Q&A with BLUEPRINT Creative Director, Caroline Dominguez

October 29, 2019

We may have already hit the LAUNCH button on our new Editorial and Instagram Management services for Realtors last week. But why stop the fun there?

Today we’re sitting down with Creative Director, Caroline Dominguez, to take a deep dive into her perspective from the pilot seat — her take on what the new BLUEPRINT team members and services mean not just for the studio itself, but for you all, our friends + clients in the real estate space.

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You’ve been a one-woman branding studio for so long – why the change now? 

When I first started, I had this vision of always being a one-woman studio, content to run things from my spare bedroom. Totally solo. I’m grateful that I began this way, because it taught me the importance of sincerity early on: do things your way, be your best self, freely share what you love and appreciate when more of that comes back around to you.

I honestly had no idea how quickly BLUEPRINT would take off when things did “come back around,” exponentially. Struggling to meet the demand of agents reaching out to me across the country, and in some cases, beyond the U.S., was not something I had planned for at the management level. 

The challenge of keeping up with my own workload was the first push toward leaving the one-woman studio model behind. I needed support. More importantly, during this time, clients kept reaching out to me for deliverables outside of the strictly visual sphere. Realtors would complete my foundational branding process and then ask for more. 

Could I help with their copywriting? Social media strategy? PR campaigns?

That’s when the lightbulb came on for me. I’m a big believer in staying in my lane and not taking on work just because I can; if I do something, I want to do it well and have the proven expertise to stand behind its quality and results. So while I said “no” to plenty of these extra project requests (the ones that lay outside my area of personal passion) I was dying to say “YES!” to many others. Particularly in the copywriting and social media spheres. 

I’ve always been passionate about (obsessed with?) how visuals and messaging of a brand are inextricably connected, and in my daily work, I found myself advising clients on their About Pages, their web copy, their Instagram aesthetic and content strategies, etc. It just happened naturally.

That’s when I knew it was time to make it official and expand BLUEPRINT services in a way that could support my clients in new areas they were craving to build within their real estate businesses. And I couldn’t do it alone.

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With another leap of faith, I decided to hire a team of experts to make the new services a reality. I am no longer the “one-woman studio” I thought I’d always be, and that makes me smile, because my dream has evolved into something better: a multi-faceted studio of thinkers, makers, and visionaries who have leaned into the industry we most adore. 

I love that my clients can now benefit from our collective intelligence. As Creative Director + Lead Designer, I will still be personally involved in, and have a hand on, every single project that goes out the door. BLUEPRINT may not be “just me” anymore, but I am proud that our team is still small and nimble. We can offer the same level of 1:1 service and intimate client experiences that people already know and love from working with me.

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What’s been your favorite part of owning your own branding studio so far? 

Seeing the need that BLUEPRINT fills in this industry—how the studio has helped so many real estate pros elevate and cultivate beauty, intentionality, and excellence in their branding—is a source of ongoing personal satisfaction. It will never get old.

Early in my career, it was a “big win” moment when people started trusting my brand eye and voice as a consultant. Today I am grateful to have a portfolio that speaks for itself. Clients come to our studio because they trust that we will deliver a beautiful result.

My favorite thing about BLUEPRINT will always be exactly this: our ability to empower Realtors (and entire brokerages, in some cases) to tell stories that matter in this space. 

That’s what the work is all about, really—stories. 

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I’ve always framed my work as storytelling and dreamed of carving out a space for myself, professionally, that drew longevity and meaning from the power of story. I like to think that through this business of mine, I have done exactly that. Marketing as storytelling is the foundation of my expertise and another “favorite thing” about leading the studio, where our team creates visuals, writing, and social media strategies that feel like narratives with soul + spirit, rather than the kind of cookie-cutter, sales-driven marketing you might expect to see in the real estate space.

This will always be my favorite part of BLUEPRINT.

Tell us a little bit about these new faces on the BLUEPRINT team. What made you want to bring them on board?

I’m so incredibly excited about the new faces on the team! Every person was handpicked for the level of expertise they uniquely bring to culture here, and the kind of cut-above work my clients already know and love, at BLUEPRINT. 

| BRETT |

Brett Tubbs is based in Virginia and has joined the team as Editorial Manager. She worked extensively in the journalism and PR world before copywriting her way into the heart of BLUEPRINT. As a former journalist myself, I’m a BIT picky when it comes to content, but there is no one I trust more with my client’s editorial needs (heck, I trust her with my own!). Because Brett is one of those rare individuals who doesn’t just care about pumping out the copy and ensuring the technicalities are correct. 

She actually cares about connecting with people. 

You’ll find that she pours time into areas and conversations that most people don’t (i.e., you’ll spend a lot of time in laid-back, personal “interviews” with Brett, until she learns your business and story about as well as you do). Capturing brand voices and stories in writing, and weaving in a touch of her own personally elegant style, is her forte. It’s no wonder that I was the one to approach her, asking her to join forces with BLUEPRINT, instead of the other way around.

