Everywhere you look, people are talking about being “authentic” and being “true to yourself.” Yet many designers have very intense opinions (backed up by fundamental art training of course) that only THEY know what is an appropriate brand design for their clients. And/or that the design has to be focused solely on attracting an “ideal client” regardless of the business owner’s personal tastes.
I don’t work that way – instead, I feel that my duty is to help bring to life the vision YOU have in your head and heart for your business and brand will attract your DREAM clients.
I’m pretty alone with that belief in the design world.
The colors, imagery, and styles we are drawn to in our homes and wardrobes are the *most* accurate style representation of WHO we are, as well as the DREAMY clients we want to work with.
So rather than “ALLOWING” a client to choose from pre-selected motifs and colors, I feel it’s absolutely imperative she is involved with the design process and loves everything about her brand.
Obviously this boutique approach is not “one-size-fits-all,” and it’s not ideal for mass-production businesses that don’t need or want to form a really close connection with their clientele.
Rather, we are contrasting McDonalds which attracts kids and convenience diners with the posh, reserved-months-in-advance steak house… Great Clips today versus the favorite hair stylist you had to book weeks ago… Walmart versus the charming little shop where you find unique items nobody else has. All of them have their place – and many of us will visit all of them depending on needs and circumstances: kids want McD’s and Great Clips, I want Ruth’s Chris and Shine. My frugal nature takes me to Walmart for the necessities, but I save up for specialty items at the boutique.
As shows like “What Not to Wear” make painfully evident, some of us may be guilty of making poor wardrobes choices, but it’s not necessarily because we have bad taste. Societal or employer guidelines often dictate what we are allowed or required to wear, not to mention restrictions on what we can find based on the season, current trends, or what actually fits. (As a formerly plus-sized gal, I can tell you the options are MUCH more limited than for “normal” sizes, which resulted in this color-loving-lady wearing a whooooole lot of black over the past two decades!)
But when we are left to fantasize about our dream homes, or redecorating or our current spaces, that is when our TRUE colors tend to shine through (sing it, Cyndi!). Even if we never create these special areas, we are driven to save favorite catalog pages or pin countless images on Pinterest. Our minds’ eyes are filled with the kinds of spaces we would love to live in if we could.
That is a sneak peek into your design “soul,” and provides invaluable insight into what YOUR real style is: feminine, fun, modern, classic, bold, simple, spunky, sophisticated, flirty, wild, understated, elegant, minimalistic… or maybe an eclectic blend of styles that only YOU can pull off!
Ultimately, YOU know what feels right for YOU and your business. And intuitively, you also know what your DREAM clients will be drawn to… They will tend to be similar to your dearest friends who love you because you’re YOU and NOT because you’re pretending to be something you THINK they’ll like.
Now, to be fair, if you are in your forties and want to design and sell hip but modest clothing for pre-teens, you’ll need to be really in tune with their interests and tastes… But I prefer to work from the simple belief that unless your dream client is an 11-year-old girl, in many ways, YOU (or at least your best friends) are your own ideal client… Since that young girl is probably not shopping for herself yet anyway, you’d still need to be appealing to her mom – a woman in her late 30s or early 40s who wants modest clothing for her teen… so she’s probably not much different from you or your mom friends. It still works!
Now, putting that into practice can be a challenge: a wedding photographer who loves dogs instinctively understands that an illustrated dog in her logo probably isn’t a good idea unless she also serves as a pet photographer (yes, that is a real job!) whose clients regularly want to include their pets in their wedding photos. (Not making this up, it really happens! And if hubby and I were just getting married today, I would totally insist our sweet pups be part of it!) But if that is her niche, she can effectively communicate that with a precious little pup incorporated into her branding.
Part of the reason I believe this so strongly is that what makes us uniquely us is what makes our brands original and memorable. We can’t be JUST bakers, or JUST photographers, or JUST coaches… Every one of us has passions, side interests, life stories, and additional skills that bring all sorts of exciting elements to the party – and which help us stand out from the other bakers, photographers, and coaches … but only if we share them.
You aren’t the Costco bakery where you get the same chocolate cake whether you’re in L.A., the city, or LA, the state. No, you’re the incredible local cakeery people adore because they know they’ll get a delicious masterpiece that looks phenonenal and was made with love…
You’re not Sears portraits where the photos are so generic you can’t even tell your own children’s baby pictures apart. You’re the dedicated, visionary photographer who’ll climb the tree or lay on the ground to get that PERFECT shot they’ll cherish for the rest of their days…
You’re certainly not a generic “life coach” who is simply teaching from someone else’s program materials… You have an amazing story and incredible accomplishments of your own that inspired you to mentor others to achieve success in their lives and businesses!
And we’re not the cookie-cutter pixel pushers you’ll find all over the internet (even though we DO offer quite a few customizable options for logos and branding kits), we’re the “build YOUR vision” designers who want to help you realize your business dreams.
Figuring out what makes you unmistakably YOU is just a part of the branding process, and we hope you trust us to guide you on that journey and help create the perfect brand for you.
If you found yourself nodding your head in agreemennt and understanding, I would love to determine if we’re a good fit for your branding needs. Schedule a Discovery Call through this form.