Branding Your Business: Krista Fox – Part 1

From what you see online it can sometimes feel like the branding process is easy. Mainly because as the viewer, you’re only experiencing the finishing touches. Part of what makes the branding process successful at Ashley & Malone is all of the individual components that go into the research, process and design stages of each project. I’m very excited to share the entire process of that went into branding wedding photographer Krista Fox. Because there are so many thoughtful steps throughout, I’ll be breaking it down into stages!

 

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1) Discovery

With all our clients, Krista started out with our branding workbooks where we ask lots of questions about current clients, ideal clients, goals for your business, personal style and inspiration. It’s here, that we get to gain as much information as possible about our clients and where they want to take their business. My favourite part of this process is the hour long chat where we dive deeper, listen to our clients experiences, explore design ideas, collaborate on the direction and truly get to know our each other.

Following this call, Krista received a brand strategy guide. This is (in my opinion) the most essential piece of our branding experience, as it allows for myself and the client to get on the same page. I always tell them, this is your opportunity to be totally open and share unequivocally about each detail and making sure even the smallest item is 100% right. I’ll revise this as many times as needed until it’s perfection!

Included in our guide is the clients’ Ideal Client, Business Goals, Brand Words, Inspiration Direction and Mood Board Design. It’s the foundation of this piece that makes the rest of the project go smoothly, as EVERYTHING we design in their brand will be brought back to this very guide. It allows us to stay on track and always have a point of reference just in case feedback or elements veer from our original strategy.

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2) Logo Design

Since we had a very clear direction from the brand strategy of the designs we’d explore for Krista’s brand, we decided on three unique concepts to challenge where the final logo would land.

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We presented her with three concepts:

  1. A clean, modern and Scandinavian infused custom sans serif font. The spaces in-between the letters give the design an airy feeling which is very reflective of Krista’s photography style.
  2. An edgy and relaxed calligraphy logo where we connected the flourishes to create a logo that was intentional and distinct.
  3. A classic design with an elegant serif font. The weight of the letters made this selection distinct and we incorporated a compass illustration to attract her destination clients.

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In the end we landed on a few logo variations with the base of Logo 1. We reached out to local calligrapher Plume Calligraphy to make a custom monogram with her initials. We then modified the compass illustration from Logo 3 and landed on a more refined design. Within this logo suite Krista has three very strong, consistent and beautiful logos to use within her different business streams. The main logo will be used as her brand foundation when needed. The calligraphy variation will be used to attract local photography clientele. The compass logo will be used to attract Krista’s destination work and will be used for marketing outside of Ontario, Canada. Each version has purpose and acts as the overall brand strategy for her growing wedding photography business.

 

Stay tuned next week where I’ll dive into her brand board design, and then website!

 

xo Ashley

 

3 Reasons You Need Copy Before You Start Your Website

If there is one  thing clients struggle most with, it’s website copy! Am I right? It’s one of the most challenging elements for business owners to write about themselves and their business. That’s why it’s one of the services we now include, so that our clients can showcase the words that clearly communicate their value in a way that sounds like them. It’s also one of the most important elements of an effective brand and website. I was hosting our local TuesdaysTogether meeting last week for The Rising Tide Society and we were actively discussing “Ideal Clients”. I’m the first to consult owners that when you’re not attracting your ideal clients, it’s time to work on your brand and website. Though I think one element that is vastly overlooked, especially in the wedding industry is website copywriting. You can have beautiful photography and a gorgeous website, but if your language isn’t compelling – pulling in the user on the site and encouraging them to contact you, your website simply isn’t going to work the way it should.

