Have you thought about your “Brand”?

What, typically, do you do when you receive a greeting card?  You look at the back so see who made it.  At least I do.

In the US, Hallmark, is the biggest greeting card company.  Next in line is American Greetings.  When you see either one of these logos….BRANDS….on the back of the cards you know the person that sent the card paid a little extra for it.

What is a “Brand”?  I’m going to link a few websites that have some information for you to read through.  Most of it is for someone that is really going to go out and take the world by storm and be a force in their field.  Garr Reynolds is one such site.  Six Revisions is another place that has good information.   You can do a Google Search on “Branding Yourself” to find a long list of information.

Some people save everything they get from friends and family.  Many years later they can go through a stack of letters and know who wrote them because of the signature line.  That signature line brings the person back into reality, fresh into someone’s memory.  If you don’t have a “signature” on the back of your cards how will anyone know it came from you?  How would they know that you cared enough to make a special card just for them?

My husband’s last name is all consonants!  B-O-C-K-E-N-S-T-E-T-T-E.  Two vowels – O & E.  The rest are hard letters.  Writing that name time and again gets a bit difficult.  The last part with all the T’s and E’s just keeps going.  Most people don’t even know how to pronounce my last name, let alone spell it.  I thought about going the phonetic route – BOKNSTET – but that is still too much.  And someone might get the idea that is how it is actually spelled.  So I opted for a BEE.

Leslie "Bee"

Leslie "Bee"

This is not my “BRAND” it is my SIGNATURE.  Much like Hallmark has the Crown and American Greetings has the bouquet of three flowers.

Do you HAVE to come up with a Brand and a Signature?  No.  If you create cards and gifts to give them away and it is not your business, then No you don’t need to go through all the rig-a-marole involved.

If, however, you craft to make money you do need to have a Brand and a Signature.  Well…you don’t HAVE to but it is advisable to do so.

What do you think of when you read or hear the word “Brand”?  Big corporations, tons of money, advertising, designers, manufacturing plants, distribution centers, product lines, and the list goes on.  It can get a bit daunting when you think about “Branding” yourself.

You don’t have tons of money, you are not a large corporation, you can’t afford graphic artists, advertising, and you sure as heck can’t afford to have a manufacturing facility.

However, you do have a product.  And you do have a “manufacturing facility”.  You are the “Graphic Artist“.  You are the “Head of Advertising“.  You are the “Quality Control Expert”.  You are the “Design Engineer“.  You are the “Factory worker“.  You are the “Assembler”.  You are the “Purchasing Agent”.  You are the “Marketing Rep”.  You are the “Distribution Center“.

Whether you give the items you create away for free or if you sell at a craft fair or in shops you are proclaiming to the world that you have a worthy product to distribute.  Have you taken the time to put your “Stamp of Approval” on the things you make?  Are you proud of what you create?  Come on now, admit it.  You have a secret place within yourself that wishes you could be with the person that receives your gift or card to hear their reactions and words of praise.

Think about this for just a minute.  You have a friend that is in the hospital and will be there for several days.  You spend a good two hours making a card for that person.  You drive to the hospital and drop in their room to see them and give comfort to them.  You leave your card and go home.  That card gets put on a table or the window sill with the other cards.  Other visitors come by and, being human, they go over and read the cards to see who they are from and what they have to say.  They come to your card, your friend is asleep or in a drug induced stupor.  The person asks “Where did this card come from?”  The likely answer, because there is no “Signature” on the back “I don’t know”.  The card gets put back where it was found and that is the end of it all.

If you  had put your “Signature” on the back of the card there would be follow up questions.  “Who is this person?”  “Do they make other cards?”  “Can I contact them to make me some cards?”

Later, as you send out more cards with your Signature on the back you will find out the reactions from others.  “OMG!  You got a special card from _____!  I love his/her work!”

“Branding” yourself is not a difficult thing to do.  You are a creative person already.  It just takes a bit of thought on your part.  How do you want to be known?  What do you want people to associate you with?

How did I come up with my “Brand”?  No brainstorming was involved.  It just came about, slowly and bit by bit.  My business name came long before my business.  Even longer before I made my very first YouTube video in 2010.  That motley collection of videos is under my name – boknstet.  Later, after I became an active “Stampin’ Up! Demo I created my “Business” YouTube site – messageinafold.

I was in my craft room creating scrapbook layouts when the name “Message In A Fold” was kind of “whispered” to me.

WARNING – CRAZY LADY ALERT!!

I have no idea if I have “Spirits” that surround me or if God talks to me or if the Angels speak to me.  I just know that there are times that I get a voice in my head that speaks strongly and it is a “voice” that I have learned to listen to.

CRAZY LADY ALERT OVER!

I wasn’t even making cards at the time.  I wrote the name on a piece of paper and it got lost in all the other scraps of paper I had on my table, then later unceremoniously dumped in a drawer.  While going through those scraps a couple years later I found that piece with “Message In A Fold” written on it.

Now, that is my BRAND.  Message In A Fold.  It is the name of my website, this blog, and my YouTube channel.

Once  you have  your “Brand” how do you go about creating the visual part of it?  Why would you even want to have a visual brand?  It is for recognition and association.

If you make large numbers of cards and sell or give them away in packs you want to have something that looks like you are serious about what you do.  I did that very thing when I made all the Post-It-Note Holders for my friend.

