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Build a Solid Brand

Lesson 40 from: Building Your Photography Business for under $3,000

Kathy Holcombe

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Lesson Info

40. Build a Solid Brand

Lesson Info

Build a Solid Brand

Logo and logo lockups, what are these things? So a logo can be, you guys have seen the Nike swoosh and the Macy star and the Target bullseye, these are logos that we're all familiar with. There have been millions of dollars invested so that we recognize these symbols in afflation with those brands. These are things, as small business owners, that we don't have the capital to do. So for a small business logo, it needs to be the name of your business and it needs to be easy to identify. Now if you want to make some kind of unique signature that goes on your images that is uniquely you, that is your logo, that would be a logo lockup and it might be a little bit different shape than that two and a quarter to one of your main logo but it needs to have the same colors, it needs to have the same feel, and it needs to support that main logo that you've designed. So I often think about that whenever you're talking about manufacturers of clothing, for example, so they may have a big banner logo ...

and then they may have something different that they put right here on an article of clothing or on the pocket and so that's what those logo lockups are and they just need to be a little bit different shape but they need to be easily identifiable and really back to that main logo. Does that make sense? So print signature for a photographer is the one that makes the most sense or if you need to, for whatever reason, have a vertical ad instead, you might need to have some kind of vertical logo layout that compliments and goes back to your primary logo. That's what a logo lockup is. Okay, you need to keep your colors and fonts consistent. When I was playing around with prices all the time and changing, I was also playing around with our fonts all the time and it didn't do anything to support my business, it was fun and it was creative but it didn't help me establish a brand at all. Choose one and stick to it. You will hate it eventually, you're gonna look at it and you're gonna be like oh, why did I do that? But consistency is key. So, most logos have some kind of tagline or keywords, most brands have a tagline or keywords, Just Do It comes to mind, the Nike tagline, so, inspiring adventure family style, it's those three keywords that kind of emanate what we do so you need to, remember when we talked about the sifter, you put all the words that describe your business, you put it in the sifter, and the unimportant ones will fall through and the really important ones will stay inside and they'll keep coming back again and again and again? Those are the words that you need to have in your tagline and your keywords that you use for social media, you use for ads, you use when you talk to your clients, they're the words that you say again and again and again. For our business it's inspiration and adventure. They come back over and over and over. So any time you're doing anything with your business, these need to be in your forethoughts. The same thing with your imagery. Is there a key image, if you had to choose one image, what would it be? And use that for the year. So, for Famagogo, it's us standing in front of the tee tons in Wyoming, on top of the RV, with our arms above our head like this. We've used it really effectively for a year. That was part of this campaign. We'll have another image that comes out over the next year. So anytime we did anything in the public, that was the image that we used. We'll have a new one that has the same feel, probably similar color tones, but it'll be a little bit different. Maybe we won't be standing on the roof, maybe there'll be different mountains in the background but you can bet there'll be mountains, an RV, and the three of us in the image. So, as you think about how you communicate with the world, no matter what it is, in person, online, and printed materials, on the phone, these things have to be consistent. And when you do that enough, the people that you're talking to will start to recognize those as you and that's when you start to have a brand. So it's really hard to think of our business with a personality but you have to start putting this together, so it's almost like you play pretend, you think of your brand as a person and then you can start putting values behind that person, so what does your brand stand for? What does it mean? For us it's adventure, it's family, it's inspiration and beautiful images, that's what our brand is. What are our values? Getting outside, spending time together as a family, protecting our favorite places, that's our values. What is the character of our business? Vivacious, fun, vibrant, exploratory. So if you had to describe the personality of your business, what would it be? So, here is something for all of you pet lovers out there. I'm sure I am probably the only person in the world that does this but my dog has an amazing personality. This morning we were out for a walk in the city and he was a city dog which is unusual for him and he was prancing around and we had this conversation as we were walking down the street. I'm sure none of you ever have given your pets a personality, right? Well, you have to think of your business the same way. We completely project a personality onto our pets, we can do the same thing, we can project a personality onto our business. Think of it the same way. Give it a voice. What does it sound like? What does it think about? Is your business funny? Is it serious? Does it sing in the shower? I mean, what is it about your business? This is your time to give your business a personality. We've all done it in different context for things that don't necessarily really have a personality and so now it's time to apply that creativity to our business. So, your brand, what's driving your business? Why is it you do what you wanna do? Why are you doing this? We've had so many questions, is this the right business for me? What's driving your business? Do you love to capture those amazing moments for your clients? Are you passionate about putting people in extraordinary environments? Do you love to sculpt and shape things so that people can see the world that you do the same way that you do? What is it that's driving your business? Why does it exist? Is it because you care about people and you want them to remember the really important stuff in life? What's your driving principle? What's your purpose? Who do you serve? Who are your people? You can look to your brand heroes to give you some of this information, so what are the brands that you really connect with? One of the ones that I think is relevant to photographers, think of those commercials that Apple had not too long ago with the guy in jeans that was talking to the guy in the suit, do you guys remember those? That was a pivotal moment for Apple when they stood aside as the cool guy, the playful guy, the guy you really wanted to be around instead of the guy that was standing here in the suit like this that kind of looked like a goon, right? That was when Apple really had this amazing brand development, you're like, yeah, I want that computer, I wanna be around that guy. So, how can you communicate your businesses personality with your consumers? What is it that you can do so that they're like, I wanna be with that guy, right? How can you say that? Who are your brand heroes? Look to them for inspiration. So a lot of our brand heroes, I didn't even know how important Made in the USA was until I started working with companies that are proudly made in the USA and they work really hard to make sure not a single thing that they produce comes from outside the US and when I realized how hard that is in manufacturing, all of a sudden I was like yeah, I wanna do that too, I wanna build jobs here in the USA, I want that to be part of my business so any time I can get a product made in the USA, I'm gonna do it. And that was because of my brand heroes. When I looked at them, I was like, you guys are doing the right thing and it costs a little bit more but that's a great thing to do. When I look at some of my other brand heroes, 1% for the planet, have you guys ever heard that? They're people that invest in environmental causes to change things, things that are important to me. So, I wanna look to those companies as role models that I can emulate so that I can make my company make a difference. So, look to your brand heroes, what are brands that you connect with and how can you emulate what you're doing so that you can best serve your clients? Your goal, if you do this right, is to make long-term relationships with everyone. You wanna have long-term relationships with your clients, you want them to come back to you again and again and again, you want to build relationships with similar businesses that you can collaborate with over the long haul, so those boutiques, those organizations that do what you believe in, if you can build relationships with those guys and anybody else that you connect with over the long haul, you're building your target audience base. And when you have a really broad base of people that know who you are and know what you do and love what you do, it's really easy to book 100 sessions a year. Even 200, 500 sessions a year, whatever it is you need for your business. But if they don't know who you are and you don't have those long-term relationships, it's almost impossible to get 100 people through the door. So, treat your connections like friends and family and build those long-term relationships. Keep your message fresh but consistent. So maybe the types of adventures that my family goes on will change over the long haul as I get older and don't wanna carry 100 pounds of gear up a mountain, my brand might change a little bit as my daughter goes onto other adventures on her own, my family adventure will probably change. The same thing, it will be consistent because my images will be similar, we'll still be outside, we'll still be going on adventures, they may not be as extreme as the adventures that we're on right now, so we'll have consistency but maybe we'll be targeting an older audience at that point and talking about people, how they can continue to get outside even as their knees don't work and things like that. So, consistent message but a different message as well, consistent but fresh. Always be true to your values. If you're talking about something, an idea or whatever it is, it doesn't ring true in your heart or something tingles in your head and you're like hmmm, I have a question about that, it probably is outside of your brand or outside of your values and listen to that voice. It's important. It's a driving force in your business, that's your conscience usually. So make sure that you're true to your values. And then as we talked about earlier, carve out your own distinctive identity. This is when you can soar so quickly in business. It's just like when FedEx said we're not just delivering packages, we're over nighting packages, that was their niche. It was just like when we said we're not just photographing families, we're photographing our family doing extraordinary things, nobody was doing that. So think about what your distinctive identity is, look at your competition, see if there's a gap somewhere that you can serve that's not being served in your community. But the main thing is be bold. Be daring, be innovative. Here's the thing, you guys have 3,000 dollars invested in it, in this business. If you've lost all 3,000 dollars, is it the end of the world? Will you die? It'll hurt but it's not the end of the world, right? You can get 3,000 dollars back. But you can't get back time that you've invested in something that you don't believe in and something that you don't enjoy doing and so take risks in this business. Be bold, be daring, and most importantly, be innovative, don't just do what other people are doing, do what makes your heart sing. It's super important.

