What is branding, and why is it so important to the survival of a business?
Branding, simply put, is the way you feel about a business; it is the first impression a client has about who you are and what you have to offer. If you ask me, next to having a valuable skill, branding is the most important element of owning a business. This first impression can turn a client into a detractor, by giving poor reviews and deterring people from your services. Or, they can fall in love with you and become your #1 fan!
So, how do you create a solid brand you ask?
Well, I have to admit, I didn’t do this the best way right out of the gate. My branding was rushed, sloppy, and totally not me. A word of advice for those of you who are still in beginning stages:
Invest the time and money into your branding NOW.
Don’t put it off, and don’t think you can just pile stuff together as your business grows.
Stop everything you are doing right now and focus on building your brand. This is your foundation. And if you can afford it, hire a professional. Do it RIGHT. Poor branding can ruin a business before it even gets off the ground.
If you have a brand already that you aren’t happy with – scrap it and start over. This is YOUR business. You may only get one chance, so why not make it the best?
Even if you have a brand that you are happy with, you should still consider my simple 5-step formula to see if you can improve it in any way:
#1 – Three words: Choose wisely.
In three words, how would you want someone to describe your style? Consider if someone were to go to your website right now, look at your Facebook page or be handed your business card. What would they say? What do you want people to say? Find three words that describe you and your business and the feeling you want to convey. For me, I came up with about 25 words and narrowed it down to three: clean, simple, and classic. Everything you do or design from here on out should follow these three words.
#2 – Inspiration: What inspires you?
Old Photos: Dig through old photographs you’ve taken – why do you enjoy them?
New Photos: Take new photos of random things, around your house or your community. You may be surprised at the little pieces of yourself you will find right under your nose!
Pinterest: Don’t get carried away with this one, but find 10 or so images that you feel drawn to and save them in a board. Compile all of these things and you have an inspiration board in the making!
#3 – Design: My favorite part. 🙂
Start filling in the gaps with design elements. Look for digital papers with patterns you like (Etsy is a great resource!) and decide on two or three. Find unique downloadable fonts (FontSquirrel.com or Google.com/webfonts have tons!). Choose one for headers, one for body text, and a third for links or accent text. Pick out social media icons, fun clip art, textures… anything that will contribute to making your brand awesome.
#4 – Consistency: So. Important.
From the sizing of your logo, to the colors that you use, keep everything consistent. Clients want to know they can trust you, and that your style and quality of work are dependable. If your branding is inconsistent, it will reflect on your business and your clients will notice!
- What size are your logo and watermark files? Don’t change them.
- How do you present the images you use for your blog posts? Make a template and use it. Every. Time.
- What colors do you use in your designs? Use the eyedropper tool to make swatches and a color palette so you can always use the same color codes. Keep everything you can the same.
#5 – Reflect YOU: Should be easy!
In the photography world, YOU are your business; make sure that your branding reflects your style, inspirations, values and personality. I make all of my own packaging and props because I love to craft and sew; It’s fun to share this passion with my clients and it creates a one of a kind gift for them! I try to integrate this into my social media as well so that clients can see what next fun project I’m working on! Find ways to infuse your personality into your branding.
As Dr. Seuss once said, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!”
This can’t be more on point – there is only one you and that is what makes your business so unique and special! Use what you love to fuel your branding.
See, branding your photography business isn’t so scary. You just have to break it down into all the small pieces. Just follow these steps, add in a few of your own, and “voile!”… You will have an awesome brand that you and your clients will both love.
Hi, my name is Carly. I am a lifestyle and wedding photographer from Blaine, MN. I am a daughter of Jesus Christ, proud owner of a crazy boxer pup, loving girlfriend, fashionista and shopaholic, DIY project junkie, and a serious chocolate addict. I love spray-painting things gold, long walks in the park (with Molly in tow) and am obsessed with all things organization. If you want to see how my branding came together, check out my website: www.clavignephotography.com or find me on Facebook!