I have to admit, there have been times where I’ve cringed inwardly at the thought of a corporate promotional video. Many that I’ve seen seem so insincere, cold and sales-y that I’m instantly turned off and have to watch through my fingers. I’m pleased to say that my thoughts have changed vastly since meeting with Juliette at Superfilm.
Superfilm are a local group of passionate film makers who work with businesses to produce the most beautiful, aspirational promotional videos you could dream of. With the focus very much on telling a story, their videos capture the essence and personality of the businesses they work with. I was amazed by the ways in which the videos portray a really honest, genuine feel – so different to many of the staged, scripted corporate videos I’ve seen before. Their relaxed, story-telling style and aspirational finish produces videos which companies can be incredibly proud of. I’m very excited (if a little nervous!) to announce that Superfilm will be working with us to create a video for Ditto – I look forward to sharing more on this with you in the next few weeks!
To give a taste of Superfilm’s work, do take a look at the video below which was produced to document The Savoy’s Jubilee celebrations.
It can be daunting, sometimes, to be yourself. In the business world there are always pressures to conform in some way to your industry – to be and to behave a certain way. I’ve met countless business people throughout my career so far, and I can categorically say that the most interesting, the most engaging and the most compelling are always the people who are brave enough to be themselves.
I don’t mind admitting that when I joined Ditto 8 years ago, there was a real difference to my business persona and social persona. Inside the four walls of work, I was a more toned down, bland version of me. It wasn’t much fun and the relationship I had with our clients tended to be rather flat. Over the more recent years, I’ve grown in confidence, and learned that it’s ok to be me – both in and out of work. These days, the me that you see when you visit the studio will be the same me you might bump into at the weekends – and I think that’s a good thing. It means there’s no facade – what you see is what you get. But it’s amazing how many business people (especially those who are freelancers, oddly enough), are reluctant to show their true colours. I met a lady a couple of weeks ago who has a totally unique business, but is worried about letting her guard down in case people ‘find out that I’m just me, and that I may not be good enough’. The truth is though, that people buy from people – we are innately drawn to those who hold the same values as us. So by letting our own personalities shine through, we will attract people who have the same approach – which surely makes for a more interesting and enjoyable client base!
What do you think – are you truly ‘yourself’ in your working life?
Image credit: Original Image by Emily McDowell. Image sourced via Pinterest.
Rather than entertain our thoughts, we could let our thoughts entertain us
I’m pleased to share with you the second post by our guest blogger, Daphne Henning!
Earlier this week I began to feel that I was back on the hamster wheel – going to work, coming home, sleeping, going to work… These days, when I catch myself entertaining such thoughts, I halt the downward spiral and I start to play ‘what if?’.
What if… this was a merry-go-round rather than a hamster wheel?
What if… this is not Kent in the dreary winter, but a great big funfair full of merry-go-rounds?
What if… some had horses, and some had cars, and some had teacups – and I could just go from one to the other having a lovely time? What if I could decide when to leave one and move to another? How cool would that be?
As soon as I shifted my perspective towards the ‘what if?’ mindset, a whole new section of the funfair opened up. I left the hamster-wheel behind. We are, after all, the scriptwriters of our lives, so if we feel uncomfortable in the scene we’re in, we can just change the script! Don’t let your current story impact on your ability to be imaginative about how your future could be. Opening up to new possibilities will allow you to see opportunities for your business and personal life to be an altogether different story. So next time you feel down about the state of the world, think about how different the world could be if you pictured life as a merry-go-round instead of a hamster wheel.
Image credit: Image sourced via my Pinterest account
I reckon that building a brand is quite a bit like selling a house. And I’ll tell you why.
If we’ve spoken recently, or you follow me on twitter, you’ll know that my other half and I have been searching for a new home recently (I’m pleased to say that the whole horrid ordeal is over and we’ve found The One – hooray). It’s been a really interesting journey, not least because it’s been a process of buying our first home after renting a small cottage for the last few years. I’ve been fascinated by the way that different estate agents do business – you’ve got those who are incredibly keen, who go out of their way to help and always place a follow-up call the next day, juxtaposed by those who, frankly, can’t be bothered. They all behave in distinctly different ways. And the way they present properties varies hugely, too.
