It’s Not How it Looks. It’s How it Works.
I knew that developing the design elements of my branding strategy would require time, patience and a lot of expert advice. As a photographer, I often feel like I have a very good idea about art and design. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I really do need the help of people who deal with different sorts of things on a daily basis.
When it comes to marketing, I have just such an expert advisor in Jennifer Kilberg, owner of Fluid Vision and a consultant in Agency Access’ Campaign Manager Pro program. Jennifer and I decided to tie my portfolio website’s look to my blog’s design, and that was just the beginning.
The design elements that we decided to concentrate on were:
- Portfolio site rebranding
- Business cards
- Email promos
- Direct-mail cards
- PDF portfolios
“‘Design’ is a funny word. Some people think ‘design’ means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works.” – Steve Jobs
My blog was designed by Nikola Lazarevic, who curates the great design blog WebExpedition 18. I absolutely love Nikola’s vision, so it was a no-brainer to turn to him again to recapture some of the magic he performed on my blog. Agency Access has its own in-house design department that does great work with websites, emails and direct-mail pieces, but I happened to have an ongoing business relationship with my designer, and it made sense to stick with him.
On to the Email Promos
Continuing with the branding elements from the card and the blog – including the paper background, the social media buttons and the little airplane with the fading trail – Nikola and I got busy with my email promos. I’ll have 12 of these going out this year: six lifestyle and six travel.
Six of the direct mail pieces will be mailed out this year to hundreds of prospective clients in Canada and the U.S. Keeping the vintage look of the other promotional pieces, Nikola used one side of the exterior of the folded card to look like an old vintage airmail envelope.
Last but not least were my PDF portfolios, which can be mailed as follow-ups to telephone calls and emails. I put together one for my travel photography and another for my lifestyle work. Once again, we kept as many of the design elements from the original blog as possible.
When Nikola had his design work done, I sent the files to Agency Access designer Jaime Hernandez, who assembled the PDFs to ensure they were each around 5 MB, and therefore would work as email attachments.
Bespoke Business Cards
I also have to give a shout-out to my mom, since she gave me the idea of using a luggage tag as a logo and business card. As soon as I shared that suggestion with Nikola, he developed this vintage tag idea and we tweaked it to become the tag that appears on the blog’s header. As a travel photographer, this travel-themed logo was a great fit, and I felt having the logo basically become the business card was unique. I loved the results (even though getting the new business cards printed was a whole other marketing adventure)!
I needed a good printing company. Agency Access did an awesome job on my direct-mail cards this year, but they don’t print regular business cards, and since I had a custom job I knew I’d have to get several quotes. I contacted several local printers who gave me some very high quotes. I then turned to social media for some help. I tweeted to my followers that I was looking for a good printer who could do custom sizes and shapes, and had a die cut for the hole at the top of my card.
I love social media! Within 10 minutes, I had a reply from Jukeboxprint.com. I visited their website and immediately knew we had a winner: custom sizes and shapes, die cut, amazing extras and a better price than the competition.
I asked them to send me a sample kit and was impressed with the quantity of their cards; the variety of shapes, sizes and stock; and options like embossing, spot UV gloss and plastic card stock. I love when I can see samples before ordering things like business cards, prints and direct-mail pieces.
Ultimately, I decided on rounded corners, spot UV gloss in the areas shown and that die cut for the hole at the top. The cards would be 3×3.5 inches, slightly bigger than typical business cards but not so big that they’re cumbersome.
You can do Anything! But Not Everything
Phew… all done!
Having the right people behind my marketing plan only helps my chances of finding new and bigger clients. Nikola’s designs and the team of experts behind Agency Access’ Campaign Manager Pro program have boosted my confidence immensely; I’ve always been confident about my photography, but I’ve not always been as sure about my marketing.
Not anymore! Now that my branding and marketing tools are set, I have a great feeling about this year. I am ready to start my marketing campaign. Are you prepared with your 2012 marketing plan and tools?