Thursday, March 22, 2012

Business Day Thursday: Creative Brand Building & Promotions

Good Morning Everybody,

Cherry BlossomsHey guess what, it looks like I'm going to get my Business Day Thursday post up before I leave for Washington, D. C. in just a few hours. That's right, the bags are packed and ready to go. We should be landing in the city of cherry blossoms by around 1:30 p.m. this afternoon.

Creative Brand Building & Promotions

Today's post is about studio promotion and studio image. As you look at the business landscape of wedding photographers it seems that many think advertising on Craigslist is the way to create a business presence and business profile. I'm not trying to put anybody down with that remark. If I was just starting my business from scratch I might even look at Craig’s List as a means of getting the word out about my product and services as well.  Heck, I was the cheapest guy in town when I started my business years ago.

But once your business is established it's very important to keep your company profile visible, highly polished, and professional looking. I don't want to make this a complete dissertation on the subject but, today I want to point out couple ways that you can do just that.

Marathon Press BrandingMarathon Press [link], better known as the photographers marketing partner, offers an entire way of branding your business. Their product line is called BellaGrafica [link] and it represents the hard work and creativity of several photographers who put together all the marketing pieces in the kit. These photographers are the tops in their field. You can get all the information about BellaGrafica products right here.

But today I want to tell you about another product that I just recently discovered. The name of this company is Wildcat Wholesale [link] out of Avon, Ohio and they sell boxes, yes, boxes. Although the name may seem a bit different for a photography supplier, their product really offers photographers a great way to package our products.

For years many of us were delivering our photographs in plain envelopes or paper photography folders that we picked up at the local photo supply shop. Over the years I can count myself as one of those photographers.

Photo mountThe cost of putting each of my delivered 8x10 and 5x7 photographs in the paper folder, was expensive. I eventually felt it was a waste of money. I figured the client would just throw the folder away once they got home and framed up the photograph in a proper frame.

We've then switched to cardboard boxes – cheap and efficient. And I could get a reasonable number of photographs into my 8x10 or 5x7 boxes. It really cut down on the delivery cost in getting the images safely delivered to my clients. Like many photographers I purchased the black boxes and simply put a gold foil label reflecting my brand on the bottom right hand corner. This worked for me for many years. I found it a reasonably cost effective way to deliver my client’s images, well protected and efficiently.

With the age of “digital” even the box companies are going through quite a few changes. This is where Wildcat Wholesale [link] comes into play. I was recently talking to Brian French, one of the principles with the company, who gave me the entire backstory on this  company.

Wildcat boxesIt seems the good folks at Wildcat Wholesale have developed a way to print full-color, edge to edge, photographs on any color box. The more I talked with Brian the more confused I got – full color images on a BLACK box???   But, he kept assuring me that regardless of the color of the box, a photograph could be printed directly on the box inexpensively and in small quantities.

I was extremely fascinated by what he was telling me because my immediate reaction was this. Now photographers could really have a very efficient, dynamic, creative, impacting way to feature their brand when delivering additional images to their clients.

What's cool about the boxes that Wildcat offers is that the cost of the boxes is not much more than the black box itself. The added benefit to the photographer is that he or she can order these boxes and small quantities changing out their images at a whim to accommodate the seasons of the year or any special promotions they might be running at the time – way cool!

The Ideas Just Keep On Coming!

The more I think about it the more ideas keep popping into my head.  Think about it just for a second. It's Christmas time, the time of the year we make most of our deliveries to our clients. Why not have our delivery boxes reflect that joyful time of year.

Maybe we're offering a baby promotion in the Springtime. Once again we could create art that could be printed on our delivery boxes that could feature some of the other photo products that our clients could purchase in addition to their original order.

Wildcat - more boxes

The list of ideas can go on and on. If we’re delivering boxes in the Springtime for a baby promotion maybe that Springtime box could also feature a Fall family portrait promotion as well. I think that because the box is much bigger than any certificate, or ad, or email, the client may receive, it would tend to stay around a while longer because of it’s “bulkiness” sending our promo message to our client for a while longer. As you can see, the more you think about these full-color custom printed boxes, a whole slew of imaginative ideas can come to mind.

What Do You Think?

I'd like to hear from our DPT readers about what they think about this idea. If we get 20 or more suggestions, I'll give Brian a call at Wildcat and see if we can't get a complementary starter set of boxes for the person who submits the best idea. Anyway, why not put on your thinking caps, get your creative juices flowing, and submit some your best ideas for how we might be able to use this wonderful new, one-of-a-kind product in our photography business. Let’s get busy ;~)

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Hey gang that's it for me today. Have a great rest of the day and I'll see you in Washington, D.C. tomorrow.

P.S. Oh I forgot to tell you I'll be picking up my brand-new Canon 5D Mark III later on this evening. I can't wait to get my hands on it and check out the new features. I'll also be picking up a brand-new lens too but I'm not going to tell you which one it is until I have a chance to shoot with it at my Wedding Shootout tomorrow. I'll feature couple of images from the new lens on Monday. Be sure to tune and you won't want to miss it.

Any guesses on which lens it is? See ya’ on Monday.

Adios, David

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