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Stop Discounting and Undermining the Value of Your Brand

Intro by Skip Cohen

It’s a challenge, so many of you face – business is slow or a promotion you ran didn’t do as good as you had hoped. The solution is easy, just throw out an offer with a discount and bring the cost down. Right? NOT!!!!

The minute you drop your pricing, especially as photographers you start to turn your work into a commodity item. Your target audience begins to think an 8×10 is an 8×10 is an 8×10. Your skill set, quality of the image, quality of the paper or album you’re creating or your ability as a storyteller is totally lost. After all, every 8×10 is the same right?

Sarah Petty does a great job of sharing a story from a well-respected retail in this post from her archives, but I want to take it a step further with these ideas for a start.

  • To start, your skill set needs to be the very best it can be, along with your reputation in the community. Every image you share on your website or blog needs to be better than Uncle Harry’s!
  • Next, look for things to offer in promotions without discounting. A well-respected wedding photographer a few years back added extra coverage time to his packages rather than discount. Make a call to your lab and simply ask, “What’s new?” From frames to canvas to printing on new materials look for products that extend the power of your brand without bringing the value down.
  • USE YOU BLOG! Everyone complains about not having enough to write about. Well, how about talking about the value of great images, especially prints? Consumers need to be educated on the value of great photography, which gives you an opportunity to share the importance of storytelling and capturing stunning images.

For example, Justin and Mary Marantz talk about shooting for the silver frame. In other words, at every wedding they look to capture that one image that’s so spectacular it’s the one going into the silver frame and exhibited in a special location in the home of the couple or their parents.

  • Make working with you an experience! Tim and Beverly Walden talk about their portrait sessions. They’re not creating a portrait but a family heirloom, and it all comes out of the experience the subject has in working with them!

Every artist has the same goal – to exceed client expectations and make yourself habit-forming. You won’t do that just by discounting your product line!

by Sarah Petty

I love reading articles about people who have built amazing companies and brands. Usually, there is a person or several people who have a vision and are not willing to sacrifice what they believe in.

Many small business challenges exist, and temptations to discounting shouldn’t be taken lightly.  In WSJ today (The magazine from the Wall Street Journal), it was fascinating to read how Patrizio Bertelli, chief executive of Prada, works with his suppliers and is protective of his brand.

After some yelling in a discussion with Neiman Marcus recently, he describes his behavior as “a passionate exchange between two people who are proud and intense about their business.” So, he is personally in there fighting for displays at the stores who carry his products. I sat up in my chair when he tells how he is still angry that in 2008, in response to the economy, “Neiman Marcus, Saks and others discounted $1500 handbags and $750 footwear by as much as 70% causing European luxury firms to worry that their customers would never pay top dollar again.”

I have just spent a week with small business owners talking about the risks of discounting and Bertelli’s comments completely illustrate this point. Once his Prada products are offered at a lower price, it does devalue the brand. Now, when people look at a handbag that was valued at $1500, but their friend purchased it for $500, in the mind of the consumer, that is a $500 bag.

Think about it and tell me if you agree…