Linda and Michael’s Modern Chic Conservatory Wedding in San Francisco by Alison Yin and Riley Loves Lulu
Today I am taking you across to San Francisco for this super stylish wedding set...
Welcome to Part 4 of my ‘How to become a wedding planner’ series. This week I am covering the subject of Branding and creating your own brand!
This is quite a big subject that is relevant to all businesses, again I have to stress I am by no means an expert but will talk you through my experiences and what I feel is important!
You may be thinking ‘There’s only me, why do I need to create brand?’ well everyone needs a brand, it’s not just the Coca Cola and the Nike’s of this world we all need a brand identity! Our customers need to know what they are getting straight away from the way we portray ourselves, It’s how they remember us
The brand isn’t just about the logo it’s the whole way that your company is seen by others, the imagery you use, the slogan or tag line that runs a long side the Logo you decide to use, the way you portray yourself! First impressions count and if you don’t make one with your branding then it could put your customer off and could lose you business.
What I did:
The first thing I had to do when I started my company was come up with a name, this isn’t as easy as you would first think. Everyone was telling me to use my own name, as I did my research I could see that a lot of other wedding planners were using their own name incorporated into their business names, but this just didn’t feel like me, ‘Kelly Hood Wedding Planning’ sounded…well plain boring! so I kept thinking!
I actually had the name ‘Big Day Events’ first of all, thinking that it covered both weddings and events, luckily I found out it was being used by another planner so I got my thinking cap on again and came up with Boho! (when we were sat at a friend’s wedding just chatting, the word came up in conversation and it stuck!)
The word Boho seemed to confuse a lot of people to begin with, I was asked ‘what does it stand for?’ ‘what does it mean?’ which in my opinion was a good thing, it got people’s attention, something that people remember and now has a certain conatation that goes with it! My brand started with just one word and from there it has developed!
With the name found I then went to a marketing expert and came up with my slogan, we sat and brain stormed for hours and came up with ‘creative-practical-modern-planning’ 4 key words that summed up my wedding planning business.
So with this I had my name and my slogan!
(Since then I have tried to separate the wedding planning and the blog so the blog has it’s own tag line!…………’For your alternative Boho day’)
I then decided to invest some money into making the whole thing come together. I had a rough idea how I wanted the whole thing to look but I couldn’t do it on my own so I set my Graphic Designer a brief and off he went. The whole thing was a working process, I had colours in my head but that was really it. I pulled some patterns and images together so he could get a better idea of the kind of thing I wanted. It didn’t happen overnight, there were a lot of changes before we got to the finished piece, it may look like a simple Logo but it took weeks of re designing to get there! BUT I thought it was important to get it right! Yes you can re brand once you are more established, but this costs more time and more money so why not try and get it right first time.
With the Logo, and website by Brand was born! I then had to get business cards and flyers printed and stationery ordered. Again I believe that spending money on this sort of thing is important, yes Vista print and the likes are great for cheap quick cards when you are starting off, but if you want to be taken seriously get yourself some proper business cards, this is still part of your brand! I remember when I first started handing out my cards people always used to comment on how nice they felt what good quality they were…..and with this the expectation of my business followed!……remember first impressions count! And you only get once chance to make one!
The same can be said for your website! A lot of the time when I meet people they think I am a big company or bigger than just one person! And they get that impression from my website! It wasn’t something that I did on purpose but when you are spending money on a product and it looks professional it gives off the right impression, cobbling a website together yourself to save money is all well and good but does it really give off the right message!
Yes I know not everyone has thousands of £ to throw at a start-up business, I didn’t! yes I put it all on a credit card! With a bit of help from the start up enterprise agency, but the rest I have been paying off since…but yes it was worth it!
I can say hand on heart that my branding is what has helped me get to where I am now! No it isn’t the be all and end all, if you can’t back up the brand with the product or service you are selling then the business will fail, but your branding is what will get you noticed and what will get in people’s heads to begin with!
If in doubt then listen to the words of Jasmine Star! The queen of wedding photography in the US and a queen of all things marketing and Branding! Kat at Rock and Roll Bride blogged this rather inspiring post last year raving about Jasmine Star and after watching the video that was posted with the blog post I was in love with this lady!
So Click on her video and take some time out to be inspired and listen to why you’re branding is such an integral part to your business!
So my main advice on Branding is:
1) Decided on how you want your company to be perceived, but stay true to yourself, there is no point marketing yourself as something that you’re not and creating a brand that dosn’t reflect who you are! The brand has to be about you!….people buy into people, so your personality has to shine through everything you do!
You are the brand as much as your logo, slogan or copy is!
2) Think about the name of the business and how you want it to look, put together a mood board of things that reflect you and use this as a basis to start from!
3) Spend money on branding and get the professionals in to help you. This isn’t something you can do on your own, there are experts out there that can help, but they will need you input!
4) Think Big! Yes you may be a small company now but you don’t know what will happen in years to come!
I will leave you with a quote from one of my marketing books (small business marketing for dummies)
‘Building a brand, focusing on a market position and aligning all your communications under a creative strategy that leads to a single image customers trust and rely on. That’s how small business become large and that’s what branding and marketing is all about.’
I’d love to know what your think, how did you create your brand? Have you undergone a re branding since starting your company? are you in the middle of branding your company at the moment? Do you have any other advice to offer?
Come back next week when we cover week 5 – Get out and network and get yourself on social media
Have you missed any of this series? ‘How to become a wedding planner’
Week 1 – Get business advice
Week 2 – Start a wedding planning course
Week 3 – Research your competition & the market around you, find a niche