Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Differentiation: What's YOUR Brand?

I found myself this past summer and fall immersed in numerous books about brands; that is "branding" my photography business.  A long term advocate of building one's brand I felt however that I was missing the mark and I wasn't getting my message across.  Forget about the logo, trademark, slogan or tagline, I had lost my vision and needed to return to basics once again. My ability to spread my creative endeavors across multiple photographic specialities was diluting my brand so nothing stood out.  This resulted in the inability to have a good "elevator speech"; the quick version of what it is exactly I did and offered.

Ultimately it's been proven that successful brands are more than just product, they are the emotional connection that engages the audience and promotes loyalty.  Cultivating words of wisdom from these several books I gradually narrowed my focus that led me to clearly re-define my specialization or core competency.  This all came about by some fairly simple questions:

@2014, Joanne Scherf

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What differentiates you from everyone else?
  4. Why does it matter?

Although it sounds counterintuitive, narrowing one's focus does not narrow the opportunity.  This tunnel vision identified exactly what I do, what's different and why people want it.  Other than reflection, I went to my Google Analytics and stats acquired from my website, Facebook business page and sales inventory to establish what people were connecting with and ultimately purchasing.  The combination of inner reflection about what I enjoy capturing and creating, plus the hard stats of undeniable numbers that clearly identified my "best sellers" in both "click-on" hits and cash sales I was able to define my exact niche.  

So basically I re-discovered and focused my specialty: Contemplative and metaphorical landscape photography for healing, meditation and hospitality environments.  My images explore the possibilities, engage the soul and escape reality; they are images that transcend. I provide personalized customer service with in-home and business-site consultations that includes image installation, interior art consulting and image rental services.

@2014, Joanne Scherf
So I now begin the year with a clear vision and narrowly defined focus.  I feel confident that I have a true "elevator speech" at the ready when the opportunity arises to explain exactly "what kind of photographer I am".  Word of warning....this simplistic post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to branding.  There's far more homework to be done, but this is a huge first step to your brand identity.  

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