You know the expression you eat with your eyes first… it alludes to the idea that you make an impression about how good food will taste based off of its appearance; the better the presentation, the better the food is expected to taste. People form opinions and make assumptions based on what they see first and foremost. If something looks good they want it or value it higher than something that does not look good.
The same notion can be applied to your photo packaging. If you present your finished products in a professional manner you add value to the delivery and help your customers see it as valuable. Of course, the ultimate impression and evaluation of the value of your services and products will be based off of your talent and work… but helping customers make the right first impression is crucial. It’s nearly impossible to recover from a bad first impression.
Let’s take a look at some examples outside the photography industry.
I think it’s safe to say that we are all familiar with McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. But did you know that McDonald’s launched a new line of premium Jewelry Quarter Pounders in Japan last year? Essentially, the company took its popular Quarter Pounder hamburger and added specialty ingredients such as pineapple slices, truffle sauce and chorizo to create the new (1) Gold Ring, (2) Black Diamond, and (3) Ruby Spark Quarter Pounders (shown below).
They also amped up the packaging for this new line of burgers. The Jewelry Quarter Pounders are presented in luxury packaging as if the burgers are as valuable as jewels.
That’s not all they changed. The new Jewelry Quarter Pounders are being sold for $10 (each!). That’s about $6.00-$7.00 more than the Quarter Pounders are for sold here in the USA.
So to summarize, McDonald’s took one of their popular burgers, added a few specialty ingredients (I’m sure for a very low additional cost), changed the packaging to luxury packaging (again I’d assume for a minimal cost), and started selling the new burgers for two and a half times the price of the original burger!!!
Now that’s marketing and branding at its finest!
Let’s look at another example where packaging plays an important role in differentiating two similar products. Here are examples of two smart phones, Apple’s iPhone and Nokia’s Lumia 520.
Here we have a similar product—a smart phone—of varying quality. Notice the difference in packaging? One company brands it’s phone as a luxury good and therefore packages it accordingly. Apple spends around $8.00 for that box but it charges 500% more for the phone. Nokia’s phone is a lesser quality smart phone and that is directly reflected in its packaging. Is the iPhone better than the cheap phone, of course, and the packaging helps tell that story.
Basically what I am trying to emphasize is that packaging can take two similar products—like the Quarter Pounders—and help differentiate them in terms of value to justify the higher perceived value and higher price. You can take the same principle and apply it to the photography industry. Photographers can use packaging to differentiate themselves from competitors.
Likewise packaging can take two different products in terms of quality—like the smart phones—and make sure it is obvious to the customer that one is a higher quality item. Apply that principle to the photography industry and you can see how professional photographers can differentiate themselves from non-professionals.
My point. Your packaging says A LOT about your business and the products you sell. It adds [perceived] value to your work. Additionally, quality packaging says you offer quality work and by presenting your work in a professional way you are telling the world that you are a professional, you value your work, and you offer a quality product.
So, when you think about your photo packaging, think about how you want to be perceived as a photographer. Do you want customers [and potential customers] to see you as a professional photographer? Do you want to send the message that you offer a quality product at an affordable price? Do you want your services and products to be considered high-end? You can accomplish any of these by carefully selecting the most appropriate photo packaging supplies for your business—from photo folders and mounts to folios and albums to portrait boxes and photo cases to customized and boutique photo packaging. The possibilities are endless… you just have to decide what you want your packaging to say about you.