Blog Title: Mercury Lab
About: Founder of Mercurylab, Beth Taubner has been a Transformational Brand Strategist and Creative Director working with strategy and creative communications for over twenty years. Beth has developed a proprietary approach to the branding process, using a combination of psychological, visual and analytic processes. She is well-known for her expertise in creating branding programs and distinctive concepts, visuals and language communications for businesses large and small, for hospitality, luxury travel, retailers, food, agencies, photographers, directors and creative professionals in the US, UK and worldwide.
Notes from Episode #124: Define Your Brand and Tell your Story: Creating an Authentic Point-of-View with Photography and Motion
Fun fact: Beth is a Psychological Astrologer. She leaned into learning about this subject after 9/11 where her office was near the Trade Center. Beth felt she needed to learn more about this. She went to study in England where there was the Institute for Psychological Astrology. Psychological Astrology is working to understanding the map of the psyche. You can look at family history and also to look at how someone relates to the world.
An artist touches the world in so many ways, so you need to confidently know who you are.
Artist’s need to shape their creative voice and learn what parts of themselves they are using (this is where understanding the psychology aspect comes in to play), but they also need to learn to be strategic.
Artist’s tend to be reactive vs analytical and this doesn’t work. Styles come and go. You need to know where you stand to be successful because then you understand how to use your resources.
What it means to be a Brand:
Brands are constructed -they are a mixture of attributes. An attribute is a trait. We need to get to the point within ourselves where we can reach that kind of identification.
Learning what our attributes are can push you outside of your comfort zone.
By analyzing Brands that you are familiar with, it teaches you how to be analytical so you can eventually do that same exercise for yourself. Follow Beth’s exercise with Nike and Apple.
Dig into the attributes of your family so you can push that detailed information to the surface for yourself and your business. You then gain important information about yourself and your business to build on.
(Inner life) Writing exercise: get a journal and do a free association writing exercise. Do it by hand and not on a computer. Then write with no judgement and write about “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Do this for an hour. Find a spot where you won’t be interrupted and not stimulated by anything that disturbs you. You can write as a list or in a narrative, it doesn’t matter how you do it.
The goal is to know a deep part of yourself (which is a mixture of attributes and capabilities) so then you can apply it to everything you do.
Artist’s tend to fall apart during parts of their brand communications. They might not know how to edit their work or talk about it, or they don’t know how to write from a brand perspective or are not good at constructing a website so these exercises help you be knowledgeable in who you are and what you are.
What are your goals? This is your strategy. It is important that this is part of the story you tell.
(Inner life) Writing Exercise 2: This can be difficult but its important to understand your relationship to the marketplace.
(Outerworld) Writing Exercise 3: Write in your journal about 2 Brands everyday for 2 months. It could be in any area. It can be a local shop or a product you like, a city you like to visit. You can be broad in your analysis. This will sharpen your understanding of attributes and capabilities.
These writing exercises serve to help you develop a strategy – both long term and short term for your business.
People have to communicate visually and with words too.
Brand landscape –
Put yourself in your listener’s shoes. What do you want them to glean about you? How would you be described by a listener?
Study your photography –
Why are so many food bloggers shooting one position? Why – only convenience for IG? It’s hard for your audience to engage with the monotony.
There’s little depth and variation in the photography. There’s little motion. People are afraid of motion.
It’s important to produce better photography because there’s a language of photography. What does light mean to you and how do you work it? What does that mean to you? What is the interior scale of the image? What’s the positive and negative space? How do you use the edges of the space? What’s the perspective? It’s essential to move the camera too.
Another part of the language of photography is emotion. What are you showing in an image you captured?
Ideally you want there to be a mixture of these things in photography so you have a visual meaning and visual texture for your audience. You want to direct your audience to look at multiple things in one captured picture.
The language of film is different – you need to consider light, there’s also framing. There’s conflict, there’s sound to consider, both music and sound effects as well as a possible voice over.
Food bloggers are in the business of sharing a narrative and do so with all these elements.
Beth is teaching us that it’s important to work from the inside out of ourselves and that’s why the writing exercises are so important.
Once you learn to become analytical, you’ll learn how to identify the marketplace better.
Don’t forget to do the writing exercises to raise your inner awareness and market awareness. These are important to get started but also to use on an ongoing basis.
Special offer: visit mercurylab.com and scroll to Brand Tools. There’s a tip sheet for food bloggers available.
Special offer 2: Gain a complimentary brand review to the first 3 listeners who sign on between 8/20-8/25. Register for this on Beth’s website. They’ll get those scheduled in 90 days.
Oscar Wilde quote: Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.
Helpful references from the episode:
Showreel + Public Speaking Events:
Speaker Q&A – Lunch! The Contemporary Food to Go Show: