A brand by any other name…

Top of the survey when asked ‘What do you want to know about when it comes to your business images?’,  came ‘Clarity of Message’ and ‘Branding’. And as we aim to please today’s blog is a straight forward look at some ideas on those very topics.

A quick disclaimer I’m currently working with the very talented Andy Johnston to drill down my business message and getting a really clear and consistent brand, so don’t take me as the greatest example at the moment. You can judge me at the end of the summer!

This is probably the first tip. Get outside help. It doesn’t have to be a professional (though a trained eye does help). A colleague, team member, mentor, prospective customers, ideal clients are all good to bounce ideas off. I have been known to test things at networking events too.

Then listen to what comes back. We all get bogged down in great ideas, being all things to all people, what we think people want to see. This can lead to our message becoming muddled and our brand getting a bit lost. Another set of constructively critical eyes are incredibly valuable for keeping our brand and message clear.

Next tip colour is great for branding. Here’s a screen grab of an image search for Cancer Research. I drove past a billboard this morning and it struck me how well they use colour. You can see that the colours from the logo in all their visuals, be it diagrams, events, people, research. Small business can do this through clothing, pop-up banners, pens, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A bit of attention to detail is all that’s needed. For example if you are giving a presentation where you are going to be photographed, wear something that features your colours, match your whiteboard markers or PPT to your company colour scheme.

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You can also look at/Google the psychology of colour and what is standard in your area of business, e.g. business training is a dearth of blue/grey stock photography. Clothing, image treatments, lettering all using the same palette. If you come to any of my training sessions through the year I’m may ask you to wear something bright, as this isn’t anything like I want training to look or be. Dull!

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Unfortunately there is no simple answer. It can be a trade off between people making the connection with people through the use of standard industry colours and being lost amongst all your competitors doing the same thing. If you do an image search of ‘Edinburgh Law Firm Logos’ vs ‘Edinburgh Asset Management Logos’ you can see their different approaches.

From colour to people and clarity. If you have a specific target market use them in your images. This ties into last week’s blog on audience. Use people who connect with your target market and don’t use people who will muddy the message. When I think about my audience it’s not about a specific age, gender or industry. It’s about people looking open, engaged, professional, confident and happy. When I share any image promoting my profile pictures I make sure the image says all those things to me.

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A similar argument can be made for location. If your audience is very local think about how you can feature that in your images. If you audience isn’t in California, stock images that feature roller-blading under palm trees can make you look inauthentic. The reverse can be true if you sell internationally i.e. looking to small scale, but not always. Think about the strength of the Scottish/UK brand in China.

Last tip for now…there are a million things that contribute to clarity of message and branding so I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m sure it will regularly appear in other blogs in the future and if you need specific help with your business come along to a training session or join the Digital Content Masterclass Facebook group. Where you have the chance to get that outside help I mentioned 😉

So as I was saying last tip…sticking your logo on stuff! One of the easiest ways you can get your branding out there is get your logo in a PNG file and drop it on to all your images. If you’re not sure how to do it for your specific device, app, software ask the internet…Youtube will have the answer!

To recap a brief introduction to clarity of message and branding think; outside feedback, colour, people, location, watermark (logo). Things not covered yet; filters, styles of photography, repetition of composition…and on and on and on. Still lots to cover in the future!

Always love to hear your feedback and questions so ask away!

C x

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commercial photography, Edinburgh

The Best of Week One

So 9 days in to the 30 day blogging challenge and its 11pm…oh well not exactly to plan but it’s going to be done before midnight! Here is the edited highlights for you to see all of this weeks ideas.

Day 1: Getting started: taking action and setting goals. The start of my 30 day blogging challenge. Lessons, goals and getting started. With links to Sarah Arrow’s 30 day blogging challenge.

Day 1 Getting started

Day 2: Finding a Commercial Photographer. How do you find the right commercial photographer for you and your business?

Day 3: The Myth of Only being Online. Why I think business needs face to face interaction more than just an online presence. People buy from people.

Day 4: They Importance of Systems to a Creative. How do you find time and headspace to be creative? I need a system.

Day 5: Learning from others. Learning from other people is a key part of business. Here is some great tips from Sanja Moll of the Salt Yard Group and LeCoq restaurants.

Day 6: How do you keep your productivity? Weightlifting is great for entrepreneurs. It’s all about maximising productivity!

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Day 7: Why do you need a professional profile picture? Why are professional profile pictures important to have and to use? Ultimately, you are your brand. With links to William Arruda’s ‘22 LinkedIn Secrets LinkedIn Won’t Tell You’ article fro Forbes.

Day 8: Your message your market. The importance of images to get your message across to your target market. With links to Mark Parkinson: The Power of Visual Communication, Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty, Red Bull: Stratos.

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Learning from others!

Today’s inspiration comes from someone else, as there are a lot more experienced and successful people out there than me. Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing 4 inspirational women talk at the West Lothian Chamber’s Entrepreneurial Ladies Lunch. Jackie Waring from Investing in Women, Jane Martin from Scottish Enterprise, Liz Cameron from Scottish Chamber of Commerce were great, but today I’m stealing from Sanja Moll from the Salt Yard Group and LeCoq restaurants.

Here are the key points I took away from a much more experienced entrepreneur than me.

  1. Be flexible. Don’t be frightened to chuck out a plan that doesn’t feel right even if it involves throwing away months of work.
  2. Work hard. A lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make it up as you go along. Just keep working hard.
  3. Take risks. It’s important to not be so frightened by failure that you don’t take risks. Failure is an effective learning tool and taking risks is a key part of being an entrepreneur.
  4. A key part of growing as a business is learning to delegate and professionalize a business.
  5. Enjoy yourself and don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.

It was great to hear about Sanja’s trials and tribulations when developing her businesses. Especially the stuff about throwing out ideas and dealing with failures. I often don’t take action on things quickly because of a fear of doing something wrong. The result is I don’t get things done. So moving forward I’m going to be braver and learn from people who are much more successful than me…for now 😉

Big thank you to West Lothian Chamber of Commerce for the invite and Norton House Hotel for a great lunch.

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