branding

The World Needs Your Story

 The World Needs Your Story | Lemon and the Sea: Your story is so important to your personal brand s because it share the bigger message behind your why and connects with your audience.

Remember when you had to give presentations in school to practice your "public speaking skills?" You would get docked points for saying "um" too much (which my sister has pointed out that I do), you were graded on making eye contact, and you had to keep up with your time so it wasn't too long or too short.

For many of us, both speaking and listening was a nightmare because everything was so robotic and formulaic. Looking back on it now, the torture of giving and listening to speeches wasn't because the information was boring, but because there was no story behind it.

Story is a driving force.

The best speakers share stories to engage their audience and connect the dots of their message with the real world. If you've ever listened to a really good sermon, you know the pastor will combine personal stories and his Biblical teaching.

Without those stories, you would just be listening to a list of dos and don'ts. (And you'd probably be trying hard not to fall asleep.)

Story is a driving force for any message - whether it's for a presentation, a teaching moment with your kiddos, or a business. People want to know that you've been there, that you understand, and that you aren't just spouting facts with no real purpose behind them.

You have something unique to share, even if you don't think you do.

Your story - how you got to where you are now - is unique. It may not feel like it (I mean, there are a surprising number of graphic designers who started out in architecture), but even if the basic building blocks of your story are similar to others you've heard, you have something no one else does - your perspective.

It's like when psychologists have a group of people all watch a video of the same car accident. The facts of the accident may all be the same, but each person saw it a little differently (which is why eyewitness testimony isn't very reliable, but that's a whole other topic).

So even if you're in a crowded market like design or photography, your story gives you a unique viewpoint on what you do and why you do it.

Your Story Informs your why

We talk about finding your "why" a lot as creative entrepreneurs, but it isn't always as easy as following a formula.

Your "why" isn't some vague reason that you pull out on the home page of your website - it's part of your story. For example, my "why" is to help other women build businesses they love and that let's them focus on their families. I didn't come to this because it seems nice, but because I've worked for businesses that I don't believe in, done jobs that take me away from my family, and I've decided to build my own business in a way that's different.

I believe that God has brought you to this place and time for a reason. It may not be clear yet what that is, but He's developing your story so you can share it with others.

Someone needs your story

It can feel like you're shouting into a crowd when you're trying to reach your dream clients and share your message and that turns many of us off of even trying.

But I promise you (and I can do that because I've seen it) that someone out there is watching and listening to your story. You may not be aware of them, they may never reach out to you, but they need to hear your story.

Maybe they are a few steps behind you and want to learn. Maybe they're going through something similar to your experiences and just need the encouragement that this too shall pass. Or maybe they're at the very beginning of a new path and they're struggling to find their own voice.

No matter what, even if you're sharing your story with only one person, it's worth it. Because it does make a difference.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Why Your Brand Needs to Reflect Who Your Are

 Why Your Brand Needs to Reflect Who You Are | Lemon and the Sea: Your brand is so much more than a color palette or logo - it's how you share what you do and how you work. And when your brand is authentic, it's easier and more enjoyable to work in and grow your business.

Your brand is so much more than a color palette or logo - it's how you share what you do and how you work. And when your brand is authentic, it's easier and more enjoyable to work in and grow your business.

Authentic is a big buzzword right now and it's gotten muddled up in lots of ways, but to me, being authentic means that you are being yourself - no faking, no pretending - in everything that you do. Sure, you should probably dress up to meet with clients instead of wearing your yoga pants, but there is no reason to wear a suit if that's not what you spend most of your time in.

As creative business owners, we spend most of our days in our brands.  We're always representing our message - on social media, in our content, while networking, during client communication - so it's vital that your brand be authentic to you.

Your Brand is Sustainable

So why is an authentic brand important? Because it's much more sustainable over time than a brand that doesn't fit you.

When your brand reflects you, it's sharing your bigger why, your message, with the people who are coming into contact with you. It's something that you can talk about for hours because you're passionate about it.

Your brand shouldn't be something you chose because it's trendy or seems like it's what people want from you - those brands fail quickly because the people behind them don't really believe.

And when your brand message is true, you have so much more flexibility in what you're doing because the why stays the same. You can go from offering one-on-one services to courses, or move from client work to education because the basis for what you're doing never changes.

You Brand Supports You

I recently had a meeting with a potential client who is a little different than the people I normally work with. It would have been easy to change my brand and my process to make myself fit into what I thought they wanted, but instead I decided to stick with what I do best. When they asked me to send a proposal, I spent a little time tailoring my sales slides to their needs, but I stuck to my message, my way of working, and my brand.

I'm sure they weren't expecting a teal and gray document full of branded images because most design proposals are fairly boring Word documents, but I knew that if I booked this client based on a proposal that wasn't authentic to my business, I would be starting our working relationship out the wrong way.

The best part of running your own business is getting to decide how you want to work. You set the hours, decide how communication will take place, and set the schedule so that you can serve your clients well. And your brand should support that.

