This post is Part Three of my series on rebranding. In Part One, I wrote about my desire to build a strong brand and the inspiration that resulted from numerous experiences. In Part Two, I discuss how working with a graphic designer and brand identity professional began to take my brand to the next level in appearance and feel. The official launch and website reveal are coming soon, are you getting excited? I know I am!!! Squeal!
Today in Part Three, I want to talk to you about taking your vision and actually implementing those ideas.
During this journey, I read a book that I would highly recommend picking up if you are looking to raise the standard for your business. It is called Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck. This book is for the small business owner looking to create a thrilling client experience, while still charging what you are worth. From marketing approach to business philosophies, this book helped me understand what was necessary to build a brand with a boutique business model.
One statement in the book that really stood out to me was,
“Here’s the bottom line: you can’t build a strong brand on a weak identity.”
What an incredibly true statement. This was the answer to my struggle with inconsistency. I was trying to brand a person that I didn’t know because I was trying to be someone I wasn’t. I had approached every business decision through the filter of asking myself what everyone else was doing.
This is the point in the journey where the rubber met the road. It was time to start planning how I wanted my business to look and feel beyond a color scheme and font choice. I had to ask myself, what were the needs of my clients and how could I meet them better? How could I create a client experience that was beyond the expected and above the standard? In fact, how could I make it an experience at all?
This led to many nights of brainstorming. Post-its decorated my desk with ideas, thoughts, and the “what-ifs” of my mind. Although I cannot give everything away, there are some particular business changes and additions that I decided to implement.
My Session Guide for Clients
There is so much planning that goes into a great session from start to finish. From the outfit planning, to light and location, I wanted my clients to feel taken care of in every possible way. This is a preview of the digital version, and all booked clients will receive a tangible copy in the form of a stunning printed magazine that covers everything from what to wear, choosing a location, to elements that are very unique to my brand. I am really excited to have these available for my Connection Portrait Clients.
In-Person Ordering Consultations
The basic photo session offered by general photographers today most usually includes being sent a disc on the mail, or an online gallery where you can order prints and products. Both of which I have done. But, was it meeting my client’s needs? Was I was going above and beyond in creating a fabulous experience? Not really.
I love Apple products. My iPhone and iPad are practically my children with designated seats at the table. But I am not a tech savvy person. There is so much that Apple products are capable of that I have yet to even learn how to do! But what I love about Apple, is that there is a store right down the road from me near Yale’s campus. I know that if I ever have the slightest question or concern, there is numerous blue shirt wearing employees who know their stuff and are happy to help. When I buy software, hard drives, and gadgets from Apple they walk me through what I should buy and what product of theirs best fits the need that I have. Because they are the expert. PC and Android and whatever else that isn’t Apple, is often less expensive. Ok Ok so it’s most always less expensive. By a lot. But, I am loyal to investing more in Apple because they have always met my needs and gone above my expectations in their product AND service.
So I thought about how I could apply those same principles to my own brand. People either love or hate Apple. I love it. My cousin hates it. We argue about how wrong he is quite frequently. I want that same distinction for my brand. I want potential clients to come to my website and blog, see what I do, and either love it or hate it. If a client is looking for a photographer based on price alone, and not interested in the entire custom experience, and chooses not to hire me, then I am just as thrilled as the client who comes along and does value the experience and quality, thus booking their session. I had spent a lot of time in the “in -between” place of wanting to be everything to everyone. Which in the long run, effectively meets no one’s needs at all, including my own.
I decided to begin implementing in person ordering consultations with the new brand. I built the brand heavily around the tangible photograph and did not feel that an online gallery that they had to figure out on their own was really meeting my client’s needs. I run a business that is not simply product based, but service based. My ability to serve my clients is part of the experience. Meeting clients in their homes with products and framing samples, helping her choose which wall her favorite portrait should be hung on, seemed like the higher level of service to me. In this same way, I heavily simplified my product list. I narrowed my mission statement into what kind of photographer I wanted to be, and will offer specifically those unique products. Because I am not a photographer for everyone and everything. That realization of what I wanted to specialize in, was the greatest decision I ever made for my business.
Of course, there is so much more that I could add to this list on what I have planned for the new brand to make it more of an experience. You will have to wait until the brand launches to see more! ( Which is SO incredibly soon I could scream with excitement!)
So, what are you doing to set your brand apart?
Stay tuned for Part Four of this Rebranding Series. Be sure to send me any questions and I’ll try my best to answer them all.
Start this Monday off brainstorming!