Los Angeles photographer Noel Besuzzi and Wonderful Machine started working together last fall. She originally came to us to get help building a client list, but after answering our marketing questionnaire and discussing her goals, we saw that her marketing materials needed to be tuned up first. So we embarked on a Branding Overhaul, starting with a Branding and Marketing Plan, then a new logo, a web edit, a print edit, a print promo, and lastly an email promo.
The first thing to be done was the web edit and print edit. Stacy, our Senior Photo Editor, had the pleasure of working on Noel’s web edit. Noel had a lot of different types of photos, but Stacy was able to see connections and common themes in her imagery. The two most prevalent themes that stood out were Noel’s fondness for shooting by the sea, and her ability to consistently capture a light, playful spirit within her subjects. In order to highlight her unique oceanic style, Stacy decided it would be best to make this a category of its own. This led to the creation of two themes: Land and Sea. And then, two galleries: One if by Land, and Two if by Sea.
While Stacy was busy with Noel’s web edit, our designer, Kim, was busy mocking up a new logo. Noel’s old logo was a basic typeface with just her name. She wanted a new logo that was more hand drawn and had an organic, fun feeling to better compliment her style. Once we had the logo finalized and colors picked out it was time to move on to the most complicated portion of the overhaul – the mailer.
Noel had this idea to have an interactive promo to send out to a select group of clients. Specifically, her idea was to design a cootie catcher with her images on each face. We loved this idea because it perfectly represents Noel. As a kids and lifestyle photographer, she wanted something that was reminiscent of childhood and we couldn’t have been more excited to indulge her. First, we went back to Stacy for image selects. Stacy explained to us it was important for her to choose photos that would hold up well at such a small scale, work well together considering the Land and Sea themes, and be in sync with the overall color palette of Noel’s new branding. For the back image, Stacy wanted to pick something a bit more pensive that would act as a strong closing image. After all the images were selected it was time for a DIY lesson in creating a cootie catcher to figure out if this idea was even possible.
We called upon producer Morgan (our resident DIY-er) to help us execute the idea. How could we fold these in an effective manner to make sure the paper didn’t crack the ink in the images? Luckily for us, Morgan was able to score and fold all the promos in an impressively short amount of time. She’s crafty like that. To actually ship the promos, we wanted to keep it simple. Just the promo in a plain box with some craft paper and a well-executed mailing label.
Noel’s promo went out to over 50 creatives in Southern California and so far the response has been phenomenal. Every person has loved the idea and commented on how it made her stand out as a photographer. So far it’s even resulted in a face-to-face meeting with a client and a working partnership with Mattel!
As Kim said, in working with Noel we wanted to reflect the energy she exudes in her photography and carry it into her promo. Creating the cootie-catcher was the exact vibe we wanted to go with – combining bright colors with a quirky construction. Noel’s enthusiasm only confirmed that we captured what she was looking for. And of course, while we were finishing up capturing Noel’s energy and style in her cootie catcher, Stacy was finishing up with her print portfolio.
Finally, closing out the Overhaul, was the list build. This was the easy part. We knew she needed basically two lists: one list of local clients who would get the mailed cootie-catcher promo, and one list of creatives outside of the California area whose radar she wanted to be on. For the cootie catcher list, I concentrated on companies in the LA area that she could easily meet with if they wanted to schedule an in-person meeting. I felt like she should really try and saturate the market she was in before branching out into another market. So far the response within LA has been better than we could have anticipated, which is completely due to Noel’s talent and personality.
By the end of the Overhaul, we were all sad to see it end. We had been working with Noel for so many months that it felt like we were losing a friend. Noel even joked on the phone that she felt the same way. While we’re all sad to see her project come to an end, we’re so excited to see where her career goes and how she takes our advice and implements it. Her future is bright and her Overhaul puts her on a whole other level. Now she has the confidence and the collateral to compete with bigger photographers and bid on bigger jobs, which she’s already landing. Here’s what she had to say at the end of it all:
Where do I even start? First of all, there was such a wealth of knowledge for someone like me who is so fresh to the world of commercial photography. It was such an amazing resource to have WM hold my hand in truly launching me into that world. Each and every person I came in contact with I loved working with, and it really felt like I had a team of experts behind me helping me on my path. I absolutely enjoyed coming up with a creative mailer, and the response I got from sending it out was overwhelmingly good!