Sunday, December 21, 2008

Growing Pains: New Business Slogan?

I have watched "I am Legend" at least six times (especially since it's been playing on HBO!), and every time I get something new out of it that I didn't catch before. Now, I wonder if I may finally have a slogan for my business:

"Light Up the Darkness." What do you think???? I like the dual meanings of bringing life and goodness to the world as well as using lights creatively to enhance photographic composition.....hmmm.



I've been doing a ton of research on developing my business plan, a logo and a brand in general. An article by photographer Sarah Petty in Professional Photographer Magazine talked about "owning your brand;" marketing to distinguish yourself and creating tag lines like:

"have a Coke and a smile"
"we bring good things to life"
"because you are worth it"

Petty shared a list of ways to help entrepreneurs brainstorm a business slogan:
1. Carry a creative journal at all times to sketch images and jot down ideas and words as they pop into your mind. They become a stockpile of prompts when you sit down to brainstorm.

2. Keep a running list of words that evoke emotion. If your wedding client says something warm and fuzzy during your presentation, write it down.

3. Subscribe to magazines (tax-deductible business expenses!). You never know when you can spark an idea from Rachael Ray’s Everyday or Real Simple. As you go through them, write down words, phrases, advertising and article headlines in your creative journal. You can’t steal someone else’s line, but you can farm the inspiration.

4. Read the copy in catalogs and awaken your inner copywriter. The Land of Nod and Sundance catalogs are two of my favorites. Get on mailing lists of companies who market beautiful and expensive products.



5. Ask friends, family, clients and prospects what they think makes you different. Ask new clients to put into words what brought them to you. Write it down immediately.

6. Reading kids’ books puts me in the playful place I need to be when I’m writing emotional copy.

7. Find the time of day or place where you feel the most creative. If you do your best thinking at a computer, transfer your journal notes daily.

8. Most truly creative people need to find inspiration, too, so they become sponges of the world around them— flowers, buildings, clothing tags, in-store signage, store windows, fonts, color combinations, textures.

9. Travel. Observe, even the pretzel packaging on the airline’s snack. You never know what little element will inspire you.

I love watching movies, and I can draw insight from great ones. Since I'm a reporter, I don't go far without having a pen and paper near by. So when I heard that phrase uttered in the movie "I am Legend," it resonated with me differently than it had all the other times. I don't know why. Maybe I'm just at this point in my life when I think the world needs more light in this time of financial and hence emotional darkness. I wrote the phrase down and started to think about how it could correlate to my photography.

In my photography, I've noticed that I often center subjects in front of a dark background. Common portrait techniques explain that a photographer should use a hair light or a light shining on the background to separate the subject from the background. But I don't do it, choosing instead to have the subject appear as if he or she is stepping forward out of the darkness. I think it makes the subject seem more mysterious. I like the idea that I have just thrown a light on them, capturing who they are in that one moment. Oh well, maybe I'm just being overly sentimental this morning. If I still think this way by this time tomorrow, then maybe I am on to something. :)

4 comments:

Dizzle said...

Personally I don't think that slogan does your work justice and isn't all that inspiring from a client standpoint.

I just think your work demonstrates something so much more than anything that contains "darkness" in it.

Sheba Wheeler said...

it does seem as if general consensus is that "darkness" in a slogan carries a negative connotation. I don't want to leave clients with that kind of perspective. The slogan resonates with me, but I think you are correct that it wouldn't have meaning for my clients and that's who's most important!

Martin Hurton said...

I agree, the slogan shouldn't have anything negative or dark in it. I came across your blog when searching for inspiration myself. It's not easy!

Did you come up with something in the end?

Sheba Wheeler said...

Hi Martin, thanks for stopping by and I hope you come by often. Right now I am playing around with either "make the moment yours" or "the moment is yours" with Picture Your World Photography. I may have a better idea of what it will be once my business logo is created by photoshop guru Armando Martinez. Which one do you like better?

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