Here at Sprout we have just announced our brand new software for photographers, Sprout Studio. Frankly, I’m surprised no one else had thought of integrating several different softwares into one platform before.
Maybe others would have thought that to be too big of an idea…
It’s tough enough to come up with a better way of managing my leads and client data, but to integrate proofing galleries, album galleries and a sales gallery? That sounds like a very big job.
The truth is it was and is a very big job! It demanded creative thinking outside the box of what already exists, and dared to go into the land of “what if?”
What if we could have one central place to keep track of clients, new leads, task reminders, galleries, and create an online sales experience for clients that did essentially the same thing we do in an in-person sales appointment? That would be pretty cool, and perhaps we could get back some of the time our studio business sucks out of us every week.
What cool and outside the box things might you do that would separate you from the competition?
Put aside for a minute all the sensible reasons that stand in the way of some truly outrageous ideas that could propel you to a new level in customer experience.
What if you started creating some new kind of portrait experience that does not exist in your market area right now? What could that look like?
What if you dared to dream big instead of staying in the comfort of being safe in your thinking?
Safe thinking keeps things normal and comfortable with a minimal amount of effort.
What impossible path of marketing might your wedding photography take? What kind of campaign might you launch that attracts the attention of every wedding vendor that you want to reach.
One example of outrageous thinking that comes to mind for me is the campaign launched by Swedish photographer Jens Lennartsson. Lennartsson is a commercial photographer who wanted to grab the attention of art directors who are so used to being bombarded with post cards of photographs every week from hopeful photographers. Lennartsson wanted to stand out and achieved that by sending art directors a boxed action figure of himself holding a camera. Inside the box is a folded mini portfolio of his work. It made quite an impression with the recipients as most of them put the figures on their desks and created a conversation starter with others in their creative office.
See the article on his campaign here http://www.slrlounge.com/photographer-makes-action-figure-brilliant-marketing-move/
One of the the out-of-the-box ideas we came up with at Sprout was to explain the concept of our software with an animation. When I mentioned it to a few confidants they laughed and said that would cost way too much money and would be hard to do properly.
We persevered and came up with the analogy of explaining the concept of turning a passion for something into a sustainable business through the illustration of a young man who loves to garden. When he plants the seed, he soon begins to realize the elements are simply not enough to make the seed grow or “sprout” (see what we did there?). Enter Sprout (the dog and of course the metaphor for our software) who grabs a tractor with water and fertilizer (the necessary tools) to take a love of gardening into a sustainable farming business. We enlisted a professional animator and explained our vision to him. After countless character mock ups, we settled on our two final characters.
We couldn’t be happier with the result and had we not spent some time dreaming big, the cartoon would never have come to life. The choice of using farming to parallel photography was also deliberate because we felt showing a photographer would be too obvious.
Now we have a cute little dog that can become the mascot of Sprout and be an instantly recognizable part of our brand.
When you dare to dream big, you lower all the normal barriers of sensibility and just think “what if”. What if money wasn’t an obstacle, what if distance didn’t matter, what if you said what you really felt instead of what you thought people wanted to hear, what if I broke all the rules and just did the impossible?
The truth is, that kind of thinking is what has launched super successful companies like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks, GoPro, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin, to name a few.
Most of us just want to lead comfortable lives, and we keep to the narrow road of comfort and stability. Why not take a chance and become a maverick. Try colouring outside the lines for once and do something outrageous for your business.
Sprouting Photographer is all about the business of being creative and that includes having some crazy outlandish ideas now and then.
Sprout Studio is just the beginning for us and we have a lot of other ideas brewing. We’d love to have you along for the ride.