One of the houses we viewed was photographed pretty badly, and the description was sparse. It really didn’t tell you much about the house or the area, and certainly wasn’t doing the vendors any favours. Not to be deterred, we went to view. And we liked it; it was a nice house. In fact – it was much nicer than the pictures in the sales brochure would have you believe. We decided against that particular house, but it made me smile when I saw it re-listed with another agent shortly after. At first, we didn’t recognise it as being the same house. The pictures were amazing – it looked lovely! The estate agent’s photographer had taken the time to stage the photos, lighting the fire, placing fresh flowers in the kitchen and setting the dining table. And the description of the property was a country mile away from the first listing too – the estate agent had put some real care and attention into writing some beautifully descriptive copy which made you really feel like you could make this house your home. Same house, different descriptions – one of which made the house hugely more desirable than the other.
You can apply this analogy directly to the way branding works for businesses
Take two businesses, with identical offerings – on paper, they’re direct competition to each other. But apply carefully considered branding to one of them and you immediately elevate it from being the same as its competitor to something with unique character, making it more desirable and compelling prospects to buy. How can you describe your business differently to make it sound more desirable?
Image credit: Images found at ikea.com and notonthehighstreet.com
Introducing Daphne Henning
Coach, motivational speaker and the-person-you-go-to-when-you-need-inspiration, Daphne Henning runs Leaves Inspired. Daphne is a wonderful person to know, and I’m delighted that she’s agreed to dedicate some of her time to contributing to the Ditto blog. Without further ado, please enjoy her first post.
Where we ate cake, felt inspired and remembered that obstacles are temporary
Last week, armed with carrot cake, I took my very de-motivated self to see Hannah. We sat down with tea and I told her my story. A client I have been working hard for gave me feedback on something she wasn’t happy with, but didn’t mention any of the good things I knew I was achieving. No amount of positive thinking was succeeding in re-inflating my burst bubble! I felt blue.
So we drank tea, ate carrot cake and changed the subject. As we remembered things to be pleased about and grateful for we laughed a lot. By the time the cake plate was empty I was beginning to remember what inspires me and ideas began to ignite like sparks around us. My perception of the whole situation shifted.
This is will no doubt prove to be a familiar scenario for many of you. Something ‘bad’ happens, it pulls us down and we can’t see a way out of it. The problem is, it clouds our judgement and prevents us from seeing the opportunities that lay ahead – both in life and in business. When you find yourself sitting under a storm cloud and unable to gain perspective, it’s easy to feel thoroughly de-motivated, but the good news is there’s a simple process to kick the cycle and shake off the bad stuff.
- The thinking that gets us into that de-motivating situation won’t release us from it, so stop thinking about it for the moment
- Breathe – take at least 3 deep breaths
- Relax every tense part of your body with each breath
- Do something that you enjoy (go for a walk, play a round of golf, have a massage, listen to music, whatever pleases you) If you can’t actually do something, just thinking about something pleasurable works too! (Imagine yourself on a tropical island, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin, taste that cool drink)
- Tune in and listen to the wisdom you have within you. Insight comes as short, supportive and positive messages. If you hear a long-winded, negative or critical voice, tell it to be quiet and listen to the quieter, nice one!
- Smile. The act of smiling will brighten your mood. Try it – I promise it works!
- When you feel better, and with an open mind, evaluate all the options for action that come to you in your relaxed state. Your next step will appear. Take it.
This needn’t take long and offers immediate relief.
PS Just after I met with Hannah I was offered some work with a group of people I really like and admire. I signed up to start on the first of next month. The following day my client told me she had decided to wrap up our project at the end of the month! Perfect timing!
I always bang the drum for being unique with your brand
If you read my blog, or have caught one of my monthly branding articles in the press, you’ll have seen me talk about being unique umpteen times. And it’s true: if your brand is not unique, it’s generic, bland and indifferent. And worse than that – it probably means you have to compete on price alone to win work. Not good.
