How Customers Experience Shapes Your Brand: In this classroom blog, Miss Digital Media collaborates with Katie Spreadbury, from Orange Sheep Research.
Katie provides a different perspective on how we can give our Brand a Boost by considering the customer’s experience of our brand and identifying how we can improve our brand by asking our customers questions.
You do not own the way your brand is perceived
Sure you can work out your brand values, sort your logo, colour palette and design, choose your brand voice, and so on. But the fact remains, your audience – your customers/clients and the people you are targeting to be customers/clients in future – are the only ones who truly know your brand.
Because their truth – the way they perceive your brand – is the only one that matters.
Every interaction you have with your customers shapes their view of your brand. From the post you put on social media, to your website, to the experiences they have of dealing with you directly (purchasing or working with you) to the way they see you interacting with others online – it all shapes their perception of you and therefore your brand image.
Is the image you are putting out there the same as the one you think you are putting out?
For example, one of your brand values might be “helpful”. But if they are seeing a lot of comments and questions on your social media page going unanswered, this will not be something they particularly associate with you.
The only way to really know what they think of you is to ask them.
Asking questions such as what words they would associate with your brand, how your brand makes them feel, whether they agree your brand is aimed at them. What do they really think of you? Do they associate the values you are trying to portray with you?
Katie Spreadbury founded OrangeSheep Research to help small businesses increase sales by building a band of loyal customers who buy more, more often, and who will shout about them to anyone who will listen. Katie believes that when a business knows what their customers really think they have the foundations to build a business their customers love, and she helps them get there through high-quality customer research. To learn more about how to find out what your customers really think to join Katie in her free Facebook group, the aptly named “What your customers REALLY think”.
Miss Digital Media would like to thank Katie for sharing her useful tips and advice which will help to Boost Your Brand.
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Personal Branding, Photography, and Visibility: In this classroom blog, Miss Digital Media collaborates with Ginny Marsh, from Gorgeous You Photography.
Throughout the process of designing and developing a personal brand, we have to think about so many different factors. A brand is not just about the design of a company logo, or the colours used in marketing, it is so much more than that!
Branding encompasses our personal mission, values, and ethos, our business vision, our unique selling points, our tone of voice, style of writing, and communication. We’ll need to create brand words, elevator pitches, and memorable straplines or tag lines for our marketing and promotions.
We need to be clear about the products and services we offer and who our target audience is. All of these things need to be represented in a visual way which is why the brand design is so important.
Choosing the right images and colours and creating a layout and design that is fit for purpose ensures our products and services appeal to our ideal customers.
As a branding designer myself I feel it is really important to explain that building a brand takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual and ongoing process, which requires the business owner to invest time and finances to develop and grow their brand.
Business owners need to build the like, know, trust factor with their customers, and to demonstrate their credibility through their bio’s, cv, expertise, and testimonials.
However, it is equally as important how we present ourselves. These days it’s the norm to share photos and videos of ourselves on social media to promote our personal brands, so how we look, how we dress, and how we speak can really make all the difference to getting our potential customers to like, know and trust us.
Some of these things may put some people off even starting a business. Speaking from experience I know that my own lack of confidence has prevented me from achieving in my business, and I know that there are many business owners who feel the same about their own personal brand, which has stopped them from being visible to their customers.
I asked Ginny Marsh, Personal Branding Photographer, and Body Confidence Coach at Gorgeous You Photography, some questions about how we can improve our personal branding and visibility.
What is Personal Branding Photography and why do we need it?
We all need to start with a good headshot… But personal branding photography is so much more than that! It’s a collection of photos that represent the essence of your brand.
I work with my clients to create images that tell a story about who you are, what you do, your process, and how you deliver your product or service. I bring out your personality, show how it feels to work with you, and why you’re different from your competitors.
It’s so important to have good Personal Branding photographs to make you stand out and show you as the expert at what you do.
What tips can you give on creating great personal brand photos?
When planning each shoot, I always ask my clients to get clear about a few branding key essentials:
What is it that you do?
Where do you work and/or meet clients (and does that fit in with your brand)?
What are you actually selling (product/service) and also, what FEELING or RESULT are you selling?
How do you want to be portrayed and come across to your ideal clients?
Who are your ideal clients and what are they interested in?
What do you want your branding images to do for you and what do you want to achieve?
What’s your process or client journey? How could you show what it’s like to purchase from you?
What are your brand values and/or company ethos?
Who are you and what’s your personality and style?
What are your brand colours?
What can we do to make our brand visually unique?
I absolutely love to create mood boards on Pinterest! It’s a great place of inspiration and visual references for how you want your brand and images to look, and I love to help my clients to get creative making mood boards.
When planning a personal branding shoot, you need to think about what would really make you stand out and tell your story.
Think about your branding colours, and how you can keep those throughout all your branding photography.
Think about props, locations, outfits, and styling that says something unique about who you are, your values, and how you work. You don’t want to look like everyone else. And ultimately, think about where you’ll be using the images (online and in print).
How can we improve our camera confidence?
I have one main rule for getting more camera confident… and that’s PRACTICE!!! The more you do something, the easier it gets. And as with most people, it’s probably completely out of your comfort zone because you aren’t used to having your photo taken.
