Is there a creative marketing consultant in the house? - Sally Brownbill
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16 business Consultants Consultants business 17 Above: Shot for Origin Energy as part of a rebranding project. Agency: Davidson Branding. left: Shot for folio. Food stylist: Lisa La Barbera. FAR LEFT: Part of the series the Sound of Air, shot for the . Melbourne Recital Centre’s inaugural opening, 2009. OPPOSITE PAGE: Rocket Boy, Untitled Kids Project. © chris Crisman © Maikka TRUPP © bonnie savage © Mark Munro Help! Is there a creative marketing consultant in the house? Julian Watt discovers that there is actually help at hand for photographers. You think you’ve got problems? Global financial crisis, mid-career crisis, mid-life crisis, photographer’s block and on it goes. These days we seem to stumble from one crisis to another which impacts our careers, work and businesses as professional creative photographers. Some photographers begin to question their choice of profession when an army of clients, whose only appreciation of photography seems to be the cost, which no matter how low, is “too expensive”, confronts them. Others seem to loose their enthusiasm for photography, only shooting paid assignments, having lost their enthusiasm to create for themselves. Emerging photographers can be daunted by the sheer enormity and associated risk of transition to the “one man band” life of a freelance photographer. A psychologist recently told me that photographers make up the largest single professional group that she sees. Sounds bad doesn’t it? But remember the feeling of creating something really beautiful? Priceless! Solutions Don’t despair. Help is at hand in the form of the “Creative Marketing Consultant”. Although a recent development in Australia, creative marketing consultants have been part of the landscape overseas for some years. So what is a creative marketing consultant, you ask? Part marketing consultant, part life and career coach, part motivational guru, part mother hen and part cheerleader. A creative marketing consultant should know the industry inside out. They can help you kick off your career, jump-start a stalled one, help you with new directions and help build your career on an ongoing basis, for what seems a nominal amount given the potential returns. Sally Brownbill is a creative/marketing consultant based in Melbourne. In fact, at present she is the only creative/marketing consultant that I know of, outside the wedding/portrait market, in Australia. An RMIT photography graduate, Brownbill had worked as an assistant, photographer and as a photographer’s rep before starting her business as a creative consultant. She had been asked by some photographer friends to assist them with their marketing and business planning. This lead to helping other photographers until it got to the point that her husband suggested she charge for the service. Accordingly, six years ago, a business was born. Her clientele has grown during that time to over a hundred photographers, all by word-of- mouth. Brownbill credits this broad client base with helping her understanding the fears and difficulties that photographers are facing industrywide. Brownbill believes that the reassurance that she can offer to photographers, of what other photographers are going through, is often extremely helpful to get someone through the doubts and fears that they might have in order to plan their future both creatively and as a business. Maikka Trupp, an established Melbourne advertising and design photographer, with nearly twenty years’ experience, first approached Brownbill after having doubts about where the industry was going with the advent of digital. “Many clients’ decisions were becoming purely price-based. They seemed less concerned with photographic technique and experience, asking me to do less ‘in-camera’, relying on post-production to get results that I knew I could (and should) have achieved at the actual shoot. I felt frustrated and somewhat disillusioned with this approach. You can’t ever be the cheapest photographer because someone will always be willing to drop their price - it’s an unwinnable business strategy for a creative field like photography. Sally and I conceived a plan to put my folio in front of the right client base. She helped shape the folio with a focus on technique and creativity, and then put me together with the right sort of people who valued creative work. The aim was to sell myself based on that technical creativity.” The strategy obviously worked, within three months Trupp was getting creative new work with new clients. One of those jobs resulted in her receiving a Platinum Award in the 2010 Graphis may_jun.10 [capture] [capture] may_jun.10
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