I’ll let you know five things that I learned about marketing when photographing Keith Urban at the Blues & Roots Festival in 2008. If you’re a business owner or work in the marketing department you’ll love these insights. 

Look outside your regular market for opportunities

Keith Urban made his name in the American market where there are over 300 million people, more than 10x that of Australia. Had he not looked outside his regular Australian market, his career may well have peaked at performing in the big tent at the Tamworth Music Festival. One of the great marketing ideas that Keith took on board was thinking globally rather than just locally. 

Curate all content that goes out and only show your best side

The media photographers were briefed prior to shooting Keith that we could only shoot him for the first three songs. If anyone was to take a photograph after this, management was going to cancel the show. This is the protocol for all the biggest musicians in the world, (they all say this)  and the reasoning behind this is to control the quality of content going out to the media. No-one wants photography that makes you look sweaty and struggling going out into the world. 

The moral is, you have to curate your content heavily so that you only release the best photographs and videos to your audience.  These have to be surrounded by cohesive scripts and compelling copywriting. If you rely on stock images or use cheaper photographers and videographers your business will suffer. If you forget this your whole brand will be cheapened. And no-one wants to look the cheapest unless you are a $2 Shop in Chinatown. 

Your brand and business will be judged not only on the basis of the best content you use. But more so by the worst content that you release with your brand. A famous photographer once told me “you don’t get judged by your best work, you get judged by your worst work that people can see”. 

It is far better to show 12 high-quality blog posts, or web pages written and designed perfectly rather than 100 average bits of content with stock images and fiverr cheapos that no-one bothers to read. 

Humanise your brand. Show your face and personality.

You will notice that you know a bit about Keith even if you do not listen to his music. You probably know his wife, you probably know he is an approachable down-to-earth Australian export.  Without thinking about it you’ll probably know a little about his story. Whether it was one interview or 10 snippets that revealed this to you. I would be confident to say you kind of know him a bit from the way he has presented his brand to the world. He wears similar clothing all the time, black shirt and denim and has the same look whether he is on Letterman or in front of 100,000 fans. 

This is the same strategy you want to be taking with your business. You want people to know the story about your business. You want the consistency in the way you present yourself,  You want to add the human connection through photography and video, give your audience ‘the why’ to your Brand Story. Why you do what you do. If you can do this, your business will be more relatable, your brand affinity will go through the roof and your brand will develop and lead your business. In short, people will know you so much better than your competitors, and if you do this you win. 

Don’t be a copycat

In order for me to get the photograph above, I had to take a risk and do things differently to the other photographers in the media pit. For those that know a little about photography, I will let you know the majority of the market use this one lens for all their work. This lens is the 70-200mm. It is absurd actually that at the festival about 30 photographers were all standing in two spots pushing their shutters at exactly the same time, getting essentially the same shot. 

I saw this and swapped my 70-200mm for a 50mm lens. I risked it all for the photograph that I took for this email. I somehow managed to get a front-on position where there were no competitors or other photographers. 

Being a copy cat at anything does not work or make you stand out from your competition. I am not suggesting that you ignore the idea of modeling a business process. But the blatant copycat approach seldom works. 

Get traction

Getting traction is a buzzword in marketing – we all want traction. How do you get traction? How come Keith Urban had three times the photographers than any other band? How come all the hype? This is what every business wants right? 

The answer to traction can be found in Keith Urban’s brilliant approach to marketing. 

That’s all for today’s marketing tips. 

Have a great day 😉 

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