Branding is an immensely powerful, yet unfortunately often overlooked, element of creating a business. Tatiana Dumitru is well aware of this, and has developed her business PreTee Creative with the sole mission of helping businesses connect with their clients on a deeper level.
Tatiana is passionate about the way in which branding can effect customer attitudes towards a business. Her expertise in creating branding elements, from taglines, to logos, to business names and more, has helped a number of businesses boost their overall appearance, and through this gain success.
Thanks for speaking with us Tatiana, can you begin by telling us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for this opportunity! I’m Tatiana Dumitru, and I’m a branding specialist. I lead an agency in Orange County, CA, and I’m also a Leadership Network Writer for Entrepreneur.com.
I was born and raised in Romania, a country in southeastern Europe. Back there, I worked as an accountant…and while I liked it (I’ve always been good with numbers!), it’s always been my dream to have a creative career. For years, I dreamed of making a living doing something that would allow me to think outside the box.
In 2012 I moved to California, where I currently live with my husband and our two daughters. In addition to branding and design, I’m passionate about coffee, tacos, and Italian food. And my idea of a perfect weekend involves plenty of time at the beach.
How did you become interested in starting your own branding business?
After I moved to the US and started my family, I felt like I was in a rut so, instead of just dreaming about a creative career, I decided to take action.
I’ve always been drawn in by clever design and smart ideas. My first idea was to showcase my creativity with t-shirt designs, so I opened an Etsy shop and started selling custom tees. While I was never profitable, this experience showed me all of the work that goes into starting a business. I quickly learned how bumpy and winding the road to entrepreneurship is, but instead of scaring me, it energized me.
A year after starting the Etsy shop, I decided to become a freelance branding specialist. I really enjoyed creating t-shirts with catchy taglines and witty sayings, so I wanted to see if I could scale this skill. I joined a freelance platform to find jobs, and I also reached out to friends and business owners to see if they needed help.
I found a lot of success in helping clients come up with memorable brand names or clever slogans. This momentum encouraged me to keep going and seriously pursue my creative dream. I started educating myself about branding, watching webinars, and reading as much as I possibly could. Though this was a ton of work, it didn’t feel like it because I loved moving towards making my dream a reality. In 2019, I decided to start my own branding agency. I kept the name that I used for my T-shirt business, PreTee Creative, as a constant reminder of how I started. Since launching my agency, I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients of all sizes, including major corporations like Johnson & Johnson, Procter and Gamble and The Motley Fool.
What services do you offer at PreTee Creative?
We specialize in brand strategy, brand naming, and visual identity. We help clients develop their stories so they can connect with potential customers in a unique, memorable way. My goal is to help *my* clients create lasting relationships with *their* clients, through a one-of-a-kind brand experience.
Whether you’re starting from scratch or refreshing an existing brand, selling a product or promoting a service, we turn it into a branded experience.
Can you tell us about your process when creating the branding for a business? What can clients expect?
The first thing I do is set up a call with the client so I can get a full understanding of the project – along with their vision and personality. I think that every business owner has a spark of an idea, but they don’t necessarily know how to bring it to life. So, my goal is to take that spark and turn it into a reality. I try to look beyond their service or product to discover a story and emotions – I use these to craft customer connections.
Most importantly, I strive to create the best experience for clients when they’re working with me. We all know that great experiences facilitate deeper connections, inspire audiences, and ultimately deliver results. I always work with my clients until they’re happy with the finished product, no matter the number of revisions. This is just one of the reasons I have a 100% customer satisfaction rate.
How important is it for a business to have good branding?
When we say “branding,” people tend to think of a cute name in great packaging…but it goes beyond that.
Branding is the entire experience. Not only what people see (the name, logo, and visuals), but the feeling customers develop when interacting with your brand. Simply put, products can be copied, but great brands can’t.
Branding is essential for any business because it can make the difference between having a great product and actually making an impact in the market. Branding can determine whether people choose you over someone else who provides the same product or service.
I think the recipe to develop a great brand involves strategy, cohesion, and creativity. A great brand helps people understand what your company is about and why it exists, and. People might forget things you say, but the way you make them feel will stick with them much forever.
Great branding builds loyalty and recognition – once people start recognizing your brand and enjoying the experience your branding provides, they’ll come back for more.
What effect can branding have on a customer’s attitude towards a business?
As I mentioned above, branding is about the experience created around a product or service. Branding is emotional – when someone sees or thinks about your brand, they should feel something. And based on those emotions, they’ll decide if they want to interact with your business again. I’ve had a lot of repeat clients and referrals, not just because of the results I delivered, but because of the experience I provided.
A brand that delivers and even exceeds expectations will always drive loyalty. Having a cohesive brand and a strong brand identity builds trust because it shows you’ve put thought and care into each facet of your business.
What makes PreTee Creative’s branding strategies unique?
We keep people at the center of everything we do because our clients are the main characters. We understand that beyond creating a catchy brand name and a smart visual identity, it’s the experience we provide that makes us so successful.
My process is also unique. I connect with my clients on an emotional level and bring their vision to life by elevating their idea and infusing it with my creativity.
Finally, what fundamental advice would you give to someone looking to improve their business’ branding?
That’s actually one of the things I do at PreTee Creative, hence the tagline: “Feeling The Gaps.” I look at what’s missing in a brand and think about what could be improved and then I fill in those gaps.
Strategy is fundamental and many people rush into coming up with a name or designing a logo. But how can you efficiently create those if you don’t have a strategy, if you don’t know who your ideal client is, or you don’t know how you want your business to be perceived?
So, I would suggest crafting a cohesive brand strategy – and if you already have one, then take a closer look at every element to make sure they still match your brand’s scope, vision, and personality. For example, if your brand’s name is too specific and you expanded your line of products or services, maybe you should consider changing your name to a more generic one. Make sure the tagline still captures the essence of your business, and don’t be afraid to keep your brand identity up-to-date.
Thank you Tatiana for your time!