired by every single one! Our team is also colorful, and I want to continue to build a company where we have all kinds of cultures and beliefs.
Like companies, brands also need to innovate and progress. So our logo and look has changed over the last 10 years.
VB: What are the best ways to build a brand presence?
JO: I think you use a mix of different channels. Of course, social media is very important but I still believe it is important to meet your clients and your community. Share your experience, see other people and talk about your company. Don’t be afraid of competition. Just focus on your own path and you can learn from others. Be inspired by others, but stay close to what works for you, and you will push your brand further.
VB: How do you showcase your work?
JO: We use teasers on Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, etc. The amazing thing about a brand that’s driven by visuals is we have a lot of great content to share — and we use it. It is amazing to show people our beautiful earth!
VB: What are the best social media sites for artists?
JO: For videographers, I think Vimeo is awesome! Instagram is a good promotion platform as is Facebook, of course. But I think it is very important to know who you want to reach with your promotion. Write a communication plan for this. Who is your audience? What can you offer them? Why should they follow you?
If you love what you do, you will share often and become good at it. Then people will start following you. Don’t worry too much about how many “likes” you get. Focus on what you love to do and go from there. You will find people along the way who will help because when you are passionate about what you do, people recognize it.
I still think a planning is very important, but don’t think the goal you established is your destination. Use it as your direction and be open to opportunities along the way. Keep moving and enjoy the journey!
VB: How do you engage your audience? How often do you communicate with them?
JO: Currently we share tips and advice on how to film and take photos using a mobile while traveling. We love to share our own experience. It’s enriched my life and I hope it can enrich others.
VB: How important do you find in-person networking?
JO: Very important! Even with all we do on social media, it’s still essential to meet people in person. I’m a digital nomad moving continuously around the world and I love to meet people — and not always with a business angle. Making income is very important, but life isn’t all about money. I have had my most memorable experiences with people not of ‘material’ wealth. They didn’t have the most expensive products, but were very rich in mind!
As evident from Oppewal, living and loving your brand is essential. There has to be a human element underneath the dollar signs if you want your business to succeed and thrive. As a stock media creator, it’s what will give your work personality and help get you recognized.
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