You do a disservice to your potential clients and yourself if you change your brand to fit what you think people want in order to book that big client or attract that wholesale account you've been eyeing.

When you stick to your message, you're going to attract people who believe in what you're doing because they know why you're doing it - and they'll respect you because they know that you're an expert.

Your Brand Doesn't Dictate Your Life

When your brand reflects who you are, it fits into your daily life. You don't have to worry about having the perfect house or always wearing stilettos if that's not you. It also means that if you want to have a Tutu Tuesdays just because you love wearing tutus, you can because it's a part of your brand.

An authentic brand also allows you a lot of flexibility in your business. You don't have to follow industry standards or do what everyone else is doing - you get to decide what works for you. You can shift and change as your business grows and as you learn more about what you're truly passionate about.

And when you show up as yourself in your brand, people know what they're getting when they meet you. We all know people who act one way in front of certain people and another when they're somewhere else (personally, I think that would be exhausting). When you're always putting on a front, people don't get to know the real you - the one that will come out in client meetings or late night emails. But when you're true to yourself from the very start, people feel like they know you before you even meet.

What is your message?

If your brand isn't feeling like a good fit, ask yourself a question.

Is it my brand visuals or my message that aren't authentic?

I've found that often when I'm struggling to feel like my brand reflects who I am, it's has less to do with my logo or color palette and more to do with the fact that I've lost my why.

I want to be known for helping my clients communicate who they are through brands and websites that are authentic, for a process that makes it easy for them to get what they need so they can focus on what's most important - family, and for educating and empowering my clients to have control over their brands.

And it's those three things that help me decide what services or products to offer and how I work to serve my clients and myself best.

So, what is it that you want to be know for?


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Do You Need to Rebrand?

 Do You Need to Rebrand? | Lemon and the Sea:

Your brand is so much more than a logo or a website - it's who you are, your vision, and what you do. You brand is all about building something bigger "just another company" because it's the heart behind why you do what you do. And as your business grows and changes, your brand may need to change as well.

You're allowed to change

One thing I hear over and over is that people are afraid to rebrand because they don't want to lose or confuse their current audience. They've spent a lot of time and energy creating their business and they don't want to throw that away on something new without knowing if it is the right decision.

I get it - it's tough to let go of a brand that has served you well. But it's also okay to change. Businesses grow and change just like people. No one expects you to stay the same forever (and if they do, that's their issue). Over time you may find that your business has shifted and that you're offering something new or that your ideal client has changed. Maybe the vision behind your business has changed.

If your current brand doesn't feel like you anymore, it's okay to let it go and move on to something new. It's kind of like a favorite sweater that no longer fits - you could make it work if you really wanted to, but it just doesn't feel right. You're better off to find something new that serves you and fits you like a glove than be stuck with something that feels off just because you've had it for so long.

REBRANDING VS. UPDATING

Before you start scrapping your current brand, consider whether the brand needs to change or if it just needs a facelift. Sometimes all you need to make your brand fit you again are a few updates - maybe a new website or updated brand colors.

In January I updated my website and tweaked some of my branding and messaging to make it better fit the business I was growing. I didn't need to start over because my overall mission was the same - to help creative entrepreneurs dig into their business, share their unique vision, and build a brand that represents them - I just need to update my website to better fit my business and my audience.

Updating can be a great thing for your business because as you grow, you'll learn more about who you are and who your audience is. Maybe everything is working except that neon pink. Or maybe you picked a trendy logo but now want something more classic. These can be small impacts that make a big difference.

You're May Be Ready to Rebrand If...

  • You've been in business for a few years and you want to move away from your DIY design and get something more professional.
  • You're ideal client has changed significantly.
  • You've changed path in your business and you're pursuing something new.
  • You feel like your current brand doesn't reflect who you are.
  • Your mission and vision for your business have changed.
  • You've brought on a partner or changed your business name.

Rebrand without losing your audience

If you're ready to rebrand, but you don't want to lost your current audience, there are some things you can do to help them make the transition.

  • Explain why you're rebranding. If people understand why you needed to make these changes, they'll be less likely to think you're just changing for no reason.
  • Prepare them in advance. You can start hinting at a rebrand long before it becomes a reality. Then your launch won't be a surprise (and you can build excitement).
  • Accept that some people will leave. This is okay, especially if you're rebranding because you've grown or your mission has changed. As long as your new brand is in line with what you do, new people will come.

Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


The Branding Process: Assets

Having consistency in your branding is vital to building your business, which is why the branding process doesn't end after your logo is created and you have some designs in place. It's important that you know how to use all of the brand assets that you've built in a way that will keep building your brand.

Launching a New Brand

Whether you're launching a new brand or updating your current one, it's important that the changes are reflected in everything you do. This means that you need to inform anyone who works for or with you, your clients, and anyone who champions your brand.

In order to get everyone on board, start by telling them about the changes you've made and why you decided to move forward with the update - once people understand why your brand is changing, they're more likely to go along with any updates they need to make.

