A few months ago, when I relaunched my business as Raven Creative, I was blown away by the immediate impact that investing in my own brand would have on my business.
Funny how that works, isn’t it? I spend my days doing this same work for clients – but thought I couldn’t afford the time and energy it would take to do it for my own business.
Having gone through the process of creating a new brand for my business from the ground up, the team and I thought it would be fun to pull back the curtain a little and give y’all a behind the scenes look at the entire process we took in developing what we now call Raven Creative.
There will be four of these posts. Today, I’ll set the stage with some background and answer some questions you might have if you’re in the same position I was.
Next week, we’ll dive deep into the process – messaging, identity development, and site creation. The following week, I’ll share my insights and reflections on the process. Finally, I want to spend some time talking about how we’re keeping up the momentum of our launch.
First, some truth for you –
In the early years, I made a lot of excuses for not investing in my brand – most of them were variations on not having enough time – client work was more important, I wasn’t “big” enough yet, I’d get to it someday.
But, I was missing opportunities. Quick moments in coffee shops or backyard BBQs where I was fumbling my message. Had I taken the time to craft my elevator pitch and work through my messaging, I knew those conversations might have led to something.
Like I said, though, I was busy. I had work, and it was good and fun and filling up my days. Having spent enough time working in corporate communications departments, I knew that the work I was doing for my growing client base was quality, but the brand that was representing me wasn’t quite measuring up.
This lack of definition led to me feeling like I was constantly flying by the seat of my pants, unable to truly focus and direct my business to the place I wanted to take it.
I knew that if I really wanted to build a business, I had to take a step back and start with a plan.I knew that if I wanted to build a business, I had to take a step back and start with a plan. Click To Tweet
Where did I want to go?
If you take a moment to consider the sandbox I play in, the spectrum looks a little like this: single-discipline, “freelancers in pajamas” at one end, and high-end, full-service Don Draper agencies at the other.
Freelancers can be nimble. They don’t have much overhead. If you need to talk to them, you call them and you get them immediately. But many don’t work on a strategic level.
The big, fancy agencies do incredible work. They stretch brands to think on a whole new level. They have access to deep pools of talented creatives. But they can be a bear to work with. They’re cumbersome, and it often takes way more effort than it should to get even the smallest task completed.
Neither of these options represented the experience I wanted for my clients. Instead, I wanted to blend the bests and create a uniquely “us” experience my clients could depend on. Great work, done as quickly, and independently, as possible.
What the heck is a creative partner?
Throughout the messaging exercise (more on that next week!), the term “creative partner” kept coming up as a way to describe the role I had been taking on for my clients. I didn’t want to create my own ambiguous jargon, so defining that became instrumental in crafting our message.
To us, a creative partner:
- Takes an active role in each project, as if we’re part of the in-house team.
- Provides comprehensive creative services and project management.
- Is multi-discipline – blends creative talent with a great understanding of business strategy.
- Understands the challenges our clients face – whether that’s an in-house team (because we’ve all been there) or a solopreneur trying to manage all the things (because we’ve been there, too!).
And from there, my vision for my business, began to take shape:
I wanted to create a personalized agency experience, with a focus on deeply understanding our clients’ needs and blending them with our creative expertise. I wanted to accomplish great work, in a nimble fashion. I wanted to keep things simple and streamlined – to not get caught up in burdensome review processes or meetings for meetings. And I wanted to build a team of like-minded creative partners, who are authentic in their passion for design and code and messaging, but also for nurturing their families.
It’s from this vision, that we started work on “the pretty things” – our message, identity and website. More on that, next week. Be sure to subscribe to our email list here, so you don’t miss it!