This post is about the importance of branding, but first…
Lets start with a super embarrassing but funny story.
Twice a year, I drive my mom up to LA to a specialty medical clinic to run some tests (she’s good- results have been normal for over a year, so, yay!).
We usually stay at a hotel the night before so we can get to the appointments bright and early the next day. So last night, I’m frazzled after what was a LONG ASS WEEK already, coming off a 3-hour drive, lookin’ a NOT-hot mess, carrying a plethora of food takeout bags back from my mile-long walk back to the hotel (because I didn’t want to try to find parking in LA).
I walk up to the doors of the hotel and someone lays a pristine white-gloved hand across the doors, saying, “EXCUSE ME, MISS…who are you here to see?”
I blink in confusion, look at the man in his valet uniform and say, “uhhhhh…I’m staying here?”
He looks me up and down like MIRANDA-EFFING-PRIESTLY and goes, “Hmmm. I haven’t seen you before. What’s your name?”
I go, “Uh, Kelsey Formost. I’m staying here with my mom.”
Now I’m getting a little flustered because he calls a very scary-looking SECURITY GUARD (who looks suspiciously like Dwayne Johnson) over who physically blocks me from the door.
Snoody valet guy now goes, “and what unit is your “mother” staying in?” (The “air quotes” around “mother” were very obvious).
Now I’m gettin’ a little testy…
“I don’t know why you think you need security, Sir, as I look like a poor man’s Hermione Granger. Again, my name is Kelsey Formost. My mom and I are guests here. These takeout bags are our dinner. We’ve had a VERY long drive and I’d like to go up to the room now.”
Finally, he goes- “Can I see your key, please?” The Rock is still there staring me down and blocking the door with his arms crossed.
I drop alllllll my takeout bags – of course my canned wine rolls out into the fancy semi-circular driveway – and dig in my purse to find my room key. I hand it over triumphantly.
“1506!” I proclaim. “You can ask the front desk if you’d like”.
“Miss, this is a hotel room key”.
…”is this not…a hotel?”
“No miss, this is the Luxe View Condo building.”
SOUL LEAVES BODY.
“Oh my god. OH my God. I am so sorry. I was confused because- wait- did you know your driveway looks EXACTLY like the Kimpton hotel’s?!”
“The Kimpton is one block East, miss.”
The Rock is trying very hard not to laugh. Valet guy just wants my riff-raff, canned-wine ass off his property.
“But seriously! Down to the handles on the door! It looks exactly the same! So sorry, again- I’m leaving now. Sorry.”
So why is this story relevant? Besides being very funny and embarrassing, it’s actually an excellent lesson in BRANDING.
(You didn’t think I’d write a whole-ass post without leaving you with some business advice, did you?)
This luxury condo building had the literal EXACT same layout, look, and feeling of the hotel down the street. They’re both very nice, but now that I’ve seen both? They feel generic, boring, and unimaginative.
It’s the same with your brand; if your branding looks EXACTLY the same as someone else’s, you’re gonna look like an unimaginative rip-off.
Which brings me to the second thing I want to talk to you about:
Don’t just pick a website template and do zero customization; infuse it with your personality and the sales will skyrocket.
Now, I’m all for having a DIY website for as long as it serves you! As long as you’re VERY clear on what your personal brand and brand voice is before you build it.
The key is: do some work figuring out what makes you unique, and make sure you lean into that with your branding, design, and of course: COPY.
For my part, I built my own website on Squarespace and it served me well for three years. But in late 2020 I decided it was time to get really serious and clear about my brand…
Which is why- drumrolllllllll – I (finally!!) decided to hire a designer to build me a customized website!
And baby, YOU’RE LOOKIN’ AT HER!!!
I’m so stinking happy with how she turned out! But lemme tell ya; it was a humbling (but also super fun) experience to revisit my personal brand and strategy…
- I re-took my own course (Holla back, Copy Class!) and re-wrote all my website copy.
- I spent a long time digging deeper into the needs and psyche of my ideal customer (ummm…YOU).
- I went through my branding photos and switched many of the more “professional business lady” ones around in favor of ones that showed my personality.
- I honed in on my design style, making sure there were nods to “magic” alllll over the place.
This website feels so freaking “me”.
I feel so proud sending her out into the world to represent me and my business. I hope you like her as much as I do!
Coming soon to the blog: what to do BEFORE hiring a web designer to make the process way easier on both of you (and save you $$!).