Don’t Be A Commodity, Create A Monopoly Of You….
So on September 5th, we’ve got Laura Babb presenting a webinar all about creating intangible value to set yourself apart from your competition, and it’s got us thinking. Before we hear and take action on what Babb will teach us on September 5th, what are we already doing to differentiate ourselves beyond price and ‘quality’?
The way I see it, the ‘holy grail’ of business is having a monopoly over the market, but how is that applicable in wedding photography? By monopoly, I don’t mean you literally have ownership and control of all of the players, I mean that your business cannot simply be replaced by another. If a client wants to book you, they have to book YOU and not the cheaper/better you around the corner. So what I’m getting at is that you cannot be directly comparable to your competition, because if you are directly comparable, you’re a commodity, fighting only on the tangible (price, hours worked, numbers delivered). So how do we stop that?
It’s natural to take influence from trends in wedding photography, whether that be a trend in composition (small couple, big space), processing (film colouring), or branding (artesian/hand-drawn), and to be honest, it’s healthy too; you want potential clients to have an instant familiarity to what they’re expecting to see – it’s what will keep them looking and finding out more about your offering. You can take this too far though, you don’t want to be an on-trend cliche! So you’re in-vogue, you’ve caught their attention, it’s time to step into the world of intangible value!
Ultimately we’re not selling ‘stuff’, we don’t have a product that we can reel off a list of objective features of, I mean you could; £1850, 500 images, 10 hours coverage, but that would be productising and commoditising yourself, and that would be a terrible idea, as again, it’s too tangible and comparable. That stuff is important, but it’s the small print, it’s the follow-up conversation, it’s not the pitch. Think about some of the top dogs in this industry, the big guns, is their exact price on their website? Is an exhaustive and uninspiring list of ‘what is included’? Generally not, and to sum up the general tone of those who are nailing it is ‘Have you connected with my story? Let’s chat more’.
So we need to stop selling ’stuff’ and start selling ‘connections’; tell a story, a story about the value you’re going to offer which resonates with those who you want to sell to. A potential client can’t then as easily go, “Okay so I’ve got a connection with this wedding photographer, their imagery, tone, branding and story resonates will me, my values and aspirations – now let me compare that to my connection with X” – Not so easy, right?!
That’s just my 2 cents on the topic before Laura Babb enlightens us on the first Wednesday of September (the 5th), if you haven’t already, sign up to attend for free here.
Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez