To choose your brand we must evaluate the psychology of clients, colors, personal characteristics and staying current.
Psychology of Clients
As Seth Godin is quoted as saying “Yes, you get to choose them, not the other way around. You choose them with your pricing, your content, your promotion, your outreach, and your product line.” The most important thing to remember is that client’s choose you. They choose you based on your professionalism, presentation and brand. Blindly selecting a brand without regard to your target client, art and self are akin to blindly adopting another’s business plan or model without research into your own self.
Psychology of Colors
Research reveals people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product
within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90%
of that assessment is based on color alone. – Why Color Matters
For example, I love the look of kraft paper and fun tulle/raffia. But it’s just not me. In my photography I’m more clean edits and straight lines. This is shown in my packaging, logo and branding. Take a look at my logo. It has a straight forward feel through the typography, and a splash of color. The color was chosen as a mixture between green and blue. Green is a color of confidence. Blue is the color of peacefulness. In my own life and business I find myself confident but I want to exude a peaceful confidence. (Confused yet?) I don’t want it to be an abrupt confidence. More of a streamlined (straight fonts) and confident feel.
How to Identify Your Brand
Sit down and answer the following questions. Turn the computer off. Facebook off. and think. If you need to – glance at your portfolio. Get out of window shopping for packaging, logos etc and look back at you.
- Who is your target client?
- What is your photography aesthetic like?
- What are you drawn to?
- How do you want to be known?
- What is your niche?
- What products present you? (This is a whole another blog post!)
With these answers armed, visualize handing the package or web link to your clients. Does it speak to them right away about you? If not, it’s not you. Redo the questions.
Here’s the application of these principles to a local photog:
White: crisp, clean, classic (vs. cream, which is softer, more “organic” and not as neutral)
Light Grey: traditional, cooling, timeless (vs. brown, which is also an organic color, and less formal)
A touch of Black: stability, strength, boldness (but not too much!)
Peacock (i.e. dark teal): at first I started with a powder blue similar to my light grey, but as I got more confident with my abilities, it evolved into a darker, bolder “peacock” tone that shifted my brand from a shy, “Well, when you have a second, can you consider me?” to a contrasting: “Look at me. This is what I do. I am proud, confident, and strong in my specialties.” I was inspired by other “peacock” tones, and eventually plan to incorporate a peacock feather into my branding. Since peacocks are generally pets for wealthier people, it exudes luxury for me, and since custom & boutique photography is a luxury expense, this small add-on echos that sentiment. Certain peacock feathers can also contain deep plum tones, which will translate sophistication, quality, and femininity: the perfect combination for my Boudoir brand. Using a peacock feather as a garnish for both types of my photography will tie my brands together as the common element.
Applying this to myself: I found that my target client is someone with a class, gimmick-free aesthetic. No need for flamboyant colors or packaging. The target client is willing to dish out for quality photography and expects to have that in return for everything from customer service, to product, to delivering of product. My photography style matches this as well. I want to be known for my RB. I’m all about it. For everything from my email signatures, to the stamps I strategically place on product packaging, to my new Real Beauty campaign. My products are also very streamlined as one of my main focuses is leather bound albums. All of which circle back to my logo, my website and my packaging. The boxes are titanium grey for the strong, streamlined looked but have a white ribbon for a splash of class and femininity.
Tips to maintaing your brand
- It it feels wrong. It’s not right. Just because you like something doesn’t mean it’s who you are. (See my Kraft paper example above)
- Reevaluate. Has your style evolved or changed? Does your branding still accurately reflect this? Add this to the list of goals/things to evaluate at mid year and end of year
- Don’t get overwhelmed and “have to have” every new packaging fad. Stay true to you. Remember, the best brand is YOU.
There is no right or wrong way to present yourself in branding. Actually there is. Presenting yourself as someone other than you is wrong. Disservice to yourself. Disservice to clients. Disservice to your art. Make sure it is YOU. No one else can buy the best marketing tool of all. You.
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