My Brand

My Brand

I wanted the recipients of these gifts to know that I have a quality product and not just some slip shod thing I threw together.  I wanted these people to know that I am very proud of my work and I want that pride reflected.

Most every computer comes with some kind of desktop publishing program or you can purchase one.  Doodle around and play with some things.  If you have some kind of idea what you want your “Logo” to look like then set about making one.

Once you have created your “Logo” then the rest is simple.  You have tools in your craft room that will help you.  Print your Logo and make it happen.  Take a picture of your finished Logo and add it to your website.  I’m trying to become more computer literate to do that kind of thing and I have a way to go.

So, I opted for the next thing.  I hired a professional to do the work for me.  I wanted my website name to be on an arc.  I played around with my desktop publishing thing and could just not get it right.  I went to a downtown business that creates rubber stamps and Notary Seals for businesses.  For the cost of $32.00 I had a Notary Seal made just specifically for me.

Here is how I have created my “Logo” or my “Brand”.  My Notary Seal, a 1-5/8 circle punch, a scalloped circle Shapability or Nestability die, some card stock, a bit of Walnut Stain ink, and that is it.

My "Brand" tools

My "Brand" tools

I take the Notary Seal and squeeze the heck out of it on some paper.

Notary Seal

Notary Seal

This is the result from all the squeezing 😀  Just like all other types of embossing you may do.

Embossed image

Embossed image

I need to make it more visible so I’ll have to ink it up a bit.

Embossed image

Embossed image

Inked image

Inked image

Next is to cut it out with a 1-5/8 circle punch I have had for ages.

Punch the image out

Punch the image out

Ink the edges of the Nestability die cut and the punched image.

Ink the edges

Ink the edges

Add some adhesive to the back of the image.

Adhesive added

Adhesive added

Adhere these together for the final product.

The result

The result

Now that I have totally put you to sleep over this long diatribe…..you can wake up and get about  your day.  Go do something constructive 😀

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shelly
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 16:08:15

    What do you mean Put me to sleep I say AWESOME!!!!! I have a stampin up personalized stamp that I put on my work a small tag with a bow that says hand stamped by: under that is my name and since I was a demo it has the copyright stampin up so it didnt violate the angel policy. I still us it since most of my supplies are stampin up and they require the copyright stamp to be used if any of their products are used. I found a tutorial once that showed how to do all kinds of neat things in microsoft word but I have been thinking about the new digital studio program stampin up has as the thing I ask for when taxes come back????? I will have to ponder on it a while. I did get a card made and a sock monkey’s tail reattached so I did a bit of something, lol Photos to come on the state of Will’s sad little sock monkey 🙂

    Hugs and thanks for sharing the valuable information
    love to you,
    shelly

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jan 04, 2012 @ 07:40:46

      Hey great idea to use a digital scrapbooking software. I didn’t think of that. Wait….can you use their stamp image things even if they are digital? I mean since all their images are copyrighted? Anyway it is a great idea. I’d love to see what you come up with. I’m glad I didn’t put you to sleep.

      Yes, photos of the sock monkey and his kinked up tail with a story of how it got slammed in a door, or trapped in a dresser door 😀 And your card too, photos of another card you made Woo Hoo!

      Love you – Leslie

      Reply

  2. Linda
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 21:33:47

    Soooo clever to use a custom embossed stamp! It’s fantastic.

    Reply

  3. Craftyhomemade
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 21:48:09

    I’m agree with Shelly, I really enjoy it. I have a Brand is call “FREPI” is a combination of my kids name. I will try to take some picture and post on my blog to show you. I really like the post. Hugs,

    Indira

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jan 04, 2012 @ 07:47:31

      Thank you Indira. FREPI, that is unusual and quite ingenious 😀 Sorry for this but what came to my mind was “Get peppy with FREPI”. Hey you do have some gorgeous cards that get me all “peppy” when I see them and want to try to make them 😀

      By the way, it is so good to see you back. I hope you are healing well after your surgeries and they fixed it all right the last time.

      Love you – Leslie

      Reply

  4. Indira
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 21:51:37

    I really like it. I have a brand is call FREPI, that is a combination of my kids name. Hugs.

    Reply

  5. gardenpinks
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 11:29:48

    I have been thinking of a brand for some time and I’d love to get a stamp made. I do make up watermarks in a graphics programme but forget to use it on my photos! Doh! At the moment I have 2 different watermarks but one is now out of date as I put 2011 on it so I have downloaded an image ready to make up another one. For the backs of my cards, etc I use a sticker I printed out but the trouble with stickers is that they can easily be removed so a stamp would be so much better. I want one with an owl but finding a decent owl is difficult!
    Great tutorial Leslie.
    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jan 04, 2012 @ 17:27:12

      I just did a Google search for “owl rubber stamps” and this is one of the sites that came up. Back there where it says owl rubber stamps….that is where the link is 😀

      While being a Stampin’ Up! Demo they suggested we put one of our labels on the backs of the cards we made. I’m a total wonky klutz with labels. Crooked, wrinkled, fold one corner over on itself.

      Hope you find a solution. By the way, do you think you could use one of your store vouchers and have the shop purchase the stamp for you then you can come in and collect it for you when it arrives? Just wondering.

      Love you – Leslie

      Reply

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