November 15, 2011

Anatomy of online photo book branding

Anyone who knows me understands that I am happiest when I’m creating something new. My pulse races when I enter art supply and craft stores, clay studios, fabric warehouses, and boutiques centered around handmade wares. A valid vacation for me can be defined as hours spent walking the aisles of Hobby Lobby or AC Moore stores discovering or rediscovering new tools and products.

Since my entrance into branding over ten years ago, naming has been an effective way for me to maintain that tangible sense of creation. My creative abilities have taken on new challenges; fascinated with words and the construction of names I’ve spent the past decade constructing letter strings and word parts to yield memorable new brands for clients.

Coupling the two primary forces in my life, branding and crafting, I look at product names in a whole new light. It’s not just, “What function can that new paper punch serve for me?”, but, “How in the world did they get that name through legal?”

Excuse my crafty-namer-geek approach to this post, as I explore some big craft brands and their names for photo books.

Creative Memories: StoryBook Photo Book
Descriptive, straightforward. Their positioning has always been about preserving your memories and telling your story, so this name complements the equity they have built in their brand.

My Publisher
Recently it seems has rebranded themselves into more of a modern option for photo products. The brand has always focused on giving you the tools to tap into your own design/publishing skills.

Snapfish: Photo Book
Uses the equity in their corporate name (known for photos) for their online photo books. No additional branding required.

Interesting naming approach: the company uses a generic moniker of “Photo Books,” but has also branded the creation process with “Custom Path” and “Simple Path” to make the process of building your book an easier task.

Winkflash / Picaboo / Kodak
Follows suit with the other online primary photo sites and focuses branding on their individual corporate names.

Custom photo books that make you smile. Um, I hope so since they’re my photos and I’m paying to have them preserved in a book for posterity. At least they’re using a name that stands apart from the traditional, but I’m not sure it actually communicates anything differently.

Apple: iPhoto Books
I would expect nothing less (or more) from Apple. Simple continuity within their strong lineup of product brands.

Company uses individual brands in their arsenal of options, including BookSmart (personalizing software), Bookify (creation software), and BookShow (Facebook sharing app). Bloggers and addicts take note: you can export your blog into a custom coffee table book to pass down your witticisms for generations. I love the continuity of their brand into defining their team members as Blurberati.

Focuses efforts on the corporate brand and uses a descriptive naming approach for the individual book types. Lulu is more of a ‘self-publishing’ platform that includes photo books as one type of offering. The best part about Lulu (besides their catchy, memorable name) is that customers can sell their creations through the site.

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