Branding Your Business

You came up with a great name for your photography business and now it’s time to think about your brand. Well, first off, just what is a brand anyway? Let’s take the old cowboy western approach as our first example.

The hot branding iron is pulled from the fire and the hog-tied steer is subjected to application of that hot iron to its hide. Ouch! He is released and immediately jumps up and runs back to the herd, but now, anyone who looks at the newly burned-in design knows, without doubt, that this particular steer belongs to the Circle C ranch. Or, maybe it’s a bit more complicated like the Double Bar A brand as illustrated in the attached graphic. Easily, these brands define what steer belongs to what herd and what ranch.

Another type is the identity brand and it might not even have a name, but the name is implied. Do you own an Apple device? Then I’m sure that when you see the iconic apple silhouette with stem, leaf and one byte (pun intended) taken out of the right side, you immediately know what company we’re talking about.

But Apple is not just a cool logo. It is a way of recognizing quality and service and a unique sales approach. Who’d-a-thunk that you’d have to call the store to make an appointment to purchase or service their product? It is revolutionary, to say the least, and yet customers jump at the chance to get in line for the latest Apple product.  

Notice how the computer/iPhone/iPad/iWatch public anxiously awaits to see what new and improved device is going to be announced so that they can lay out their hard-earned dollars to wear that device on their wrist. Star Trek aficionados take note: When do you think Apple will come out with a “beam me up, Scotty” app for your electronic devices that will bring the future of travel to you?

A guest approached me at a wedding that I was photographing and asked for my name and business card, and then he said,

“I want to hire you to photograph my daughter’s wedding.”

“Would you like to come to my studio to see my offerings?” I asked.

“No,” he responded, “I know I want you for my daughter’s wedding because I like the way you work.”

Ultimately, I was hired because of my style (brand) of photography and this father of a future bride had not even seen a single photograph.

Branding is not just about your photography; it is also about you, your philosophy, your personality, your appearance and how you dress and conduct yourself. Decide as exactly as you can how, what, and why you are in business and how you want people to think about you. That is your brand and it is what sets you apart from the competition.