I can see how it is tempting to shoot weddings, pets, maternity, newborn, children, family, portraits… especially in this economic climate. To be honest, it’s almost silly not to. I get it – squeeze in a few portrait sessions and it’ll be enough money for your kid’s braces.

However, per last week’s article on brand creation, we can conclude that brands are categories (such as weddings). And the more categories we tap into (weddings + pets), the more diluted our business image gets.

Don’t fret. I have a solution, but it takes hard work and resources. Let’s first examine how other companies do it.

Darden Restaurants

Ever heard of Darden Restaurants? Good chance most people haven’t. Darden is the world’s largest full-service restaurant company. Part of this umbrella includes:

  • Red Lobster
  • Olive Garden
  • LongHorn Steakhouse
  • The Capital Grille
  • Bahama Breeze
  • Seasons 52

darden restaurants

Those brands familiar? They’re well-known restaurant chains! And they’re recognized for certain categories of food. Red Lobster – seafood. Olive Garden – Italian. LongHorn – steak house…and so forth.

  • Have you ever seen a Red Lobster commercial promote Olive Garden at the same time?
  • Does Olive Garden’s “carne” menu section talk about LongHorn’s equally wonderful steaks?

Each brand is very successful and coexist nicely because they don’t directly compete with each other. If I’m in the mood for Italian, I am not going to think of Seasons 52.

So imagine this, you are Darden. Red Lobster, Olive Garden…are all of the different categories in your diversified business. See where I’m going with this?

There is one catch though. All of these restaurants have different websites, different brands, different logos, different commercials… This can get very costly (even if it’s time in wearing multiple hats). The more time you devote in diversifying, the more sacrifice you make that could potentially strengthen a single brand. These are trade-offs.

Gap, Inc.

There’s a good chance that we all know of Gap. Under Gap’s umbrella includes:

  • Old Navy – $ – latest fashions at great prices for the whole family
  • Gap – $$ – casual clothes for the whole family
  • Banana Republic – $$$ – modern, refined clothing for men and women
  • Piperlime – latest in trendy fashion designs and colors, shoes and accessories
  • Athleta – women’s yoga clothing, swimwear, running clothing and athletic clothing for fitness, golf & tennis // designed and tested by women athletes for women athletes

As I listed above, each brand offers unique propositions. They target clients according through costs, tastes in fashion, age, gender, and athleticism.

What’s the difference between Gap and Darden?

Darden – each brand is promoted sovereignly through independent stores and websites

Gap – each brand is promoted sovereignly through independent stores, but in juxtaposition on website

gap clothes

Gap’s trying to take advantage of the shared traffic of all retailers. I don’t agree with it, and definitely suggest against it for creative professionals.

Remember that brides commission you for you and your professionalism and experience in weddings. How can you also be a pet, maternity and landscape photographer? Better yet, how can you also be a mechanic, doctor, programmer and race car driver?


You’re able to promote different identities at the risk of trade-offs. The more time you devote to one, the less time you can to another. Two words: prioritize and sacrifice.

All in all, once you have narrowed your focuses down, develop separate identities. Creating a website is easy; and hosting is about $7 a month.

Ideally, you do not blog about your food photography in your wedding blog and vice versa unless you can somehow tie the two topics together.

What I want you to do now…

  • Like the post? Share via Retweet or Facebook buttons and I’ll give you an e-hug!
  • For fun, comment on how many and what types of hats you like to wear hehe! Don’t worry, we all do.

Your foodie and wannabe fashionista,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Speaking of creating websites, the long awaited single column blog theme is just about done. It has some wicked features that is worth looking into. Just you wait.

P.P.S. Tonight, Julie and I ate at Olive Garden and were reminded of Italy. Even though the foods varied greatly from Italy’s, it didn’t stop us from reminiscing. Can’t wait to go back!

P.P.P.S. For those emailed about crafting goals from last week’s brand creation post, it’s a matter of perspective.