Wedding Branding is Everything

DIY Wedding MarketingDouble Standards

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 player 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 wedding suppliers outsource their branding to the professionals?

 

Wedding Branding

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”? The answer might surprise you.

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!” Cheap rarely means better!

Before I go any further, I’ll have to put my own hand up and make a confession. Since I started out as Keith Malone Wedding Films, I personally created most of my own branding. However, if I was to start out again, I’d definitely go down the route of hiring a professional to create all of my wedding branding. This would allow me to concentrate on other areas of the business i.e. to develop a sound marketing plan.

Budget is obviously an issue for most start-ups, but branding is so 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. To be fair, I must admit that I’ve also encountered 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 strongly recommend that if you are struggling to write compelling marketing copy, it’s time 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 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 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. How do you think this branding inconsistency affects how this vendor’s product or service is perceived?

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 your branding is stronger than your competition, your business will radiate a higher level of professionalism which, in turn, will hopefully generate more business.

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.

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7 Responses to "Wedding Branding is Everything"

  1. Christina Brosnan  November 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Completely agree Keith! Branding is a huge part of selling yourself and your business. Why do we pay more for brands like Prada or Gucci? Because of their brand. But the biggest problem with getting a good brand comes down to money. Wedding professionals just don’t make the same kind of income as say in the states or Australia so of course our branding isn’t going to be on the same level. That’s just my opinion anyways.

    Reply
  2. Andrew Prince  November 26, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I kind of agree…. but then I didn’t make the same mistake as your self confessed ‘DIY branding’. I did my own website before I got any work, realised it was complete pants and pulled in a designer to do the visuals. I wrote the copy because I feel I’m pretty strong on copy. You won’t find gramatical errors on my website (challenge laid down!). :-) For the record, the website cost me £300.00 all in. I supplied words and pictures, though the centre picture in the header cost me money because the designer bought it it. £300.00 is not much money when you’re talking about the website being my primary shop window!

    Now, if you want to argue professional SEO vs web designer / DIY SEO then I’m with you all the way. Web designers don’t do SEO even when they say they do. I don’t believe quality SEO is possible for a wedding supplier either, unless you want to spend all your time doing SEO and no time shooting or editing!

    Reply
  3. Mark Howell  November 29, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Totally agree, looking at it from the hotel side, i see too many vendors coming to me with A4 pages they did on the computer at home and then apologise for the ink running out on page 2.
    Spend the bit of money and look professional but follow that up with the service and standard.

    Reply
  4. Annie Byrne  November 30, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Ooh you are so right!
    For all of my “value is more than the cost of something” lectures, I went fairly cheaply into my branding because I didn’t have a lot of money to start up with. Then it all took way longer than I thought it would so I ended up rushing into decisions. {always give yourself plenty of time!}
    Now less than a year later I can’t wait to change it. – a bit anyway.
    Of course we all evolve, in business and personally. Maybe I would have grown out of my original plan in any case, but fine tuning is better than having to start over.

    Reply
  5. David McAuley  December 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    I agree branding is an important element in putting forward a professional impression but also budgets often dictate it has to be a staged process. For me the next thing is to look at getting some copy done.

    Reply
  6. wedding marketing  August 11, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I have this one bookmarked- I think we all need a reminder of this (whether directly in the wedding industry or not!) from time to time.

    Reply
  7. DKH Photography  January 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    Good to see someone actually talking sense and highlighting the shortfalls of a ‘professional’ industry. My website was done by me but I am still unhappy with the look and feel of it – two years and many, many revisions later!

    I think one of the main problems is who to trust as a provider – ironic really as this is the same issue our clients face.

    Reply

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