Here were some very interesting questions people kept asking me.

rock and republic

Question: Does brand association relate only to associating with companies that relate to our brand and status?

Answer: Associations come in many forms. It doesn’t necessarily have to be with other companies.

For example…

Restaurant 1 – serves great food and reasonably priced per Yelp reviews, and has won 15 food awards.

– vs. –

Restaurant 2 – serves great food and reasonably priced per Yelp reviews.

With no bias and knowledge of these two restaurants, which will be your first choice? This is similar to our own industry, agreed? Just take out “Restaurant” and replace with “Photographer.”

To be honest, it’s a form of mental shortcut.

Let’s just say you pull over the road in an unfamiliar place and saw these two restaurants. One had lots of cars and one had a couple of cars (probably for employees). Which restaurant would you dine at? And let’s throw a wrench into the equation – consider that you’ve never saw the Yelp reviews…and I’ve never mentioned whether they’re international awards or just local awards.

gap old navy banana republic

Question: Diversity vs. Specialty?

Answer: Diversity is for jesters, while specialty is for kings.

Think about it this way – would you like a veterinarian, surgeon, or general practitioner to operate on your heart? Or your dog? But they all have an M.D.!!

Look in clothing – Gap represents youth, Banana Republic represents safari, Express represents chic, etc.

Focus will always triumph. However, it’s okay to use a different name to do business. Gap and Banana Republic and Old Navy are all the same company, but operate under different names.

lady gaga

Question: Do fads stay or fade away? Such as fusion or trash the dress?

Answer: Fad or not, hype or not, it’s still something cool. Just like the iPad, yet people are still creating apps for it…really cool ones too! This serves as an ecosystem, which enables creators to create and consumers to consume; everyone benefits.

In fact, let’s take this discussion one step further. There were those who disliked Elvis…or Lady Gaga. Fad? Who knows. As long as the flames are fanned, even through hate, their existence will remain (this discussion will be in the future for advanced students).

So far what Kogi BBQ truck is doing is strategically sound (except for their restaurant), which is why I sort of have a feeling that all of this happened on accident. Nevertheless, if they don’t rely solely on one aspect of marketing, they should be okay.

Anyway, the discussion shouldn’t be on whether it’s a fad or not. It should be what they’re doing to succeed [as a fad]. Let’s face it, who are we to determine what’s a fad or not? In fact, Who knew that sex sales 50 years ago? It was business taboo / suicide.

Bottom line? Be different.

textured image

Question: Everyone uses (let’s say) textures, how will I stand out?

Answer: Find the strength of others and turn it into a weakness.

For example, if McDonald’s brags about being able to produce the fastest hamburgers. In-N-Out (a popular CA burger chain) took the position of cooking their never-frozen burgers nice and slow; freshly grilled just for you.

Now, chew on that for a bit and see how it can be applied to wedding photography 😉

moon landing

Question: So the solution is to be the best at whatever you do?

Answer: If I may suggest, I think I have a better solution.

*** It is better to be first, than to be the best.

For example, who is “Buzz Aldrin?” 99% sure most of the world won’t know. He was the second human being to set foot on the moon, followed by Neil Armstrong.

Let’s think wedding photography – who was the first person to burn a bride’s dress? John Michael Cooper. Let’s say that I were to burn 20 dresses tomorrow for a shoot, but who’s going to be remembered? John Michael Cooper. In fact, I will only reinforce his name by doing what he did.

Conclusion: better to be first than to be best.

What Do You Think?


All of these trends change. As I mentioned before, marketing is subjective to trending times, which is why tactics always change. However, strategies remain constant.

I hope that these responses make sense. If you liked them, I encourage you to “like” them via Facebook or Retweet them. Share with others as I have shared openly here.


Please note that the reason why we are hosting this complimentary workshop is because I can’t post all of my answers publicly. Yes, it’s that awesome…no joke.

So, what do you want to know about marketing / business strategy? Comment below.


Lawrence Chan

TWEET: RT @tofurious: Marketing: Yeah, You Might Want To Read This –

FACEBOOK: Marketing: Yeah, You Might Want To Read This