Thursday, July 14, 2011

Brand and Packaging

Running a business is one of those things where you have to wear many hats.  For MET Photography, I am a photographer, post-processer, marketing director, social networker, designer, pricing coordinator, and head of branding and packaging.  Just like anyone else running a small business, it all is generated from the work YOU put in.

Today I want to discuss a little about branding and packaging.  These are the two things I need the most work on personally, but also the most enjoyable aspect for me.  I love making things fresh and pretty!

Most of the products I offer that I personally ship out myself are DVDs of images.  I use external printing companies for prints of images and a printer for albums I design, who handle shipping for me in most cases.  Currently, when I send out a DVD copy with a printing release to my clients, I use a simple R-DVD and print a label to affix to the front.  This label has one of the images from the session on it, the clients name, date of session, and my business name.  I use basic jewel cases and try to coordinate the color to match the color scheme for the session, especially for weddings.  Then I tie it all up with a nice piece of ribbon.

Now, this isn't all that high end professional, and I know that there are sites that will print me custom fold-out cases and make me customized writeable DVDs with my logo and other information printed directly on the disk.  There are a couple reasons I don't do this.  The first is simply, my business is beginning and still young, I just don't have the funds up front to invest in that right now.  My clients are happy with the packaging I have been using, and it works.  The second reason is my pricing scale is adjusted based on my location, the demographics of likely clients, and the amount of time I put into a session, from shoot to post-process, to packaging and shipping.  My prices are quite a bit lower than those of other photographers I admire who do invest in custom, streamlined packaging.  To make a budget for high end packaging, I would have to raise my prices.  If I raise my prices, I am alienating a percentage of the potential clients in my region.  At the moment, it just isn't worth it.

I take pride in making my own packaging and put a lot of time and effort into every item.  I design my albums and customize everything, I create every DVD label myself; any of the little details I can customize and tailor to each client, I make the effort to do so.  Creating a unique, personal and professional packaging option is achievable with a little imagination, hard work, and direction.  Even when your supplies are available at your local Staples.

Do you have a small business?  What tricks do you use to brand and make creative and appealing packaging?
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