WHERE DID BRANDING COME FROM?
Before we dive into brand photography we first need to understand what branding is and isn’t.
Technology has opened up a world. With a click of a button in seconds, we’re able to see endless variations of a similar product or service.
Because of this, your ideal potential client needs a lot more from your business in order to stand out from your competition.
The way to stand out, cut through the noise and be memorable is to build a brand.
Top businesses and companies are already doing this and the ones that aren’t, continue to struggle month to month or worse go out of business.
Brands have been around for as long as you and I can remember. But the way these brands interact with the world has dramatically changed as technology and the influence of social media continues to expand.
In the olden days, a business only needed a catchy slogan, distinct logo, and product or service.
Now due to many reasons, we won’t get into here - consumers are WAY smarter, they CARE way more about where their money is being spent and they WANT to feel something when they engage with our businesses.
While the importance of building a solid brand cannot be stressed enough there are still many companies and small businesses whose marketing strategy does not include the basic fundamentals that create a successful brand.
So today we are getting into branding and one of the most important overlooked parts of building a brand.
WHAT IS BRANDING?
I LOVE BRANDING – seriously the more I learn about it the more it makes so much sense as to why is pivotal for businesses in the 21st century.
But if you’re like most of the world when you start your business you think branding is fonts, colors, and logo, maybe a slogan or tagline.
I did too – the good news is you’re here now and together we’re going to learn what it actually means.
So what is branding if it’s not those things?
This is how I like to think of it.
A Brand is like a person – it has values, ideals, and ways of doing things like speaking, and writing, that guide how it interacts with the world.
Here is where you'll find mission statements or core brand values.
Branding is like a person making acquaintances (brand awareness), building friendships (attracting new clients), and nurturing existing relationships (client experience). It’s a continual process to stay relevant and desired by your dream boat clients.
Brand Identity is like a person’s style that taps into all the senses – look, feel, touch, and even smell impact brand identity. Here is where most businesses start and stop when it comes to their "brand."
They create beautiful fonts, find a great set of colors, get a special logo and call it good.
Fonts, colors, logos, packaging, photos, video, product design, and even smell come into play when creating a brand identity that is memorable and loved.
Seth Godin describes branding as
what people say about you when you are not around
And while we can't control people's perceptions we damn well can try through influence using a branding strategy that’s built on brand elements.
Branding in a nutshell is the perception your ideal client and anyone else has of your business. We can’t control perception but we can influence it by using various elements that come together to build the “BRAND” of a business.
In this post, I’m going to dive into one of those elements - your brand's visual identity but if you want to learn about the others you can read my blog on how to build a brand in five easy steps.
WHAT IS BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY?
Brand photography helps businesses communicate quickly and effectively their personality and essence with unique high-quality professional images.
These types of photos are used to support the brand story and visual identity of the business in their marketing materials, website, or social media. Pretty much any and all places a business shows up.
You’ve heard the saying “an image is worth a thousand words.”
Well, this is true for brands and the images they use. The power and influence of a well-crafted image that conveys a thought, feeling, or emotion cannot be underestimated for small business owners who want to stand out in a sea of similar products or services.
And why are brand photos so freakin important for a business?
Because – there's nothing worse than heading to a website and landing on the home page only to see a stock image. Your client whether they realize it or not is subconsciously picking up that that image is disingenuous and cookie cutter.
If we only have 3 seconds to snag our dream client’s attention do we really want to waste it on a bad stock photo?!
And while you and I have the best of intentions when we use those images, the cost of losing those potential leads are not worth it.
Unfortunately, most businesses have yet to fully grasp the importance photography plays in their branding.
Many businesses either resort to bad stock photography or worse the try taking their own photos only to end up with subpar work and a lot of wasted time that could have been spent more wisely in other areas of the business.
A branding photo shoot guarantees that you'll have images that represent your business as a professional brand.
And the more we can take off our plate of to-dos as business owners THE BETTER!
WHAT TYPES OF BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY EXIST AND WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Branding photography is photography for businesses that do not have a personal brand. Usually, these businesses have employees, they sell products or services that provide their clients with a result of some sort.
Some examples of big businesses that do not have personal brands would be Apple, Grove Collaborative, and Target.
PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY
Personal brand photography is a form of brand photography that highlights the business owner as the main focal point. It showcases an owner's personality, different aspects of their business, and life enabling them to build deeper relationships with their customers through similarities in ways of thinking or lifestyle.
Usually, you’ll see a personal brand in service-based businesses because you’re likely directly working with that person.
Let me be clear, a business can use both or only one. A lot of personal brands sell both products and services. Deciding the right direction for your business comes down to your goals and personality. Some people find it easier to be the face of their business while others do not. There is no right or wrong answer.
Product photography is obviously focused on showcasing the product in a way the communicates the brand. There are a few different types of images you'll find in product photography that we won't get into here but it is as just important for product based business to have high-quality photography as it is for service based businesses.
WHY IS BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY IMPORTANT FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
If you’re still on the fence as to whether to hire a brand photographer or on the importance of visual representations for your business then take it from some of the leading brand experts in the world.
“Among the hallmarks of a charismatic brand are a clear competitive stance, a sense of rectitude, and a dedication to aesthetics. Why aesthetics? Because it’s the language of feeling. And in a society that’s information-rich and time-poor, people value feeling more than information.”
In short brand photography:
effectively communicates without words thoughts, feelings, ideas, and values of the business
builds the like, know, and trust factor
differentiates a business from competitors
creates consistency which in turn builds trust
shows authority as an industry leader
Intangible benefits of brand photography:
confidence because you’re showing up for your business in big ways
relief because you now have high-quality content that feels authentic and unique to you
saves you time and energy you’d spend sourcing high-quality photography
If you're ready to work to book your branding session you've got a few ways to do this. First, figure out your budget. It's important to be realistic and honest with where you're at in your business and your top priorities. Working with a brand photographer is an investment on the low end you can expect to pay $800. This will give you a handful of images you can use on your website. On the high-end, you can expect to pay $3000 - $5000.
Once you know your budget, it's time to find a photographer.
If you're located in Pittsburgh, Philly, or New York City good news I travel to your city for brand shoots.
If you're not located in one of those cities I'll still travel to you we'll just need to add a travel rate to the booking.
Have an insatiable appetite for learning (like myself) and now that you know what brand photography is you want to know more about branding?
Then you’ll want to head to one of the blogs below or you can get your hands on my 3 part mini-series 'what's my brand' that will walk you through three fundamental brand building blocks.