Do you know the difference between branding and marketing? If I posted the question on Facebook, I would get some answers that were spot on, some that were a little confused, and some would just say something to the effect that branding is your logo. It can get confusing.
Let's tackle marketing first because it's the easiest to understand. It's more straight forward.
Marketing is how to reach your people. It's what you do to reach your people. The actions you take to keep your people engaged. Marketing is your message. Newsletters, social media campaigns, your printed materials....that's marketing (very simplified marketing). Your logo and business cards? That's not branding. Those are marketing materials!
Marketing is easier to control. You are consciously putting things out there in front of clients or potential clients in hopes of getting their business. Branding is harder to control because we sometimes don't fully understand all that it encompasses.
So then, what is branding. Branding is you. Is your work. It's every word you write, every image you choose to post. Every complaint you write on your personal Facebook page is a part of your brand. I'll let that soak in for a second . . .
Yes. Even your personal page, your personal tweets, your likes on a Donald Trump post or pledged support for Hillary Clinton or vaccinations or Super Bowl controversy, even on your personal page, is a reflection on your brand. Even if you aren't "friends" with your clients! And this is not to say there is anything wrong with any of that. You just need to consider that everything having to do with YOU is a part of your brand.
Consistency is King
Branding is crucial for your business. It's your photographic style. It's the way you present yourself to clients, in person or in correspondence. It should always be consistent. Your BRAND is the foundation. It is how clients are attracted to you, and if it looks different every time you do not have a strong brand. And then those clients will go next door to one of the other thousands of photographers in your area for their next session. Your brand should make your clients FEEL something. They should get the same feeling every time they think about their next session with you. Is your brand funky, modern, and exciting? Your clients will feel excited about the unique images they'll get. Is your brand classic and clean? Your clients might feel a sense of calm knowing they're going to get another classic family portrait for their walls.