Your Brand's Community
The first exercise that we're gonna do together is just, should be really easy. Let's just start out by writing a short paragraph about who your community is, okay? So I've given some examples for each challenge and each exercise that I'm giving you of what a good example could be. So we have, maybe your example, or your community, is an executive-level group of thought-leading women working to make the world a better place through education. Alright, so that's a really great way to write a short paragraph explaining who your community is exactly. So kind of give the high level points of who those people are, and maybe what they're working towards, or maybe what they're interested in. But don't be too lengthy about it. It's just supposed to be easy. And also, don't put too much pressure on yourself to write perfect answers right now. Be kind to yourself, just write whatever comes down. You can always flesh these out later and make them perfect, in the next day, in the coming days and w...
eeks. All right, so with the in-studio audience, I want this to be really informal. I want you to all not put too much pressure on yourself because you're having to just like, come up with an answer and then be on camera and have it be perfect. Don't worry about that, I want you all to just kind of workshop this out and kind of work through your answers as we go, so that you don't have to put so much pressure on yourself to have something perfect. Do you feel like you just kind of want to talk to us about your community? Cool.
So, living in San Francisco I definitely, my community is revolved around people in technology based start ups. They're generally 25 to 40, probably just people that live in big cities, around the world.
Okay, could you tell us a little bit about what you do in general so that everyone can have a little bit more context?
Oh, yeah, I'm a freelancer doing design work for these types of companies.
Awesome. So it's really important to think about if you are a freelancer like myself too. My community is often my client base. So the people that are actually, I'm working with every day that I'm trying to market myself towards, so I think it's the same for you too, where your community is mostly just the potential clients and new people that you could work with.
Cool. Everyone be gentle with her, she's loosing her voice.
Let's see if it works, okay, it's raspy but it's there. Mine is similar to my client base, I do branding, my company is called The Business Bar. My community is mostly women, about 26 to 38. They're all small business owners and they started a company because they're super passionate about something and they wanted to do more with that. They really want to change the lives of the people that they're serving.
I am an artist, I primarily do stop motion animation. My community, my client base, they are primarily young, working, creative people. Mostly women. They are interested in growing and learning, having fun and being a little weird.
Do you feel like? One question for you, do you feel like you have a different community for the people that you work for, verses the people that follow you, for instance online? Would you say those are two separate groups?
I think, I've only, the business part of my work is a little new, but so far, I think that clients that I've made work for, kind of overlap with the people that follow me online. They actually have found me through my online presence.
Yeah, I've found the same thing to be true for myself too, because I do client work, but then I also have this rich community of people that follow me online and offline at real events. So I've found that they're both different, but also the same because I get a lot of client work from my community members online and that I meet in person. Also I find that I work with a lot of brands and corporations as my clients, so my community can change a little bit in that regard, which is why I need two community profiles, to always think about. I need to be thinking about my client base community, and then I also need to be thinking about these people that are following and listening to me. So I think it's interesting as people who are self employed or maybe freelancers to think about it that way. Are there more than one community that I'm serving?
My business is called Darling Marcelle. I make jewelry that's a little bit different. Kind of unique statement pieces. My community is primarily women. Men don't usually ... My things are a little strange to buy, to be a safe present for most girlfriends or wives. So usually women buy these things for themselves. Usually they're professional, creative types who are not afraid to look a little different.
So your community is largely a lot of people who are treating themselves to something nice that they think they deserve for themselves.
I love that.
I am a freelance paper artist and illustrator. So I feel like I'm similar to what you were talking about before, where I have a community who is maybe fellow makers, potential collaborators, and art enthusiasts. Also, potential clients, so publications or businesses or agencies.
I'm another freelancer. I'm working in design illustration and writing sometimes. My community would be the client base, business owners, or the art directors who are looking to commission illustration. They are in publishing or events or gaming or tech. I think to speak to the question that you asked Annie, the people who follow me, I think there's probably some crossover, but there's also just other designers and illustrators, who are not necessarily looking to commission me, but like collaborations we do occasionally or those connections have led to jobs in the past.
