Marketing yourself from in the dark
I'm a linguist, not a communications expert. But I surrounded myself with the right people and saw the light.
Before I started at L'Oréal in 2004, I thought branding was something painful that farmers did to cattle. Obviously now after over a decade in beauty and cosmetics I've a much better grasp of the concept, but my experience has been understanding concepts in one language, and transforming them into concepts that work just as well in another language. I had never sat down and had to come up with an utterly original concept from scratch.
What I wanted to do:
Focus on niche market translation
Only translate what I love
Attract key players in the luxury market
Develop my relationship with publishers
Wake me up before you logo
Lame? OK, now you try integrating "logo" in a title.
I started my quest for a tasteful yet eye-catching logo by asking a friend of mine to design a logo for me. But this wasn't just the first person I could think of who was handy with Photoshop software and showed a bit of enthusiasm; John had spent several years as a senior designer in a graphic design agency so I knew he'd be the right person for the job. I started by giving him some logos from the luxury industry that appealed to me, and then some colour concepts that I thought looked good. He soon came back with three ideas for logos, including Facebook profile covers, LinkedIn covers, smaller versions, and two-colour versions. It was great fun sharing his ideas with my friends and getting their vastly varied feedback.
We worked through the pros and cons of all three initial suggestions, but I wasn't completely sure about any of them. Unperturbed, John then sent over another selection of ideas, and when I saw my logo, I just knew it was right. He created some branding guidelines and sent me a complete logo pack with photoshop, pdf, and jpeg files, even including specific font files and colour references so I could use the exact same colours on my website and CV. Without realising, he'd even included a hexagon shape (France is sometimes known as l'héxagone) in the background.
I rushed back to my laptop and got onto a business card and promotional objects website. I even proudly slapped my logo on a mug and ordered a few of those too.
So now I had a logo. I just needed somewhere to show it off.
The image magician
I met Sébastien in 2015, when he and his wife Sandra did the photography for my wedding. They did an amazing job for that, and I certainly wasn't disappointed this time either.
By that point I had decided that I wanted to really showcase my three main areas of expertise: wine, beauty, and personal development. I knew that most translators have fairly business-focused websites and don't usually market themselves as having just a few specialities because they fear it might put off potential clients. I love translating in wine, cosmetics and personal development, but I feel that finance, legal, telecoms, and many other areas of business are best left to those who can do them justice.
I got Sébastien to come to my house and take some pictures with various backgrounds, including some with perfume bottles in my bathroom. I do realise I am exceptionally lucky in that I live on a winery in Chablis, so photos in the vineyards and cellars were very easy to organise, and Sébastien made all the backdrops look incredible.
Being fairly outgoing, I thought it would be a doddle having my picture taken. Turns out it's actually rather an awkward thing to do when you're there all alone, face-to-lens with the camera. But he talked me through it, and we ended up with some spectacular shots.
All I had to do then was create the website itself.