The staff at www.BrandingAgency.us.com, a creative branding agency whose purpose is to create lasting, authentic and meaningful relationships between the client’s brands and their target audience, wrote this helpful guest blog post for photographers interested in learning more about branding their business.
This article was written to give the reader an overview of how to position a photography business. Brand positioning is necessary to your photography business for the following reasons:
- It will separate you from your competition and will translate your uniqueness to your clients.
- It will explain to your clients why they should buy your services over competing brands
- It will act like a road map for all future marketing strategy
Let’s start by defining branding and then photography brand positioning.
Defining Branding and Brand Positioning
A brand is that which resides in the minds and hearts of consumers. In other words, it is the sum total of all the experiences and associations that the customer has with it. Brand positioning is the process of designing the company’s offer and image so that it occupies a distinct and valuable place in the hearts and minds of its target customers. In other words, it is what makes you unique and separates you from your competition. You know when you have successfully positioned your business when it resonates with your consumers and they think about your business in the right or desired way.
The Brand Positioning Process
Now that we have defined brand positioning, it is time to consider the process of brand positioning. The process of positioning your photography business is outlined in 4 logical steps that act like building blocks and support each other. They are as follows:
- Segmentation and finding your target market
- Identifying your competitors
- Clarifying how you are the same as your competitors
- Clarifying how you are different from your competitors
Segmentation and Finding Your Target Market
Do you really know to whom you are selling your photography services? How old are they? Where do they reside? How much money do they make annually? What are their values, opinions, or attitudes? What lifestyle do they live or want to live? Are they seeking to look younger in their photographs?
Knowing your target audience is of high priority and will lead to you offering potential consumers exactly what they are looking for which will increase sales. It will also help you solve many other issues like knowing exactly how much these consumers are willing to spend on photography services and how much money you are willing to spend on advertising to reach this potential market.
This process is two fold. First you want to segment your potential clients into groups that have common needs and who will respond similarly to marketing actions. This is the segmentation process. Second, you want to select your target market. These are the people you will be selling your services to.
The following is an example of a fictitious target market for photographers:
Our target market consists mostly of women, that are ambitious and have a positive outlook on life, between the ages of 25-35, in the New York city metropolitan area (roughly 69,000 people), that are college educated and have an income between $40,000-60,000, who are seeking to have photography services on their wedding day.
Identifying Your Competitors
Most people can make obvious and often correct assumptions when I ask them to identify their competitors. They often talk about the other photographer or photography business across the street. This is a start. However, knowing your competitors goes beyond knowing that their business exists close to yours. Knowing your competitors consists of many other various factors like knowing the company’s capabilities and their equipment and other resources. Additionally, competition might be in a category and separate from photography altogether. For example, a client might have a deep sense of family and is using photography as medium to bring their family together. However, you could also be competing with a local fine artist who paints family portraits at an economical rate and do not know it. A competitive analysis is key to correctly positioning your photography business.
Similarities To Your Competition
How are you similar to your competition? Do you both offer the same services? Do you both work in the same industry category (editorial, advertising, sports, etc.)? Do you both offer exceptional customer service? Do you both offer the same level of quality?
The objective is to find where you are similar to your competition. What you hope is that the areas that are your main differences and selling points are not the same areas with the same quality as your competition. If that is the case you are not differentiated or positioned well.
Differences From Your Competition
We looked at all the previous areas to get to this crucial step in the positioning process. This step is called differentiation and is where you radically differ from your competition in an area that, they cannot beat, that sets you apart from your competitors. This information is used to position yourself in the minds and hearts of your consumers.
There are many ways that a photographer or photography business can differentiate but however you differentiate, your differentiators must be desirable to your target audience. If your target audience is not interested in your differentiator than it is pointless. It also has to be feasible for you as a business. If you differentiate by saying you offer the highest level of photographic quality in your area and you are just starting out, then differentiating in this way, at least for now, is not feasible.
Here are 5 examples of ways that a photographer or photography business can differentiate:
- Be the only service in your category. For example, you might be the only person in the world who takes pictures of people’s elbows. Does this sound ridiculous? It might be but there might be a very lucrative market for it.
- Provide your own makeup and hair stylist on location for your clients.
- Offer handcrafted packaging for your work and sell it at a premium.
- Own a photography blog that gives exposure to aspiring models and offer any client who works with you a highlighted article in your blog.
- Offer a few free prints with every shoot.
The sum total of these four building blocks will lead to a unique and valuable position for your photography business. www.BrandingAgency.us.com can help you position and overall brand your photography business strategically and visually. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about branding your photography business. We leave you with an example of a fictitious positioning statement below:
Point and Click photography studio is a high-end, New York based, group of carefully selected photographers, who are known for capturing weddings in an organic, editorial, and story-telling fashion, that evoke the individual personality and style of each person, without missing the overall feeling of the moment.