Branding VS Marketing for Professional Photographers
I've spent a good bit of time lately hanging around in forums and social media groups for the portrait photography industry
. Some of you may have "seen" me there. If you have, next time you do, say HI! I'm there to learn about the challenges photographers are facing and some of the questions they seem to have the most that I can speak to. Well, that and because photographers are a pretty cool group to "hang around". :-)
Just this week, I watched a pretty lengthy conversation unfold when someone asked whether or not he should "change his logo" to attract a different kind of customer. Keeping an eye on the discussion that followed, I learned a couple of things. One is that many photographers who make the leap into a professional career are learning about how to run a business as they go and don't quite understand what branding is, or how it's different from marketing. The other is that many people don't know where to start in branding their business or why it is important. Do you need help with it all? Let me see if I can simplify the process for you.
Aren't Marketing and Branding the Same Thing?
No. When you think of branding, think of it terms of expression of who you are as a photographer. Your brand
is your identity, and your branding
expresses that to people. For the most part, but not solely, it's visual. It's what you name your business that defines you as a brand, not just a photographer, which the service you offer. It's your logo
, which is the graphic representation of what your business is. It's your packaging
, your website design
, and the fonts and colors you use in presenting yourself.
When you are ready to brand (or to re-brand) your business, think of two things - what's your style and what type of client do you want to attract? If your style is romantic and vintage and you want to attract maternity and newborn clients, you want to project that across all aspects of branding, from logo to web design to packaging. You wouldn't want to use harsh, modern fonts, right. I recommend that people brainstorm (brainstorm is actually one of my favorite words and it is the first step in the process to finding a solution to anything). Grab a pen and paper and write down a list of words that you feel represent your style as a creative. Maybe it's whimsical, retro, deconstructed, airy. Or maybe it's modern, crisp, colorful, and clean. Wherever that list leads you, start there with your business name, logo, colors and font selections.
So, What IS Marketing Then?
Marketing is your strategy for reaching out to potential customers and the message you use in doing so. It's your sales efforts. It's referral programs, social media marketing boards
, magazine style welcome guides
. If you're a wedding photographer, it may include investing in bridal shows
. It's email marketing
and paid advertising. If you are doing it in an effort to drive sales, it's a part of your marketing strategy, and you want everything you do in marketing to be in line with your branding. Use marketing templates with a similar style. Maintain consistency in fonts (at least same style of fonts) and colors. Include the logo you worked so hard to develop on any and all marketing materials you generate. Again, always think of what type of customer you want to reach and what you want them to immediately perceive about your style and what you have to offer.
At the end of the day, your branding and your marketing go hand in hand, but your branding should always come first. Let who you are as a photographer drive your branding strategy and then let your branding drive the development and use of marketing materials.
Please feel free to comment below and I'll do my best to answer. It's what I'm here for!
Need help with branding and marketing?
We offer custom design for all things brand related. Just email us here
, or take a look at the multitude of pre-designed options we have in our business tools in our store.
AND.... if one of the words YOU wrote down about your style is RETRO, don't miss the dozen retro inspired branding and marketing tools we have ON SALE this week HERE. We just added pricing templates to our Uncle Sam style set (which also has a matching blog theme at ProPhoto) and it is one of best sellers EVER!
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