Change and Tips on Creating a Brand
July is a month of big changes for my photography endeavor. I decided some time ago that I want to re-brand and rename my business. I have absolutely nothing against using your own name as your business name and it’s not that I particularly dislike my name (my high school gym teacher once told me that my full name was catchy and fun to say – hey, it’s hard to forget a compliment like that!), but I like the idea of an original business name. In fact, the minute I came up with my new business name, I started to have a flow of ideas for branding and colors, and what I wanted my website to look like, which is more than I can say for my own name.
Anyways, all this to say that Barbara Kowalski Photography is going to cease to exist at the end of this month and will relaunch under a brand new name on August 1st, 2012! Be sure to keep visiting my Facebook page and Twitter for updates about the switch and tune into both of those on August 1st for the official launch of the new name, blog aaaand WEBSITE! Yes, a real website! Ah so much excitement!
So now, before I go back into the world of marketing strategies and domain-name purchasing, I wanted to leave you some tips on creating a business from scratch, in case any of you were thinking about starting something of your own or just curious about the process. It’s a lot of work and thinking and researching, but building a business and a brand is extremely fun if you’re motivated and passionate about the work you do. Here are some very general things to keep in mind:
- Research is key: I am big on education and informing yourself as much as you can before doing anything. Doing research on branding is essential. As much as intuition can play a role in developing a brand that is true to your vision, implementing it so that people understand it and recognize it is a science of its own. Reading books, articles and listening to pros can help a lot. Some of my favorite advice has come from Lindsay Adler’s recent Creative Live session on Social Media Marketing.
- Write things down! So many photographers I follow have cited writing their ideas down on paper as one of the keys to their huge success. With so many ideas floating around in your head, it’s hard to organize them. I use big chart paper and categorize ideas into areas I need to work on, such as marketing, branding and technological aspects such as website and social media. Having a visual component also works for developing the visual side of your brand, such as my board on Pinterest at the beginning of this post.
- Finding a name: Coming up with a name is probably the hardest part of developing a business and a brand. (Unless you’re going with your own name in which case you can thank your parents for doing that hard part for you in advance!) What worked for me is analyzing my style of photography and looking introspectively to figure out what it is exactly that I hope to accomplish with this business. Thinking of this helped me come up with words and ideas that I wrote down and then spent weeks developing. (Thesaurus.com became my best friend.) Funny enough, after weeks of torturing myself, I decided on the very first name I had come up with in this whole process. Which brings me to the next point:
- Name isn’t everything: One word – Google. Possibly one of the weirdest words in existence, Google actually came out of a misspelling of the word “googol” which is the name for the number 1 followed by one hundred zeros. It’s weird, but memorable and it is proof that it really doesn’t matter what you name your business as long as the content you create, the service you provide or the product you produce is strong and worthy of attention. People may disagree with me on this, but I say go ahead and name your business something weird if you want to. The name won’t really matter if your content is strong enough to stand for itself.
- Finally, simplicity. After visiting a lot of websites and analyzing a ton of brands, I have realized that a brand is nothing without simplicity. Take Starbucks for example. How ingenious is it that one simple green straw in a plastic cup can immediately indicate where that drink was purchased? Starbucks’ use of a unique logo (which actually has a cool history), own language (venti, grande) and a specific shade of green has allowed them to create a brand so strong it has essentially become an identity. Hated and loved and all. Keeping it simple is, to me, the most effective way to show off what you do and make yourself memorable.
Do you agree, disagree? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below! (That rhymed!)