by Ashley Streff
First let’s talk about branding. Branding is a key element to a successful business. With the flood of small businesses people are creating, we’re talking, an epidemic of people leaving their corporate jobs to pursue their own businesses, it’s more important than ever before to understand branding. Now, I fully believe that everyone has their role in business. As you’ll see when you grow, it comes to the point where you CAN’T do everything, and part of your learned talent will be management and delegation skills. And on the road, you’ll learn bits about the business that you never thought were essential. One of them is branding.
I don’t expect everyone to be an expert in branding. Along my journey, I’ve recognized what’s in my wheel house, what my bread an butter is, what I can do, what I don’t like to do, and things I’m just not good at. We all have a special talent and should spend the most time in our businesses doing that, along with learning how to set up a supportive team. And apart of your team, you’ll find incredible branders. Graphic designers, stylists, photographers/videographers, social media managers, editors, and so on, will be there to help support your message to the world.
Branding is all about cohesively communicating your mission, your message, who you are, what you do and how you serve.
In the beginning stages of your business, people get super overwhelmed over this. People often don’t start their businesses because they’re so focused on finding their niche and having everything planned out. Let me just tell you, your business is ALWAYS evolving, your message over time becomes more clear, you have to GET IN THE THICK OF IT in order to find clarity but what DOES help in finding the experts to help guide you.
Tips to find you experts.
As I said, there is an epidemic of people leaving their corporate jobs and creating their own businesses. There are a lot of formulas and systems out there that people can create a seemingly legit business without backing it up with experience and integrity. “So how do I make sure I’m not getting scammed?” you ask. Well, there are a few tips to make sure you have a legit person.
1. Do they have a website and at least one social media outlet that is active, updated, and filled with people who are engaged?
You can start to see the outline of a persons experience and legitimacy with their business by seeing their website is updated, filled out, and goes well with their social media account. The social media account allows you to see the reputation of the expert. You can see how engaged their audience is and how their audience is engaging to see if there is substance behind something potentially beautifully curated.
2. Do they offer a scheduled complimentary call or meeting in their package?
You want to work with someone who is 100 percent confident they are here to serve and can give a quality product and apart of this is connecting with you. When you’re getting ready for a photoshoot (or anything branding related) it’s important to connect energetically. Believe me, it’s more important then you think. These people WILL be open to a phone call/have a scheduled phone call or meeting in their packages. If you’re talking to their assistant and they deny a conversation or ask for an additional payment, walk away.
3. Do they have testimonials and are their links to their work with other clients?
Testimonials are great. You can see if you relate to their client and have similar needs. Testimonials can be made up, but what can’t be is, seeing links to other brand websites and social media handles to check in on a business they’ve helped a brand.
4. Do they ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your brand?
You want to make sure that your expert really does have the experience in handling your needs and by them asking the appropriate questions, you’ll know they know what they’re doing. This represents their understanding of perceiving possible variables that could alter an outcome. For example, in branding photography, I ask to see people’s branding colors. Cohesive elements like color are key to people recognizing your brand and for bringing the vision together. So, if you showed up to the shoot wearing colors that don’t match and flow with your brand colors, it won’t translate well on your website or social media outlets.
5. Do they send out a cohesive contract?
Contracts should not be there to confuse you. They should be relatively straight forward, not intimidating, but there to protect the expert AND you, the client.
Finding the right branding photographer is SO important. I’ve worked with hundreds of start-up companies, to million and billion-dollar brands like Lululemon. I’ve worked in the commercial world on big sets with full creative teams, to being the creative team for a client. I’ve had 10 years of experience in this realm, and there are lots and lots of variables and lessons learned along the way. There is a big difference between taking a pretty picture and taking branding images.
Branding photographers are thinking about a lot more than making sure we get a few good photos of you. We want to know who your ideal client is, what the images are for, where you’ll use them, where you see your brand in 1-5 years, what your biggest challenges are, and what your branding colors are. We’re thinking about format, styling, location and so much more when it comes to creating the best images for your vision. What I like to say is that I’m here to help create bring your vision to life in tangible form.
Branding photographers are invested in your business, so make sure they’re system in place is there to really support you!
A successful branding shoot is known to enhance your business and transport your future you into the present. You’ll not only feel more confident but your clients will sense this too and you’ll attract more ideal clients, increase pricing and increase your sales.
To inquire Ashley Streff Branding Photography services click here
To learn more about being a branding photographer click here