These are some of the areas that may need to be updated to reflect your new brand - and these are especially important if you're changing the name of your business - in order to keep your clients informed and keep them for being confused.

  • Stationary and Business Cards
  • Forms, Questionnaires, Exercises
  • Email signatures
  • Advertisements
  • Website
  • Marketing material
  • Contracts, Quotes
  • Software / Subscription services
  • Directory Listing
  • Guest Blog Posts
  • Social Media platforms
  • Voicemail
  • Blog signature
  • Newsletter (template, list name, on-boarding emails)

After you've introduced your new brand or name, you don't want to confuse people by forgetting to change your Welcome email or Contract information.

Branding Guide

One of the easiest ways to keep your brand appearance consistent is through a Branding Guide. This will include the basic Style Guide, but it can also include information about where to use which brand colors, which logo design works best on different applications, and even how you'll introduce yourself and your business.

Your Branding Guide can be created in a variety of formats - including online, toolkits, or PDF manuals - and should include the following:

  • Your Business Vision, including your brand statement, values, mission, goals, and growth plan.
  • Your Dream Customer
  • Your Unique Perspective, including your expertise and your story. This section can include the type of personal information that you will and won't share.
  • Your Content, including your brand voice, types of content, swipe copy, and your content strategy.
  • Your Business Systems, including your process, any systems you use, your expertise, and your packages.
  • Your Brand Style, including a description, your Style Guide, your brand assets and use guidelines, photography guidelines, and website guidelines.

The great thing about a Branding Guide is that you can give it to anyone who will need it - employees, your designer, partners, copywriters - without having to create an individual packet of information for each. This way, anyone who represents your brand receives the same information and can easily reference any information they made need to know about your brand without having to email you with questions.

Reproduction Files

In order to make use of your Brand Assets, you must give anyone who needs them access to your reproduction files. You should always check with the type of reproduction so that you can send the right file type for the best quality.

Vector graphics are best for anything that will be scaled because they don't lose quality with resizing. Usually you will get these files in an EPS format, but some PDFs can also be used this way.

Raster graphics are made of pixels, which makes them difficult to scale without losing quality. When using a raster graphic, you should check the resolution and color type to make sure your reproduction will be accurate. These file types will include TIFs, JPGs, GIFs, and PNGs. Each  file type works best in different situations and a designer should give you access to all of them.

Harvest

Along with The Branding Process outline, I'm going to give you a look into how I use this process to design a brand step-by-step from initial consult to launch. Because I don't want to share any of my client's amazing brands before they are complete, I'm going to be walking you through the design of a business I created: Harvest, an eatery and market.

For Harvest, it was important to define which logos and brand colors would be used on which items and how the website would relate to any physical material, especially in terms of photography and color selection. These guidelines help to keep the brand consistent, whether it's being presented by the owner, employees, or just people recommending the restaurant.

Harvest decided to share its Branding Guide with all of their employees, the marketing director, social media expert, and the farmers and instructors who work with them. This helps to keep the brand consistent no matter who is talking about it. For example, if a farm includes a section about the restaurant in their email newsletter, they know which logo to use and already have access to the file, without having to wait for a response from Harvest requesting that information.


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.


Words to Describe Your Brand

 Words to Describe Your Brand | Lemon and the Sea: Before I start any design project, I always send an in-depth questionnaire to my client. One of the most important (and sometimes the most difficult) section is to describe the feeling you want your brand to have. I like this question because it makes people think beyond just colors and trends to what really makes their brand resonate with their audience.

Before I start any design project, I always send an in-depth questionnaire to my client. One of the most important (and sometimes the most difficult) section is to describe the feeling you want your brand to have. I like this question because it makes people think beyond just colors and trends to what really makes their brand resonate with their audience. I've put together a list of words that you can use that might inspire you as you describe your own brand. Once you know the feeling you want your brand to have, stick with it - in your writing, your social media, on your website, and everywhere else that you're presenting your brand and business.


Adorable

Adventurous

Alluring

Artistic

Beachy

Boho

Bold

Breathtaking

Bright

Busy

Calm

Capable

Chic

Classic

Colorful

Comfortable

Cool

Creepy

Crisp

Cultured

Daring

Dazzling

Delicate

Down to Earth

Dramatic

Dynamic

Eccentric

Electric

Elegant

Enchanting

Ethereal

Exciting

Familiar

Fancy

Fashionable

Feminine

Fierce

Fresh

Friendly

Fun

Futuristic

Glamorous

Graceful

Happy

Healthy

Industrial

Innovative

Innovative

Intense

Inviting

Lively

Lush

Modern

Natural

Nautical

Novel

Old 

Open

Organic

Passionate

Playful

Powerful

Professional

Quirky

Real

Receptive

Relaxing

Reliable

Romantic

Rustic

Sarcastic

Serious

Silly

Sleek

Sophisticated

Stunning

Stylish

Sunny

Surreal

Tranquil

Urban

Vintage

Vivacious

Warm

Welcoming

Whimsical

Wild


Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family.   I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.