Branding the Equestrian Business

Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa. – Jay Baer

All businesses and organizations can benefit from thinking about brand, since really, brand is the totality of how you/it/they are represented in the world. It’s feelings and visuals and messages all rolled into a ball.

The USEF just released their new branding, which includes a new logo, revamped website, and more. By changing their name to US Equestrian, they now feel like a more personal organization with an emotional tie to its members, rather than simply a governing body. To emphasize their new, friendlier, approachable brand they also rolled out a campaign they call “the Joy of Horse Sports”, featuring feel-good imagery highlighting the bond between horse and rider.

Old versus new logo

Old versus new logo

Branding is something I’m required to think about on a daily basis, since it’s part of my job. And I love it- branding is a mix of design and psychology that ticks off my greatest educational interests in college, and though it is exceptionally challenging to create a brand from scratch, building recognition through branding efforts is also exceptionally rewarding as well. It took me ages to come up with my own logo (always hardest designing for yourself!), but eventually settled on this design, which emulates my simple visual aesthetic. The circle hints at the aperture of a camera lens, but isn’t specific enough to discount the other types of design work I do- anything from wedding invitations to, you guessed it, logo design.

My own branding illustrated on my business cards

My own branding illustrated on my business cards

Recently I entered a logo competition hosted by The $900 Facebook Pony, and was thrilled to learn that they chose my logo as the winning entry.

vector-wtw-logo

If you ever hire a designer for an identity project (or work on one yourself!), you know that the process of developing your visual identity is deeply personal. Not only do you want to somehow sum up the emotional values that make up you/your business of the present, but you also want to represent the aspirations you have for the future. Whether your goals are to become a household name, or the local go-to spot, a cohesive brand identity will never hold you back.

For the bloggers out there- what elements have you focused on to create your brand? How does your visual identity tie back to you? Does it use your eventing colors? Wedding colors? Did you make font choices or even naming decisions when you first created your blog/business/facebook page/etc. What branding challenges have you faced, in the past or currently?

 

 

Things to Celebrate

A few things to celebrate this week! The first is Foster’s new bonnet he’ll be getting thanks to Amanda from the $900 Facebook Pony, who chose our logo as a runner up in her logo contest!

Runner up logo design

Runner up logo design

Secondly, the USEF reversed the helmet cam ban! Although event organizers can still prohibit the cameras, I’m hopeful that the majority will allow us to record our rides for learning and sharing with others.

And lastly.. Jurassic Park IV. It comes out on. my. birthday. I got velociraptor induced hysterics when I saw the trailer. So scared, and SO excited.

Also on the good news front, Foster was a stellar boy last night. I finally set up some canter poles in an attempt to get us started with cavaletti, and he was golden through them, even though they were a bit further apart than the 9′ I meant to make them, and he had to reach a bit in the canter. Continuing work on the walk-canter transitions as well, which we’re getting about 50% of the time. After watching back the videos (thanks Ali) I need to keep working on my elbows- it’s definitely the thing that goes to hell in a handbasket whenever things get hard. It’s always something though!

blurry, but the canter is definitely improving!

blurry, but the canter is definitely improving!

It’s about to get frigid cold here tomorrow, so I am desperately hoping to get a mini jump school in tonight before everything freezes over. We shall see!