Doing something different doesn’t always mean doing something different. My photography promo, how it was created and how it helped me.
A couple years ago I started seeing photographers making huge impacts on art buyers and photo editors by crafting unique, one of a kind photography promos. They were well thought out, often hand crafted and targeted. This year, I made the career and life altering decision to move from South Florida to Nashville, TN and I wanted to have a promo to announce the move. I wanted something different but familiar. Everyone loves getting packages.
I had conversations with my great friends at HeyDay Branding about doing something but months went by before we finally started talking about specifics. Rob and Andy are amazing creatives and even better people. I was lucky to have met them randomly for a once per month creative get together they founded and organize called Blood Sweat & Beers in Palm Beach County. Our friendship quickly grew and I was truly impressed by their “BIG IDEA” type of mentalities combined with their very creative and meticulous ability to produce an end result. After months of discussion, lunches at our favorite Palm Beach County restaurant (Coolinary Cafe) and figuring out the “why” of what I was sending we decided on the “Fresh from Florida” theme and got to work.
The first thing we decided on was it was to be a package, a gift or something that was larger than most regular printed promos. My photography promo was to be something creatives who received it wouldn’t forget. We opted for a traditional cardboard box to house everything in and create custom stamps for the exterior. Andy handcrafted the Fresh from Florida logo and it worked perfectly for this promo.
While I may photograph athletes, celebrities and big personalities I wanted this promo to feel more like a gift, more organic and not overly produced. Rob’s attention to detail is shown throughout as everything was measured, measured and measured. HeyDay sourced nearly everything for the project and their knowledge of how and where was a huge asset for me. The boxes, the pick and pluck foam the Florida honey, sticker printing etc were all things I would have taken weeks to find. We ultimately decided (after a few rounds of discussion) to make the inside like a traditional produce shipping box.
Inside the promo would be fresh Florida oranges, an orange juicer, fresh Florida orange blossom honey, a Tervis Tumbler, prints and a map showing my new region. The goals were pretty clear from the beginning that I wanted to let new clients know I was moving to their area and also to showcase how quickly I can get to many places. While I did send to a few existing clients the focus was on new art buyers and editors who didn’t know who I was. If clients you know don’t know you they likely aren’t going to ever hire you.
Agency Access was a huge asset in this process also. As they are my go to marketing/consultant partner they also offer printing in house. They did all of the print production and my consultant Jennifer Perlmutter was very helpful in determining which images to include. I wrote a quick note on the backs of each print telling a bit of the story about the image to give it a more personal touch. In all we printed 15 different images for each package.
About two weeks before making the move to Nashville, some of my great friends joined Rob, Andy and myself at HeyDay’s office to put these together. Special thanks to everyone who helped but special thanks to Adam Ross, Chad Andreo, Michael Cushman, Kelly Leyden, Kevin Milford and Trendy the dog for helping this all come together. I could not have done all of this without friends and HeyDay. We quickly learned that spraying three layers of foam together, cutting burlap and making everything fit correctly would take more time than we anticipated but we we got it finished. I mailed everything the week after the July 4th holiday and immediately started receiving emails and calls. It felt great getting them all sealed, addressed and mailed and having nearly 50 boxes was a little intimidating.
With an emphasis on travel times and distances I could cover, the map has been one of the real hits from this promo. I just returned from a meeting in Detroit with DONER and they loved the map as it showed them visually how far/close things were and how long it would take to get there. We often don’t realize geographic distances outside of our own region so this was designed to showcase my ability to be more of a resource for more clients covering more territory.
While I haven’t directly received a job from the promo yet, I have been able to secure meetings and was featured by PDN’s Promo’s We Kept, Photoshelter and also featured on A Photo Editor. That exposure is extremely valuable and I’ve had creatives reach out to me from those posts who never received a promo. Another thing I wanted was a short video explaining why these folks were getting a promo “Fresh from Florida” as I didn’t want them to think I was still in Florida, rather making the bold move to Nashville. A couple of FSU film students, Dylan and Darrell helped me create the video and they made all of the animations while my friends Rachel Duvall and Billy Schmidt composed the original background jingle.
This was an investment and not an expense in my opinion. Everyone wants to know how much it cost and if it’s worked. The metric for success in this business is whatever you determine is valuable for you. For me, the cost was well worth the investment and I plan to leverage this promo for quite a while by being the “Fresh from Florida” guy. Hard costs were approximately $75 per promo including shipping and I sent 48 of them out. You can do the math. If this ever helps me generate an advertising campaign with a five or six figure budget it immediately pays for itself several times over. Even with the smaller editorials it’s paid back in a few shoots. You have to invest in yourself. If you have something worth showing, then show it. Rolling the dice to let people know who you are isn’t really rolling the dice. I now have 30 plus buyers and editors who have a Fresh from Florida promo tumbler on their desks or promos on their walls. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. Stay Fresh..
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