Why we rebranded and why you should too…
SKIP BELOW TO: 5 QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ALREADY BE ASKING ABOUT YOUR BRAND
Sprout Studio has come a long way in the last few years. We've grown and you've grown with us. It was time to turn over a new leaf. Besides the new branding, positioning and messaging that we recently announced, we also launched new initiatives for us to show up in a bigger way for you…
Let's back-up first. This past July, we welcomed Drew and Karly to the team to help with some new strategies. They spent their first couple of months doing R&D, talking with photographers and analyzing Sprout’s current identity.
What we discovered was that Sprout’s brand image was old, out-dated, and overwhelming. However, the people, the culture, and the software of Sprout Studio were not… there was clearly a major disconnect. Our key messaging was lost and not translating to want we wanted photographers to understand: that running a business doesn’t have to be scary or hard. With Sprout Studio, you can master every aspect of your work all while thriving. So we went back to the basics: to reflect and relook at our mission statement, our purpose, our identity, and our voice.
Sprout's mission statement was easy to define, as it has always been something we’ve believed in; to share knowledge to help photographers grow their business, create tools to help them implement their ideas, and cultivate a community to support them on their journey. Our purpose was and still is, you, the photographer. But ‘you’ weren’t being featured in the spotlight. As Donald Miller reminds us in “Building A Brand Story”, the company is not the hero, the customer is. So we kept this in mind when developing our key messaging.
The elements of brand identity, such as the logo, colour, and typography, play a major role in consumer perception. Each component tells your story visually in the blink of an eye. Your brand identity provides a first-impression to potential customers that will motivate them to engage with you further or leave you behind. So we tweaked our logo to be more organic and less rigid. Brightened up our blue to a more vibrant hue, and ditched the plain font for one that felt more fun, friendly, and completely our own. We latched onto the literal meaning of ‘sprout’ and started playing around with associated words and lots (and lots) of puns. We wanted to create highly recognizable imagery that was intrinsic to Sprout Studio, so we began designing our own custom icons and graphics.
Crafting unique brand identity elements can help your company stand out against the rest, create emotional or psychological connections, and keep you top of mind for consumers.
Next, we combined our resources. Sprout has been producing educational resources for as long as our software has been live — but under a different name, ‘Sprouting Photographer'. This separate brand contained our Business of Photography Podcast that has over 2 million downloads, as well as our Pricing Calculators that receive thousands of submissions a day. These entities never coexisted and rarely made reference to each other. The names were almost too similar that they became confusing to visitors and conflicted with one another: are they related or not? Since defining Sprout’s mission and purpose of “growth”, we saw the value in merging the two brands.
‘Sprouting Photographer' is now recognized as the Sprout Community that can be located right on our Sprout Studio website. This union allows for a place where we can inspire each other — a place where we can post and discuss our latest articles, interviews, podcasts, and more! Where we can all learn from one another and share our expertise. Where we can help you with your non-Sprout Studio questions and challenges, and guide you through your journey. The Sprout Community is a core pillar of Sprout’s identity and we’re excited to start cultivating a space for growth.
Now to focus on you… aka the hero! Should you rebrand too?
Have you had a business health check-up recently, where you take the time to reflect and analyze your company’s well-being (revenue, profit, relevancy, engagement, customer loyalty)? While doing so, we also encourage you to also think about the following marketing health questions:
- Is your customer the hero or are you?
- Is your brand identity up-to-date?
- Does your brand voice match who you are?
- Does your key messaging translate to all the above?
- Are you consistent?
1. Is your customer the hero or are you? Put yourself in your client's shoes. Open your website and imagine yourself searching for a potential photographer for an upcoming event. Are you finding everything ok? Are there clear CTA (Call To Action) buttons? Can you identify the value you will receive: “What types of images I am going to get?” (Gallery). “How much will it cost me?” (Price list). “Is this person reliable?” (Testimonials). “How can I get ahold of this person?” (Contact/submission page). Remember, if you make navigating the customer’s journey harder than it should be, they will give up and look somewhere else (where the path is more clear). 50% of website visitors will leave a website in 8 seconds and more than 40% of shoppers have said that they will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
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2. Is your brand identity up-to-date? What colour is your logo? What symbol or icon is representing you? What type of font style do you use? All of these elements communicate your company’s core message in a blink-of-an-eye. These elements can also assume age, such as colour shades (darker=older, lighter=younger) and even colour pairings (brown and black=dull and lifeless). Also, it is important to have each of these visual identifiers displayed in the highest quality. There’s nothing worse than seeing a pixelated logo, especially from someone in a profession where their expertise is in picture delivery.
3. Does your brand voice match who you are? Rule #1: Don’t be something you’re not. This is simply not sustainable. Brand voice isn’t just audio either, it’s how you compose your emails, what your bio says on IG, how you reply to social media comments, and any other communicational output. It’s what you say and how you say it. Take Sprout for example, we’re a team of tech-savvy, pun-loving, dad-joke enthusiasts who like to work hard and joke harder. Our brand voice before the relaunch was too formal and mechanical (plus it lacked lots of emojis 🤪🎉🌱📸). Stay authentic to yourself and the right audience for your brand will follow.
4. Does your message translate to all the above? Are you over complicating things? Simple, clean messaging is still proven to be most effective in the customer journey. Just like this numbered point 😉.
5. Are you consistent? Is your brand identity uniform across all your platforms? Do they contain the same visual cues that represent your company? This also applies to ads and campaigns adhering to the same elements that your brand identity contains. Do you have other resources you are not taking advantage of? A blog, vlog, courses, etc.? We encourage you to incorporate these assets as they add additional value to your brand offer. Ensure these pieces are also cohesive with your brand identity.
So should you rebrand? Now you don’t necessarily have to do an overhaul, but we do suggest keeping up with regular business and marketing health check-ups. This way you can stay in tune with new trends and refresh your brand elements as the consumer and industry landscape continues to change over time.
We are proud of the small (but mighty) team we have here at Sprout. We are proud of the software we've built, the knowledge we've shared and the community we've helped foster. We're proud of the goals you've accomplished and the milestones you've reached as photographers. We look forward to growing along side you, as well as helping your business grow and prosper.
Leave a comment below if you’ve also rebranded recently or considering a refresh. Join our Sprout Community Facebook Group and join the discussion and let us know more topics you'd like to learn more about!