Thursday, April 3, 2014

Branding Your Business: Questions to ask

So I’ve had my branding revamp on my to-do list for a couple weeks now with no progress on my end. Today I decided I better just sit down & get to it since I feel like I’ve been avoiding it like dirty laundry.

It’s not that I’m not excited about having it re-done, I’m just scared.

I've realized over the years a sad truth. Im extremely indecisive. Gah. Working on it though.

On my branding this has been the most obvious as I've struggled to feel commited to any one look or feel. I want to make sure that whatever I decide on will be something that's timeless, that I can feel good about for a long time. I know the first step to this overhaul requires me to actually contemplate & define things I like so they can be curated and defined as a look to move forward with.

Easy enough right?

Customize with your branding,
I lean back in my desk chair, kick my feet up on the desk & twirl the tiny globe sitting on my desk. Maybe I can just write a style on each country, throw a dart & that will be it. No more worries. Let fate decide. I feel pleased with this solution as it abates me from coming to a decision.

But being indecisive as I am, I start wandering to the allure of a plan B. Those are always good. One is good, two is better. I look at my bookmark bar & see the Pinterest icon. Shining out at me like a little lighthouse saving me from stormy waters.

I click.

In comes the feed. Prepared to type, "Branding inspiration" into the Pinterest search bar but immediatley caught up in the wave of suggested pins loading beneath, I begin the scroll.

Its not a good thing. If you've been on there, you know my pain. It sucks you in like a neverending rabbit hole. Down you go. And when you look up you realize there was an apocalypse. Everyones gone and you dont even rememebr why you sat down 20 years ago and began the search.
I take a deep breath & move my right hand with my laft hand forcing it back up to the search bar, You can do it I coach myself.  In it goes. “Photography Branding” I type, pleased I’ve made it so far. The results are in.

After several minutes of scrolling through every type of branding you can imagine & pinning several things with abadon, I sit back. Alas, I found a few things that speak to me. I’m getting somewhere.

I click to go to the board of my accumulated branding pins thus far. I pinned two outfits…one classy & timeless & the other a bit slutty. What does this mean?

And I pinned a cupcake.

I wonder if my friend helping me with the re-branding will be able to interpret what all this means? My board is trying to say that I like completely opposite things mixed with tasty & fattening….maybe I should start over.  
Where am I going wrong? Everyone else's inspiration board looks like ad J Crew ad campaign layout. Mine looks confused.

I think back about the articles I've read on branding & fall back to the questions I need to answer to enable a more clear direction for my brand.

Who are my cients? 

What are they drawn to? 

How do I relate who I am & what I do best, to all of that?

How is it conveyed through fonts, media & design?

And what is my current story? 

Should I keep elements from my current branding and work them into whatever direction I want to move into or should I scrap it and start from scratch?

My Website
before rebranding

I decide to start with the golden question, "what demographic do I want to attract?" 

I know I prefer clients who have at least a mid-high range budget when it comes to Photography. Haggling over price is not the market I want to be in. Im a bit eccentric so clients who can appreciate my personality & not be turned off by it, would also be ideal. So no stuffy people. 

I struggle with jokes so people that are comfortable smiling and being in front of a camera is also ideal for me. 

High-school Senior photography for example, not ideal. They’re teens, going through a lot of changes, they’re finding themselves, they’ve taken plenty of selfies but when it comes to shooting, there’s definitely a warm up period where your trying to find common ground & put them at ease. But what do I do? I don’t know any age appropriate jokes & I go blank. This causes a sweaty panic which I try to hide by snapping too many photos so I don't have to make eye contact.

So the point of all that? Does there have to be one?

If there does, then its to be picky. Know what you are good at and shoot that. Don't try to do everything and end up mediocre or putting yourself in situations where you can't shine. Im a good photographer but certain shoots put me on edge and make it a struggle to give my best work.

I want people who have fun through the process & who are discerning but not overly critical. Who are fun loving & allow me to be myself because they’re outgoing and confident enough in themselves. 
So what appeals to this sort of client? And what appeals to me?  And how can I create an experience for them so the entire process is memorable and enjoyable?
Client Session Guide
after understanding my ideal client and
how to create an experience for them

Well, I know I like straightforward yet bold design mixed with touches of feminine & grandeur. But don’t ask me what that looks like as it comes together, but that’s why god made Dawn. And yes, I realize how terrible that sounds. I know she isn’t here for the sole purpose of working on my branding but let’s be honest, I’ll be as greedy with her time as she allows me to be. She totally rocks & if I can have her creative mind indulging my re-branding fancy then Ill take it!  

So what else? Well, I like information to be said in a way that’s entertaining & not monotonous. I think that’s pretty much everyone across the board these days though. We like to be entertained & have come to expect it. But there’s a fine balance between entertaining your client &, “your not funny”, “your trying to hard”.  I feel like my ideal client would appreciate all these same things because its straightforward but with touches that make it unique just like them. Hmmmm. My head fills with inspiration.

I visualize the perfect color palette & I paint…the beauty of it all starts coming together, forming a masterpiece. Goosebumps on my arms. It’s going to be amazing.  I glance back over at the globe & think about the design styles I had assigned each country. Europe is going to work perfect I decide as I grab a second dart & throw it towards LA. 
Check out my Pinterest Branding Board here to see as it comes together

Visit Dawn Aldermans Blog for branding & design sites

Business Cards
with my new branding
 and target demographic 

in mind

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