How challenging it is to build my own brand – Step 1: identifying my brand
on October 18, 2013
My company rue Marceline exists for a few months now I still don’t have a proper identity and logo. Which sucks as I am an interaction & brand designer freelancing for 8 years now… So that’s how I ended up signing up for the 5 weeks online course provided by Creativebug (a website I usually use for my craft sewing activity): “Building a Creative Brand”. I completely put my pride aside and I started from scratch as if I didn’t know anything about branding. Let’s play the game and answer the questions they have for me:
What is your mission?
Create meaningful branding for innovative and exciting companies. I want clients that trust me and feel like at home, comfortable enough to draw sketches on a piece of napkin on a corner of a table in a vintage old school style.
What sets you apart?
I am a problem solver and I work with my clients (not for my clients) in a human relationship using understandable vocabulary – problem fixing, collaboration and casual “at-home” discussions .
If you already have customers, what do they think of your business?
I understand the problem the clients have. I listen to them and I ask useful questions so I can help them to identify their problem to solve, their story to tell. My designs are not eccentrics and crazy beautiful but they solve a problem and make sense.
What adjectives and qualities do you want people to use when talking about your business?
Problem solver, efficient, collaborative, good listener, understand, trust, doing the extra mile, passionate. I want my client to feel that I won’t be a skin artist doing only the beauty part but more a concept designer that will solve the puzzle by producing smart solution
What sets your product apart? Be brutal and evaluate what you offer, and why it is different.
The story of the client’s brand lives through the identity I create. I go deep on knowing the brand I work with.
I don’t do only a “nice-neat-logo”: I provide a whole identity that treats all the touchpoints with the client’s customers (first contact on website, navigation on app, buying on a cart, emails, after sale contact, on site communication…).
Is there something beyond what you are doing now that could make it better?
I could improve my way of designing solutions for each touchpoint, make it a automatism to treat those touchpoints. I could improve the way I get information from my clients – with methodology and tools to get answers from them (e.g. storytelling workshops tools).
The first part – knowing the client and his problem – should take more time on the process so the second part – design the solutions – would be easier to accomplish.
What makes your product unique in the market?
Hard to know as designing an identity is by definition adapting myself to a new story, a new brand, a new style each time. Should I go for a more defined style for the designs I produce? Or maybe I already have a more defined style…
I would say my style is going to the efficiency, avoiding useless artefacts.
Look at your work and find its core commonalities. What is the common denominator and what can you focus on to ensure that what you are offering is compelling and consistent?
Bringing emotions – by the design itself or by the memories, sensations it brings.
What is the best thing that you do?
Solving problems by digging for stories and telling stories.
What affordable but memorable touch can you add to your orders? Maybe it’s as simple as bright tissue paper or washi tape, or a handwritten note. Make sure that it is consistent with your brand attributes.
I will translate this question which is focus on the craft industry so it is related to the service design I provide:
How can you improve the way you show your work to your client (those you already bought your service)? Make sure that it is consistent with your brand attributes.
The way I show the different steps of my work (moodbard, sketches, wireframes, logo proposals…) has to be branded. Not only a sheet with the logo at the bottom, but maybe following the core idea of the branding I want to pursue: resolving problems in a simple way like we are drawing on a napkin on a corner of a table.
How can you improve the way you show your work to your potential client (those you did not buy your service yet)? Make sure that it is consistent with your brand attributes.
This is the question of the portfolio. After a few years thinking of portfolio and the way I want to work with my clients, my solution is to show my process of creation. The way I worked with previous clients in order to show how I work, and again push the spirit of solving problems by doing some sketches on a napkin on a corner of a table. I don’t want to focus on the final result of a work I did for a specific client with a specific problem: I need to establish a trust on my process so potential clients will want to play the game with me.
Manifesto of rue Marceline:
- Solve the problem.
- But before, dig to find the problem to solve.
- Work with your client. Never for your clients.
- Forget the visual results and techniques: just explain your ideas in a simple way.
- Always look for the best emotion to reveal.
- Work as if you were a kid drawing on the floor of your mom’s kitchen without seeing time going. Whatever the money you get paid.
- Do the extra mile. Always. Even if it is damn hot outside.
- If a client leaves the boat before the end of the project, that means you failed one of those points and you should be better next time. Or you picked the wrong client at the beginning, which is still a mistake.
- Pick the right client.
Next week we will focus on “Business Nuts and Bolts”: How to test your idea, Importance of a business plan, How to grow your sales, Shipping and distribution. Let’s see how it will apply on my specific needs for my branding company…