Our team has been keeping busy this quarter with several brand launches, and we’ve been hustling and bustling like never before the work is worth it because we get to witness entrepreneurs embrace and thrive with their new brands. It’s also super fascinating to see how different each of our clients’ brands is, back-to-back like this.
For example, last month we launched Matthew Reid Films, whose brand emanates intimacy, is very family-oriented, and relaxed yet professional. This month, we launched a brand for a commercial and editorial food photographer, Mica of Austin Food Guide, who differs quite a bit from Matthew Reid. Mica has a bold and extroverted personality, and we wanted to let that shine through. Read on to find out how we applied the Signature Experience to her brand, resulting in her booking her first 4-figure client!
The first step of the Signature Experience is to develop the brand strategy and draft preliminary designs. This is to make sure that we are all on the same page about the direction, goals, and personality of the brand. For Mica, our goal was to position Austin Food Guide as the go-to food photographer in the Central Texas region. We also wanted to highlight her experience and skills to attract more of her ideal clients.
This is also the step our clients usually get most excited about because they get to see their new brand come together! For Mica, this was a particularly thrilling moment. She came to us struggling with getting noticed by her ideal clients because she lacked a cohesive brand message.
We peeled back all the layers of Mica’s brand to see what lay at the heart of Austin Food Guide — AKA what she believed made Austin Food Guide, Austin Food Guide. We uncovered some core traits, such as honesty, fun, and innovation. This is such a crucial aspect of our rebranding process because these core words help us craft a brand message, brand personality, and design elements. They drive how we shape and place every cog in the wheel of a cohesive brand.
So, with her strategy in mind, we got to work on her preliminary designs. This included choosing a color palette that was rich yet modern. Creating Mica’s color palette was a fun challenge because, for the first time, we had to think about which colors enhanced the appetizing factor of her photos. Possibly the most entertaining part about our finalized color choices is that we ended up using colors named after foods, so it really came full circle! Preliminary designs also include font selection, so we chose bold, welcoming, and unique fonts to match her fun-loving, personable, and creative spirit.
After receiving her brand package, Mica said, “Before, I struggled to define who I am and what I do with the clients I wanted to work with. It’s as if [the CLD team] could see directly in my mind, see exactly what I envisioned, and brought it to life.”
The next step is to craft the website copy — yes, there is a dedicated step for website copy! We like to take our time with this step because website copy not only does it help create rapport with ideal clients and persuade them to purchase, but it also helps with search engine rankings. This is because we have the opportunity to inject the keywords we want to rank for. However, this can only happen with a sufficient amount of website copy. Too many times I see website designers and entrepreneurs skip this step or not give it the time it deserves because they believe their photos will do all the selling. The reality is, potential clients need to connect with you as a person, and search engines need enough content to comb through and decide how to rank you.
So what do we keep in mind when we’re writing website copy to hit all these marks? We’re considering:
Shaping our copy around these questions is going to be the key to standing out in even the most saturated markets. For Mica, we had chosen keywords we wanted her to rank for as a food photographer, but we mitigate sounding like we’re keyword stuffing by creating a brand personality and message that sounds true to her.
We went back to our core personality traits (honesty, fun, and innovation) and crafted website copy that was transparent and highlighted the idea that Mica creates work that is fun and breeds creativity.
After writing the copy, we move on to the next stage: website design. Most people are surprised that website design is one of the last stages of the process because it’s not particularly common to hear about the more foundational steps that we include in the Signature Experience.
Website design is, of course, important, but aesthetics are only one piece of the large puzzle that makes up a brand. Every piece must work cohesively — brand personality, voice, logo, fonts, colors, SEO, client experience, website copy, and marketing, to name a few — for a successful brand.
For Austin Food Guide, we chose a color palette we felt would inspire her clients. We also noticed similar themes throughout her photos: deep browns, charcoal, and blues, so we wanted to create a color palette that would complement her work. With her fonts, we wanted to strike a balance of professional, trustworthy, and fun. We used a custom font for her logo that conveyed a detail-oriented trait. It also matched the laid-back Sans serif font we used for the rest of her logo. Overall, we wanted the brand to feel organic, elevated, have lots of depth, yet is whimsical to create that fun, down-to-earth, and creative vibe we were aiming for.
During this phase, we also focus on website strategy, meaning we take the audience on a customer journey as they scroll down the page. For Mica, this meant using calls to action that take potential clients who were interested in her photography for their restaurant, cookbook, website, and more.
During Mica’s launch week, she was able to go from $750 clients to booking her first $5k client! She also secured a major deal with a well-known publication. Not only did she have tangible success, but she also said this after we had our post-launch 30-day check-in:
“Gratitude doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now. So much has changed since the launch. I have a cohesive brand and message that makes me stand out from the crowd, and my business finally feels like a thriving business. I’m excited to see where it goes.”
This is the kind of results we aim for, and it wouldn’t have happened with just a nice website. Beautiful brand aesthetics paired with intentional website strategy are the cornerstones for success, booking clients effortlessly, and creating a delightful online experience.
Check out the rest of the Austin Food Guide website by clicking here! And if you’re thinking to yourself, “Ok, this sounds amazing in theory, but how in the world do I apply all this to my own brand?” Look no further than our award-winning Signature Experience. Drop us a note — our team is eager to meet you and see how we can elevate your brand!