Brett will work closely with me to lead all things copywriting, public relations, and social media content strategy for our clients.

| THE APPLEYARDS |

Xanthe and Frank Appleyard are my creative power couple out of Canada, where many of my BC clients are also based. In addition to being avid travelers and foodies, they are designers at heart, with a talent for social media that led them to the BLUEPRINT team.

Their past work in the online space has centered around content creation, strategy, visual design, and curation, focusing on Instagram as a specialty. Instagram was where I connected with these two in the first place!

So many things drew me to their work: their intuition as “aesthetic coaches,” their ability to visualize a strategy, their passion for designing visual feed identities, and just their genuine drive to produce good work for people who feel lost about how to execute their brands online. 

Xanthe and Frank don’t just “get” great branding. They also get Instagram. More importantly, they have mastered the art of knowing how to connecting the two, for themselves and many others. I am so grateful to have a class act like them on the team, working with me to lead all things Instagram strategy + ongoing management for Realtors who are ready to level up their social media game. 

| AMANDA + ERIN |

I’m also lucky to have two talented graphic designers on my team. Amanda, based in Virginia, brings her seven years of creative agency experience to the team and specializes in all things print product and packaging (like our gorgeous Buyer and Seller Magazines) for BLUEPRINT. Erin, an experienced designer out of sunny California, assists me in foundational branding projects and various collateral, taking my visions and executing them beyond expectations.

How do we make it all work? Video calls, emails, and some very organized/collaborative Trello boards. My team members are fellow entrepreneurs who run their own successful businesses as well, but they give 200 percent to their work for BLUEPRINT and I couldn’t be prouder to have them on board.

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Can you tell us a little bit about the services you are offering now? Why were these on your radar?

Once someone has a quality visual brand foundation in place, an instant opportunity is created to extend that brand cohesively into new channels. 

As we all know, social media is a huge player here, and original content remains king. These marketing channels are especially critical for pros in the real estate space, where traditional marketing methods have long since given way to the power of online connections and new ways to create/deliver branded content. 

Here’s what I have discovered. No Realtor in this century must be convinced of the need to uplevel in these areas. Everyone knows what they should be doing on their blogs. Their email lists. Their campaigns. Their social media accounts. But very few people know HOW to navigate these overwhelming worlds well, and their stressful, on-the-go lifestyles in real estate usually don’t afford them the time or brain space to learn. 

I can’t tell you how many stressed-out agents have told me they are desperately looking for a solution to their social media woes, or their writing struggles, but are hesitant to hire one of the many, many copywriters or social media managers out there—because these people don’t understand the real estate space. So, at the risk of putting out quick-fix content themselves, or struggling through the maze of social media strategy? Many of these Realtors have opted to simply not address the issue at all. It’s not what they really want to do. 

What they WANT is someone who gets them, their industry, and their brand. Someone who can simplify and synthesize their key marketing channels with understanding and 1:1 support. With the new editorial and social media services, coupled with our existing branding services, BLUEPRINT now offers exactly that. 

We’re here to meet a real need. More than that, the combination of the new services allows us to advance our vision of crafting luxe lifestyle brands for real estate professionals, brands that will truly weather time and trends and help them make a lasting impact across channels.

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What is the value you hope your BLUEPRINT Realtors will receive as they start working these new services into their communication strategy?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the world’s best graphic designer. There are dozens out there more technically skilled than me, and it’s a pleasure to watch what they create. And as a team, we’re always learning and improving.

However, what BLUEPRINT brings to the table is the ability to execute every project holistically. We don’t just provide a logo. We craft full brand suites, and now we provide complete content strategies, total Instagram management, and more.

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After working as a director of marketing for a real estate team, I understand the big picture for a business of this type and have a unique left brain/right brain approach to each project. We don’t have a signature style — we craft brands and words and social media presences that are bespoke to the client, and we do it from a place of genuine industry savvy. 

For the modern Realtor, this is an enormous value and the “X factor” that sets our team apart from the big-box agencies. We give Realtors individualized identities, sparkling-fresh perspective on their marketing approach, and the boldness to own their platforms with personality and confidence.

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What’s your hope for the future of BLUEPRINT and the clients you serve?

Especially as new technology bursts onto the scene, the future of real estate feels more wide open than ever, where anything is possible down the road. This poses both opportunities and challenges for our clients. As time moves forward and markets shift, BLUEPRINT is not going anywhere. The power of personal branding has never been more evident or compelling than it is today. We are commitment to adjusting and improving as we go. As we create and make decisions daily, I ask myself, “Have we done this before? Are we pushing it enough? What can we do better?”

For now, I’m loving where the exponential growth and grace of the BLUEPRINT journey has led us this far. There may be greater growth in our future, but I am committed to keeping the studio as nimble and personalized for our clients as the original vision that birthed it. The future is bright. 

Onward and upward!

Want to learn more about BLUEPRINT’s new services? Visit our website for a behind-the-scenes look at new services and learn how our team can support your real estate branding, social media and editorial needs.

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