Answering Our Most Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about branding and business? Look no further. We’ve put together a guide with some of our most frequently asked questions so you can get the guidance you’ve been looking for.
When is it a good time to brand?
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, brand before you build. You are already your brand, so as soon as you’re aware of who you are and what you’re capable of doing, you’re ready to start. Building without branding first is like trying to create a sturdy house without a foundation. You need to have strong brand bones that will give you a cohesive image and message to work with as you build your business. As a process, branding will allow you to identify your strengths and what uniquely makes your business stand out. Ultimately, branding will give you a solid foundation to build from and work for you 24/7 to achieve your VO goals.
How long does my brand last?
Good brands are everlasting because they can morph with the trends– and your brand is no different. The heart of your brand is you, so it will last if discovered properly. When you first build a brand, you establish ways to communicate your brand through everything it says, does, and represents. This means that you stick to certain styles, wording, images, or sounds. But as your brand has time to develop and flourish, some of those guidelines might free up. Although branding guidelines are designed to help you maintain consistency, they should be used to inspire new ideas, not encourage stagnation. We work in a trendy business, so it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for advertising and style trends that can help freshen up your core brand from time to time. The best brands of our time are always evolving, and they do this in gentle ways that keep the foundation of their brand strong but leave the doors open for creativity. Generally, your brand can last as long as you want it to.
How can I get more genre-specific business?
Google is your friend! The internet, albeit a vast place, is kind to those who do their research. So, if you’re looking for corporate work (or any genre), it’s worth using a search engine or social media site like LinkedIn to find and connect with people who work in production or casting for that genre. You can search for specific companies or brands to help narrow down potential connections. If you can create a list of potential contacts, you can reach out to connect with them and offer your services. If you’re using a social media site to reach out, it’s important that it looks professional and has samples of your work. You might also want to lean on your network to find new work– this means re-energizing relationships with previous buyers, even re-introducing your brand, or if you’ve built your personal brand since working with them, making a new brand introduction.
Follow Up: How do I find people to reach out to?
You can spend time searching on Google, LinkedIn, or Instagram– but it can be time-consuming to research and write to each contact when you’re also juggling work. Here at CSM, we have multiple full-time researchers on staff, who are constantly finding and connecting with potential buyers, so if you need to delegate this to a virtual assistant, it is a worthy investment. When first reaching out to potential buyers, it’s about quantity. The greater our outreach, the better the chances that we will find potential buyers to work with. Once you establish connections with people you get responses from, your large list narrows to a shorter, more responsive “hot list.” When you have a hot list you can take the time to figure out common ground between your services and the buyers’ needs that result in new gigs and those precious return clients.
Brands That Have Changed With the Times
The best brands know how important it is to evolve, and several brands have done so very successfully. The brands below started with a great foundation, and they knew the value of their product. Over time, they have all managed to keep up with what clients want while staying authentic to their brand.
Coca-Cola pioneered modern marketing. No matter the decade or the occasion, Coca-Cola has worked its way into people’s hearts and minds. You’ve seen it on grocery store shelves, in commercials with polar bears, and probably in your family’s fridge. But, Coca-Cola has been around since the 1890s. How were they able to stay relevant after all this time? Well, Coca-Cola harnessed the power of its brand identity, including its logo and trademark. In the 130 years since its invention, Coca-Cola has remained flexible. Having a flexible brand allowed the company to subtly modernize its logo and even the bottle’s shape, while still keeping its brand identity intact. Through morphing and changing with the times, Coca-Cola can compete in the modern marketplace.
Kodak has had a strong brand identity since 1888 when it put out the first handheld camera. Their catchy slogan, “You press the button, we do the rest” helped spread the Kodak brand worldwide. Kodak was a giant in photography, motion pictures, and color printing, but the inevitable digitalization of the world meant that film-camera-Kodak would have to adapt or die out. And actually, they did for a while, until 2016 when Kodak came back with a retro-inspired look that tapped into the nostalgic 90s revival. Today, Kodak has fully embraced the power of its visual branding and tapped into a new generation of customers obsessed with nostalgia. The film tech might be new, but the branding is just as powerful.
You might be surprised to know that Netflix, the top video streaming service in the world, began by shipping DVDs to customers by mail. As the world moved further online, and hardware became software, Netflix began to fight for its survival. Over the years Netflix has grown its users exponentially as it crushed the competition, revolutionized the streaming industry, and essentially made cable obsolete. The ghosts of Blockbuster’s past may still haunt us, but Netflix has shown just how powerful a brand can be when they adapt over time. Now, Netflix has more than 180 million registered subscribers internationally and an extremely strong brand identity, recognizable by its single red ‘N’.
Helping You Succeed
We value your time and your business, that’s why we work so hard for you. We hope that some of your burning questions were answered and that you’re ready to lead with your brand. Still, we know it can be challenging to do it all on your own. If you are looking for help with branding, outreach, writing, or social media, we’re here for you.
Here at CSM, we want to help you maximize your time in the booth by taking care of the small stuff. Our team of branding and digital media specialists are eager to help you grow your brand and your business.
You can email Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free social media consultation and learn more about the social media and PR department or Schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me to start developing your own personal brand.
Also, check out my book Voiceover Achiever to get moving on your own branding journey with my expert guidance and tried & true methodology. We will be holding a few workshops to get direct feedback throughout the new year so keep your eye out for those!