The change is 'buy' not 'sell' (not the internet specifically)

Started Feb 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP PenguinPhotoCo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,284
Re: is that a valid test? I think not

Jeff Seltzer wrote:

PenguinPhotoCo wrote:

90% of consumers CAN"T differentiate. And that's beside the point anyway. 90% of consumers have never head of me, or you, or anyother photog on this forum.

For someone so obsessed with stats, it's disappointing to read stats you apparently just make-up. However, my point is simply that until you develop a style that's different than your competitor's,  it will be more difficult to create a strong brand. And, I bet if If took one of PDN's "30 to watch" portraits/wedding photos and put it among, say, your photos, they *could* tell the difference.

Sure, compare the trendy best with the rest of us. Again, that's like comparing an NFL player to the family in the backyard on thankgsgiving. YOU are not one of those 30 and neither am I. I bet nobody on this forum is either. I'd also wager that none of us here compete with any of those 30 either.

As for weddings photography...I've never heard any photog described in any way. In the consumers mind there IS NO DIFFERENCE. this is why soccer moms can shoot weddings and there is strong downward price pressure in this segment.

Wow. Really? Hard to believe. So, in your mind, consumers really do think all wedding photography is the same in terms of the actual product? I guess here in L.A. the market is really different.

Nope.  "I like your pictures" is what you'll hear from everyone that books you. But ask WHY they like your pictures and see what they say. I bet it's not the things you strive for...accurate color, or shallow DOF of posing.

See, you're implying QUALITY MATTERS. And while it is a factor if QUALITY was THE thing then no crap photog would ever get a job. And we know that's not the case. So no, consumers are NOT good judges of image quality.

It's a MATTER OF OPINION. Who makes the best milkshake or hamburger or chicken wings? It's subjective. All the 'experts' say eat your steak rare - but few people like rare steak.

But you can be the best in every category, have a strong brand - but if the market doesn't know you you cannot make a go of it. Period. I"m sure I'm better than many photogs in cleveland or Boise but i've not gotten any customers from either place.

You can't have a strong brand without awareness. Awareness is a component of a strong brand.

No. Separate things.
You could come up with a great brand from scratch - it's done all the time - THEN you advertise it. So you CAN have a brand and nobody would be aware of it.

Brand is a term to describe mission statement, price point, service level, target market, etc. it encompasses your colors, logo, packaging, etc.

A strong brand is focused. Lots of businesses market with out much of a brand or confuse the hell out the market with their brand.

Good brand - Tide. You know it is laundry soap - and nothing else.
Crap brand - Heinz...ketchup, mayo, pickles, soup, baby food, TGIFridays restaurants... Even on their website it says "Heinz means different things to different people"
Awareness? Heinz beats Tide IMO.

So yes, while 'brand' has value it's very small compared to being known. Get known. THEN get known for something.

Low awareness is one reason your brand has low value. Lack of product attributes that easily differentiated and articulated by consumers is another reason.

I can't afford the kind of marketing/advertising it would take to raise my brand awareness - none of us can.
I'm competing against companies that have school contracts and been around 30 years. They've been 'household' names since the grandparents were getting pictures taken.

Everyone knows them and here loyalty works well. Over 50% of my seniors are from folks that moved here form someplace else - didn't grow up here. I find that statistic intersting. Another large majoity of seniors are 'cyber' or homeschooled kids - those not marketed to by the school photographer.
What I'm seeing as a bit of trend is lifetouch has taken several schools here and I"m seeing more and more seniors from these schools. Local photogs used to have the schools and get the seniors. the market is opening up some.

Are you hungry comes before 'i want pizza' or ' i'm hungry a burger'.

No idea what your are taking about??

A parent/kid decides they need senior pictures. they don't decide they need seltzer pictures. Need first, brand second.

So they need pictures. Usually a photog's name will pop into their heads and that's that. Like you and your wife say 'lets go out to dinner' - THEN one of you says "i feel like pizza" and 90% of the time you'll go the same pizza place you always go to. If a new one has opened you might go there and try them, but most of us are creatures of habit. You go where you went before.

You're not going to google 'pizza'. Not unless you're new to town.

You might have gotten a coupon in the mail and go there (marketing at work!!)

If I were to take flight someplace do I care which airline? I'm sure THEY feel they have strong brands. How about hotels? reviews and location mean more to me than 'brand attributes'. Dinner? I want a burger, or I want to sit and be served - or I don't want the kids to whine - or maybe I want a beer with dinner. Rarely if ever does the discussion go beyond that.

Funny, you write as if you know what you are talking about. But, you clearly don't. How often do you personally fly on business? I fly at least 10-20 times a year. I fly Virgin America (just ranked top airline, by the way), for very specific reasons that are easy to talk about. Others prefer Southwest, another top-rated airline, again for specific reasons. I stay at the W or Sophitel whenever possible - again, based on specific reasons. Airlines and hotels spend millions of dollars building strong brands.

I don't fly. So to me ALL airlines are the same. So cheap or fewer stops are more important than 'brand'.

Why would OUR customers be any different? How many times does one get senior pictures or wedding pictures? Once in a lifetime, maybe if there are many kids in a family they'll do it a few times.

What's the difference between Days Inn, motel 6, super 8 and travelodge? I've stayed at all of them and most days inn take pets. I've stayed at Hyatts also. I've paid $50 to $150 for each "brand" and have yet to find much of anything 'teh same' between any of them. Some are nice, some run down, some have fridges and some do not (in each brand).
I'd never consider staying at "w' or 'sophitel' as i've never heard of them...betty's beds might be just as good for all I know.

Awareness first - THEN brand. You can have all sorts of reasons for me to choose you over everyone else, but I don't know you then it won't matter. Part of your message of course is WHY you are better - your brand message.

But with airlines  (haven't flown myself in 43 years, my wife a couple of times in the past few years) or hotels (stay about 6 nights 3 - 4 times a year in various cities) I couldn't tell you what 'brand' means. I know a holiday inn is 'fancier' than a motel 6, or a westin is above either. I can also tell you I don't spend my time IN the hotels so what do I care? Same for an airline - should I need to fly on time and don't lose my luggage are more important than their corp colors or free peanuts.

Yes, you need a 'reason to exist' in the marketplace - the 'why you over all others'. But that alone won't do anything for you. I have lots of 'why me' reasons - real, concrete, valid differentians from the competition. But unless I get the word out it matters not.

A good logo is better than a bad one. But a logo that nobody ever sees isn't a logo at all.

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