Refresh your Brand: A simple branding exercise & May photo special for Grand Rapids' small businesses and entrepreneurs

Spring is a natural time for freshening up our lives, our living spaces, our looks.. why not our brands?

As a small business, I know the laundry list of "to-do's" can feel as long as a string wrapped around the Earth (twice), but it's so important to take a step back to take inventory of our brand image now and then.  

Last Spring, I completed a much needed spring-cleaning of my photography business – new look, new copy, new website - to reflect my current values and passions. Every detail was re-imagined and renewed. 

It felt freakin’ fantastic.

This Spring, I’d love to help you.  Your bio picture(s) / headshots alone make up a huge part of your brand image and help your prospective clients get to know you before they even meet you.  

We can create an engaging headshot or a complete photo library to help elevate your perceived value and allow people to better understand your product or service from the second they visit your website.


Take inventory of your brand in 15 minutes:

But, first, what exactly is a "brand"?

Your "brand" is what people feel when they think about your business, product, etc.  Your brand image is everything from your website copy to the photographs that tell the story of who you are and what you have to offer.  It is vital to make sure the feelings and thoughts that are conveyed are true to your current passions, your intentions, and your authentic, unique self.  

Try this simple branding exercise:

Brainstorm a list of 20 words that describe your brand.  Narrow that list down to 10.  Narrow that list down to 3-4.  Sit with the feelings of those words for a few moments.  

Next, visit your website, read your copy, look at your imagery.  You might ask a friend (with a "pretty please") for their opinion, as well.  

Are your top 3-4 brand qualities accurately represented?  What needs to be refreshed to build a more consistent brand?  The goal is to dig deeper, move beyond the typical words that are easily plucked from the surface, and discover your differentiating qualities that will truly allow you to stand out from the crowd.  

To celebrate Spring and this time of renewed energy, let’s DO this. 

For the month of May, I’m offering 100. off Lifestyle Portrait / Branding photography sessions.  If you would like to learn more about how I can help you, let’s chat

p.s. I know what you're thinking.. "I'm SO not photogenic... I'd rather organize my closet than be photographed.."  Even as a photographer, I feel the same way.  Luckily, it doesn't have to be painful.  I hope you'll allow me to take you through my thoughtful process to ensure a completely relaxed and comfortable photo session and your authentic self WILL shine through.  I promise you that :)

maybe my wishes get carried away..

"Maybe my wishes get carried away,merely well planned exaggerations. But foolish or not, it's merely my way, my very own unwritten legislation.

All I can be is me, there are no more options. You better learn to take me as we go. Until then, I'll keep writing songs on coffee shop napkins, waiting for you to see me through the window."

- Mike Bass, East Lansing based Singer/Songwriter (excerpt from an unreleased song called Unwritten Legislation)

Black and White Photograph of Musician, Mike Bass
Black and White Photograph of Musician, Mike Bass
Black and White Photograph of Musician, Mike Bass

p.s. Mike is a dear friend and a very talented musician who taught English and performed music for many years in Japan.. you should really check out his website and join his Facebook group!

matthew santos

i'm honored to call this amazing artist, matthew santos, a friend. i'm so proud to have witnessed his journey from playing coffee shops in Chicago during college to now headlining shows in LA. if you haven't yet heard his incredibly inspiring, soulful voice, take a moment and just listen.

here's a few pictures i took at the roxy on sunset last wednesday. he'll be back in LA on Wed, April 23rd at the Key Club, so mark your calendars!

Matthew Santos at the Roxy 2008

Matthew Santos at the Roxy 2008

Matthew Santos at the Roxy 2008

Matthew Santos at the Roxy 2008

"life is just as you take it / it's what you make it / nothing more.." -matthew santos