One of the first things we advise our clients to do at the beginning of a re-brand is to hibernate from your friends, family and colleagues until you emerge essentially fully transformed. Why?
Because people are funny.
People that love you and know you want you to succeed, but they don’t want you to change. They will give you well meaning, but ultimately bad advice that won’t help you one bit on your journey to level up your game and career.
A photography business re-brand requires a change. People don’t like change.
Re-branding requires a stripping down and re-building up. It’s really hard to do that with people that already know and love you. You will hold back. You will fall back on old well worn habits and patterns that got you here in the first place. You will not have a breakthrough that you need and deserve.
A re-brand requires a pivot. In some cases a small pivot measured in inches and nudges…but in other cases a huge, monumental lurch forward into a completely different direction.
Friends and family won’t give you the kick in the pants you will need to break through.
My niece is a competitive swimmer and she is showing some real natural ability in the sport. Her coaches know she has to break from her comfortable division where all her friends are in order to push through the next to the level. But of course her friends don’t want her to move up. They like her where she is. They love her of course, but don’t really want her to change. So they should not be consulted. Only her expert coaches have the objectivity to give her the best advice. Whether she takes it or not is up to her.
It’s the same for your photography business.
Your clients opinions, and the advice from objective experts are the ONLY opinions that matter.
Two examples of past clients seeking advice in the wrong places:
- I had a client that kept asking her husband and mother to choose the best photos to go on her website. They were not experts in her field, so they gave her bad advice. There is some trust involved when you a hire an expert - and ultimately, you are paying us to be in the room with you, so take our advice.
- I had another client who kept asking her photography owner friends to critique her website. This might not be the best idea because she was just entering the echo chamber where the same old advice and industry mistakes we’ve seen 1000 times goes round and round and nothing changes.
This is a mistake I see over and over again. But the answer is easy.
Set the bar ever higher.
Leave your friends, family, and colleagues out of the mix.
Seek out the best advice from experts who will not just tell you what you want to hear.
It’s hard work to do a transformative re-brand. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. You are not everyone.
Finally - talk to your customers. They will “listen.” You will know the sound of them talking back to you too - it’s either Cha-Ching or crickets.