Branding is everywhere, and it reaches far beyond the role of ads, logos or product labels. As a business – and, perhaps more specifically, as a business owner – your professional brand is another form of marketing. Your brand is your image, your social presence, your partners, your projects. But it is also something else less obvious, your contract is your brand.
In business dealings with potential clients, the contracts that you present are your client’s in-depth look into your professional brand. Once they have made the decision to work with you, your contract is a window into how your business runs. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that your contract adequately represents – and flatters – your business. Weak, unkempt, or poorly worded contracts present a negative business image to the client and may lessen their confidence in your business as a partner.
A well-written contract allows you to more effectively manage client relations and their expectations. A clear, concise contract lessens time spent negotiating, and acts as a reference point for further client questions.
A vital aspect of your professional brand is the ability to promote your work. From an intellectual property law perspective, these rights must be obtained from the client and a contract can legally ensure your ability to access, photograph, and share your creative work for the client, while also streamlining the process.
Once the project is complete, it is more difficult to ask for publication rights. Including the request in a legally binding, mutually agreed contract up-front protects your work and will help promote your brand in the long term.
Simply put, an effective contract allows you to spend more time doing your job and less time handling the nitty-gritty of negotiations. It can help you promote your work by legally protecting your right to access and publish the content created for the client, furthering not only your professional portfolio but also your brand image.
Consequently, your contract is your brand – not only with upfront dealings with potential clients, but also with long-term reputation and brand management.