So, true to my word, I’m introducing someone to the Ditto blog who is not an immediately obvious partner for a design studio like Ditto – but fits in perfectly with our mission to be different. Daphne Henning of Leaves Inspired is a client, mentor and friend whose time I place huge value on. Daphne works with individuals and businesses to help them create a better version of their ‘story’, allowing them to remove perceived obstacles and achieve what they want – whatever that might be. Creating your story is just as valid for your business as it is for your personal life; I believe very firmly that people with ambition and vision are far more important than business plans when it comes to businesses succeeding and growing, so I’m very interested in encouraging the people we work with at Ditto to think big. Over the next few days and weeks, Daphne will be joining the Ditto blog, encouraging you to think big and think differently. I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with Daphne – I do hope you’ll enjoy her posts!
Sometimes, when you feel that perhaps things aren’t going quite as you want them to, a friend, colleague or family member can help you see things differently.
A few months ago, I was sharing a few minutes with Daphne Henning of Leaves Inspired. I’d just seen a new client who was fretting about money. Her fledgling business wasn’t doing as well as expected – the phone wasn’t ringing, she had too much time on her hands due to a lack of work and money was tight meaning she was struggling to pay herself a wage, let along cover the rent for her business premises. ‘But look!’, she’d exclaimed brightly, while she was with us, ‘I’ve just bought myself these fabulous new shoes. They’re from Jimmy Choo and cost £450′. I relayed this story to Daphne, amazed and, yes, more than slightly worried about the future of this lady’s business given that her priorities were a little skewed, to say the least. Daphne had a different perspective on the whole thing. ‘Well, she had money’, she said to me, in a matter of fact tone, ‘and now she has shoes’. This sparked a conversation about the power of perspective (not to mention the warped relationship many of us have with money), and really made me think. If we viewed things differently, would it open up more possibilities? Could it make us more motivated, more successful and more happy? Thought provoking stuff. I’d love to hear what you think…
Image credit: photo found at onefabday.com
Embossing: Perfect for creating a tactile, premium and distinctive finish
You know the beautiful and tactile effect you see when an area of card is raised? That’s embossing. Embossing is a print process which uses the same principle as die stamping. A ‘female’ block is produced using zinc, magnesium, copper, brass or steel, which are either process engraved to one depth or hand engraved to achieve a finish with multiple depths. The material to be embossed is pushed through a die using a ‘male’ counterforce. Embossing can be used to create stunning finishes, and is ideal to pick out design details such as a logo or brand device.
Fancy giving embossing a go? Try it in January for half price as part of our January Print sale – just give the studio a call on 01732 456944 for more information.
Emerald: Lively, radiant and lush, representing renewal and prosperity
Pantone have announced their colour for 2013 as Emerald green. Emerald is a an inspiring colour often associated with the precious gemstone, and symbolises sophistication and luxury. It’s also the colour of growth, renewal and regeneration. Says Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, ‘green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other colour in the spectrum. As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is important in today’s complex world’.
About Pantone’s Colour of The Year
Every year, the Pantone Institute comb the world to look for colour influences, covering travel, art, fashion, the entertainment industry and the socio-economic climate. Pantone’s chosen Colour of The Year will heavily influence fashion, interiors and marketing and other trends throughout the year, so expect to be seeing lots of Emerald in 2013!
What it means for you
Colours have a big psychological impact on us, and influence the way we think, feel and act towards a given brand (think of the danger connotations of red and the playful connotations of yellow). Colours should always, always be carefully chosen to have maximum impact, so if you want to portray prosperity, luxury and growth, Emerald is the colour for you.
Credit note: while we put together these boards ourselves, we can’t take credit for the images. These were all sourced via Pinterest and can be found on my Emerald Green board
Happy New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas break and are back feeling fully refreshed, recharged and raring to tackle 2013. We’ve loads planned for this year, which I’ll keep you updated on as we go. Making changes and pushing forward is inevitably scary, but I truly believe that if you’ve got the fire in your belly and faith in your plans, you can make anything happen.
What do you have planned for the year?