When it comes to developing your photography. brand, it’s important to understand the difference between a corporate image and positioning. In the guide below, I’ll be diving into the components of a brand.

What is a brand?

A brand consists of two parts, your corporate image and your positioning within the market.

You need to have a strong understanding of both in order to build a successful brand.

Photo by Kaboompics from Pexels

Without a strong corporate image, you can struggle building a strong brand.

Without an understanding of your positioning, you can struggle defining your brand within the competitive landscape.

What is corporate image?

A corporate image is the perception of a business or individual in people’s minds. Notice how I mentioned the “perception.”

There is a difference between perception and reality. As business owners and marketers of our own businesses, we can take far greater control over the perception of our business through a proven marketing framework and strategy.

Difference between perception and reality

Are you still confused about the difference between perception and reality? Here is an example — have you heard your voice on a recording before and thought you sounded weird?

There is a chance you had a different perception of what your voice sounded like, compared to how it actually sounds in reality.

Or, in business, let’s say you are in a shoe store and you see two identical shoes, made of the same quality, priced the same. They are made from two different businesses but you don’t know the names. Since they look identical and are priced the same, you will most likely examine them both, and just pick the one that may be less scuffed up.

Take that same example — two identical shoes, made of the same quality, priced the same, but now one is a Nike shoe and the other is made by “Jim’s Shoes” (sorry Jim).

Which one would you most likely go with now?

Most will say Nike. Why is that? Because the perception of Nike’s brand is strong through years of successful marketing and branding.

Photo by c1n3ma from Pexels

At the end of the day, they are still the exact same shoe. Same quality of material, same price, etc. Yet most perceive the Nike shoe to be superior despite the shoes being the same.

That is the power of marketing and the effect that “branding” can have on your corporate image and a consumer’s purchase decision.

Now that we’ve covered corporate image, which is the perception of a business in people’s minds, let’s dive into “positioning.”

What is positioning?

Positioning involves the identification of a target audience and filling an unfilled need that they have with your product or service.

It’s best to think of it with the analogy of a lock and key. The lock would be your target audience which has the unfilled need. The key would be your product or service that will “fill” their need.

Photo by PhotoMIX Company from Pexels

So what does this look like with a real life example?

First, the photographer needs to identify their target audience. Using me as an example, most of my target audience is people looking for lifestyle photos/portraits for social media use. Using the analogy above, this audience would be the “lock.”

The “key” would be my photography services — the specific editing, posting and photo exporting methods I use to be optimized for social media.

How do you position yourself successfully?

This is a question and goal that marketers across the world strive to do everyday for their business/

In order to position yourself successfully among the competition, you need to have an understanding of the whole marketing framework and the other components that go into marketing outside of the brand, such as pricing, placement, promotion and your product.

Final remarks

So in a recap, what is your brand? A brand consists of your corporate image and positioning within the market. Your corporate image is the perception of your business in people’s minds and your positioning is the image of your product/service that fills your target audience’s unfilled needs.

People often talk about “brand” without understanding the two components that make up a brand.

Marketing and understanding these concepts are a lifetime practice, my goal is for you to think about these concepts and see how it applies to your current photography business.

Do you have a strong corporate image or position strategy in place yet? If not, start strategizing and thinking about these concepts for 2021.