Franziska Neumann is the owner of FZK Franziska, a creative agency that helps design-oriented clients grow and steward their online presence.
When I meet creative entrepreneurs who are looking to build or grow their online presence, one of the first things they tend to ask me is how many websites they should have for their business. The short answer? One.
After one of my talks, a man once came up to me to tell me about himself and his business. He was a talented architect, but also a historian, an artist and a dance lover… and he had three websites to promote these different aspects of his work.
When he had the fantastic opportunity to exhibit his historic preservation work at a museum, he was surprised and frustrated when he wasn’t able to generate any architecture projects from the exposure. His issue? Through his exhibition he was sending people to his preservation website, leaving them totally unaware of the architect side of his brand.
The thing is, creative-minded people tend to take on many projects at once: they have an interior design business and a small furniture line, or they also want to promote their showroom and artwork. It’s normal to want to separate your various revenue streams using different websites. And it makes complete sense to do so from a business perspective. You might think it allows for better organization and compartmentalisation; but, the reality is that this isn’t usually the best way to go about promoting your work.
Think about Nate Berkus as an example. If you met him at a party and he said to you, “I’m a furniture designer, a TV show host, an interior designer and an author”, you’d likely be left feeling impressed but confused. What is it that you do exactly? Instead, everything that he does falls under the Nate Berkus Interiors brand. His name goes on everything that he does: it’s his umbrella brand.
My challenge for creative entrepreneurs is to do the same: figure out the one thing that combines all aspects of who you are and what you stand for. Define it, and carve out a niche or a space that encompasses all that you do. That becomes your umbrella brand.
It is far easier (and far less confusing and time-consuming) to build a presence and audience for a single brand for your business. That’s not to say you can’t still commit to all your creative projects — of course you can! However, instead of starting from scratch each time and trying to build outreach channels and audiences for each of your projects, incorporate them under a single, well-defined umbrella brand.
Have a think — what’s a great way to summarise what you do? What’s your ‘Nate Berkus Interiors’? How can you build a brand that’s true to you and all aspects of your creative life? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or let me know directly at FZK@byFranziska.com — I’d love to hear from you.