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Refreshing A Photography Brand.

“I have known Jason for some time now, and he has helped me review my branding through detailed observation of how I work. With his team and me, Jason has undertaken discussion leading up to a simplification of the message in print, social media and through a re-launch of my now mobile friendly website…”

Here at Thorne Creative, we like to start work by giving advice to our clients. After all, branding is not just about drawing up a new logo. So we were delighted when Stefan Lubo booked in some of our ‘X-ray’ brand consultancy*. Stefan is an established Photographer in London, having built a solid reputation for taking pictures with a distinguished air. However, he recognised the need to step back from his business, raise his profile and win more quality clients. His is a very competitive market, so how would he stand out from the crowd? Over a couple of informal meetings with Jason later, and with findings crystalised in writing, Stefan had some great fresh thinking to work on. Here’s how the conversation went:

S: I understand the importance of branding. What value would a rebrand bring to my business?

J: Working with brands is one thing. Believing the same is another. It takes bravery on your part to discuss and interrogate the personality of your business. Share all materials you have in use so far. We want to create distinctiveness you can hang your hat on. When we have identified a true point of difference, we can start to build a narrative direction and deliver on that promise.

S: So my branding does not just ‘happen’?

J: No. Every successful brand tells a powerful story that develops and evolves over time. Focus on a theme that engages with both hearts and heads. People like brands they know, trust, and can increasingly influence. We need to give your clients the kind of added value they are not going to get from using, say, stock library imagery.

S: Great. Where do we start?

J: In brief, I think we start by looking at where your brand is now. You provide a professional & personable service that is high end and dignified, as your existing tagline suggests. However, I think your brand comes across slightly forced & dated, which seems at odds with your proposition. Aspects of your current materials work well, and I see no reason to update them all. However, there is a fair amount of mixed messaging, and there is room to tighten up how it connects together.

S: Interesting. Do you stop at providing advice? I’d like to see how you address solving these problems in practice.

J: We pride ourselves on producing great creative: concepts, design, words, sound. It’s our core strength. Logos, stationery & visual merchandise; naming & taglines; websites; videos & animated idents; marketing materials… it’s all part of our repertoire!

“Now I am making more powerful use of my images, which has generated very positive feedback from clients and people new to the website. We will continue working on my whole branding and marketing mix, and I heartily recommend Jason to anyone needing such advice and creative practice to help them grow their business…”

S: Perfect. You talk about elements of my brand that work well already. What are they?

J: I think the name ‘Lubo’ is great. It’s catchy, concise & somewhat quirky. With an informal air, like a nickname, it immediately draws you in. Distinguished Photography works as a strapline too, though it sounds a little exclusive, even contrived, unless you are really focusing in and delivering on that proposition. Personally, I think we need something that is more convivial and inclusive, or maybe use nothing at all. Your existing logo works well. Perhaps it’s a good opportunity now to explore 1 or 2 alternatives.

You have recently redesigned your business card. It’s now more modern, bold, clean & spacious. Design is discreet with good balance of type & image. Spot UV ink is a nice touch. Of all your branding materials, this is the most complete piece, and provides most direction for the future. However, your website now suddenly looks very different to the new business card, as if it is for another business altogether. Apart from being technically dated (it should be a Responsive Design website) it feels creatively dated too. I suggest the new site takes a bolder cinematic approach. With your photographs centre stage. The site also reads well but is too wordy. However impressive your aristocratic family history, I am not sure how much it enhances your brand. It might even intimidate/ deter some. Black is fine as a colour associated with luxury, but is perhaps a bit heavy, especially compared to the business card that feels light and airy. Dare I say it even comes across slightly cheesy/ kitsch here. Rusty metal effect is a bit old hat too & does not really add anything. White/ coffee colour tint has real zing, and lightens the mood.

Newsletter? Way too wordy. Reference to family history is again far too much information, and actually puts me off. Work has to be done on spicing up the copy in general. It must be snappier and include calls to action, having the reader coming back for more.

Social Media wise, I am not sure the page is really needed, though the look & feel is similar to the business card and along the right lines. Use of the primary red colour on your Twitter page jars, as it does not appear anywhere else. LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram accounts should adopt the same approach as the rest of the new branding.

“The new website rocks!” Stefan Lubo, May 2016.

*X-ray consultancy is a £750 day of branding advice, and we like to provide it at the start of every project. We also charged for additional advice, design, writing, website production & hosting services. Stationery printing is coming up and are working towards being paid on an ongoing retained basis. Budget in all between £750 & £10,000+. Scroll through the images to see where Stefan’s brand was before & during our rebrand. Do you think we have delivered in practice on our thinking?