“People do not buy goods and services . They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Seth Godin
Enhancing your photography brand through client gifting is a great way to create tangible brand touch points and get more referrals.
I don’t know about you, but so often I feel bombarded with information, adverts popping up on my screen and social media feed, someone proclaiming they have found the ultimate solution that will change my business and life for the better.
With more information, choice, and social media connections I somehow find myself more isolated than ever before. But the truth is, we as humans are hardwired for connection. We search for meaning and connection instinctively.
So while we have so many options and choices in front of us, what really draws us in and makes us loyal customers or clients is the connection we make to the brands we love?
Branding and storytelling, is the best way to establish a true long lasting connection with your clients as a photographer. Branding is so multifaceted, but one of the ways you can tell a story is through your client gifting. I think the thing I love most about client gifting is the tangible connection you are able to make with your clients. How you can have multiple senses involved, and how it solidifies the overall client experience.
Recently I purchased a coat, from an expensive retailer. Not one to normally splurge on clothes, I decided that this coat was going to be an investment piece to add to my capsule wardrobe. I had saved up for months, and had finally decided to make the purchase. I believed in the product I was buying, it was made from natural wool fibres and naturally I was excited for the delivery. After a few days my coat arrived, to a very underwhelming unboxing experience, and needless to say I won’t be purchasing from the store again. Not because of their anti climatic packaging, but because it didn’t leave me feeling connected to their brand or story, and in all honesty I was appalled at the amount of plastic received in my parcel.
Enhancing your photography brand through client gifting can help strengthen relationships between you and your clients, so that you can build a brand that will be remembered for many, many years to come.
Your client gifting should always enhance your brand message, and communicate your values, vision and purpose. This is something that is becoming more important, as many people are becoming disheartened by global companies and their lack of values and company policies.
Here are some things you need to consider before choosing your client gifting:
Before choosing your client gifting – get really clear on who your soul aligned clients are.
It’s easy to get very inwardly focused when creating a client gifting strategy to enhance your photography brand. But I suggest you first consider who will be receiving your beautiful parcel. What do they believe in, what do they value, and more importantly what message would you like to cement in their mind.
Write these down, and make sure that the gifts and packaging you choose communicate these values, ideals & messaging. If you struggle with how to creatively communicate this through printing & packaging I would encourage you to think of how most of your clients would tend to dress. One of the ways we tend to express ourselves as humans, is through the clothes we wear. So when designing your client gifting to enhance your photography brand, think about what your client would wear. Would they be casual cool, perhaps they are more natural – and would wear mostly linen or cotton, perhaps they are very glamorous, and they would wear very luxurious fabrics such as silk or cashmere.
Let’s think about a natural, very organic photography brand. Their clients are probably more conscious about sustainability and the environment. So, this brand may choose recycled or sustainably source papers & boxes. Natural textures, recyclable or compostable stickers would be perfect. Some plantable seed paper thank you cards would work perfectly for a more purpose driven, sustainable brand.
Or perhaps another photography brand’s clients are more minimalist, they are the jeans & crisp white t-shirt type – then you could possibly look at very minimalist packaging design – think embossed thank-you cards, or white tissue paper and a gold foil sticker.
Start to think about your client gifting as an experience
Your client journey begins way before your final delivery. Don’t let all that hard work, and purpose be destroyed in your final delivery. Write down five key emotions you would like to create in your overall client experience, and make sure your packaging represents these five emotions. Take a look at this post for more helpful tips.
For example, my thank you cards convey a sense of connectedness. I like to create joy, which is why I carefully wrap each item in recycled tissue paper. I also like to make my clients feel empowered which is why I include affirmation cards, encouraging my clients to feel empowered and in charge of their destiny.
Start to visualise your client opening your gift. Think about how you would like them to feel as they open the box, and dive deeper layer by layer.
Always consider your brand values
Your brand values are your north star, a guiding light, that should guide you when making any decision within your business. As I mentioned previously, make sure your client gifting reflects your brand values.If your brand values are leave no trace, empowerment or playfulness you need to ensure these elements & values are reflected in your client gifting.
Consider your brand’s colour palette
If your brand is very monochromatic, let that show in your client gifting. If your brand is all about being fun and whimsical, let this be reflected in your packaging. Bright colours, holographic foil and quirky prints can echo your brand values & style.
And remember that your client gifting can be another form of marketing
We live in the age of social media, where everything is shared online. If you have stand-out packaging or client gifting, chances are your client will post about them while opening your parcel. This is the best form of marketing, as it’s endorsed by someone who your new potential client knows and trusts.
Your packaging and client gifting is the easiest way to communicate all that your photography brand stands for, so don’t let it be an afterthought. Be intentional about the gifts you include, the finishing techniques you choose and most importantly who your client is and their values.
The best way to enhance your photography brand and make your service stand out is to create a repeatable Client Experience Strategy (not just gifting). This is something I help photographers create on a Co-Creation day. Creating brand touch points and forging a signature process to generously serve your clients with your knowledge & expertise in a way that conserves your energy. Get in touch to find out more about creating a referral worthy Client Experience Strategy.
If this really resonates with you and you want to find out more – head on over to see how we can work together. Or sign up to my newsletter where I share more tips on how I run a thoughtful & intentional business rooted in slow business values & principles.