Many creatives grapple with a common issue referred to as “the cobbler’s child conundrum”. The excuse used to explain why their websites aren’t working optimally, it is often attributed to the lack of time. However, the root of the issue is more complex, lying in the struggle of branding oneself objectively and effectively. Notably, being too close to your own work can lead to a lack of objectivity, leading to unclear messaging and positioning. This results in branding mistakes that can significantly impact a creative’s marketing outcomes.
Creative Branding Mistake #1: Wide Net Positioning
A widespread mistake creatives make is casting too wide a net when stating what they do and for whom they do it. This habit can undermine credibility and dilute the impact of the brand. By listing every conceivable capability and every industry they’ve ever worked in, creatives aim for wide appeal. However, this approach can ironically have the opposite effect by cluttering their messaging.
Creative Branding Mistake #2: Focus on Creativity
Many creatives emphasize their passion for creativity, which, although important, can shift focus away from concrete and measurable benefits they provide to their clients. Elevating the importance of creativity, and proclaiming dedication to the creative process can often neglect to underline how this passion translates into tangible client benefits.
Creative Branding Mistake #3: Differentiating on Price
Creatives, especially freelancers, often try to position themselves based on their price, touting the lack of overhead and middlemen as reasons they can offer services at a lower price. However, this practice can be self-defeating in the long run. Attracting clients based on lower prices means these clients are likely to expect the same bargain prices in the future, stifling potential growth.
Creative Branding Mistake #4: Differentiating on Process
Finally, creatives often promote their processes as a unique selling point. However, these processes are often fundamentally similar across the industry, offering little real differentiation.
The solution to these mistakes lies in the power of narrow positioning or PinPoint Positioning. By answering the three positioning questions of “what you do,” “who you do it for,” and “how it benefits them” in concrete and focused ways, creatives can avoid the these pitfalls. This specificity forces you to step outside your own bubble, helping you see your brand as the rest of the world does.
From a broader perspective, transitioning from a generalist to a specialist can significantly simplify marketing efforts. As a generalist, one’s content and messaging often end up being too broad and less impactful. However, by positioning oneself as a specialist within a niche, content and messaging can be more focused and effective, engaging a specific audience more directly. This specialized approach results in a more meaningful and valuable content strategy, with the potential for higher engagement and better client acquisition.
Overcoming the cobbler’s child conundrum begins with committing time and effort to marketing one’s own services. More critically, it involves understanding and applying the power of narrow, PinPoint Positioning to clearly define what you do, who you do it for, and how it benefits them. When done right, this focus can transform the fruitless marketing efforts of a generalist into a valuable and effective strategy for a specialist.