Oh my!!! Over the last few weeks I have been working on something so very exciting that it has been difficult to keep it under my hat. I am really happy to finally be able to say that KE Southall Photography is changing.... growing... blossoming!
For a while now I have been toying with the idea of rebranding. It wasn't something that I decided to do overnight - there have been a number of reasons which have prompted me into thinking this way.
Firstly, my business name has never really sat quite right with me. I chose "KE Southall" rather than "Kate Southall" i.e. using my initials rather than my first name, purely because the URL www.katesouthall.co.uk wasn't available when I first started the business. I checked whether www.kesouthall.co.uk was available, which it was, so I purchased the URL and that was the business name decided!
Seven years ago, that was as deep as my thought process went. I'd registered as a sole-trader, got myself a web address and that was that. I really didn't have a clue back then. Setting up the business was more out of necessity than it being a grand plan. People wanted to pay me money for taking photos so I needed to set the business up to ensure everything was accounted for.
Over the years, I have seen people struggle with how to pronounce my name. I've been called Ke, Kes and some people have even squashed the whole thing together trying to pronounce Kesouthall all in one go - it never goes very well! Then there is the "Southall" link. Every few weeks I seem to receive a request for a photoshoot taking place in West London. It took me a while to realise that I must have been appearing in Google searches for "Photographer IN Southall" rather than people seeking me out directly!
Essentially, my business name no longer seemed to be working for me. I needed something that was going to be memorable. Something that was easy to pronounce and wouldn't confuse people!
I was sat in my office one afternoon when my sister came in with my nieces for a visit. We started chatting about how I was thinking about changing my business name and before I knew it, between us we had a whole long list of fun and interesting names. It took, however, a few more weeks to land on something that felt "right".
And so, after far too long thinking of potential business names, an intensive couple of days spent checking that it wasn't taken by a similar business and quite a lot of umm-ing and ahh-ing over whether I should take the leap or not, I can finally say that I will be rebranding to:
It's a bit of a change, I'll grant you, but there are a number of reasons behind it!
We hit upon "Copper" quite early on and for some reason I instantly loved it - my brand colours have been moving steadily closer to rose golds and coppers anyway and so that seemed like a great place to plant the first seed. For some reason "Copper" just stuck and once I had my mind set on that, it was just a case of building it into something more.
For good or for bad, I already had a geometric logo firmly implanted in my mind for the rebrand. We went back and forth building upon the name copper - "Copper Kettle" was a firm contender but that made me sound like a Cafe! We liked the alliteration of the C's and K's but we couldn't come up with anything that sounded quite right. It wasn't until I sat down and played with some logo ideas that I realised that flowers were so important to me. I wanted something to offset the potential harshness of "Copper". Plus, knowing that I wanted to target more weddings and family portrait shoots, I needed the name (and logo) to be a little softer, a little more feminine. I'd tried to work in some of my favourite flowers into the name but, again, it didn't flow. Once I hit upon "Blossom" it was difficult to look anywhere else. I loved the fact that it invokes a feeling of growth and development - whether it's seeing your family blossom and grow through the memories that I capture or if it's providing the confidence to grow your business through some personal branding photography and portraiture. Lets not forget, almost all of my photography takes place on location, most often outdoors, so by linking the new business name to nature seemed, well, only natural!
After creating a logo that I adored, I tentatively released it to a few volunteers earlier this week who had offered to give me their opinion. It was a really interesting exercise. Luckily, the majority of people loved it, especially those in my target demographic. However, there were a few comments that I just couldn't ignore. Almost 50% of respondents pointed out that "photography" wasn't in the new name. Around 30% off people further pointed out that with no context, they would have presumed that the name and logo were for a Florists. Initially I had left "photography" out on purpose - one of the reasons for the change was to allow growth into different areas such as design and tuition but with so many people pointing this out, I had a rethink and realised that if I left out "photography" completely then it would be a huge mistake! The logo was promptly updated to it's current version and I have to admit that I love it even more than I did before!
With the change of name and the change of logo, I also decided that I needed a brand new tagline. Out the window goes "Capturing the magic of the moment". As much as I love it, it didn't really fit the new brand. As with the logo, I've gone round and round with ideas but I have finally settled upon:
SEE YOU SHINE THROUGH
It's simple and catchy but there is more depth to it than meets the eye. The whole phrase encompasses blossoming and growth. As you develop (pun very much intended!) so does your story. "Shine" also tentatively links in the metallic copper.
And now for the geeky bit - "see you", or "Cu" if you would prefer, is the chemical symbol for copper! As my background is in science, I just couldn't resist the play on words that it offered me! If you want to dig deeper still, one of the songs that I have had on repeat in my head throughout this process has been "Shine" by Years and Years. There are a few of lines in that song which are particularly apt, none more so than "I'll be redefined".
So there you have it! It's a new chapter for for the business even though, at its core, it won't be changing. I will still be personal, the photographic style will remain the same. My hope is that this rebrand will provide a foundation for growth and seemed the natural next step following my leap into full-time photography last year.