Finding your (authentic) voice, and cutting through the noise

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When I first drafted this blog post, I’d written ‘finding your voice, and cutting through the crap’ as the post title. And then I changed it for something more polite, because my mother taught me not to swear – and this is a business blog, after all. And then I thought: the post where I write about finding your authentic voice is not the place to modify language. Let’s talk honestly for a moment about being authentically you in a world where there’s an awful lot of noisy nonsense.

Ever felt intimidated by a competitor who just seems to be everywhere? I feel you.

I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time fretting over a competitor who’s so vocal about what they’re up to, who they’re talking to and how wonderful life is that I wonder how they ever find a spare moment to put in any billable hours. There’s a feeling that to have a shot at attracting work, you need to do what they do, say what they say and be in all the same places that they are.

You don’t.

Your real challenge is not to fight against the garb that other companies are spouting – because the chances are that most of the noise is self-gratifying willy-wangling – but to be you.

Remember that clients have choice. They could work with you, or they could work with someone else. But they chose you.

Don’t be generic. Often, when I ask a client what makes their business unique, they don’t know what to say – they just want to fit in and look industry-appropriate. Be brave. Stand out. Celebrate the fact you’re different from the others, and own your space.

Be true to your values. Your audience value your unique approach and the way you tackle projects in a way that no-one else does. That matters. Let your values shine through in every communication that leaves your desk.

Quality, not quantity. Speak from your heart in your blog posts and social media profiles. Better to post one brilliant blog post per week than a tonne of rubbish, simply because you felt the pressure from someone else’s hyper-posting.

Practice writing blog posts as though you were writing to a friend. It’ll make you much more real.

Authenticity is your trump card. Be the best version of you that you can – not a second rate version of someone else. Your clients are not stupid; they’ll recognise authenticity when they see it. And I promise you that being real is so much more engaging than being something you’re not.

Over to you – how do you get heard through the noise?

 

 

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Powerful Branding: Communicate with flair

Prospect Financial, Sevenoaks Brand Identity Mock Up

If you’ve been following my last few blog posts, you’ll be starting to get the idea that a smart logo and carefully selected colour palette are the bare essentials of creating a brand with emotional pull. But of course, once you’ve invested in having a brand stylist create a beautiful identity for you, you have to turn your attention to rolling it out and making it happen.

I’ve got a little exercise for you.

First of all, pull out your every day communication essentials:

-Your business card

-Your website

-Your social media profiles

-Your email signature

-Your invoices

How do they look? Are they all sending out the right signals? Never mind that, are they all sending out the same signals? Mark them out of 10 (be honest!) and make notes on where there’s room for improvement.

It’s all to easy to print up a decent set of business cards, upload your new logo to your social media profiles and call it good. But a truly powerful brand identity goes so much deeper than that. Think about it this way: every single communication is another opportunity to impress – take advantage of it.

We recently gave our terms of business a re-vamp, paying close attention to not only the layout, colours and typography but also the style of the wording. The very next time I sent out a copy, I had a client comment on how she felt that the wording really reflected us as a business, and how impressed she was. This level of attention to detail can absolutely transform something as potentially mundane as a contract to something with a life of its own that reinforces your identity and brand message.

Terms of business, invoices, emails, business cards: how can you change yours to take the opportunity to use your brand voice and show your clients just how great you are?

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Proud to Present: Brand Styling for Sarah Gillmore

Sarah Gillmore Styling, logo design and brand design by Ditto Brand Stylists

Sarah Gillmore is a trained personal stylist based just outside of Tunbridge Wells, who helps clients to define their look and express themselves by finding a style they feel wonderful in. Sarah needed a logo design and brand identity that resonated with her target market – women who are sophisticated, well-educated, and well-cultured.

The season personality

Sarah Gillmore is a Winter personality, with Summer subordinates. Winter personalities are known for their clear, focussed approach; they are perfectionists, efficient and grounded. On the Summer side, there’s a grace and elegance to Sarah’s business, along with a desire for quality and ensuring everything is done to a high standard. Summer businesses tend to take a gentle and nurturing approach to their work, which fits with her values perfectly. Neither Winter nor Summer businesses are faddy; they’re timeless, elegant and here to stay.

The colour palette

The colour palette is a cool, clear and minimal palette of charcoal, stone, rose and blossom. The charcoal is utterly timeless and elegant, but softened slightly with an accent of rose or blossom. These colours balance perfectly, and so do their connotations; charcoal is sophisticated and timeless, stone is an elegant and supportive neutral shade while the rose and blossom are the purest expression of femininity – nurturing, gentle and calm.

The brand board

Sarah Gillmore - brand board by Ditto Brand Stylists

The logo is confident, timeless and elegant. With no unnecessary fuss or embellishment, the design is allowed plenty of space to breathe – which sits perfectly with the season personality. We’ve hand picked four fonts for: two main fonts and two accent fonts (which should be used sparingly) which provide extra depth and dimension to the brand, and prevent it from feeling too cold.

The secondary logos are there to support the brand when it’s not appropriate to use the primary logo – perhaps as a watermark in the corner of images, for social media profiles or a subtle way of introducing the branding to a letter, voucher or card.

The brand elements provide specific design elements that can be used both in print and online. With her website in mind, we’ve designed Sarah a favicon and banner styles, which would be a lovely way to style the images.

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Filed under Brand Styling, Colour Psychology, Powerful Branding, Proud to Present