FROM LOST TO FOUND
5 STEPS TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS RECOGNIZED EVERYWHERE.
We are living in moment where things are moving at an unbelievable speed. Just look at the last two years and how communication through technological advances has been taking leaps every few weeks.
Putting our businesses out there seems to have changed SO much! All of this looks overwhelming and chaotic! Every day some new social networking site comes up, systems to advertise and communicate to our clients become outdated rapidly and, next, 10 more new come out. Keeping up with all of this is C-R-A-Z-Y!
I believe we are in great moments. We have the possibilities of having marketing and branding strategies that compete at the same level as any Fortune 500 company. The tools have become available to ALL. Sometimes they are so available that you can get them for free. Facebook is a great example of this.
So how can YOU and your business stand out from the crowd?
Let’s go back to some of the 5 basic steps, FROM THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END, to visually communicate to everyone consistently and powerfully.
I went through some chaos myself a little while ago. I used to work for companies as a corporate graphic designer. I learned a lot in all those years but NEVER as much as I have since I was laid off. I was quite lost for a while: I was listening to everyone tell me what to do with my life, looking into other things that had nothing to do with my passion, I even started going to school to do something else. Gladly it didn’t last too long and I was able to finally put my ideas in order, understand that my real and biggest passion is art and design and that I was here to share that gift to the world. I started dreaming again and this felt fabulous! I saw myself providing real art-quality designs to my clients. Ones that would help them get to where they wanted to get to.
I decided to start my own business as a graphic designer and illustrator. I started looking at my whole situation. I asked myself some key questions. What was it that I wanted to do? Why did I want to do that? How did I want to do that? And finally, for whom was I going to do that?
The more I knew what I wanted, the better. I started to become so centered that I no longer paid attention to anything else. I was clear… Finally! There were no distractions to take me away from my plan. Yes, I had a plan.
Do you want everyone to understand at a glimpse who are and what you do?
When working with my clients the first thing is to understand every aspect of their business. That way the visual branding and marketing pieces and campaigns will tell your audience the real products, services, and benefits offered giving your business visibility and recognition.
Are we clear now?
The right person
There are a lot of designers out there. Some can design pretty nice logos and pieces. The importance is really the outcome. Does that logo and branding really work? DO they really represent my business? Is it consistently showing my business and positioning it?
Be careful about the person you choose to work with you on this. Understand that it is a team project and both have to communicate very clearly in order to get a final positive product. The whole visual package can only be done by a person that knows clearly about branding and marketing. This person will understand each aspect of your business and be able to translate that into the creation of the whole visual branding plan. This person needs to care for you very much.
Dreams really come true
When I first started on my own I was totally broke. Not even a place to live of my own. Gladly a friend of mine supported me a lot through this face and fixed a computer so I could create and a small corner to be able to work from and dream how I my business looked like for me. I was still clearing many things in my life but one thing that was already clear was where I wanted my business to be.
I needed to start networking and needed business cards urgently. I decided to represent all of my dreams in that card. I designed a very clean and creative card, with rounded corners and matte finish. It looked perfectly elegant and classy. Eventhough I spent a little more on them I knew they would tell everyone who I really was: serious, committed, powerful and big.
Many people don’t realize that by investing (please read again…INVESTING) in an image that represents where they want to get to they will clearly not only communicate and enroll clients showing them, like I did, their seriousness, commitment, power and growth; but enroll also their employees. I will also add that they will have a clear visual guide to follow knowing that that image is already reminding them where they want to be.
I am very spiritual and truly believe in the power of manifesting and law of attraction. I created my vision board that represents all I want to be for my life and I follow it seeing clearly how things begin to manifest as I see them in front of me. Your logo and branding works the same way as the vision board.
Let’s start manifesting the dreams of our business!
Consistency,… Consistency,… Consistency!
As I already said, there is a lot of chaos out there and marketing has become so available that “anyone” can do it.
There are so many “for Free” or “almost for free” tools out there. Most of them easy to work with that everyone wants to do it all themselves or have it done by the closest person that “knows Photoshop” (Photoshop is only ONE of the several tools used for developing a concept that starts being created in the head). In occasions they understand they need experts so they hire the website developer to DESIGN their website; the social networking expert to DESIGN their facebook, twitter, email campaigns; the magazine to DESIGN their ads; the printer to DESIGN their business cards and postcards, etc.
How can I say it in a better way? Consistency…
This can only be created by a person that can see the whole picture, a designer that will create that visual brand and guideline package. That way, no matter where you go or who you hire to create the next pieces, you will have a set of rules to follow that will maintain and reinforce what you want to communicate about your business to everyone. Even if you own an office or it is a restaurant you are branding, that guideline covers the look and feel of the office or restaurant. The message has to stay the same EVERYWHERE. This is the only way!
Everything is part of one, your business!
Live it and breathe it
You are your business! You carry the dreams of your business and your business carries your personality in them.
When I created The Laughing Zebra the name came out so natural. The truth is it came out of my mouth because the zebra was representing me as the magnificence of nature’s ability to inspire us with its designs. What came out without even thinking was the “laughing” part. I laugh at everything, all the time. So The Laughing Zebra was me. I laugh, I am colorful, I often dress with zebra patters or carry fun accessories with zebra print. People already know me as The Laughing Zebra everywhere. I enjoy and have lots of fun with this very much. So even when I am not working I am still The Laughing Zebra and not feel like I am working at all.
So show that business everywhere, use the colors, the logo, the fonts over and over. If you have to dress up with the colors do it! The more you reinforce that image, the more you are recognized. Make it something you enjoy and have fun with. This is what the creation of your dreams must be.