So practice taking lots of selfies, or get your friends to take photos (unless they’re really bad and make it worse). A good photographer will put you at ease and make it enjoyable.
However, I have a few other tips to get you more instantly confident in the short term…
Listen to your favourite music and dance to it!
Wear your favourite perfume
Wear an outfit that makes you look and feel really good
Tell yourself positive things, such as “I can do this, and I’ll be great at it!”
Make sure you’ve got good posture (sit/stand up straight and relax your shoulders down), even do a good power pose like you’re Wonder Woman!
What tips can you share on creating great selfies and product shots? Or if offering services how can we show that in our pictures?
The Facebook group is to support women to improve their self-esteem, camera confidence, and visibility in their business.
Ginny’s group called Gorgeous You – The Confidence to be Visible, has been very helpful indeed, it has helped me to learn new skills, and improve my camera confidence, and I have been posting more selfies doing more video than I ever thought possible, better still I have helped to boost my own brand and visibility.
Brands, Books, and Bios. Miss Digital Media interviews The Simple Mum, Blogger, and Award-winning Author Cheryl Lee-White, who shares her experience and tips on creating, publishing, and promoting Brands, Books and Bios.
Cheryl Lee-White is a mother to 3 girls and lives with them and her partner in Somerset, UK. She is an award-winning children’s author and writes a blog for parents called The Simple Mum. She uses her passion for writing and photography to create a business utilising these.
When and why did you start your business? I started my blog up in 2016 which at first was just a hobby. I had a passion for writing and a blog seemed like the best outlet to share my passion. I have 3 daughters and we love to be active and enjoy the great outdoors so I thought I could write a blog about parenting sharing our experience. I named my blog The Simple Mum as my focus is on keeping parenting simple. Blogging was a stepping stone for me to branch out into other areas.
What products and services does The Simple Mum offer? Firstly I have my website that offers readers a wealth of free information on all things parenting. I run my blog like a magazine adding posts on different categories every month to ensure there is a wide diversity of content.
I have written and published 2 children’s rhyming books, ‘Pete The Cheeky Parakeet‘ and the award-winning ‘The Book of Silly Rhymes‘. I offer local author visits where I will go into schools and discuss how to become a writer and read my story to the children.
I offer freelance writing services where I write content for other businesses and I also sell my photography on stock websites and occasionally sell prints via my social media pages.
What inspires you to write and how do you develop your ideas? A love for writing is what drives me to keep constantly creating and trying new types of writing. My inspiration definitely comes from my children. Being a mother helps me to create posts for my blog that can help other parents. My children are also what inspired me to start writing children’s books.
How did you find the process of writing, designing, and publishing your first book? Finishing writing a story is just the beginning of the journey and the easy part the publishing is the hard part. Finding a publisher in the first place isn’t easy. You can’t submit stories directly to traditional publishers so you have to use literary agents that can take anything up to 4 months to get back to you. I was lucky that I stumbled across an interview with a new children’s book publisher called Blue Falcon Publishing who was accepting direct submissions. They are in between traditional and self-publishing as I do pay a small fee for their services but they handle all the publishing, editing, blurb write up, cover design, and help with marketing.
Would you ever self publish a book? Yes, I would consider using self-publishing services I did almost use Amazon publishing before I found my publisher. I am however a perfectionist and don’t have the skills to create a good looking book so even if I self-published I would always outsource a professional to edit and design the book for me and of course an illustrator.
What platforms, tools, processes, and techniques do you use to promote your blog and sell your books, products, and services? My favourite platform for promoting is Facebook. This generates me the most leads for my blog and books and is also the platform I am most familiar with. Instagram is another favourite platform of mine and is where I sometimes make sales on my photography as it is a very image-based platform.
Twitter although I don’t get much traffic or interaction from there it is a great place to find opportunities and connect with other bloggers.
What tips can you share about how you built your personal brand and Bio? Be authentic and create a brand that resonates with you. My brand for The Simple Mum is very personal to me even down to my logo which consists of my family and the beach 2 of my favourite things.
What tips could you share with other aspiring writers, authors, and business mums about blogging and building an audience? My biggest tip to share with other aspiring writers is to never give up, keep constantly writing, and challenging yourself. The best way to build an audience is to write and share as much of your work as you can. Starting up your own blog is one way to share your work and gradually grow an audience. Also, guest blogging for other websites will help build an audience and get you noticed. I recently wrote a poem for Captain Tom Moore that I shared on my social media, from that it was then shared on a website for lockdown poetry and from there I was contacted to ask if I wanted to be a judge for a poetry competition. Keep writing and sharing as you never know where it will lead you.
What projects do you have planned for the future? During Lockdown I have written a new children’s rhyming story so I am going through the process of getting it published and hopefully it should be ready later this year. I am also looking into setting up a family photography service to add more to the photography side of my business.
Miss Digital Media would like to thank Cheryl for sharing her tips and advice on writing, blogging, personal branding, publishing, and promotion. If you would like to write a guest post for Miss Digital Media’s Classroom blog please email email@example.com