Watching TV the other night I found myself thinking about branding. It was just one of those days when I couldn't get my brain to shut off, but here's what I was thinking. You need to be working to build brand awareness, literally with just about everything you do. There's so much noise in our lives and the challenge becomes how many times you need to have your name in front of your target audience before they remember you.
We all know the lizard from Geico and the duck from Aflac (both a little absent for the last year). Now we've got the hump day camel who obviously dethroned the Burger King...the golden arches of MacDonalds continues to survive...and if you're into any television series you know the music from all your favorites. So, how are you going to get your target audience to remember your name just as well?
It would be the longest blog I'd ever written if I went into all the detail, but here's the short version. You need to weave a web around your target consumers. You need to be in front of your target audience at every opportunity.
1) Direct mail puts you in their mailbox.
2) Advertising gets you into the local papers and magazines.
3) Email blasts and newsletters get you into their computer.
4) Links from everything bring them to your website.
5) Community involvement gets you physically next to them on various projects. This is about you getting to know the people in your community and your neighbors getting to know you.
6) Publicity releases get you into the local paper, magazines and even the mailboxes of opinion leaders in your data base.
7) A great image on a holiday card brings you into their homes at holiday time.
8) Your business card and stationery remind them you're a photographer.
9) Cross-promoting with other non-competing vendors gets you into their heads via association with other business entities in the community.
10) Being active on Facebook and Twitter gets you into their world of social media and makes you more accessible. And while they're relatively new and growing let's not forget Pinterest and Google+.
11) Writing your own blog and keeping it fresh with a consistent presence gives you an opportunity to show off your work, personality and your heart.
12) Editorial gives you an incredible level of exposure and gives your publicity and advertising credibility.
13) Personal contact and simply getting out and introducing yourself to vendors and key people in your community puts you on their radar. As buddy Scott Bourne has repeatedly written, "Own your zipcode!"
While thirteen, for those of you who are superstitious, is supposed to be unlucky. Stay focused on all of the points above and you won't need luck. Thirteen points of contact and ways to reach your target will build your brand, but it takes patience. It also takes consistency and an unwavering dedication to delivering a quality product.
Even more important is your passion for the craft. If you love photography and always shoot with your heart, then you can create images that tug at people's heart strings and word of mouth advertising becomes the mortar between the thirteen bricks above!