Defining the brand
I admit the concept of "brand" and what does my brand "say about me" has been confusing. I have stumbled along for the past months trying to work it out as I go along. My first efforts were about visuals...website, printed materials, offerings. What are those things that people would see and say "Oh, that's Rebecca"?
And then there is the "intangible" component of the brand; the message. I have written my way through an entire stack of legal pads, 3 journals, 2 artist's pads and incidental notes on newspaper, paper towels and index cards trying to define that "intangible" message.
Intangible, yes. Most important, yes. Is my message clear?
One thing I knew for sure. I needed new head shots taken by a professional. I found the perfect photographer, Erin Blackwell, a fellow member of my selected mentor's group. (Update: See this post.) I floated my ideas past her and she was thrilled to work with me. This past Monday, I flew to Denver to meet her and work on the shots I wanted. I am MORE than pleased with what she and her team provided. You will be seeing more of Erin's work in the weeks to come.
Why did I fly all the way to Denver? Because I firmly believe in investing in my business and that means going for the best I can afford. I am going to take every step I can to give this art & photography business every chance for success. The "branding message" sent by a professional head shot is very clear; "This woman means business."
Professional photos for the "brand"? Check. Now what? And then, per its usual comic and cosmic way, the Universe stepped in and everything fell into place.
The internet quiz
You have seen them..those internet quizzes; "Answer 13 questions and find the name of your Lawn Mowing Pony". (I just totally made that up. If there is a "Lawn Mowing Pony" out there, I claim royalties.) The quiz purported to name the archetype of your brand. It took all of .75 seconds to determine the quiz was a marketing tool used by a "branding consultant".
What the heck...I needed a little brain recess...so I took the quiz. Much to my surprise, the resulting archetype was a close approximation of my "brand personalities."
Suddenly, everything I had worked on/over/under/around/through during the past four months became clear. I had all the information I needed and now the puzzle pieces of "my brand message" neatly fell into one cohesive picture. Now I know how to apply all that information. I am giddy with relief!
But let me be clear about this progression of events. If I had failed to complete any of the previous required work, I would have missed the connecting pieces. Otherwise, the branding quiz would have told me no more than the name of my Lawn Mowing Pony. There is no easy way through this process of building an art & photography business.
How could I take a trip to Denver and not see the grand-kidlets? It is always so striking to see how fast they are growing.
The Bottom Line
What do you need to clarify the message of your art & photography business? Whatever it may be, invest the money to make your business message understood. Just remember that as you are working towards that clarity, the answers will come. As Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors only the prepared mind." The flash of insight is always preceded by foundational work and thought.
And, this week, I'll close the blog post with a shout out to Mothers everywhere...where would we be without them?
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!
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