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Spotlight with branding strategist Jay Kingman

Spencer Hewson, March 24, 2021

Ok, close your eyes and think of your favourite brand. Do you have it? That brand was created to excite you, to connect with you. How are you going to build up your brand and your webpage to excite your customers?

In this week’s Spotlight feature we catch up with long time Pageclouder and branding specialist Jay Kingman from Rebrand You! Jay shared his insights on design, his experiences transitioning from branding for major companies to starting his own boutique and more. You can see some of Jay’s work here.

Can you start with introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Jay Kingman, and I've been working in branding since 2001. That's giving away my age! Earlier in my career I was working in branding mainly for a few Fortune 500 companies in the UK. I learned quite a bit about how they worked with customers and built brands.

Around 2015, I got to the point where my family was being born, I had kids at home, I was commuting long hours and I just wasn't enjoying the job. I didn’t like traveling and not seeing my kids, which is kind of ironic with COVID, because I can't wait to get away from the kids now! It got to the point where I was thinking about everything I've learned in different industries, especially the creative industries over the years, and I thought I could apply what I’ve learned to help other people, people just starting out. So I went self-employed in 2015 and started Rebrand You. And it's only grown since then. 

What is Rebrand You, and who are your clientele?

Rebrand You is a branding strategist boutique. We were originally working with startups, mainly mom and pop businesses, helping them get started, but we’ve now developed into something bigger. We're now working with more serial entrepreneurs and business owners and helping them with their rebrands and new projects. The growth has been exciting. 

Can you elaborate on this growth and explain how Pagecloud has helped? 

Earlier in my career the branding work I did was mainly for brand strategy, logos and the visual aspects of design work. Then when I was thinking of starting Rebrand You, I thought ‘I really need to get my webpage ready because I have nothing online.’ It was intimidating because I was starting from scratch. Bear in mind, I've got no code experience. Even though I come from a design background, that was more graphics. When it comes to building my own webpage for my business, I didn't have a clue where to start. 

Pagecloud was a great solution, since there was no coding required. Access to the coding  is there if you need it or you want to use it, but you don’t need to use it if you don’t understand it. So once I had built my own page, I realized how easy it was. It wasn't as daunting, it wasn't as scary as I thought and the site looked really professional!

Originally, I had no intention of building sites for other people, the idea was just to build my own, just to promote myself. Then the more I was working with brands, I was understanding that the main things that people needed to have a successful brand were: a brand strategy, the visuals, the logo, the brand collateral, business cards, and a webpage.

"My main job is less about the design, and more about working out who the customer is, and then building things for that customer. It’s all in the small details that makes that customer think, Oh, they're thinking of me, they're not thinking about taking my money."

One thing that differentiates you from other Pageclouder’s we are featuring in this Spotlight series is your experience in branding. How do you build a brand for a company? Where does the inspiration come from?

A prime example is the company I helped last year called Liv2. They basically came to me with an idea. It was a fantastic idea for a business, but they had no idea where to go with it. So I sat down with all their decision makers and we went through questions about the brand, where they see themselves in say 10 years, where they see the brand in 10 years, and then we reverse engineer it from that point. What steps do we put in place between now and then to ensure you get to that place. 

The majority of these strategy sessions are us talking about who their ideal customer is. We really nail down that customer type to the point where you stalk them, as crazy as that sounds. We need to know where this hypothetical customer would shop, how much money they make, do they like to physically see the product first or do they shop online?

Then, with the hypothetical customer in mind, we can work out the brand's visuals. We ask, ‘would that ideal customer like more serene graphics as opposed to bright in-your-face graphics? Would they like a certain type of graffiti style that's kind of contemporary as opposed to fairly traditional fonts?’ Once we have that customer type, and all their main interests and we know all of their pain points, we can build the artwork around that individual.

Once we actually get to that point, we do a thing called stylescapes, which is basically a mood board, but more in-depth and more detailed. We do three versions of that stylescape. We call them mild, spicy and hot. The mild one is pretty much the safe bet, the hypothetical customer is gonna like it, but it's kind of bland, it kind of blends in. The next one is slightly more edgy. And the third one, hot, is way out there. Basically all three options would appeal to the ideal customer type, but we still need the client to be fully confident and happy with that brand. So by presenting these three options we know we are appealing to the brand’s ideal customer and the brand owner has a say. 

Once we've done that, we use that customer profile as a filter. Anything that gets designed, whether it be business cards, webpages or emailing lists, we ask, ‘what would the hypothetical customer enjoy?’. It's less about my customer, the brand owner, and more about their customer. One of the problems I have is when my clients come to me, and say ‘I like blue, I like green, I like stripes’ or whatever. Great, but does your end user like that same thing? Doesn't matter if you like it. If your customer likes crazy space cats, you put crazy space cats on the packaging. If you hate it, you still put crazy space cats on. It's really about understanding that customer, it will get to the point where you'll be sitting in a cafe and I see a person across the room and know that is the ideal customer for this brand, just by the way they are dressed, the shopping bags and what they're ordering. You should be able to go to that person and say this is my business and guarantee that they connect to it. 

