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As you are entering the quiet and reflective time of the year I suggest that you to ponder over what worked this year and what didn’t. This ‘mulling’ is necessary to determine what aspects of your business are functioning perfectly and which ones need to be brushed off and updated.

Here is what I want you to do:

1.) Review your logo, stationary, and all direct mail pieces. Assess: Does it look current, do they make sense, is the information on it correct, and is this still the best possible reflection of your business? If it looks dated or could look better – update.

2.) Review your portfolio, both printed and online. Decide which images need to be taken out. Look through and edit the new work from last year. Which imagery can help you to look your very best for 2012?

3.) Read through your brochures and marketing materials as well as website copy. Is it written well? Are there grammatical errors that should be fixed? Is this the best you can sound? Hint: Hiring a copywriter is always a great idea. Please check out this post about this very topic.

The above 3 steps should be part of your year end routine.When you have completed your process you should show it to other business owners or your trusted clients. Hint, do not ask your friends or family and the person in the image! People LOVE to give advice.

Your objective is to find out who well your portfolio and presentation works.  Does it look like it comes from the same person? Does the writing make sense? Is it congruent and visually pleasing? Finally, do you address the pain points of your customers and are you solving them with what you are offering?

If the review is not what you expected and the response is only lukewarm – repeat process until the response you have hoped for is achieved.

This is the most competitive environment we have ever seen in the creative industries. Be sharp and smart and look your best.

While we are at it, please take a look at this article PDN posted about branding.

PDN says that by hiring branding experts, photographers find they can take control of how their clients perceive their businesses, and gain an edge in a competitive market, and I would strongly agree with this statement.

What is part of your regular year end clean up routine? Please share your tips on what you do to look and sound fresh and new.

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