Tiffany Tolliver has a brain for branding, and she truly understands how to turn her clients' ideas into tangible content. This is part two of our interview with Tiffany, where we'll be taking a closer look at her tips for branding, styling, and visual storytelling (catch up on Part 1 here). She has so much wisdom when it comes to marketing your business in a consistent way! Read on to learn about Tiffany's extensive branding expertise, the importance of starting with 'why', and overcoming comparison on social media.
Describe what "visual storytelling" means to you. Why is it important and how can a brand/company achieve successful visual storytelling?
Visual storytelling is the art of delivering an experience, capturing a mood and creating an emotional connection. Making the intangible, tangible. When I first sat down to conceptualize The Agency, I knew that I desired for my brand to be more than a logo delivered to the inbox of my clients or solely on the front page of a website. Telling a story without words is my job. Just like an old silent movie, I must make the characters (brand) dance on the screens of consumers' cell phones, computers and tablets. I must personify the brand and make it come to life. Everyday I am given the opportunity to do just that. To translate the dreams of a fellow creative. To turn what was once a small idea into a living, breathing brand that helps to make a difference in the lives of those who come in contact with it. Being a successful storyteller requires that you have as much background information as possible, know the information inside and out, yet have the creativity & flexibility to shift gears to suit his/her audience at the drop of a dime. As small business owners, we must recognize that we offer a unique, more intimate buying experience. To compete with big brands that have several teams working on marketing campaigns, we must think as they do.
What are your top rules when it comes to branding and styling?
- My top rules when it comes to creative branding & styling is to start with 'Why'. This may seem counterproductive to begin the journey to branding with no design elements in sight, but beginning the process of creating a brand new visual representation before this step is a HUGE mistake! This should be a personal description of why you are in business. That one thing that will get you out of bed after pulling an all-nighter.
- Finding your why allows you to steer your ship in the right direction in the sea of consumers. Consumers literally take seconds to determine whether they would like to make a buying decision. Which leads me to number two, Always Keep Your Audience in Mind. Discovering your ideal client is such a critical aspect of creating an identity for you business. All of your messaging will be customized to these unique individuals and will allow them to recognize the value of the product/service you offer. Remember: If you're trying to target everyone, you will end up attracting no one.
- My third, and final rule, would be to Remember the Four P's:
- Purpose: Clearly define the problem your product or services will solve.
- Palette: Stay within the color palette you choose for your brand. This will allow you to have consistency and cohesion.
- Photography: Incorporating high-quality, professional imagery into your brand will immediately set you apart. Make sure to do your research before hiring a photographer. They should specialize in capturing the mood you are aiming to evoke in your brand.
- Platform: Make certain that your brand reads the same across the platforms you've chosen to engage upon. If you would like to learn more about "The Four P's", I have a more in-depth blog post, that you can check out here.
Your website and Instagram are beautiful and it clearly communicates what your brand is all about. How do you keep your brand consistent across all platforms and what are your top tips for maintaining brand consistency while staying inspirational and fresh?
To be honest, it took me about a year to fully develop the look and feel for my brand. I encourage you to take a scroll down to the bottom of my Instagram feed... go on, I'll wait here. You can see where I tried a variety of different themes, such as using quote heavy graphics and varying color palettes, before landing on the light & airy, lifestyle-focused brand you see today. If you are taking a D.I.Y. approach, remember to give yourself a bit of grace when creating consistency. There isn't a one-size fits all to this and absolutely no corner-cutting involved. You must do the work! Everything I put forth is based on my Instagram account. Using PLANOLY helps me to see the content before I send it out to the world. Once I've decided that my top 9 (the first nine squares that my followers see) is to my liking, I schedule corresponding content. That's content for my blog... collaborations... etc. The language that I use across the board also remains the same. Otherwise, I stay in my branding and styling lane! It helps me maintain my message consistency and solidify myself as an expert. Staying connected on Instagram is so important to me. Sometimes people forget to be social on social media! Liking, commenting and following those who truly inspire me, not only keeps me fresh and on my toes, but it also gives me ideas on what content to post myself.
What has been the biggest struggle since starting your company and what have you learned from those obstacles? Proudest moment in your career so far?
This is an easy one. Comparison has been the obstacle that never seemed to go away. Always arriving at the most inopportune moments. My relationship with comparison changed once I joined The Rising Tide Society and began to attend their monthly #TuesdayTogether meetings. There they spoke from a "community over competition" mentality, from a place of abundance & genuine satisfaction of truly helping other entrepreneurs along in their journey. Instead of allowing comparison to tear me down, I've learned to compare myself to those men and women who I admire... focusing less on what I lack, but instead on what I can gain from looking at their example. Joining those individuals and surpassing one year in business has been my proudest moment in my career so far. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within their first 18 months. With each creative women in business who entrusts me with their brand, I join the elite 20% of entrepreneurs operating a sustainable business.