Branding 101 – How to Develop an Awesome Sauce Brand

You’re back! Awesome! That means you’re ready to define yourself and take your business to the next level!

Before we start diving in and re-branding, we need to come up with a strategy to define your brand. Let’s go over the key strategies we need to identify to get started.

Branding strategies:

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Define your story.
  3. Don’t be a copycat.
  4. Be consistent.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

As we covered in my first article, your brand is all about what people think about you. By “people” I mean your target audience, ecause other than them, it doesn’t really matter what other people think. You just care what they think of you.

To start, ask yourself these kinds of questions in order to identify your target audience:

  • What kinds of clients do you want? Engaged couples, parents, families, high school seniors, etc?
  • What is their demographic? Where do they live? How much is their annual household income?
  • What is their highest level of education?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What do they like to do for fun?
  • Are they online? Do they frequent social media?

Once you have your answers, you may realize your target audience is a lot like you- just with bigger pockets. No really, I find that most people actually want to work with other people that have similar interests and values. This may not be the case for you, and that’s fine, but 9 times out of 10 it is true, which means it should be easy to find them!

DEFINE YOUR STORY

Who are you? No really…who are you? What is the driving force that is your business? Let’s figure that out. First, we need to define your work and what makes you unique.

Write down the first 5 words that come to mind that describe your business. GO!

For me, I think I am fun, vintage-modern, stylish, quirky yet also classic.

Some different stuff there right? That’s totally me. What did you write down?

From here, you need to identify what makes you unique, what we call the unique selling proposition or USP.

Are you a luxury wedding photography studio that caters to the rich and famous? Do you only shoot at vineyards or estates? Do you exclusively shoot cute kids? =)

Whatever it is, put together a board of words, phrases, photos, whatever, that describes you and your desired brand. I used Pinterest when I created my branding inspiration board to show to my graphic designer. I pinned images that included graphic prints, color swatches, stylish outfits, furniture I love, etc. Anything and everything that defined who I am I pinned on the board.

branding inspiration board

By looking at your board, you should be able to identify the overall brand message you want to portray or your USP–or at least your professional graphic designer can help narrow that down for you. (Cue future branding article about working with a graphic designer.)

DON’T BE A COPYCAT

What I mean is, don’t be a copycat. There are some amazing brands in the photography industry right now, and so many beautiful logos that I love- and that you probably love. However, that doesn’t mean you should create a logo that looks exactly like theirs. Instead, look at their logo and identify what about that logo resonates with you, then use that element when creating your brand image.

Be yourself! Be unique! Be different!

For example, my logo is literally handwritten. Other than the photography font, my name is totally hand drawn, which means no one can ever duplicate it. Pretty awesome, right? That doesn’t mean you have to have your logo handwritten, but it does mean you need to think outside the box.

I highly encourage you to NOT use a pre-made logo, because again, that is not unique and different. Please hire a professional graphic designer to help you in creating a brand that is unique to you. I know that will mean dollar signs but trust me, you won’t have to re-brand…ever! (Or at least for a long time.) You will suddenly have clients at your door that love your work, love you and will pay you fairly for it! Gone are the days of re-branding once a year! (You know you’ve done that too.)

BE CONSISTENT

This, my friends, is the most important thing I can teach you today. I cannot tell you how much this little phrase can change your business entirely. It’s seriously the key to my success. Not only do I think my branding is on point to reach my ideal client, but I put my brand out there ALL THE TIME, in all ways. I think through every time I speak to a client, meet a planner, hang out with another wedding vendor, post something on Facebook, take a picture with Instagram, post a blog, create a marketing piece, etc. Every single thing I put out there in the universe, everything I say and how I physically present myself, is totally and completely in line with my branding.

I know. Totally obnoxious, but what can I say? Consistency is key. My planners love me, not only because I’m super cool, but also because they know exactly what their client is going to get from me: awesome customer service, amazing and consistent wedding photography and a new foodie friend. That is worth more than money can buy.

When I post something on Facebook or Instagram they don’t need to look to see who posted it. They know it was me. When they see I’ve posted photos, they know it’s me before they see my logo. They have literally told me this.

This is epic.

This is what you want, and this is what you shall have if you follow my directions. Now go and create a brand that smells like you after a long summer’s nap. OK, just go create something that is unique to you, then report back with how amazing your business is doing!

Stay tuned for the third article in this branding series next week.

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