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branding 101

I love my office. I spend most of my days locked up in here…. Creating, inspiring, writing, editing, emailing… It is a space that reflects who I am and what I love.

For those of you who know me personally, you know I lack some commitment making elements in my own life. Now it is mainly focused on paint colors, dinner decisions, and what to wear but it in all honesty it can seep over into my business. Especially in my branding. A lack of continuity. I mean really… How many logo and ‘looks’ can a girl have in just a few years?? (You may even have noticed a ‘quick fix’ revamp of the bog and website?? A need-to-get-by-quick-fix until the launch of something fabulous, at least I am hoping.)

I really feel like I have exclaimed, ‘yep, this is it! I am done with messing with it, this is great’ about every style I have carelessly tossed out into my little corner of the Internet. I think there has got to be somewhere, someone, in some book, or some professional designer out there in the world saying a specific quote along the lines of, “Branding 101. Do nothing carelessly. You are creating a brand, there is not room for carelessness in a business and brand”.

Can I get an Amen here??

I believe on every path of life, in every season, you will feel differently about what you portray and present to others and in your life as well as your business, if you are like me. I can say the last year of my life’s journey has open my eyes onto so many things I never knew about myself. That alone will alter… well almost everything for me when I want to implement who I am into my business and my brand.

When you type in BRAND into Google this is the first thing that comes up. Granted it is from Wikipedia (so I say be free to interpret as needed).

“A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination orslogan. The word brand began simply as a way to tell one person’s cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. A legally protected brand name is called a trademark. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – it affects the personality of a product, company or service.

A concept brand is a brand that is associated with an abstract concept, like breast cancer awareness or environmentalism, rather than a specific product, service, or business. A commodity brand is a brand associated with a commodity. Got milk? is an example of a commodity brand.”

Now, I am not by any means pretending to be anyone worth listening to about branding. As you can visually see I have been all over the place. I can however say I can give advice on what NOT to do. Today starting with…

1. DIY. We all do it. Every single one of us in this realm of creativity are guilty. I know I am. I have the programs, I can make things in Photoshop and Illustrator and some even turn out to be pretty okay looking designs, so why not??  I will tell you… It will SLOWLY kill you. Yes, I said it. A slow painful-unsure of yourself-self doubting-journey of design. A quick fix to a much larger issue for most.

Treat your brand as it is living because soon it will be. Designers pride themselves in their work, the same way we do. I wouldn’t be happy handing out sub-par images or a mediocre wedding experience, the same way designers would not be happy having you think their designs are a quick fix until the real deal comes along. When you find the right designer for you, something about them asking, poking, and prodding into your heart, into your mind… It gets the creative juice flowing.

Here is an article I saw on how to find a great designer. Or even, this article on the most common branding mistakes, and I think I have possibly already nailed each and everyone of these… (Again, interpret as needed.) Just off the top of my head here are a few designers and brand identity folks that I think are great: (Again in no particular order. Please leave a comment or email me if you have anyone to add to the list. I know there thousands of talented designers out there! These are just who I am aware of and admire.)

Branding and Identity development takes time, dedication and self exploration. It takes the right frame of mind in the correct season of life. It will take commitment and investment, in yourself and financially. Awesomeness and beauty doesn’t appear out of thin air, it will take work… I can however say if you commit to doing the dirty work you will be so thrilled that you: first off have a branded identity, but secondly that you have taken the time to get to know youself. The really you, the you that makes your life tick.

Basically to be honest here, I began this post to be on a DIY project for the office that would continue the continuity of our new branding from our studio space and bring it into the office. (As you can see, it has become much more of a rambling tangent than that now.) I don’t claim to know it all or have the answers, but what I can tell you is I am going to open up and document this journey of ours right now. Because it has been a struggle. Finding who you are and infusing those elements into what you do and your business, what you portray and the impressions you give off… It all counts. So don’t do it carelessly.

Branding 101?? Maybe, but probably not. Stick with me on the adventure. The struggles and joys of branding… AGAIN.

Melissa Beck is a professional Wedding Photographer and Engagement Photographer who has been featured on several blogs and publications.

Melissa Beck Photography is a Wedding Photography Studio specializing in Modern Wedding and Engagement photos in Maine, New England, Kennebunk, Portland, Freeport, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Cape Elizabeth, Denver,Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.

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