Today is a day that has been a lifetime in the making. It takes time to discover the deepest parts of who you are, the place where your gifting and the world's needs meet on the same page.
I've been a creative dreamer for as long as I can remember. Whether it was selling Girl Scout cookies and making custom shell sculptures in grade school, or creating articles and photography in college, these fingers have been in entrepreneurial endeavors long before I even knew that word existed.
My favorite part of any project is the blank canvas, the empty page, the raw power of potential. So I thought I'd start off our journey together by sharing a bit of my journey and how Michele Perry Design Co. came into being.
The creative journey of becoming who you really are as a business, as a creative entrepreneur is rarely, if ever, a straight line. The running joke in my family is how many business cards I've had over the last 20 years. I'm guessing the number is about 30 or more. I wasn't fickle, I just had so many ideas and couldn't seem to corral them all to fit in one business... until now.
I lived in a war-torn part of Africa for 7 years founding and leading an international development base and children's rescue home. I discovered in the middle of the bush with no running water or electricity the power of story. How it shaped a culture and became their foundation for the future. I also discovered I simply loved sitting with people and helping them define and design the dreams on their hearts.
And so the name of this blog, Story Matters™.
Behind any strong brand or business lies a strong brand story.
It is my joy to come along side creative entrepreneurs, conversation changers and culture shapers to help them harness the power of story to grow their businesses and build brands that matter™.
Branding is as much science as it is art. A really great way to learn both the art and the science of brand building is to study the story and elements behind a finished branding product.
In this series, called Brand Stories, I will periodically pull back the curtain and show my process of developing brands that matter™. Let's kick this party off by starting with my own brand story.
BACKGROUND: I knew Michele Perry Design Co. (MPDC) had to achieve a balance between connecting with my target audience yet still authentically reflecting my unique style and design ethos. I also knew I didn’t want to go the normal “edgy” marketing/branding agency route. I primarily work with creative entrepreneurs and nonprofits. I want my branding to speak their language as well as my own.
MPDC needed to be professional and personal at the same time. It needed to look stylish without seeming slick. It needed to evoke artistry, creativity, authenticity, compassion, approachability, ambiance and charm while still remaining savvy, clean and on trend in its design.
I wanted to communicate organic warmth and infuse everything with the right amount of friendly playfulness. I believe branding and business development should be about the journey as much as the end result. And while the journey is not always easy, it should be joyful.
I also wanted MPDC to convey a sense of true connection, grounding to natural world and an invitation to self-discovery and personal development. Somehow we needed to weave together softness, sensitivity, sustainability and great strength.
TARGET AUDIENCE: I work primarily with creative entrepreneurs (bloggers, artists, writers, coaches, stylists, designers, photographers) and solo-preneurs; as well as a range of nonprofit organizations and ministries. A sizable percentage of my client base is women and I enjoy championing them as leaders in small business and creativity. But I work with a great variety of organizations and leaders so I needed to balance how I represented who I am and what I do to reflect these facts.
COLOR: I knew I didn’t want the usual bright primary colors many branding firms use. I wanted my color choice to reflect warmth, joy, authenticity, creativity, atmosphere and openness. There needed to be natural neutrals, hints of richness and a color palette that was bold and subtle at the same time.
So I went with a sunset inspired palette of various shades of corals with pink-undertones, deep grays, midnight blue, sand, occasional metallic elements and white. I really debated about the coral/pink portion because didn’t want to falsely communicate that I was a purely feminine brand. So I paired the coral with a midnight blue for balance.
Coral tones have been associated traditionally with femininity, but as I researched deeper I found that more recently coral and coral-pink hues have become more mainstream choices that emphasize empathy, faithfulness, approachability and compassion. It is a brave choice in some ways.
Navy/midnight blue carries connotations of importance, confidence, power, and authority. It is also associated with intelligence, stability and unity.
DESIGN ELEMENTS: MPDC’s look maximizes design trends focusing on watercolor effects, hand-drawn fonts with a hint of nature. The photos I use are largely styled with soft filters creating an experience that calms even as it calls viewers deeper into a discovery process. I want to pair natural elements with watercolor in a clean minimal setting
The emblem of MPDC is the dandelion. It is deeply symbolic. Dandelion means tooth of the lion. It is a symbol of exponential growth and tenacity, while still being delicate and gentle. Not to mention almost irresistible. How many times have you picked one up and blown those dainty white seeds to the wind? Also, the dandelion is a rich source of antioxidants and nutrition.
To me, the dandelion symbolizes the power of our stories when they are stewarded well. Stories have the ability to take root in the most unexpected places. They are virtually unstoppable. They nourish our journey. The draw us in and invite us to become the very messengers that blow them onward. Great branding and business strategy that harnesses the power of story does the same thing. It becomes a vehicle for exponential growth and a purpose grater than itself.
MESSAGING: I want my copy-writing tone to mirror the blended visual tone of professionalism and personality. I present relevant terminology in ways that are intentionally approachable, even for people not previously familiar with them. My goal in everything I share and do is to serve my customers and help them discover, develop and deliver a brand built with a purpose greater than its own profit. I have chosen clear-cut brand phraseology with verbal strength to balance the sites softer visual touches. For example:
- Building Brands That Matter™
- Story-Led Solutions™
- Your Story Matters.
- A Purpose Greater Than Profit.
And that my friend is a glimpse at some of the method behind the message.
Why not take a moment to look at these areas in your creative brand or business. What are you communicating with your brand identity elements? Are they working for you or against you? Have you intentionally chosen them to communicate your story?
Would you like to chat, ask questions and see how I can help you strengthen your brand so that it becomes your greatest asset? I'd love to curl up with a coffee and connect with you over skype or the phone to offer a supportive sounding-board and strategic suggestions. How about free hour of one-to-one coaching with no sales pitch and no strings attached?