Class Materials

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Product Development Guide
Marketing Plan
Price Calculator Guide
Website Guidlines
Business Plan

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Ratings and Reviews

Amanda Beck

Kathy was a wonderful instructor. She was engaging and someone who was precise and incredibly helpful. We have a full time photography business and are always looking for new ways of running our business. Her information was insightful and forced us to have conversations about our business that we have haven't had in several years. She is fantastic and someone who has the information needed to help you start or expand your business. Thank you for a wonderful class!!


Thank you Kathy for yet again another very thought provoking class. You are such an inspiration, teaching us the right questions to ask ourselves so we too can be brilliant photographers / entrepreneurs. I was a fulltime RVer for seven years, traversing 44 states and seeing some of the most beautiful places on our planet. It gave me a great opportunity to meet some extraordinary people and to hone my photography skills. Now I have put down roots in Stapleton - Denver, CO and am soon to launch my own Family Lifestyle Photography business. Your course has definitely given me the courage to just charge ahead and go for it!

Jeph DeLorme

Another top notch production from the amazing team at Creative Live! Kathy Holcombe, aka FAMAGOGO did a great job of covering all the basics along with the associated costs involved in starting up a photography business. However, you don't need to be a beginner to get great info from this class, it's packed with ideas and tips that even an experienced pro can put to work and take to the bank literally the next day. I highly recommend this class.

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