Should I have a joint letterhead for my two businesses?
I've given some expert answers to a bunch of questions, now I have one of my own. I have two separate, but related businesses. One is called The ENSpace group. That's my communication/writing/editing services business. I'm also a photographer. That company name is AskinImages Photography. In addition to selling my work at art shows, I also do corporate/editorial photography.
Now here is my dilemma: I've designed separate letterheads and business cards for each business. I've also designed a joint letterhead. My thinking is that, for some prospects, I only want to market my writing business. For others, only photography. But there are also businesses that need both writing and photography services. For my joint letterhead, I've tied the brands together with this tag line: "Two brands - One solution for all your needs." I'm not sure whether a joint letterhead is a good thing… am I splitting the focus too much? Another idea I've come up with are two-sided business cards. I'd really appreciate some feedback and to hear your thoughts.
I would separate those two things because of one simple reason - people / businesses want to work with focused professionals that are experts in their area. Your business areas are quite different one form another and I am afraid putting them together might leave an impression of a generalist with more general and less focused experize.
Well one way of finding out would be"test market" your 3 ideas with your current customers , those who will give you honest criticism in the respective approaches. Good luck
From what you've outlined, it looks as though a common brand might work better than two. At the end of the day, you're positioning yourself as a "Content Expert" - Content can mean many things, imagery being one of them. Expanding the reach of one brand to include the services of the other will allow you to move closer towards being a one-stop-shop. From a scalability perspective as well, it is easier to manage one organization as you grow, than two separate ones.
You could simply fold one into the other and offer all your services under one umbrella. I myself offer all manner of services under my company name, allowing me to be versatile in how I present myself. There's nothing wrong with having two separate businesses, but if they are related, and you are the head of both of them then it makes sense to consolidate and not divide. However, if you feel you need to keep them separate for say, tax reasons or something, then by all means brand them individually and simply have two letterheads. I wouldn't do the joint letter head, it sounds confusing and unneeded. Keep it simple. If you need help with your overall branding, I can certainly offer my services.
How about incorporating both business into one name one business and provide clients with either services or both services. I think exposure and marketing of both services as one is impertive even if for just referrals alone.
Personally, I think it is too much to have a 3rd letterhead. You could be diluting your brand and potentially confusing your customers. Keeping it cohesive is key. Double sided business card is a good idea in this case but try to keep it simple, not too busy. I would even consider combining both logos into one letterhead with the tagline. This will connect the two businesses while at the same time possibly generating additional business/visibility to your other service when a client is showing interest in the other. Also, opens up an opportunity for the client to ask questions about what the other company is and engaging you for something they didn't know they wanted or needed.
From my perspective I look at liability. Are the businesses part of the same corporation or are they both sole proprietorships? If they are in any way separate businesses and own separate assets, I would keep them as such.
If they are not, then, Id seriously consider combing them...
Do not. The best thing you could is show the relational flow of the two businesses by creating 2 separate marketing letters that would showcase your expertise in both aspects.
1. Primary cover letter = Photography Biz supported by your secondary cover which contains the other company related to it.
2. Primary cover letter = Other business supported by photography biz that will serve as your secondary cover.
With this approach, you are able to work more closely with your prospected clients that will give them a room to breathe that implies as a great option for them rather than a mandatory business solution.
As a prospective client, I would get confused when I meet you, and will start doubting what's your focus area - writing/ photography if you portray two avatars of yours.
On the contrary, if you position as a brand which offers multiple solutions under one roof, I start looking at a one-stop shop.
Content in today's day is of different types - video, podcast, ebook, whitepaper, blog, email, infographics, cheat sheets etc and each requires different skills sets even among the content/editorial team. Photography forms a part of the content creation process, as many times customers can't rely on stock photographs to meet all their requirement.
Focus on one brand and it will ease your life promoting it and provide cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
All the best!
Great questions and I can understand the dilemma. I would suggest that for potential clients that you only wish to market one service to you use the individual business letterheads as I feel this would give the most focus to your communications; the more targeted you can be the better right?
However, when you are approaching companies that you think may be interested in both of your services, have you considered creating an 'umbrella' brand, so to speak. You can then send the communication from this umbrella brand introducing both companies. This will introduce both companies (and their individual focuses) to people whilst keeping a strong, single brand, identity within their minds.
Hope this helps!
The tag line you mention gives me pause for concern. When promoting yourself to an individual client you want to do it under one brand. If you use two separate brands and a company utilizes one of those brands, say the photography one, then that particular brand will stick in their minds. If later on they need to hire someone with writing skills, chances are they will overlook you because you will have been classified as the photography guy. Promoting yourself under the one brand, perhaps expanding your ENSpace tag line to something like "Making words and images work for you," I personally think, would give you a stronger brand and help pull in work on both sides more effectively. You may still want to keep your photography brand for work that doesn't comfortable fit. Under that banner, but you would be promoting that to a completely different set of clients.
I think you are getting two cute. Selling art at an art show is singular and dont create confusion. The communication business can offer photography services but stop telling people you are a photographer because you need to be an expert writer. They will not hire a generalist.
With your tag line it appears you have good reasoning to put both on one letterhead. Where and how you place them is another issue.
I have more than one corporation, however they are all established under one umbrella. The top of my letterhead had the Corporate name and the footer has all the other companies. I also have separate letterhead for each individual company, which then has that company at the top, own phone number and email address, and my umbrella corporate name in the footer.
The bottom line is what works best for you and your marketing strategy.
I wonder why you assume that some businesses don't need photography and others don't need writing services. In my experience businesses tend to need both of those services.
Essentially you are "Creating Content" for your clients.
Why not show the photography as part of the ENSpace Group.
I would not produce double sided business cards. it's just confusing for your prospects especially if they don't turn the card over to see the service they want...I've been through a similar process with the whole content production thing and have just in the last 6 weeks decided that 1 brand is plenty. Steve Counsell is now my personal brand. It took me years to figure out that people like dealing with me as a person and not one of my business brands, Segment Marketing (content) or Rock Paper Image (photography).
Hoe that helps
For those opportunities where you would like to call out both businesses I would have both listed in a footer as a secondary brand/information focus. The primary brand logo would still remain in the header.