That's a really good point. I think we could often glaze over our peers and just kind of the people we interact with all the time, whether it's online or just somebody that we think is very similar to us, we kind of forget about those people because they don't seem like someone you would have to work to please, because it's so natural but I think that's a really important thing to mention, that our peers and people who do similar things to us, who are inspired by us to look to be inspired by, are really important part of our community, and maybe that's someone else that you would add to your sort of community profile to always be thinking about, what could you do to offer them that would help make their lives better? Alright, so do any of you have a side project or anything that you manage or have been thinking about doing? We have one nod from the non-speaker. So she's going to mime what she's going to talk ... (laughter) Well I'll just mention, you don't have to say anything. Rest your voice. I think that if you are interested in starting something on the side, or have a passion project or a side project of some kind this is a really great exercise for that because you're gonna need to really reach out and do a lot of marketing. Maybe a website, maybe a blog, maybe you need to do social media for the side project. So this is a great exercise for us as freelancers or self employed people. Especially creatives. We're always looking for new side projects to do. So this activity of creating a brand is perfect for if you are trying to create a side project as well. Alright, so let's move on to these community profiles. We talked about this a lot in detail earlier, but I just wanna kind of go over what a community profile is, and for the studio audience this takes time, you want to dig up pictures and things like that, which you can't necessarily do right now. So we'll probably just go down and we'll talk about our community members but, so let's go a little higher level for our in studio audience, but for those of you at home what I'd like to see you do with a community profile, is something that looks really similar to the examples that I showed you earlier. This one is a great example. It has an illustrated portrait. Maybe you can't illustrate, I hired an illustrator to make this illustration, so I did not make it. What I recommend is finding a picture online of someone who looks like they fit the personality that you're describing. Create a fake name for this person and then list out their characteristics. So, what are their hobbies, what are their interests, what are their insecurities, what tastes do they have, where do they work, how old are they, what do they do in their spare time? Then write a little bio for them. Have their picture up there and then print it out and have it next to your desk, so that every time you make a decision for your brand, you can be thinking of those people. Like we talked about before you might have one community profile. You might have two or four, depending on how many different types of people are in your community. I think the sweet spot for someone who works for themselves is usually about two or three. You don't want to have so many community members that you're just confused on who they are and you loose track of what really matters. You wanna really just be able to stare at these faces frequently so that you can really feel like you know these people in your community profile, and feel like you can really resonate with them and make decisions you wanna make because you wanna see them happy. Alright, if we could just go down the group and talk about the personality of your community or someone that you're going to be aspiring to work with.
I chose an app developer entrepreneur. Someone who has a lot of different projects going on. Always experimenting, hacking, probably involved with DIY maker community as well.
Mine is an online shop owner. She's super excited about what she's doing and inspired to share it with other people. She loves going to the local coffee shops, connecting with other small business owners, she's also nervous about doing her own thing and putting herself out there calling herself a boss is a little bit weird, and also feeling a little bit like the fraudy feelings of doing your own things and wondering if you can be legit and charge money for what you're doing.
Absolutely. That was a lot of talking. I'm proud of you. (laughter) You made it!
I think I'm still kind of figuring out who my community is. I've been able to gather a little bit of information from people have been brave enough to interact with me. I think what I've found is that earlier I said my community consists of a lot of women. Some of my work has to do with vulnerability and insecurities. Women have a lot of thoughts about that. So, I feel like they're sort of young women that are still trying to be comfortable with themselves and are open to learning about how to do that and to sharing their experiences surrounding that.
Alright, so I think that my person would be probably early thirties in a creative profession like a designer and likes to treat herself and support the arts and things like that. Usually my people look a little different, like they'll have tattoos, or pink hair, and aren't afraid ... They wanna kind of stand out and be a little unique.
I was thinking about the potential client side of a profile and wondering about art director, maybe they are someone that's an art director during the day, but also does a lot of creative stuff outside, goes to museums and art galleries, that sort of thing. Enjoys collaborating and is probably really organized.
Raina just said everything I was going to say. We are in a similar situation. I feel like an art director, someone who's really visually literate. Maybe is into collaboration. They probably work in something like publishing or they, specifically for a magazine, or a publishing house or something.
Okay. Wonderful. It seems like you might have more than one community profile as you go because you have the client side, and then your audience, and then maybe your peers of other similar working creatives. Alright so, yes, I encourage you all once you actually get home to actually really build these out and really create a persona for these people, so that you can print them out and you can have them at your desk and constantly be looking to these people whenever you make decisions. You should be making decisions for these people more so than anything.