Let’s say you have an established photography business in a particular genre like weddings or portraits and you’d like to add services in other genres like newborns or fashion. Should you add those services to your existing business or start an entirely new brand and website?
Like every business decision, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and the best option for you will depend on a variety of factors. In this article, we’ll review the important things to consider and give recommendations based on our years of real-world experience operating multiple photography and cinematography brands.
Things To Consider When Launching a Separate Brand
There are 6 main questions you need to answer when deciding whether you should launch a separate brand. Here they are:
Do you really have enough time?
The biggest reason for keeping everything under one brand, instead of starting another, is time limitations. As a photographer, you’re tasked with what can seem like an infinite number of duties, including marketing, sales, operations, shooting, post-production, client satisfaction and much more. Starting a new brand takes time and money, with a workload that includes the following:
– Launching and maintaining a separate website
– Maintaining separate Instagram and other social media accounts.
– SEO/web marketing/client review management for both brands
– Developing workflows for each brand
– … Much more
If you’re struggling to keep up with your current workload, then starting a new brand will not be your ideal choice, as important tasks will be neglected and neither brand will get the time, attention, and resources necessary to succeed.
Are your target audiences the same for both services?
Even with sufficient time and resources, you should strongly consider leaving multiple services under one brand when your target audiences for the services are identical. For example, in our studio, we have combined our main wedding photography service, Lin and Jirsa Photography, with our associate’s service (slightly lower priced wedding photography), along with our wedding videography. We made this decision because our target audience (of affluent, engaged, couples in southern California) are identical. We market to them with the same language and in the same places. We bundle services into packages, adding value, convenience and simplification to their experience. For us, it made perfect sense to keep them all under the single Lin and Jirsa Brand.
The image above is the home page of our associate’s website, which uses the Flothemes Cube Theme.
In contrast, when we decided to launch our maternity, newborn and family photography services, we started a separate brand called Line and Roots Photography, instead of keeping them under the Lin and Jirsa Brand. We did this because while the target audiences have similarities, they are in different stages of their lives, with different priorities and interests. So while we cross promote and ensure that every wedding client is aware of Line and Roots (and vice versa), we found it best to build it up as a separate business and website.
The image above is the home page of the Line and Roots website, which uses the Flothemes Crowd Theme.
Will two brands give your services higher perceived quality?
A website/brand dedicated to a specific genre allows the photographer to show expertise in that particular genre. On each page of each website, from the Home page to the FAQ, expertise and authority can be built up with great images, videos, and text content. While you might be a jack-of-all-trades, you want your client to feel like you live and breathe your particular, highly specialized craft.
Will all of your services have the same look, feel and style?
Starting a separate brand allows you to explore different styles without compromising the current style that you are known for, resulting in more creative freedom. One of your brands can be “bold and vibrant” while the other can be “light and airy.” One can be posed and formal while the other can focus on photojournalism. Essentially, you can explore different styles without worrying about showing inconsistencies in your work and confusing your clients.
Will two brands allow you to convey simplified offers (& pricing sheets) for clients?
Keeping everything under one brand can result in complicated offers and pricing sheets. The same way you might feel overwhelmed by the 30-page dinner menu at The Cheesecake Factory, your wedding clients might feel overwhelmed, or at least distracted, by seeing your newborn work next to your senior portrait work, next to your wedding work.
In addition, you may want to utilize different pricing models for different businesses. Maybe you want to focus on a “shoot and burn” model for weddings and an in-person sales (IPS) model for newborns. Or maybe your wedding hourly rate is drastically different from your higher commercial rate. Operating multiple brands will make these differences easier to communicate and therefore easier to understand for your end clients.
In the example of our studio, when we decided to branch into commercial video production, we started a separate brand called Rise 8 Media, focusing on promotional videos and instructional videos. Besides having different target audiences, the pricing structures are vastly different for commercial projects; so rather than clumping those services in with our wedding videography, we decided to put in the work to grow an entirely new brand.
Will the two brands provide SEO benefits?
Separating your brand into different websites will allow you to target different keywords for Google searches. This means that you can focus on ranking one website for one keyword and the other website for another. For example, Lin and Jirsa focuses on “Orange County Wedding Photographer” and “Orange County Wedding Videographer,” Line and Roots focuses on “Orange County Newborn Photographer” and “Orange County Maternity Photographer” and Rise 8 Media focuses on the keyword “Orange County Video Production.”
While it will take significant work to rank each domain for their targeted keywords, ranking for separate domains will present a clearer path to more achievable goals than trying to rank one site for all of your desired keywords.
Our recommendation is to launch separate brands for separate genres when 1) you have the time and resources and 2) when the target audience is different for each service.
This concepts are nothing new and apply to almost any small business, from restaurants to boutique clothing shops, to the very site that you’re reading – Flothemes. While they have the skill set to create websites for all types of businesses and organizations, they’ve chosen to specialize in WordPress themes for photographers and creatives.
To me, the customer, this says that they understand our industry, they speak our language, and they’re creating solutions for our needs. As photographers, following these same time-tested concepts will help us avoid diluting our brand, cluttering our websites, and confusing our audiences.
We hope you enjoyed this guest post by our friend Christopher Lin, Co-Founder and Marketing Director at SLR Lounge. Have an idea for a guest post on our blog? Send an email to nata at flothemes dot com with what you have in mind.