My main job is less about the design, and more about working out who the customer is, and then building things for that customer. It’s all in the small details that makes that customer think, ‘Oh, they're thinking of me, they're not thinking about taking my money.’ 

Wow - I really like the customer focused approach you take with branding. You've been with Pagecloud for five years now, what are some of the benefits of being an experienced Pro?

There are a few benefits as a Pro user, the fact that Pagecloud is going to be heavily promoting Pros is huge. Even things like this interview, it's going to be advertising for me, it's going to be advertising for Pagecloud, it is a partnership of helping each other out.

 Another benefit of the Pro program is the fact that there are so many good templates available if you need them. But if you're a designer like me, who doesn't tend to want to use templates, you still have that freedom to be very bespoke. 

Another key thing I love about Pagecloud is the support. The amount of times I've stuffed up my webpage purely by accident, I've deleted it, I've deleted pages, I've accidentally dropped in the wrong images. And I can talk to anyone on the Pagecloud support team. And they always say, ‘okay, yeah, we see the problem, we're changing it, we're looking after it.’ It's constant, great support. I've worked with other platforms in the past where they go, ‘Oh, you need to do this, I'll let you crack on and do it’, but I still don't have a clue on how to fix the problem. I'm trying to run a business, I’m busy, I've got people trying to ring me and things I don’t always have time to fix the issue on my own. Whereas Pagecloud’s support does that little bit extra for you. And for me as a business owner, that's really helpful. A prime example is last year, I was doing a job and the website launch was on a Friday, and on Thursday, we lost half of the information on the site. So I’m panicking on my keyboard like ‘Pagecloud, what's going on, what's going on’ and luckily, I think your team must have worked overtime that day, just to make sure everything was working fine and by Friday, everything was ready to go. It is that sort of dedication from Pagecloud’s support that makes this feel like a partnership and that I’m not just some customer.

We enjoy the partnership too! We are always here to help. What advice do you have for new Pagecloud users?

If you're someone who's new to Pagecloud and never built with it before the biggest benefit is that it is so user friendly. When you work in the design industry like me, you understand tool palettes, it's all intuitive for me. But when I give Pagecloud to a lady who owns a beauty salon, or a guy who's an electrician, and they’ve never done design in their life, Pagecloud is still so user friendly that they understand what needs to be done. I can literally spend just five minutes over the phone, explaining what to do and they can do it themselves. 

There's a webpage I've done called Wheel Magic, they started selling cars on the webpage and I had to explain to a guy how to use the webpage whilst he was underneath one of the cars doing a service on the car! The platform is that easy to explain, that he could actually add cars to his webpage that same evening. He wasn't even looking at a screen when I told him how to do it. A car mechanic working under a car with his phone between his shoulder and his ear can understand how to use Pagecloud! Pagecloud’s ease of use is perfect. 

That is such a great story! What do you know now as a Pagecloud user that you wish you had known when you were just starting out with the platform?

It's really strange because when I first started using Pagecloud, I was in a completely different place, personally. I had no web experience. My branding business was just starting, we didn't really go too far into the strategies with our customers - it was all esthetics. Now the more I talk to my customers about strategy and understanding their customers, the more I'm understanding how a user is going to use a webpage. It's these little things I wish I'd known when I first started. Branding is so much more than the customer liking a blue background on this webpage, it is figuring out how people are going to navigate that site. How are they going to scroll? Should there be drop down menus or swipe across things? I’ve learned the importance of the ergonomics of a webpage, as opposed to only the visual side of a webpage.

"If your customer likes crazy space cats, you put crazy space cats on the packaging. If you hate it, you still put crazy space cats on it. It's really about understanding that customer"

Can you speak a little bit about how COVID has affected your business and how you've had to adapt? 

This time last year, I luckily managed to sign two big projects, which I knew were going to last at least half a year to three quarters of the year, so I wasn't overly worried about our finances. There was another potential client that was on the fence about signing with us but as soon as COVID hit, they just ghosted us. That was a bit shocking. Then I was kind of panicking, because when you turn on the news, it was literally shops closing and people out of work. Then we realized shops were closing because they had no web presence. We started focussing even more on adding website creation to our services. We gained a lot of smaller customers who were just asking for a web presence, just to let people know, ‘Hey! We're still around, we are still open.’ We stayed busy through COVID with all the small jobs and the current jobs that we already had. So overall during COVID we actually did quite well. To the point where we're probably going to continue expanding the website building we provide. Before COVID, we didn’t typically promote the web work.

I’m glad to hear you’ve managed during these unprecedented times and thank you for making the time to talk with us today.

No problem, really enjoyed this and looking forward to continuing to grow alongside each other! 

Check out Rebrand You and their services! 

Jay really shone a light on the strategy that goes into creating a brand with Pagecloud. His ability to plan, focus on small details and concentrate on the end user’s experience on his Pagecloud websites was inspiring. With Jay’s advice and Pagecloud’s ease of use, you can build a brand that excites your customers. Ok, you can open your eyes now.

What do you want to learn from our future spotlight features? Send us your questions on Twitter, Instagram or reply in the comments! If you enjoyed this interview check out last week's Spotlight feature here

Written by

Spencer Hewson

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