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Monday, October 17, 2011


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Rick Bailey, principal at Richard Harrison Bailey / The Agency, recently sent me a copy of his philosophical advertising book "Coherence: How Telling the Truth Will Advance Your Cause" and it proved to be a tremendous quick read. I've collaborated with Rick on several photo projects this year and I've found the process to be meaningful and easy, each of us challenging the other to push the approach with higher education imagery.

While the message of Coherence is relatively simple - know yourself, brand yourself and market yourself, Bailey's smart writing goes deeper, exploring the importance of differentiation and value in today's marketplace. Much of the case studies pertain to the realm of non-profit higher education communities but there are some key insights that directly translated to my business as a commercial photographer.

He writes, "In the worst economy in nearly 100 years, you must provide sufficient rationale for existence. In a word, you must differentiate. Clearly, genuinely, openly. You must provide a convincing case for your enormous cost. You have to prove the merits of your approach. You need to show the outcomes that make you a superior choice. Further, you have to deliver on the experience."

Working with a photography consultant since 2008 has greatly assisted in my efforts at differentiation but it's an evolving process. Prior to the democratization of the profession as a result of digital technology, top photographers were often "jack-of-all-trades" types, capable of shooting food one day and then shifting to executive portraits or ad campaigns the next. Photographers today must be "masters of some," targeting very specific topical niches in order to survive,

Feel free to track down a copy of the book online and keep up with Rick Bailey and the RHB team via their web site and great blog.

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