Chapter 1: What Is Branding?
”Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” - Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Many people who start their own business think that branding is website, logo and colours. And it is, but it is only a component of it, namely visual branding. It is only a small part of the branding process. Branding is the overall experience your clients have with you and any extension of your business from beginning to end. Your brand is what makes your clients connect with you emotionally.
Your brand involves, among other things:
You as a person
Word of mouth referrals from past clients, business contacts within the industry, and other photographers
Your social media channels
Setting expectations and meeting them by keeping deadlines etc.
That means that e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. you do and say impacts your brand whether you like it or not. And since that is the case you might as well take charge of what it is. I promise you, everything else that you need to decide on or do in your business every day, becomes so much easier when you have clarified what you want your personal brand to be.
Work on your craft yes, but work just as much on your client interaction and their experience. Of course you need to be able to create good photographs, you need to be able to offer your clients a professional result. BUT once you reach a certain level, don’t keep pushing yourself and spending more and more money on new equipment, editing software, workshops etc, because you expect it to make you more money or make your clients happier. Do that only to push yourself artistically, do it only for your own creativity’s sake, and do it on your personal time. Because I promise you, if you can create a beautiful, constistent result for your clients, what matters more is how you make them feel. If you make them feel appreciated, heard, relaxed, safe and well taken care of, they will love your images whether they are great or f....ing amazing!
Most non-photographers cannot tell the difference between a good image and a great one. Most clients don’t know the difference between Canon and Nikon equipment. And most people can’t tell when there’s a green tint in the skintone or when the white-balance is off.
What they care most about, in my experience, is the memory of how they felt in that particular moment that photo happened, and how they feel about you. And that feeling starts long before their wedding day.