Does Your Business Have A Secret Recipe?

kat and gareth williamsby emma case

Do you ever wonder what it is that makes one blog memorable and recognisable and another seem like they’re going through an identity crisis every other week?  Do you ever look at a photograph and instantly know who took it? Or see a dress and immediately know who the designer was?

The reason for this is consistency. If you can look at something and without delving any deeper know who the creator was, then they have not only managed to hone a strong and identifiable brand, but have carved out a consistent formula, or secret recipe, for their work.

Having a secret recipe and being consistent isn’t about being boring, repetitious or uncreative. It’s about having some parameters in place in which you create your best, and most recognisable, work. Monet was known for his landscapes and impressionist style. You didn’t see him painting the Water Lilies one day and a fire-breathing dragon the next. Being consistent will help you to fortify and solidify your brand. That’s not to say that your style can’t naturally evolve over time though. In fact it most certainly should or you’ll end up getting bored and your work stagnant.

Sit down and ask yourself what it is that makes your content/ designs/ imagery unique. If you’re a photographer, do you use the same few Photoshop actions each time? Or the same favourite lenses? If you’re a graphic designer do you use similar styles of fonts, layouts and colours or do your designs change dramatically from job to job? If you design dresses do you favour a certain silhouette, fabric or cut? Do you have a signature motif or design that you are known for?

This week I’d encourage you to look back over some of your recent articles, images or designs. Look at them one by one and then as a complete set. Do they look like they all came from the same person? If not, why not? What are you doing consistently and what are you mixing up too much? What parameters can you set for yourself to make sure your work is coming across in the way that you really want it to? 

So tell me, what is your secret recipe?

Supporting Cast

7 comments

  1. Anneleen Lindsay

    This is something I have been thinking a lot about recently. Part of what I enjoy the most about photography is exploration – meeting new people, discovering what makes them tick and attempting to capture some of their personality in my photos. Also looking at the same subjects – places, objects, faces – that I have photographed multiple times before in fresh and different ways. One of the main things I love about photography is the variety and different ways of approaching what I see. I enjoy the experimentation. But – I’m aware that, as you say, successful photographers / artists do have an identifiable style. I find it a challenge as I don’t want to limit myself! I think perhaps other people identify my signature style more easily from an objective point of view because, in the end, it is still my take and point of view on what I am photographing. Good to keep thinking about, though!

  2. Funny enough this very thought crossed my mind recently. As an artist my style and the techniques and mediums I use have been evolving and changing over the last few years since I first created my blog. The one thing that has remained consistent is the subject matter -animals and nature are my inspirations. That said I often look through my blog and wonder if it looks like several artists have posted their work there, so varied are the styles I use. With that in mind I gave my blog an update yesterday to reflect the type of work I do now-realistic animal portraits. This is a direction I want to go in right now and I feel that my blog has a much more cohesive appearance as a result.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this a lot too but from a different angle. I’ve found that one of my designs in particular is getting way more interest than all the others. As I thought about why this is happening, I realised that this design is probably my most unique design because it’s so picture heavy. Or in other words, it involves more of my particularly secret weapon skill of picture making (I did train as a fine artist after all). It’s got me thinking – I need to do more of these kinds of designs in the future as they are what make my designs specially mine if you know what I mean.

    PS. *Anneleen Lindsay* I know you from Edinburgh days. So funny to see you on here – what a nice surprise to see a familiar name in a random context :)

  4. Anneleen Lindsay

    Haha hello Julie! Lovely to see your face pop up! I just had a look at your website – so beautiful! You should definitely keep up the picture making :)

  5. I completely agree that if you’re selling yourself and your style then you should be true to this. But how do you cope if you’re selling yourself as one thing, but are receiving interest for your work in other areas?

    Its a challenge that i presume you’ve had to consider with The Green Room and RocknRoll bride. How to make the most out of both areas without confusing your USP or product communications?

    would welcome your thoughts on it – thanks! x

  6. It’s often really tricky to identify your own ‘secret recipe’ and put it into words. It’s a bit like trying to write an ‘about me’ part of your website. I found that the easiest way was by listening to what clients say about you and what they love about your work; you’ll very soon see a recurrent theme and you will doubtless realise that’s what you’ve been trying to put into words, unsuccessfully!

    I had a pre wedding consultation with a client recently, for their Asian wedding. I’m not a traditional Asian wedding photographer, and that’s, what they told me, is exactly why they hired me. ‘When we saw your work, even though I didn’t know the people in the photographs, I just felt their emotion. I felt like I knew them. I felt like I was part of that moment. And that’s what I want for my wedding’.

  7. I have been struggling with this lately. As a cake designer I predominantly create cakes that are designed by my clients ( with a little persuasive edge from my own style if I am lucky). But recently while avidly following The Green Room I have been feeling more rebellious and have been working on cake designs that are not in keeping with your standard white wedding cake. I finally feel so free!!! While before I felt like I had to keep up with the other cake makers in my area I am now realising that my best selling point is the fact I am different! My sugar flowers are like no other and I think this is where I can shine the most… I hope :-) x http://www.plumbandrabbitts.co.uk

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