Are you guys ready for the big launch of the new brand and website?! I previewed the website last night and we are so close to being done. As you can see, I have begun making design changes here on the blog to match the new look. There is much more to come here, as I will be publishing additional pages about the new brand and experience. But I thought, that perhaps as we lead up to the launch date, I would share my journey so far! The term rebranding has been pretty popular in this industry, and I wanted to give my two cents on the process. I’ll start at the beginning, and will finish the series with the official launch. Sound good? Great.
This my friends, is where it all began.
I had been an official photography business for 6 months. I had done everything myself and made up everything as I went. Ever been there? I spent hours pouring over other photography blogs and websites, always wanting to do better. I was frustrated because as much as I tried, the business never really seemed like me. I didn’t understand the concept of branding outside a great logo, color scheme, and business name. The result? Inconsistency, constant changes in what I photographed, how I photographed it, what I charged, and how I charged it.
Although some may say I was doing very well for my first 6 months, I knew that I was capable of more, if I just knew how.
I knew I didn’t have a brand. Not like I wanted anyway.
So in January of 2012, Justin & Mary announced they had a few winter mentoring sessions available. I have been a follower of their blog from the very beginning. If anyone knew branding, and had the experience to help me get started on the right track, I knew it was Justin and Mary Marantz. I was hesitant at first, I had just spent all my extra funds on a bunch of new canvas samples and the announcement came unexpected on Facebook. And you know well, that if it is anything Justin & Mary are offering, it is going to go fast. I trusted my gut with this “Do or Die” mentality, complete with the “Do you really want this?! I can’t hear you! Louder! DO YOU WANT THIS?!” So I emailed her right away and grabbed a spot.
I had about two months before I was to meet with them. Two months in which I knew, had to be spent goal writing, dreaming, questioning, you name it. I searched through their blog for every post she had ever written on branding, and read it more than once.
During this timeframe, two standout experiences took place that shifted everything.
The company I host my website through is called Showit. It’s more than just a company though. They have a created a community of creatives, and their big annual meet up was taking place in Vegas during WPPI. I was gratefully able to watch a lot of the live stream and I tuned in to watch Jeff Jochum speak on having a unique brand.
This guy. Wrecked me. I had never felt so inspired in my entire life. I looked at my goal list. Threw it out. And started over. So began the moment that for the first time I wanted a brand that was unlike any other.
Shortly after, I watched Sue Bryce teach on her incredibly successful Glamour Photography business on CreativeLive. To say that I was blown away was an understatement. I now knew that I not only wanted a unique brand, but I needed it to really mean something. Just listening to Sue Bryce talk about what she does made me cry on several occasions throughout the teaching. What she did was BEAUTIFUL.
And just like that, I thought, there has GOT to be more. I have GOT to think bigger.
So I bravely walked into my mentoring session with Justin & Mary, praying that somehow, my idea would make sense. That somehow, they could give me a plan. That somehow, they could see my ideas as a future brand.
The next two hours marked the turning point in my business forever. Here’s the greatest thing about sessions like these. A great mentor will tell you what everyone else won’t. They will tell you when they don’t see something working, when they think you are trying to be someone you aren’t, and then give you a plan to get to where you need to go. My greatest advice, is that if you want a great mentor for your business, be willing to pay for it. Invest in knowledge. Invest in the information to get you where you need to go. Did I take advantage of the free knowledge business owners like J&M share on their blog? Absolutely. Did I take it a step further by hiring them for one on one evaluation? You bet. And it was life changing.
At the end of the session, through their advice, I knew that everything needed to change to get to where I wanted to go. My problem with inconsistency was that I was always trying to mesh the old with the new. Bringing the old design into the new ideas. I was on a budget and was always looking for ways to save a buck. Or a few hundred. The thought of changing my business name from “The Modern Lens” to “Tiffany Farley” was SO daunting in the beginning. All I could think about was how much it was going to cost to order new business cards, new logo, etc. I needed someone to help me see the bigger picture.
The next part of this rebranding blog series will start my journey of working with my amazing designer ,and how that came to be and what she helped me with. So stay tuned! If you have any questions about rebranding, or maybe you are considering it yourself, I would love for you leave a comment so I can include the answers in my next posts.