social media rallies behind "the little guy" seemingly pushed too far
An anonymous photographer who posts on Reddit may have just broken the mold for branding her business, getting her name associated with high social media traffic. According to her post on the social media page, an engaged couple asked her to photograph their wedding for just $250. She accepted since she considered them to be close friends. On the day of the event, after working nonstop for nearly seven hours, she asked the groom for a break.
He told her she could keep working the remaining three hours without food or a trip to the restroom or she could forfeit her pay, so she deleted their pictures in front of them and left.
Judging by the reaction from people on the internet, it might be the best business branding decision of the year.
In his video series The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, Dr. Michael G. Goldsby, the Stoops Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University, explained what branding does for businesses.
“Brands are fundamentally about associations,” Dr. Goldsby said. “What comes to mind when a customer thinks of your business? You’ve created a brand when a customer associates your product or service with a specific idea, characteristic, feeling, image, experience, belief, or attitude—a brand is how someone remembers who you are and what you do.”
Brands can be created or expressed through a logo, a jingle, a tagline, a font, a taste, or more. For example, McDonald’s “golden arches” is one of the most widely recognized symbols on Earth, as is the Apple logo. When we see that all-too-familiar handwriting that spells “Disney,” we think of the movies; the television channels; and, of course, the ‘Most Magical Place on Earth’: Walt Disney World.
“This is all done on purpose to build associations in your mind and make the product more familiar and more recognizable to you,” Dr. Goldsby said. “When branding is done well, what it’s really doing is creating a personality for your business.
“It’s taking your business’s fundamental purpose for being in existence, and it communicates this purpose.”
How does that apply to a wedding photographer trashing her clients’ pictures? Dr. Goldsby said that a fundamental way of creating a brand is to convey your business’s identity and what you stand for. It also deeply involves identifying what your customers value and finding a way to convey that value with a brand that signifies something.
With her story, the wedding photographer endeared herself to the public as an empathetic character. Who among us hasn’t felt undervalued, underappreciated, or even taken advantage of at work? How about that feeling when someone is dangling a paycheck over your head as more of an item of control than of reward? Many of us would want to do something about it to regain control or identity over ourselves.
With the literal push of a button, she did just that. And if she chooses to publicly identify herself, she’ll establish her brand as a photographer who is an assertive, confident, and direct small business owner—one who values principles over money and knows what it’s like to be pushed around.
Edited by Angela Shoemaker, The Great Courses Daily
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