As wedding professionals, we are forever telling brides that they should “always book professionals instead of hobbyists/enthusiasts” for their weddings.
For example, most professional DJs will urge brides not to entrust their friend who happens to love music and has thousands of tunes on his mp3 players to be their official wedding DJ. Same goes for photographers, videographers, chauffeurs, stationery designers and so on.
So, when it comes our own branding, why do we completely ignore our own advice? Why is it that only a small percentage of Irish wedding suppliers outsource their branding to the professionals?
Wedding Branding in Ireland
By branding, I mean our entire look, i.e. logos, taglines, colour schemes, marketing copy, website design, promotional material, banner ads, signage etc.
I’ll be bold by stating here, that in my opinion, a high percentage of “branding” from individual businesses within the Irish wedding industry looks homemade at best. I’m not being deliberately harsh here, I’m just being honest. How many of you know a fellow professional in your business category that had their website designed by their nephew who “studies IT in college”? Quite a lot I’m sure.
Today, a website is potentially the most important asset that a business has (after its employees of course).Why would a professional wedding business trust a non-professional to create such an important business asset? “It only cost me €250, nice one.” How many times have we heard a bride say something similar and cringe?
Before I go any further, I’ll have to put my own hand up here straight away. Since I started out as Keith Malone Wedding Films, I personally created 99% of my entire branding. However, if I was to start out again, I’d definitely go down the route of hiring a professional to create my entire branding. This would allow me to concentrate on other areas of the business i.e. to develop a sound marketing plan. But that is what business (and life) is all about, we learn from our mistakes.
Budget is obviously an issue for most start-ups, but branding is so incredibly important that I would actually regard it as an investment and not a cost. The right branding in the right market at the right time = success.
Marketing Copy – Get it Right
Let’s face it. A lot of marketing copy that we encounter on websites and promotional literature from Irish wedding suppliers is poorly written. It often contains grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors. I’ve lost count of how many times I read “DVD’s” instead of “DVDs”, “photo’s” instead of “photos” and “DJ’s” instead of DJs. It used to annoy me, but I’ve gotten over that long ago! Dare I say it; I’ve also seen such errors in so called “professional” work too.
Leaving actual errors aside, most marketing text is very weak. It simply doesn’t work. For most of us, strong marketing copy is very difficult to write. I’ve always struggled with it and I still do. Despite our best attempts, it can still be terrible to read. This is where the professionals come in. I would strongly recommend to any business who is struggling with writing good marketing copy to call in the professionals and get it done right.
Simply put, if you don’t have good writing skills, then you shouldn’t write your own marketing copy.
If you’re not a website designer, then you shouldn’t create a website for your business.
If you don’t have any sort of a creative eye, then you shouldn’t attempt to design your own logo.
Separate your Business from the Competition
It’s stating the obvious but we’re living in tough economic times and are likely to be for a while yet. Perhaps giving your branding a professional facelift will help separate your business from the competition? Your branding is one of the first things that a bride will notice about your business. First impressions still count.
So many established Irish wedding businesses still don’t have a logo or even have consistent branding between one medium and another. The worst example of this that I have seen is where a business takes out an advert in their local newspaper and they let the in-house staff at the newspaper also design their artwork. Taking a visit to the particular vendor’s website will usually reveal an entirely different look that completely contrasts with the image portrayed in the advert. It screams unprofessionalism and quite frankly looks cheap. Surely this also reflects on the perception of the vendor’s product or service?
My advice is to get your branding right. It’s never too late to get it back on track. Don’t do a DIY job on it unless you are worthy of being hailed as a talented graphic designer. Once you have branding to be proud of and it’s stronger than your competition, your business will radiate a higher level of professionalism which, in turn, will hopefully generate more enquiries. Converting these enquiries into actual bookings is of course up to you.
What do you think?
How do you feel about my views on doing your own branding? Do you agree or disagree that wedding businesses should leave their branding to the professionals? I’m sure there are cases in point to prove me wrong but I’d love to hear your feedback, thoughts and opinions via the comments section below.