In the upcoming issue of Shutter Magazine for June I wrote about the importance of continuity. It's a challenge shared by so many of you. Here's the issue - if you were to put all of your published material side by side, absolutely nothing matches! Your website, blog, brochures, business cards, stationery, ads along with everything in social media have all been built at different times and often with a different vision. The result is a nightmare of design elements that just don't fit.
To make the point with my video piece for the article I went into my closet and pulled out a combo that demonstrated the problem...including a flannel shirt in 90 degree heat in Florida. It reminds of little kids when they finally get the opportunity to dress themselves.
Well, I'm betting for many of you your support material doesn't look much better. While it wasn't intentional, it's happened nonetheless and continuity in building your brand is so important. So, let's hit some easy things to think about fixing.
First, unless you've got a graphic design background/education get yourself some professional help. Most of you have a great eye for this stuff, but you're not really a trained professional. It's worth the investment to have somebody who knows what they're doing give you an assessment of all your material.
Second, look at everything you publish starting with the pages of your website to your blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest and then all your brochures, stationery and even business cards.
Third, remember your target audience. I've written this many times before...98% of the decision to hire a professional photographer in the portrait social category are made by women. You're site doesn't have to be totally feminine and for you guys out there, you don't have to give up your masculinity, but you need to at least have to have a little "curb appeal" for female visitors to Internet properties and printed material.
Fourth, pay attention to the way you describe things from component to component. Your content needs to be upbeat and maintain the same kind of continuity. Your website is about what you sell, while your blog is about what's in your heart. Your printed material is also about what you sell, your services. Be consistent in terms of professionalism, detail and your vocabulary.
We all recognize logos and material from Tiffany's, for example. Every woman knows what to expect if she's handed a gift in their signature turquoise bag. Your recognition time on a Mercedes logo, BMW and Audi are all the same as well. Your brand needs consistency, but remember, just as important as the look of all your material is the service and performance behind it. Your skill set has to be just as consistent.
Make sure you can walk the talk, then give your talk the consistency to build strong brand recognition!
...and if you haven't seen Shutter Magazine yet, check it out. Registration is free and it's just a click away from being at your fingertips. (My video with the fashion statement above is around page 170 of the June issue! LOL)