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Michelle Loretta

November 9th, 2010

What is Branding?

Posted by Michelle Loretta

Many people think that branding is a logo, a website, and some stationery.  In actuality, branding is the feeling that people have when they come into contact with your business.  It is a combination of your company’s mission statement, core values, principles, philosophies, and reputation.  Your branding identity – the logo, website, etc. – is the imagery that represents your brand.  Branding identity can have a very powerful impact on the emotion of your customers and potential customers.

First Things First

When we are defining our company’s branding identity, we often create a design based on our preferences.  We like red and such our identity becomes a red logo.  Or, the trend color is turquoise and the website becomes turquoise.  The problem with creating branding identity based on these preferences is that it is built on the surface of a business.  This type of identity doesn’t represent what runs deep in our business.

Building Your Brand

Want to build a strong brand that best represents your business?  Sit down and define the following:

  • What is your mission statement?
  • Who are you?  What is your business about?
  • What are you values and your company’s values?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What is your specialty?

From here, work to define the identity that will draw people to your company.  Powerful identity will work to link the customer’s eye with your business inside and out.

Go Beyond Branding Identity

Branding is so much more than your logo, website, and stationery.  It is in the way you answer the phone, the way you dress for a meeting, the way you present your porfolio.  Branding that is carried through all aspects of your business will create a consistent experience for your customer.  It is this consistent experience that makes your brand strong.  These factors are what makes a brand become instantly recognizable and highly valuable.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on mission statements, values, and branding.

September 16th, 2010

Selling Relationships

Posted by Michelle Loretta

It’s hard to pass up on buying new gear, new equipment.  There is always something cool and cutting edge out there.  And, we feel compelled to keep up with our competition.  We hope this will improve our work, give us something unique to offer the client.  So, we purchase and run with it…. Only for a few months… Until the next big thing.

Guess what?

The client could care less.  Sure – they want quality and they want delivery.  But ultimately, there is only ONE thing the client cares about: YOU!

The client wants to know that you are listening and want to meet his or her needs.

The client wants a RELATIONSHIP.

We all want this.  We all want to know that whomever we hire for whatever we need is listening to what we say.  We take our car to the mechanic.  Do we care what tool he is using to fix the thinga-majigger?  Nope.  All we care about is that he is listening to our needs.  We care that he is trustworthy and dependable and is quoting us a fair price for the work done.  We want to know that he is looking out for our best interest.  I had a mechanic like this when I lived in LA.  I still dream of driving my broken down car 3000 miles cross-country just to have John do the repairs.  Why?  Because I know he listened to me.  And, I trusted him.  And, I liked the guy.  I wanted (and still want) to do business with John.

When you stop to think about this, the client’s needs are quite simple.  The client wants a relationship with YOU.  Sure, your work will impress him.  You bet that she’ll want to know you can deliver.  But ultimately this all boils down to WHO YOU ARE.  Are you listening to him?  Are you helping them?  Are you kind?  Are you trustworthy?  Are you fun?

We are in the business of selling relationship, nothing more.

Wanna learn more?  Visit Sage Wedding Pros’ blog for more on sales to the wedding and event industries.

I don’t care if you’ve been in business for 2 months or 20 years; this is something that is always of concern to small business owners.  And, for those people who feel comfortable in their pricing, it is a short-lived comfort.  Pricing must always be examined and re-examined.

Photo courtesy of Laurel McConnell Photography

Are you priced appropriately?

Take a look at the following factors and consider how they impact your pricing:

  • the median price of photography in your region and target market
  • your specialty, your niche
  • the value that you bring to the client
  • your education, your experience, and your on-going training
  • your artistry and talent

But, in the photography world there is one major component of pricing that is often forgotten: YOU. What about your TIME, your LABOR?

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