Happy Talk Shop Thursday, ladies and gentlemen! We have a fun business topic to discuss today! Branding!
Branding is such an important part of running a successful photography business but, truth is, it's something that a lot of photographers forget to focus on and fine-tune! We get so caught up in the logistics of running a business (the editing, the late nights, the taxes, etc.) that we forget to spotlight the most important piece of what sets our businesses apart: Ourselves!
So, what is branding and how does it relate to you and your business? Well, first off, let me tell you this... your brand is not your logo. It is so much more!
A Brand is the stories, the relationships, the memories and feelings, that help a consumer choose one service over another. Are you lost? OK, time out.
Here's a question for you: Do you prefer Coke or Pepsi? Why?
If you chose Coke because you have a thing for polar bears and because your grandma always had ice cold Coke in her fridge and it's what you remember drinking every 4th of July, then, voila! You've been lured in!
That's branding for you. Coke has created a brand that is so strong, so familiar, that you will choose Coke products anytime you have to make a decision between it or another soft drink.
The same can be applied to lots of other products and businesses! Starbucks, Target, Nike! Strong brands = loyal customers. And the same principle can work for your photography business!
A common complaint among photographers, especially those relatively new to the business side of things, is that they have trouble booking clients because the competition is so fierce.
There are so many good photographers in my area. No one wants to book me when they can hire so and so. I give up.
A lot of us have felt that way at some point in our photography journey... and you know how we fix it? We sell ourselves. We sell our story. We sell our personality.
Sure, those other photographers may have awesome talent and the pictures to prove it, but you know what they don't have? They don't have YOU.
We've heard it said that when clients are shopping around for a photographer, they aren't making a decision based solely on the photographs. They're shopping for the photographer.
The key to setting your business apart from the other businesses in your area is creating a personal BRAND! If your brand accurately reflects who you are and what makes you special, then your clients will be drawn to your business... even in an over-saturated market!
So, how do you create a personal brand? We have a few steps for you!
1. List three words that describe who you are and use these to form your brand.
- Remember to focus on you NOT your business.
- Use words that describe who you are today... not who you want to be.
For example, if your words are Edgy, Fun, and Loud, then that is how you should portray yourself to your clients. (Also, you sound awesome. We should be friends.)
2. Inject your personality into ALL of your social media posts.
When I first started posting sneak peeks on Facebook, I fell into the habit of using the same generic phrases over and over. (Isn't this baby the sweetest baby ever? Isn't this mom the best mom ever? I had a great time taking these pictures! I loved taking these pictures! In the words of my two-year-old daughter, BOOOOORING.) It wasn't until I started thinking about refining my brand that I realized, that's not how I speak. I'm a Valley Girl at heart. Every other word is dude or rad or girrrrrl... and that's me. That's my personality.
Remember your three words from Step 1? Your social media posts should be reflective of those same qualities. That's who you are. That's your brand.
3. Showcase who you ARE not what you do.
Of course, you're going to want to talk about your talent and your photos, but that's not what your brand is. Your brand is you! Who are you? Are you a mom? Are you a vegetarian hippie home-schooler? Do you make your own laundry soap and grow your own food? Tell your story! Let people get to know you!
4. Personalize everything.
Your blog, your web site, your Facebook... everything! When people find you online, they should know exactly who they are checking out. Let your presence be known, people! Don't make your clients work to find out who you are. Make it obvious.
5. Be yourself.
It's really easy to create a persona from behind a computer... but please, make sure that the brand you're creating is an accurate reflection of who you are. You don't want to sell yourself online as this outgoing party animal photographer and then clam up when you meet your clients in person. Make sure you're honest and that your clients are hiring the person they fell in love with!
Creating a personal brand doesn't have to be hard. It's really all about just being yourself and letting people get to know you. Don't be afraid to be yourself!
If you have an idea for a business related topic you would like to see discussed on Talk Shop Thursday, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!