Fort Collins, Colorado-based food & drink and product photographer Matt Graves came to us to help him consolidate his commercial identity with a web edit and branding overhaul.
Going into the web edit with Matt, it was clear to me—photo editor Honore Brown—that we wanted to showcase his roots in the region’s craft beer community, as well as to tighten the focus of the site overall. Like many photographers, Matt can wear many hats to adapt to his client’s needs, which over the years has resulted in a diverse body of work. Although food, beverage, and product work is largely at the center of Matt’s current brand, his portfolio included a lot of really strong portraiture and a range of product work shot in various styles. The challenge would be to find a way to integrate this portrait work into his site, while simultaneously culling and reorganizing the rest of the galleries with a sharper focus to keep the look and feel of each gallery consistent.
After a phone call in which Matt and I discussed his current client base as well as his longer-term marketing goals, I felt ready to begin the editing process. I started by addressing the two styles of product work that Matt had in his portfolio: clean, minimalist product images and environmental shots of handmade items. By separating these two styles of product photography into separate galleries with titles that clearly identified the contents of each, the work was able to be viewed with a much greater impact. From there, it was just a matter of editing down each gallery to show only the strongest work — avoiding repetition and trying to develop a flow with the sequence.
After addressing the product and craft galleries, my next job would be to integrate Matt’s portraits into the beer and food galleries to develop more narrative work. This change, although subtle in some respects, was a big shift in the overall presentation of the beer and food galleries. Combining portraits, environmental shots of restaurants and bars, and product imagery created more visually diverse galleries that showcased Matt’s ability to tell a story.
At this point, it was time to step back to see the big picture of how the site was coming together and to revisit an edit of Matt’s tearsheets. After another call to review the edit with Matt and make sure he was happy with the direction I had taken, I ended the process with a review of his published work. With Matt’s published work, I wanted to show a range of his abilities as both a product and portrait photographer, as well as to emphasize his ongoing relationships with the niche world of craft beer-related publications. Matt had given me a lot of material to work with, so it was just a matter of getting the right mix of imagery (covers, hero shots, portraits, etc.).
From there it was just a matter of a few minor tweaks to the image sequences throughout the site to make sure we had a consistent flow and cohesive feel in each gallery. Since this phase of Matt’s overhaul was complete, Matt began work with marketing specialist Julia Hanley to discuss the marketing portion of the project.
When it comes to marketing, we feel it is best to have all of your brand identity assets in place (and sparkling) prior to outreaching to new prospective clients. Think of it as putting your best foot forward to new clients by first having all of your branding ducks in a row. With Matt ready to shine and show off his new brand assets I felt confident promoting him.
Our Client Meetings package always begins with a phone call between the photographer and the consultant. My goal on the call is to discuss what Matt’s overall goals are, what clients and types of projects he wants, and where he wants to focus his attention (regional, national, or both). I then take all of that information and think about Matt’s portfolio as a whole, his specialties, and where his strengths lie. Then I determine what portion of the client list build will include publications, agencies, or brands; and what location and specialty to highlight for each. Matt and I decided to do a list that was 80% regionally based with a mix of clients that specialize in food & drink, still life, and product photography. I didn’t want to duplicate any efforts that Matt had already explored so we also discussed what clients he’s worked with — I would not include these on his final list.
With an 80% regionally based list and the remaining 20% being national, Matt’s list covered a great variety of beverage brands, creative agencies, and national publications. Once the list was complete, I sent it to Matt to review along with drafts for both the initial and follow up emails that we would individually send to each prospect. With all of the marketing tools in place (list build, email signatures, digital promo) we were ready to begin the outreach portion of the project. I began by sending each prospect an individual email with a digital promo embedded in the draft followed by a follow-up email that we typically send 4-5 days after the initial is received. Our call to action was in-person meetings for regional clients and phone calls for nationally based clients.
Matt landed an in-person meeting with some high-ups from the Boulder-based creative agency Fortnight Collective, and responded to Julia,
Thanks so much for all your work. This looks great! It’s a good beginning with momentum moving forward and it gives me a great foundation for the future. I will let you know how the meeting goes!
Overall Matt had an amazing response, with a 57% open rate and an 8% reply rate. With this prospect list in hand, Matt now has the tools to continue his new marketing efforts throughout the year. With the Wonderful Machine marketing portion completed, I suggest that Matt follow up individually with each prospect throughout the year through alternate mediums such as mailing print promos, phone calls, mass emails, connecting via LinkedIn, etc.
Matt also seemed very pleased with the results from Honore’s web edit:
Not long after I updated my site someone reached out to me to let me know how much they liked my work and we hadn’t even done the marketing outreach, yet. My favorite part of my updated site is just seeing the work all come together and make sense. I particularly like how Honore decided to include my portraits of brewers with my beer photography and my portraits of chefs with my food photography. It helps to make the site more engaging.
Thinking about a web edit or branding overhaul? Drop us a line or give us a call (610 260 0600), and let’s get the ball rolling!