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  1. Ideal Client – A lot of discovery happens when you begin a rebrand. In doing so, you should uncover who you love working with. When you know who your ideal client is, you want to  do everything in your power to attract them. For your copy, you want to get in their head, discover what they value, what they struggle with and how you an help them! Your copy is about them, how you can help them and why they should hire you, as the expert.
  2. Telling A Story – Your website isn’t just pretty pages with pretty pictures. An engaging website that converts users into clients should tell a story about your business and what you do. When we approach a website design, we get in-depth about the goals for each business and explore how we can make design choices that get results. When your website tells a story and lets the audience know your values and who you are, you create a personal connection with those people. When someone feels connected to your story, they are more likely to buy from you.
  3. Distinct Design –When you hire a professional to design your website, you can expect to have a design that’s completely unique to you! That’s why we ask each client to submit their copy before their project start date. Having your copy in-hand before we start the design allows us to tell your brand story to meet the goals of your business. It also means we can design beautiful details that perfectly fit the amount of copy written and make thoughtful suggestions if there are areas that need to be tailored.

Luckily, when you become an Ashley & Malone client we send you a Welcome Guide as soon as your project is booked. It’s filled with all the details, tips and know-how we’ve learned after branding over 70 wedding professionals. We guide you through the process of copy writing and give you examples of how much to include for each page, on top of that, we review all your copy to make sure it’s going to work for your business!

Ready to put your best face forward with a distinctly designed brand and a beautifully built website that carries your business vision through?

Tell us how your current brand is holding you back from achieving the success, income and freedom you crave, so we can build a distinct and genuine brand presence for you, online and offline.

BOOK YOUR INITIAL COMPLIMENTARY CONSULT TODAY

 

What are your biggest struggles for creating your website copy? 

Five Things We’ve Learned Along Our Journey

Every business venture involves a journey, and ours is no exception! Here are five important lessons we’ve learned along our journey at Ashley & Malone:

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1. Nothing is ever 100%. Whether it’s finances, a client proposal or a logo that a client fell in love with, we’re always prepared for changes in our business. We might have a whole year where every client pays on time and then boom….three clients are late in a single month. While this isn’t an ideal scenario, we always have a backup plan. This consists of savings, hiring well and only when we need it and living a “somewhat” modest home life. We never want to overextend ourselves so that our business (i.e. our livelihood!) can’t function.

2. Design with purpose. This is something we have explored deeply as we’ve gotten more experience under our belts. It’s not always about what looks pretty, it’s about how it functions, the meaning behind the design and how clients perceive it. This was actually one of the reasons for our last rebrand. People always told us how fun and pretty our brand was, and to me that just wasn’t enough. We wanted to communicate more about our business than just the aesthetic part.

3. Adapt. We’re continually changing our business, always for the better. Our ultimate goal is an exceptional client experience. So, with that in mind, collecting thoughtful feedback from our clients is of the utmost importance. We sit down after EACH client’s project and review what went well, what could have been done better and what comments the client had about our process. As an example, a client may have been confused about how they launch their website or about printing prices….it’s these little things that we adjust along the way to ensure the client is always receiving flawless communication.

4. Ignore your competitors. This one is such a weird subject. From a business perspective, you have to know who your competitors are – it’s just smart. From a solopreneur standpoint, being constantly aware of your competitors is entirely draining – emotionally and creatively. I’ll admit when we first opened Ashley & Malone, almost three years ago, we didn’t have too many competitors. Since then the online design world has grown drastically, and it’s easy to get sucked into what others are doing. I personally find this especially exhausting on Pinterest, with the never-ending stream of everyone’s brand boards and styled mockups. So I just don’t follow anyone! Instead, I get my design-nerd fix by browsing websites like Dribble or Behance, reading magazines and working on my craft through drawing on paper.

5. Do what works best for you. Running a business is hard stuff, and it’s SO easy to see what others are doing online. How they book clients, how many they book and how long they spend with each one. So  you find yourself thinking, “I can do that too – if it works for them, it should work for me.” Well guess what, it might not. Everyone’s process, business and clients are completely different. Over the years we’ve evolved our own intake process, payment schedules and timelines to meet our needs and best serve our clients. No one knows your business better than you, so make sure your processes suit you perfectly.

With all these lessons learned, we’ve become more streamlined in our business and more in love with our work than ever! If you’re planning a brand overhaul next year or are planning to launch something new, we’d love to work with you – please reach out if you’d like to chat about how we can help!