PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TUTORIALS FROM HURRICANE IMAGES INC.
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Going Pro: Mastering the Marketing Language

I am not a master of marketing language.  I am an ardent student with a few powerful tools.  Plenty-o-folks have done this for longer, better, and more quickly than me.  But there aren't a lot of marketing resources that are written specifically for videographers and photographers.  Sure, the basic principles apply, but it's a difficult skill to learn, especially if you have to translate from one industry to another.  It's easy to understand the marketing concept that "Tide laundry detergent doesn't sell soap, they sell clean fresh clothes," but how does that translate to me?  I don't sell pictures I sell memories?  I think I just threw up in my mouth a little-- and I expect the reader has as well.

This post is a look at how to transliterate your unique characteristics (identified earlier) into compelling marketing language.  It builds off of the foundation of things that we've already discussed: identifying your client population (or niche), and identifying those unique characteristics.  Those characteristics, however, are about you. Marketing language is about them.  And that's the most important key to mastering the language.  The goal is to speak to their needs, their goals, and their concerns.  Visit their website:  Tide doesn't just sell bright-fresh-clean clothes, they sell convenience, they sell environmental responsibility.  Those are the needs, desires, and concerns of their buyers.

A common marketer's tool is a three-step spreadsheet that goes from product characteristic to brand tone to brand languageBrand Language, in this case, isn't just the words but the concepts and structure.  By concept and structure I'm referring to things like testimonials, statistics, bullet points, and images.  Since we're selling a combined product/service, I've tweaked my categories to be Brand Attribute, Brand Tone, and Looks Like.  (Just to be 100% clear, "brand attributes" are your unique characteristics.) For example, you want to project an image of your company as "vibrant."  What does does vibrant feel like?  What's the tone?  It can feel like many things, but you want customers to see you as positive, motivated, and inclusive.  That's your brand tone.  But you don't want to say, "we're a positive, motivated, and inclusive team."  You want them to feel those attributes when they visit your website.  So what do they look like?  Fun, original adjectives.  International examples.

There's how the model looks in action:


So let's go back to that sickly idea of "selling memories."  Tide doesn't just say that they sell fresh clothes, they use words and concepts to convey that idea without having to be so direct.  You can convey the idea of selling memories by "capturing that special day" (weddings) or "documenting the moment" (events) or "they change so quickly" (baby).  Or more broadly-- "pictures you'll cherish for a lifetime."

Next post:  Put these skills to use on your website.

Just joining us?  You can read about the beginning of the journey here

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