Landmark Method Case Study: Rebekah Olsen
When I first met Rebekah, she ran one of the most successful gold buying businesses in the Mid-South. However, her freelance writing practice wasn’t taking off the same way. I quickly realized that the problem wasn’t due to lack of writing skills or business sense.
It came down to two things: a DIY brand that wasn’t aligned with her business and the corresponding website shame that prevented Rebekah from marketing her services.
Rebekah she did what many new creatives do when they start their business. She bought a cheap WordPress theme and commissioned a logo from Fiverr. Without an experienced brand partner to really dig into her brand story, business goals, target customer, offerings, and brand voice, Rebekah’s brand suffered.
“Why I decided an orange fairy would express my business personality is still a mystery to all. It was terrible. It was the complete opposite of my personality and it didn’t show even a snippet of the expertise and professionalism I bring to my clients. An orange fairy. Only Peter Pan would be interested in that. Not to mention, it wasn’t cohesive. My words didn’t fuse with the colors, and the colors didn’t fuse with my mission.
Because I was embarrassed of my logo, website and business card, I wasn’t growing. I had unintentionally stalled my own business. I was working with a few clients who were referred by friends and spared seeing the fairy. But, that was it.”
As a self-described frugal, independent person, Rebekah was hesitant to invest in clarifying her brand. Ultimately, though, it was clear that her business wasn’t going anywhere without strategy and cohesive visuals to match.
I understood Rebekah’s hesitation. I explained how a more strategic approach to her brand would yield more than just a professional image. It actually had the power to help her grow the business.
The first thing Rebekah and I did was build a strong foundation for her business. We identified the elements of her brand that made her stand out from other business writers.
Using my process, Rebekah was empowered to think strategically about how she wanted to show up in the world. Then, I distilled all her thoughts and, sometimes, ramblings, into a cohesive brand that still has room to grow, expand, and evolve as her business grows.
Understanding Your Ideal Customer
The biggest issue most entrepreneurs, community builders, and creative professionals must confront is the question of their target audience. How do you define your best fit customer… this person who is best served by what you offer? If you’re like Rebekah and tackle this exercise head on, the brand process can fundamentally change your business for the better.
“Caitlin helped me make sense of my ideal clients—which turned out to be a demographic I had never considered. As I was building my business, I was told I should focus on a niche. So, originally, I chose the pet and animals industry since I had experience and knowledge in that area.
After working with Caitlin, I realized not only was I stifling my business growth by choosing a niche, but I was targeting clients who didn’t really fit my personality and projects that I didn’t really love to do.
Caitlin had me interview previous clients and really sit down and consider (through a worksheet) who I would LOVE working with and who would LOVE working with me. I discovered my ideal client was the exact opposite of people in the pet industry.
I no longer target a “niche”, but rather a type of person. This has really expanded my reach, and I think that discovery has played a huge role in my business growth.
Ultimately, Caitlin helped me clarify my purpose and merge my passion with my strengths.”
Brand and Website Design
Once Rebekah’s key brand elements and ideal customer were defined, we were ready to tackle the design elements of her renewed brand.
Brand identity design is extremely important in conveying a visual message that speaks to your best fit customer. When the words of your message and the design of your visuals match up, your target audience will be on the path of knowing, liking, and trusting you. Those three elements of the customer journey turn your target audience into paying clients!
To match her no-nonsense energy and high level of professionalism, Rebekah’s brand visuals have a modern vibe with a touch of corporate and a dash of organic, feminine style.
The final logo Rebekah chose features her name in a classic serif font that still has a bit of unique flair to it. It’s the kind of font you might find on the cover of a classic novel. Incorporated in the tagline we developed together is a slightly scratchy handwriting, similar to that produced by a quill.
I chose a neutral color palette and patterns that had just a touch of organic fluidity to them. In this way, her business’ entire visual identity expresses who Rebekah is and what you can expect from working with her.
“Caitlin became my fairy godmother. She took my tattered brand and turned it into something truly magical.
My favorite part of the process was seeing the mood board come together. From the neutral color palette to the ink blot and feather quill—it fit every aspect of my business so perfectly, but I never would have come to that conclusion myself. She read in between the lines of all the images and examples I sent her to discover what it was I was really trying to express.
To this day, I don’t know how she got in my head, but she unlocked my identity.
I was so excited about the transformation that I asked Caitlin to help me take it a step further with my brand video—wow, that was so fun and exciting! I really think it shows potential clients I take myself seriously and I’m a professional, not just a freelancer.
“Within 30 days of launching my new brand, my business went from a side gig to a full career.
In six months, I doubled my profits from the previous year and signed a (sizable) contract with Baptist Memorial Hospitals in Memphis.
When I asked the Baptist rep why she chose me, she said it was my website!
I truly don’t think I could have turned my passion for writing into a viable career if I wasn’t for Caitlin. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, she’s your girl.
I’m so excited to say I now have confidence in my work, pride in my brand and clarity in my future. But, I still bring the orange fairy out when I need a good laugh.”