When brides think of our studio, Vantage Point Productions, we don’t want them to think about Steve and Laura; we want them to think of something beautiful that evokes the same kind of emotions they hope their wedding will. More accurately, we want them to develop an association with our company that generates a dreamy, ethereal feeling—not unlike our productions.
Often, the first contact a bride has with a company is its website. Never underestimate the power of a website; for brides it goes way beyond acquiring information.
Women feel good when they visit certain shops because those places offer an environment that pleases them and reaffirms how they define themselves. Why should a website be any different? You should create a place that invites a bride to browse in a leisurely manner and feel happy when doing so. Give her more than just information—give her satisfaction, and then she’ll stay a while and likely return.
Satisfaction. Sounds like a lofty goal, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but it’s not unachievable. It goes back to how women define themselves. For one, it’s not in terms of chips or lux (or any other techie selling point). HD cameras do not make women feel good, but certain colors and designs do, and the right words can too.
One website that makes me feel good just dropping by is that of Bliss* Video Productions. Bliss*—ahhh, just the name makes me feel good. Add to that the colors and design, and I actually start feeling blissful. That’s some powerful magic! When browsing the Bliss* site for the first time, in a flash, a word flew from the page directly into my psyche: Couture. That one word says more to me than an entire page pontificating about equipment, because I’m connected to it emotionally. In addition to well-being, I now associate Bliss* with class and sophistication. If I were a bride I’d be very interested in booking Bliss* based on those emotions alone. Again, women operate, to a degree, on feelings—and feelings, good or bad, factor into all of our decisions.
Consider what types of feelings your website generates. Ask yourself if it appears neat and organized with focal points to which the eye will gravitate. Does it have “curb appeal” so that a bride will want to enter?
Have you ever noticed how the most famous actresses don’t have classically beautiful faces? There is always something unique and different about their appearance that makes them unforgettable. For your company, having a beautiful image or website isn’t enough; to create a marketable and memorable brand, you need to create a distinctive identity. A brand generally includes a logo, color scheme, words, fonts, and design. The goal is to have the unique personality of your company “branded” into the consciousness of brides.
An excellent example of successful branding is that of Philip and Sherry Hinkle of Frogman Productions. For colors, they stick exclusively with bright green and white. Their slogan is “Videos that will make your heart leap,” and their lively animated logo is set to a little jazz number. Now, I’m the first to admit that the thought of frogs doesn’t get me hoppin’, but, leave it to the brides to recognize that a frog is often truly a prince. They get it. It’s not about frogs; it’s about cool jazz and hot fun. It’s retro-hip. Philip and Sherry’s brand fits the image of their work and their attitude, and it’s memorable. Additionally, they have succeeded in taking their company image beyond themselves because the word is out and brides want “a Frogman Production.”
When designing the personality of your company, choose an image that will appeal to the your target demographic. Consider companies such as Hot Topic, Claire’s, and Tiffany, all of which cater to narrowly defined target markets. Figure out which one is in line with what you’re all about, and use it as a starting point. I thought of vintage Chanel when we designed our company image, and used that as an influence to help create an original brand.
Once you have created your brand, be sure to use it on all of your printed materials. In the days before websites, the first contact a bride had with us was often in the form of a presentation folder we’d mail out to her. We cannot count the number of brides who booked us sight unseen because of those folders. Whether you’re high-end or budget, it’s essential to communicate to consumers that you’re not a fly-by-night operation, and properly printed materials will make you look established and professional.
If you’re not ready to jump in and make all these changes, at the very least, pick a color scheme and use it extensively and consistently in all of your marketing. Remember, your target market is women, and you need to connect with them, and create an image they’ll remember.
Laura Moses is half of Vantage Point Productions of San Dimas, California. She and her husband, Steve, are winners of multiple international awards and were selected to the 2006 EventDV 25.