Your ultimate point of difference in a saturated industry is YOU. In this section I'll break down the main three ingredients in creating a sustainable brand that has pushed me into booking incredible couples who genuinely want me involved in their lovefest rather than just another thing on their to do list. In turn creating a really bespoke experience, where they appreciate me on a personal level not just professionally.
Your why and purpose to pursing your creative ventures is your anchor. It projects what your ultimate mission statement is and injects what personally aligns with you. This can be different for everyone and I've found personally finding my why on an emotional level has helped significantly in how I market myself, building confidence in what I offer and has grounded me in how I interact with my couples.
Make she your why is ultimately what drives you and brings you happiness, as that's what's going to stand the test of time and get you through when things feel a bit overwhelming.
My why has chopped and changed so much the longer I stay in the industry, initially my why was to make money from a creative outlet - simple enough right? With more experience under my belt my why has evolved into knowing that I can give a kickass experience and knowing my purpose is to make people feel like absolute rockstars in the process, because in turn that makes me feel amazing. It's what drives me in my weddings, my mentoring and general life.
Picking a why that has purpose is important and I'll explain why with a little story of a friend of mine. I have a very talented friend in the industry, she's larger than life, can connect with anyone and just is sunshine in human form. Honestly a massive inspiration to everyone she meets. When she started her business she had a goal to just wanted to shoot high-end, luxury weddings and she branded herself exactly as such and was very successful doing so. In turn, her marketing reflected an aspect of herself but didn't truly showcase her as a person and years later she realized that the demographic she was targeting wasn't what set her soul on fire and her passion soon became burden. Which is what I want you to avoid losing that spark by chasing something that sounds good in theory but isn't fundamentally why you enjoy shooting.
She told me she wished she put herself out there as authentically herself as the big, bright, bubbly, insanely talented human being and didn't change herself to fit an ideal aesthetic, because in turn she would have attracted couples that truly valued her and chose her for what she had to offer on a personal level rather than her style. Don't get me wrong style is important, but we'll get to that later on. With a few tweaks she could have also had the best of both worlds and I will explain this further in finding your ideal demographic.
Now I want you to tell me your why, why do you love doing what you do, it can be absolutely anything?
When I first kicked off my ideal client was anyone who was willing to give me chance. I hadn't built the experience or confidence within myself to know my worth and in reality, felt anyone that gave me a go was doing me a favour, and realistically they kind of were. I really had no fucking idea what I was doing and was winging it in the hopes something would stick. Those first initial years were so important in dealing with an array of different couples and lead me to know what demographic I served best and what couples I didn't. Looking back, it was the best crash course of figuring out that not everyone that books you will be a good fit, so marketing yourself to your people is paramount in attracting your vibe.
Now I'm in a place that every couple that comes through O'Brien Originals has booked based on a mutual excitement to work together and not because of external factors like price point. They know who I am, what I'm about and that's based on putting myself out there honestly. Putting yourself out like a carbon copy of every other creative dilutes your worth in the industry and like my friend puts you in a box not made for you and your potential. I am not for everyone, and I don't want to be, because not everyone is for me. My couples now are all extremely different on paper, from ages, varying love stories, style, personalities, stages in life etc. What they do have in common is they want me on their wedding day because of the experience I offer, and they feel I can be of value. In saying that, majority of my couples have a vastly different personalities than my own. By putting yourself out there doesn't mean you're just going to attract more of you, it just means you're going to attract more clients that appreciate you! Which to me is priceless to attract clients that have changed dates to make sure your available, be flown all around the world to make sure you're the one capturing their big day and be invited to their events long after the wedding day is over.
Some vendors fear putting certain parts of themselves because "some couples might not like that" well those aren't your couples. The more you project who you are the more likely you will be to attract like-minded clients.
Now tell me who is your ideal client, how old are they? what do they do for work? what are their hobbies? Their martial status? Gender? What accounts do they follow? Get specific and hone into one ideal client, people seem to think if you talk to more people, it will equal more work. When in actual fact as Meredith Hill put it so perfectly "When you speak to one person you attract others, when you speak to everyone you speak to no one" you can still be inclusive while being on brand. Once you have your ideal client you're going to show up for them every damn time!
Do you have clients currently? Are they your ideal demographic? What would you change?
If you're not displaying to your audience what you're all about then you're only doing yourself a disservice. I'll be going in depth to branding and marketing yourself more on my educational platform.