Photography Branding Success Tips | You Don’t Need Much Cash To Build A Million-Dollar Photography Brand
Photography Branding Success Tips | What do Starbucks, Apple, Nike and Taylor Swift have in common? Tons of money, for sure, but that’s not all. They all have a following of loyal fans so strong that most people will think twice before writing something negative about them online. There’s a reason why every comment thread on social media turns into a fight between Apple and Android fans. There’s a reason why no one will Instagram their coffee cup from McDonald’s. And the reason is pretty simple – branding!
Good news is that most businesses can benefit from building a solid brand, not just Apple and Nike. Still, you’d be amazed how many business owners believe their businesses are too small to warrant a branding strategy. It doesn’t matter how small your budget is, how many clients you have, or if you can’t sing like Taylor Swift – your photography business deserves a brand. Building a brand will help you stand out from the crowd of other shooters in your area and book yourself solid. To help you hit the ground running (or singing, if that’s your thing), we’ve gathered some of the most important branding guidelines for busy photographers like you.
What Does “Branding” Even Mean? | Photography Branding Success Tips
Branding a business requires a lot more than getting a free logo template online and writing your name under the generic graphic. It requires a lot more than having a website designed. What you’re doing, essentially, is building an identity for your business. Your brand is your promise to your potential clients, the reason why they should hire you and not some other photographer, and what makes you unique. It’s your story, and if you can’t tell it, then nobody will get it.
Start With Your Name And Build From There | Photography Branding Success Tips
Naming your business is one of the legal requirements you’ll need to meet to register a business, so you’ll want to take care of this right away. Many photographers decide to use their own name, but you can also come up with a unique name for your business. Either way you go, you’ll want to make sure you choose a name you can live with, because changing the name of your business will alienate your clients that memorized your name.
Once you have the name, you’ll want to take care of the next vital piece of the puzzle – your logo! Even though the logo will play the second fiddle to your images, it will be the public face of your business; you’ll feature it on every piece of paper that leaves your office, and use it as your watermark for the images you share online to protect your work from copyright infringement, just to name a few applications, which is why it’s critical you have it designed by a professional designer. Just like with the name of your business, changing your logo down the road can do more damage than good.
Discover Your Brand | Photography Branding Success Tips
Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. Unlike “Eat, Pray, Love,” you don’t have to leave the country and find a branding master on top of a mountain to show you the way (although a month in Italy would be amazing!). Instead, you’ll need to find a way to answer some questions about your business. What is your company’s mission? What are the advantages of the products or services you’re providing? What do your existing and potential clients already think of you? What qualities do you want them to think of when they hear the name of your business?
Branding is all about answering these questions, and finding a simple, clear, and effective way of communicating those answers to your potential clients. But don’t just publish it on your website and hope for the best – instead, find a both a verbal and non-verbal way to reinforce your brand message, whether it’s a unique color scheme you’re going to be using consistently throughout your materials, a set of brand-oriented words you’ll use in your marketing efforts, or even a style of graphics that will represent your business.
Be True To Your Brand | Photography Branding Success Tips
Authenticity was the buzzword of 2015 – everyone was using it to sell anything from sports equipment to cars! Yet, you’d be surprised how many business owners ruin their relationships with clients simply because they fail to keep their promises. Don’t ruin your reputation by claiming you have the lowest prices if you know other photographers in your area are offering lower prices. Don’t promise you’ll deliver images in a couple of days if it will take you a week to edit them. Meeting and exceeding client’s expectations is the secret of success, no matter the industry you’re in, especially in photography industry where most business comes through referrals.
Find Your Voice | Photography Branding Success Tips
Your brand’s message and what you say are important, but don’t forget the way you say it! Your voice is the language and the tone you use to deliver your message to your potential clients, whether you’re composing a new tweet about a burrito you discovered while on your way to a shoot, or you’re blogging about the New Year’s resolutions you don’t plan to make happen this year. If you use a laid-back tone of voice on social media, and a cold and formal tone on your website, you’ll only confuse your potential clients and alienate the existing ones.