Building Your Brand. Make a Statement.

A few months ago I started reading “Book Yourself Solid” by Michael Port. Michael is right up there with Seth Godin and Timothy Ferris for offering small business professionals valuable information in building their business. In my first post about the book, I wrote about two concepts Michael covers in the beginning of the book: what sales and marketing really is, and my favorite, “the velvet” rope policy. As my time permits and I inch my way through the book, I want to share other tidbits here and there. One of the latest gems I’ve read: building your brand. Michael talks about two key statements that form the basis for your brand.

  • First, there’s the who and do what statement. This answers the questions Who are you? What do you do? and Whom do you serve?
  • Second, there’s the why you do statement. This answers the question, “why should anyone hire you?” For Michael, he’s a consultant and coach who works with service based businesses. And the reason clients hire him, “he’s the person you call when you’re tired of being small.”

I thought about these questions as they relate to Cinematic Studios, and the exercise was very helpful. In terms of what we do and for whom, I fought the temptation to say “we make videos for all kinds of companies, big and small.” While that’s true, I felt that what Michael wants you to do is be more specific. So, I came up with this (note, this is still a work in progress. Michael said it took him six months to really hone his two statements): we use new media technologies to help clients that need to make an emotional connection with their customers/clients. Here are examples of what I mean. The vast majority of our clients fall into one of these categories:

  • Wedding and portrait photographers who need to make a strong emotional connection with the families they serve
  • Commercial and fashion photographers who need to connect with and click with the corporate and/or celebrity clientele they’ll be working with for long periods of time.
  • Large corporations or associations that serve emotionally driven customers like visual artists. These include companies like Adobe, Apple, Canon, Nikon, Pictage, WPPI, etc., who create products for photographers and filmmakers, who as most of you know, can get very emotional about the tools they use (e.g. Canon vs. Nikon, Mac vs. Windows, Aperture vs. Lightroom, you get the picture).
  • Non-profit organizations like Girls for a Change or the San Francisco 49ers Academy, who need to emotionally move people to either contribute larges sums of money, or lots of valuable time.
  • Churches or religious organizations like Fuller Seminary who need to emotionally connect with their audience in order to communicate their messages of hope.
  • And, in the case of our personal event business, Milestone Moment Films, we need to create a product that will emotionally move and connect with the families we serve.


The second statement, the why you do statement, is perhaps the most important, and naturally, the hardest to nail down. This is what really differentiates you from your competition. When thinking about the question “why should anyone hire Cinematic Studios?” I really wanted to zero in on that which really makes us unique. Of course, I naturally feel that our work is great. Awe-inspiring even. I have what I call the “Exclamation Examination.” If the first word out of a client’s mouth after seeing their video cannot be followed by an exclamation mark (e.g. “Wow!” “Amazing!” or as one recent client wrote me in an email, “Holy Crap!”), then we haven’t done our job.

But, honestly, there are a number of our esteemed colleagues who do equally amazing work. So, I knew there had to be something else, that certain je ne sais quois, that really set us apart. And what I figured was that for many of our projects, the experience is what sets us apart. A Cinematic Studios shoot is fun! Exhilarating! Memorable! Whether we’re shooting a comedy script that keeps everyone in stitches, or even if we’re shooting a promo video, we’re always engaging with our clients in such a way that makes the experience fun. So, what I came up with for our “why you do it” statement is, “Cinematic Studios is the company you hire when you want an awe-inspiring video, that’s extremely effective, and a lot of fun to shoot.”

(Image to right courtesy of Jules Bianchi. )

So, your homework is to find out what your “who and what you do” and your “why you do it” statements are. Dig deep. And if you come up with something good, share it in the comments. đŸ™‚

One thought on “Building Your Brand. Make a Statement.

  1. Ron, I’d like to give an “Amen” to the fact that your shoots are fun! I have had a blast! You have an inspired vision on your projects and work effortlessly to capture the essence of the message. Thank you for including me in your “world of fun” and thanks also for the above book recommendation. Blessings!

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