Part 2: "Three areas of FOCUS you must master for success."
ONE: You must have CLARITY. Clarity means you must know who you are and what you do and be able to communicate these cornerstone concepts. As much as you need to know what you do, you also need to be able to communicate what you DON’T DO! Have you lost your way?
John Lawlor says this, “Clarity allows passion and purpose to align and become a means to overcoming obstacles and achieving new heights.”
TWO: You must have a STORY! I have said it before but it needs to be repeated again. If you don't tell your story, it is the same as if you had NO STORY!"
It is powerful and helps you create distinction or as we say when we are teaching, it helps you “create gaps.”
Our brains are wired to respond to stories and research shows nothing beats a story when it comes to convincing you of something.
Keith Quesenberry at John Hopkins reviewed over 100 Super Bowl ads to see what the most effective ones had in common. The answer? They all told a story! What’s your story? How are you sharing it?
How do we tell our story?
We have a printed card that we insert into every order plus we have our history displayed by sharing a portrait, hanging on our wall in the camera room, of Tim's granddad when his granddad was 3 years old. That means the portrait is 115+ years old!
We also have it on our website in our Getting to Know Us section. I find that I tend to read that section of anyone's website when I am scanning the internet. I want to catch a glimpse of who the people are. I believe it is a natural instinct to want to know more, so take advantage and include an About Us section on your site.
THREE: You must be distinct.
Do not be a copycat! If you copy somebody, you should realize that you can never reach their height as a copy is never as good as the original. Scott McKain puts it this way, “You can’t outdo McDonalds. They have a corner on that market.”
You must find what is different about what you do and then, DO THAT! Make it your centerpiece. When we first tiptoed out in this area, it was in the black and white Relationship portrait area nearly thirty years ago and it is still what our marketplace knows us for and it is still our bread and butter!
What made this Relationship style so distinctive?
First, they were black and white when everyone else was doing only color portraits. As an industry, color photography was finally here and everyone was running towards it. We ran the other way!
We gravitated to this style as Tim grew up in the darkroom with his dad and learned how to print black and white photography at twelve years old. He knew how to do what many did not and we took advantage of that “distinction” and promoted this in our marketplace. After three years of saturation, it took off like a rocket and we have never looked back.
What else distinguished this style and created a desire for it?
We decided to stop doing the "smile for the camera" type of portrait and instead, tell people's stories. We totally changed our mindset on these and before the session, found out the story we were portraying, not what color they were wearing or what background they liked.
In finding out their story, we found purpose. In finding purpose, we found an entirely new audience that would pay what we asked and travel as far as they needed. We knew we were onto something amazing.
Our challenge became creating a portrait that told their story.
Other distinctions of the Relationship portrait:
In addition, we decided to tightly crop these portraits to create close-ups of faces (even cropping into heads), we put people in shadow (on purpose), we had people close their eyes (on purpose, not a blink) and we re-instituted the concept of primary and secondary subjects.
Then they were hand printed in the darkroom, creating fine art black and white portraiture that demanded premium prices. Win-Win!
It was decidedly different and distinct, we cornered the marketplace over three decades ago and it is still our “bread and butter.”