- Message branding: This is your logo. It's your booth setup at the wedding show. It's your advertisement on The Knot. These are what you're portraying about yourself to those who have never interacted with you (or to restress with those who have). We started with a simple logo made by ourselves; once we were ready to move to a nicer end of the market, we rebranded because we know that's our logo speaks.
- Experiential branding: This is the actual experiences you've had with a brand. Cheddar's fit me perfectly in their message branding. It's the experience I had there that has me thrown off. It's the same way with your floral company.
Potential clients will book you or buy from you even if you have bad message branding but, unless you're the only florist in your area, you can’t have bad experiential branding and still stay in the black. This is especially true if you are a retail florist who relies on the business of repeat customers.
One of the reasons we decided to go with into the wedding/events industry is because we believe it's very easy to get started without having a large amount of mind share. This is because most of our clients are only going to be using our services once, which means we have a fair shake against competitors who were in the industry for a decade. As long as you have a examples of your work that you can share with potential clients to show that you have the skills to back up your sales pitch, you'll be able to get started.
Should you invest heavily in your message branding (ie your logo)? YES. Without a doubt and at some point. Yet, if you don't have a product to offer, you're wasting your money.
So now that you have an understanding of where your logo fits into your overall brand identity, how do you go about starting to create a strong identity?
Building A Name
The name of your company can be the core of your identity. It's how people will connect with you for years to come. Just as a mother does not randomly choose her child's name, you should not just randomly choose a name for your floral business.
Don't fall into the trap of using a random name generator to come up with something catchy. Take time first to brainstorm. What are some ideas that you like? Is there some combination of words that allude to a special goal you have set for yourself? Does a certain phrase best represent your design style? Write out every name that you can possibly think of. Nothing is too crazy at this point in the game.
Then, refine your list. Do a bit of research. How would your short list of names perform in the area you're starting your floral shop in? Are there other businesses with the same name? Hint: if there are, you probably do NOT want to use that name. Do the names at the top of your list have available domains available? Or are you going to have to alter your name for your web address? Is your name too long for people to type in as a URL? Don't buy a crazy domain...get something people are used to using.
We ended up choosing Twisted Willow Design because there was great SEO we could build on, it was a name we could grow with, and it was completely unique to our area. "Rachael O'Neil Design" would have been great but would have only taken us so far.
Use Namechk to see to see if your names are available as websites and across social media platforms. Try to get a .com, .co, or .net URL. If you are in the United Kingdom, then .co.uk is common and, similarly, in Australia, .co.au is fine. The goal is for it to be something people use commonly.
Designing A Florist Logo
We've already talked about the four keys to the wedding florist logo (the principles also apply to retail florists) so we'll skip over the nitty-gritty details but your logo should be simple, versatile, have a style that matches your target audience, and be able to be displayed in a single color. You can design this yourself or have an affordable artist do it. We HIGHLY recommend having it professionally done from the very beginning.
Remember, even though you are not married to your first logo, it should be a strong representation of who you are, what your style is, and what type of clients you are aiming to reach. When Rachael and I started Twisted Willow, we hired a professional branding company to develop our first logo (on the left). They created an absolutely beautiful logo design that fit the initial clients we worked with. As we began to shift our company focus, it connected less with the higher-end clientele, which was where our company was going. It was time for an overhaul. The new logo (on the right) immediately allowed Rachael to start connecting with the clients she wanted.
Look around at what other people are doing for a bit of inspiration but don't get so caught up with other designs that you neglect to represent your own style in your logo. Remember, this is the first thing with which potential customers and clients will connect. They say never to judge a book by its cover but people do it all the time, which is why it's so important to consistently give a great first impression and create a lasting value through your logo.
Wondering where you could possibly place your logo?
Once you have a beautifully designed florist logo, it's important to start getting your name out there. While we will discuss marketing in depth in our next blog post, your social media presence is important to discuss here because it is one of the most common places people will visit when conducting research to choose a florist. Your social media presence is essentially a core part of connecting your message and experiential branding.
Be sure to include your logo as your profile image and then give potential clients a first look at your style by strategically placing a photo of your work as your cover image. Also, be sure to create social profiles that are consistent with your business name and across social platforms. If your name is "Your Floral Name" but one social media handle is @YourNeighborhoodFlorist and another is @BestFloristInMyState, it will be very hard for potential customers to connect that to who you are.
Some great designers are also great instagrammers and have some awesome techniques. For us though, our social media is something that our clients check out to double check that we're who they would want to use.
Keep an eye out for next week's blog post on marketing that will help you grow your new florist brand from a vague concept to a thriving floral business!
When we were first getting started with our St. Louis floral shop, back in the days before Curate was even an idea, we set up an advanced Excel Recipe Spreadsheet that was a good stopgap measure until we needed a professional tool. We know that not every florist is in a place where they need the super powers of Curate so we're sharing an updated version of that Excel Recipe Spreadsheet with you to help you until you're ready for a tool made for professional florists.