Hooray for a new post in my series for the independent creative. So far, I’ve dicussed:
I thought it would be fun to talk about something, well, FUN! So much of our journey in being an independent creative revolves around the business side of our business … like accounting, and project management. BUT, what about the part of your business that your client actually sees? … the part they feel? Today, I want to talk a bit about the little things you can do to enhance you brand experience.
We will be getting way more into your brand identity in a later post, but for now, let’s say you have a logo you absolutely love, but now you’re wondering what you could do with your brand identity to show professionalism, consistency, and make your clients say, “WOW!”.
Custom rubber stamps: I have raved and raved about rubber stamps on my site. Almost every client who works with me leaves our project with a little arsenal of stamps. Sure, I like the way stamps look, but really, it’s the versatility that I love so much. With one stamp, you could decorate your stationery, packaging, and goodies for clients. One change of the ink color can give a branding piece a completely different look.
Premium Envelopes & Packaging: Using beautiful envelopes & packaging is another way to present your work in a professional way. With so much of the creative industry switching to digital (whether it’s photography, email, etc.), there’s something to be said about the tangible goods our client’s receive. Paper Source is my favorite place for beautiful envelopes (nearly every size/color you could imagine). When sending items like dvd’s or other products, it’s great to present them in packaging that speaks to your brand. I love referring clients to Bags & Bows Online, Kraft & Jute, and Uline for packaging. Again, by picking a packing system for your brand, you’re creating consistency.
Handwritten Correspondence: This goes hand-in-hand with the personalized packaging … Sending hand-written correspondence to your clients makes them feel special. Pairing a hand-written card with a beautiful envelope, and sealing it with a little stamp is a branded piece that goes a long way.
Buy a Domain: Out of everything, this is probably the least expensive way to add major brand power. When a client gets an email from email@example.com it looks less professional than firstname.lastname@example.org … The same can be said with sending your client to your blog with a WordPress address versus your own address. Buying a domain is easy, inexpensive, and gives you the opportunity to own your brand. Namecheap.com is my favorite place to buy domains. Their customer service is out of this world.
Business Cards: Aside from networking events, business cards are an amazing way to ask for referrals. Some people have a really hard time asking their clients to refer them to their friends. Sure, once they’ve had an amazing experience, they will be singing your praises, but your business cards might give you a little confidence to ask. After working with a client, and delivering their products (or thank you card), it’s perfectly appropriate to put a few cards in the envelope with a little note telling them how much you loved working with them, and that you love referrals. The cards might sit in a drawer all year, but what’s more likely is that you’ll remind them of their excellent experience, and you’ll be at the front of their brain next time they talk about the kind of services you provide.
Consistency: Above everything, having these pieces to carry the message of your brand will create consistency. Clients love an experience they can count on. When you’ve educated them about how personal working with an independent creative can be, it helps your entire industry.
They Remember You: I always say that it’s not about being better than everyone else, it’s about your clients knowing that you’re the only one who can do what you do. Anything you can do to establish brand power and brand recognition is a huge plus. So many memories are triggered by our senses, and the correspondence with your clients is a great way to create positive memories.
It Shows That You Care: Sure, a $1.25 card & a stamp doesn’t really cost much on your end, but to your client, it’s much more than the small investment. They see that you’ve taken time to invest in your brand … to invest in their experience. They could have chosen anyone, but they chose to work with you … and just as easily, they could choose someone else next time. It’s about reminding them that you are the perfect fit for their needs. When you care, they remember it!
As you can see, I don’t put a beautiful brand identity above a wonderful customer experience. While having a beautiful physical representation of your brand is important, the care you show your clients is what they will remember most. What little things have you done to create a personalized experience for your clients? Is there anything I didn’t cover here that you’ve found super helpful? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.
My next post in The Independent Creative series will be a guest post!! So excited to invite my first contributor to the blog. It’s sure to be a great post!!