Before you think about creating your brand image, designing your logo, ordering some uber fancy business cards…think about how you can distinguish yourself from your competition. In Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, he tells a story about Herman Miller and how the Aeron Chair redefined the office chair. The Aeron Chair not only looked different, it felt great and cost 7-10 times the price of the standard office chair. That’s a big risk, in a very safe market, but their risk paid off. The Aeron Chair came to symbolize success, owning one meant you had arrived. I knew a creative director at a major advertising agency in New York who had an Aeron Chair written into his contract. When he left the company as per his contract, so did his chair.

Wouldn’t you like to create a product so spectacular people write it into their contracts? Herman Miller spent much of their marketing budget on creating a spectacular product and the buzz around it became legendary. Being safe, following the pack, that could be the risky business. Think outside your industry box. Maybe it is how you shoot? Some photographers like Jose Villa are going against the digital grain by going back to film. Maybe it is the product you deliver? What about creating 3 dimensional portraits, gorgeous diaramas documenting and artistically celebrating that perfect moment you captured? Check out this sculptural photography by the Polish photographers Szymon Roginski and Kasia Korzeniecka as showcased on Today and Tomorrow.

Don’t be afraid to stand up and stand out, it can be the best marketing decision you have ever made.

Written by Ellen Petty

Ellen Petty is the Head Brandslinger at Identity Kitchen, a marketing and design studio specializing in photographers.


  • I must be sure to write that I must be served dinner sitting in an Aeron chair at all of my weddings. 🙂 Seriously though, Ellen really knows her stuff. And those photographic sculptures are incredible!

  • Wade says:

    I can’t agree more. The field is wide-open for photographers to craft a personal brand based upon their unique personality. We all tend to want to ‘save’ money by using off-the-shelf solutions, but branding shouldn’t be included in that equation. Focusing on what only you can bring to the table or being first to market with a unique offering.
    Embrace your own identity and creativity, swing for the fences!

  • Monty Jessop says:

    Great advice Ellen, We really do need to focus more on our own individuality and what we are best at. Then we need to try to market ourselves accordingly and to focus less on trying to run with the rest of the heard.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.