Thank you so much for being part of WYNTK blog series!
I have always believed that branding plays a huge role in our businesses, and the branding on our websites is now even more important as we venture into life post-pandemic!
Before we jump in to all the wonderful support you provide, could you firstly share little about yourself,
business and how you got to this point?
I am based in Florida, USA with my husband, two children, our sweet lab and very lively husky pup.
I opened the doors to my design business about five years out of design school. After having a taste of the corporate world and marketing firms I got the most enticing invitation from my own wedding photographer work on my own and design her wedding albums!
From there, I was immersed in their business and learned so much about how to run a successful photography business. Being surrounded by such talented photographers, I began helping their colleagues with their branding and websites and the word of mouth erupted! Over a decade later, I have had the honor of branding photographers all around the world.
I often call myself an “honorary photographer” because I can understand every pain point and growth experience that comes with being photographer. So having my hand in their brands comes with much more knowledge and commitment to the industry.
Tell us why good branding is so important to an independent business?
I think sometimes we underestimate the importance of brand. And oftentimes, branding is confused for a nice professional logo and colours that make you feel happy. It goes far beyond that.
Branding is more accurately described as an experience. Your brand is what people hear, feel and experience when they work with you or purchase from you. Without a clear brand, you don’t know who you’re selling to and that can result in feeling like you’re not getting results.
A careful strategic brand is important because when you send the right message and connect with the right consumer, your business will thrive so much more.
You don’t just support people with their website branding - tell us a little more, and where else do businesses need to be making sure their branding and appearance is executed well.
Your branding can go so much further than just your website.
Today’s market spends the majority of their time online. Whether that’s through social media, a podcast or a video. From that, they want a personal connection. People buy from people. So if your message is not clear and consistent wherever someone finds you, you will miss out on the personal connection that propels consumers to buy from you.
One key tip on maintaining your brand throughout other avenues past your web site:
Review your social media platforms and make sure your bio is clear throughout all of them. Make it immediately evident what you do and who you serve.
What would you suggest a business needs to take into consideration when deciding on a Branding expert?
There are so many brand designers around the globe that you can choose from. But just like there are over 20,000 brands of tea around the world, there is only one that hits those taste buds the right way for you. Its the same when choosing your brand designer.
Just like a brand designer wants to interview you, your goals and your message, you will want to do the same with them. If your message isn’t one that they can connect to, chances are the design and strategy won’t reach its highest potential.
Aside from the given questions like “How much is it?,” or “When are you available?,” and “What do you need from me?,” ask questions like:
What kind of work do you really enjoy?
How connected are you to my industry? How exposed have you been to it?
Can I share my goal message with you to see if it resonates with you?
It is deeper insights like this that can really confirm whether a designer is the right fit for you.
Also, make sure they have a portfolio you’re impressed by, some great testimonials, and a system that proves they are organised and take their client projects seriously.
Physical Retail is opening back up with the UK - what advise would you give to online businesses in this time?
As we move towards the reopening of physical businesses, it is crucial to maintain the online connection you built with your audience when in quarantine. If you also have a brick and mortar location, take them on the journey of re-opening so that they are very clear on when and were you are re-opening your physical location and what exciting things make your shop a must-visit when they are out and about again.
Be intentional about:
New product spotlights and sales events on your homepage. Let them know immediately that you are back and running as soon as they arrive on your website.
Use a pop-up to or very clear call-to-action on the first page to add your audience to your email list where they can’t miss announcements about your re-opening.
Also provide easy-to-find call to actions to follow you on social media where you can utilize posts + storytelling to bring them in behind the scenes of your re-opening. Keep them engaged in anticipation of opening day.
If you are solely an online shop, you still have the greatest advantage in that online shopping is simply never going to die. Just because physical businesses are re-opening, you can still count on your audience to continue scrolling and turning to their phones to browse for their favourite products. Make sure your shop is ready and refreshed and show up on social media to stay top of mind.
You can be intentional about:
Utilising shopping features on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to send shoppers directly from a post to a product on your site without too much digging.
Make sure your shop site has a clear brand. Oftentimes the consistency of a professional brand can make or break the credibility of your shop.
Many online shops leave their About page blank because they think its unimportant to the shopper. But they are paying more attention than you think to the face and the “why” behind your shop. Taking this extra step builds trust and loyal customers.
If you haven’t started an email list, add this to your web site now. Email lists are the only audience we have full ownership and exposure with. Social algorithms often reduce the amount of eyes that are on your product so grow your email list to have an audience that will always be there to open your emails and hear about your new products and sales. *Always remember, most people will only give you their email address for something in return. So instead of saying “Join my email list for updates,” try “Enjoy a 10% discount on your first purchase if you join our list!”
Pin your products! Pinterest is one of the most powerful search engines for products. So use the power of Pinterest to create more traffic to your online shop.
What can an independent business expect from working with you on their branding?
I love working with passionate, creative entrepreneurs. And the best way to make sure we’re going to make waves with your branding is to make a connection! So I love to hop on a call first to hear about where your goals are and get a sense of your message and your needs.
Once we have confirmed that we’re the best fit, we go through a questionnaire that dives deep into your message and audience. Before there is any designing, I take a deep dive into who you’re serving, how we’re going to connect with them through visuals, and effective design strategy that can stand the test of time and how your business will evolve. This ensures we won’t be re-doing this two years later!
I then work my magic as I design your logo and brand guidelines according to all of our insight on your brand.
It all comes to life when we bring your aesthetic and message into your web design. You’ll find there’s even more strategy when laying out your web site to ensure your visitors are converting into loyal customers!
You are not a lady to sit still - so what else can we except to see from you and Leslie Vega Designs in the future?
There are so many things in the works around here!
I just recently launched an online course for other brand designers and love that I can guide other designers to thrive in their businesses.
I am busy planning my first annual oceanside retreat for brand designers because I believe there is no better way to learn and grow than in-person dialogue. I am so grateful that the world is re-opening it’s doors to real human connection again - slowly but surely!
I have the most wonderful photographers in the books for this coming Fall and can’t wait to debut their new brands.
Happy to be celebrating my published article in the latest Spring issue of Click Magazine - the best photographers’ magazine out there! You can find me there sharing how to nail your social media presence as a photographer.
Thank you so so much for taking the time to give such great insight and advise - I truly do appreciate it!
Finally, what is the best way people can get in touch with you to learn more.
You can always visit my website at www.leslievegadesign.com
And I hang out the most over on Instagram: @leslievegadesign - come say hello and let me know you found me!
I’m also active on Facebook: @ Leslie Vega Design