A good friend of mine, Kate Borgelt, owns a photography business called, not surprisingly, Kate Borgelt Photography. She sought my advice on several business issues during her start-up phase, so I have more than a passing interest in what is now a successful business (and no, this is not me taking even a morsel of credit). There are parallels between her efforts to establish a brand for KBP and my efforts to establish a brand for my career.
- Know your brand and reinforce it in everything you do. KBP’s brand is high-end photography that captures memories and emotions to be treasured for several lifetimes. She has a tagline on her website that says “blink and this moment is gone,” underneath a heartwarming photo of a father holding his sleeping baby. Having recently become a father myself, the tagline hit home. My son does something photo-worthy almost everyday and, despite my fancy iPhone camera, I’m unable to capture the moment 99% of the time! Kate can and she knows it. It’s obvious when you browse her portfolio, even more obvious when you read her blog. The quality of her service, her ability to create and catch cherished moments, comes through very clearly.
- Align your product/service with your target. KBP provides the kind of high-end family photography that is several notches up from getting portraits done at a department store. As a result, Kate looks for clients that see the value of her brand. They need to see a photography session as more than a simple transaction to produce a Christmas card. It’s a recording of family history, a customized experience that will be treasured for generations. Her pricing structure reflects this and she’s been good about not discounting her product because she knows that it just discounts her value. She cultivates her clientele through her website and blog, but also through Facebook (where she’s currently running a very cool contest). Not surprisingly, KBP’s repeat business is high and referrals are her best source of new clients – a testament to both the strength of her brand and the quality of her service.
With any luck, my job search will soon be as successful as her photography business. Actually, I think I can speak for both of us when I say that luck will have little to do with it – we’re both working hard to establish our brands!
PS – We hired Kate to do our newborn shoot and she caught this special moment with our son, Taggart. We love the effect of the morning sun streaming in behind him, and that he appears to be waving hello. Needless to say, we’ve already booked his one-year old shoot with Kate!