Building Brand Loyalty

  • Showit UNITED

is a busy day! We’re prepping for our “Electrical Walkthrough” in the new house. This is super intimidating and yet exciting! I’m ALSO prepping for my talk for Showit UNITED presentation that I’ll be presenting NEXT TUESDAY in Santa Barbara! I’m thankful this is happening on Tuesday so that I can enjoy the rest of the week without practicing my talk in the shower and annoying my husband! I’m speaking on something that has really been a GAME changer for me and my business over the last 4 years, BRAND LOYALTY. Over the last several years, we’ve experienced what it means to have a “following”… or better titled… a “Community”.

The clients, fans and cheerleaders for Katelyn James Photography continue to surprise and bless me on a daily basis. So what makes people stay? Why have people attached themselves to my brand? Why did I attach myself to Jasmine Star’s brand?

I’ve noticed that my clients and fans are not just “supporters”, they are a form of a community. They share the same love for my business and they’re connected by that. So how did this happen and how can it happen for you? Welp, you’ll have to attend my talk at SHOWIT UNITED!! If you’re not attending, no worries, I can guarantee you that I won’t be able to keep this talk a secret for long. :)

So today I want to know, what brands are you loyal to?? And how do you know that you’re “loyal” to them? What brands make you feel like you’re a part of something BIGGER than just the product they are offering and why do you feel that way? Here’s an even BETTER question, why do you continue to come back to MY blog? What makes this business “follow-able”? (that’s definitely not a word) I would LOVE to hear your thoughts!…. I may even use your response in my presentation!! Thanks in advance for your help!!



41 Comments Photography
  1. Abby Grace reply

    I think what keeps ME coming back is the refreshing spirit of positivity! Sometimes other photographers (myself included at times) border on bitter and discouraging and I never have to worry about that on your blog :).

  2. Anna reply

    Love this post because you just got me thinking about brand loyalty and what brands I am loyal to and why. Great questions! Thank you :)

  3. Lauren @ Every Last Detail reply

    I tend to be a VERY loyal person when I get the same respect and support from that brand too. Whether it’s a restaurant that uses social media and responds when I tweet about loving them, or a business that supports me and encourages me- it gives me this intense desire to do the same for them! :)

  4. rachel reply

    Girl I am Loyal to TOMS!!!! I love their mission their one for one, the shoes are comfortable, I wear them on all my shoots, and I have about 10 pairs (yes I am addicted and loyal :)) I tell people about toms I blog about it and a sell it to all my brides for their wedding day! Toms make me happy and doing that they make me happy in return :)

  5. Deborah Zoe reply

    I LOVE this topic and I’m SOOOOO sad to miss your united talk!! Can we skype?:) I think what keeps me coming back to YOU and your brand is your consistency with beautiful images but more importantly your generosity and genuineness. You are a person who I feel blessed to call a friend! and you bring that to every relationship even your blog readers and clients. that is incredibly special and different and makes me a super loyal fan of you!!

  6. molly stillman reply

    LOVE this, katelyn!

    At least for me, I think it was because I knew of you in college when you were just starting but i saw this talent and i loved your personality and so i just started following your work. Overtime as I saw you improve and really come into your own, I just fell in love with your brand and I KNEW that whenever I got married one day that I’d want you to be my wedding photographer. And then what? Like three years later all of a sudden I’m engaged and you were literally the FIRST person I emailed outside of calling our families. I emailed you the DAY we got engaged! :) I couldn’t wait! Having you be a part of our day was literally a dream come true! :) You’re just an inspiration to me and so many people and even though I’ve been married for a year now, I STILL keep coming back every single day.

  7. Emily reply

    I keep coming back to your blog for the same reason I came to it in the first place — you’re a CNU alum (so am I) who is passionate about what she does, and you’re there for people on the BIGGEST day of their lives! I love how you incorporate your personal life into the blog too, and I have loved seeing updates about Bokeh since he was a puppy! The beautiful turquoise color of your brand is also easy on the eyes :) As for other brands I’m loyal to, it sounds funny but I have been using and will continue to use Clinique makeup and skin care, because my mom has been using it her whole life too! I think when something gets “passed down” it means more, so it’s something I picked up when I was young and now I trust my skin and appearance to one brand because I know it has stood the test of time.

  8. Breanna reply

    I am loyal to Apple, because they make beautiful products that make my life easier. I used to work for them during college and it was the most incredible environment to work in. Everyone was so creative, talented and ENTHUSIASTIC to be there. We were truly a family. Apple isn’t just a brand to me, it’s a way of life. Sounds silly but it’s true.

    I don’t really have that kind of loyalty to any other brands. There are other brands I like… Lilly Pulitzer- because the prints and bright colors make me happy, Fossil- because they make gorgeous, long lasting leather bags, Canon- well, obviously ;) but I don’t feel passionate about them the same way I do about Apple.

  9. Amanda Roth reply

    Consistent in blog posting, uniform appearance of brand with personality, Unique and EXCELLENT photography, and warm/engaging written content… a few reasons why I follow any photographer. I think there is a lot of reasons why someone follows a brand in general though. Bottom line: it’s how good the brand is at making a person experience POSITIVE emotions when in association with that brand.

  10. katie yuen reply

    I’ve always been loyal to certain brands, its how my momma raised me! Whether its ziploc, Katelyn James Photography, or minnetonka moccasins, there’s just something about KNOWING what you’re getting is quality.. that the minds behind the brand want you to have a good experience (which you talk about consistently!). And consistency is another thing! I know I can count on seeing incredible wedding images from you, or an uplifting blog post when I’m feeling down, and beautiful design ALWAYS! its the little things that keep me coming back :)

  11. Bev reply

    I like to follow your work because everyone needs a goal to reach and your photography is my goal – to become so good at photography that other people can’t help but look at my work and read my blog to find out what I’ve been working on and what I’m endorsing. you are one talented lady and I love your positive attitude and how you love the Lord. I wish you nothing but bigger and better blessings in life.

  12. Kathryn Grace reply

    I come back because, well, your photography is AMAZING and inspiring! And you are so willing to share and help others (someday I hope I make it to one of your workshops!!).
    Totally not related to this topic – can I ask what that calligraphy font is in the graphic?? I looooove it!!

  13. Sabrina reply

    So excited to hear this talk next week! You’re going to do so well with it :-)
    I keep coming back to KJP because 1) your images are stunning. Always. And 2) you have a way of drawing people into what you’re talking about. It’s SO easy to see where your passions lie and you easily get other people on board! Plus, you’re just so genuine and open with what you share – your faith and your marriage are such an encouragement :-)

  14. Kristin reply

    I’m loyal to brands that GIVE. TOMS: when you buy a pair, they give a pair to a child in need. SHOWHOPE: gives grants to couples wanting to adopt. SHOWIT is sharing. PASS is sharing. I tend to gravitate and want to support brands that make the world a better place. A LOT of brands do that so I make sure I know what they truly stand for and that it goes with my beliefs. That’s you Katelyn. you give. You are more than nice a brand. You are more than a great photographer. You are bettering HIS Kingdom. That’s why I keep coming back! You’re gonna rock UNITED – can’t wait to see ya in Vegas!

  15. Rebekah Carter reply

    I am loyal to your blog bc of the beautiful photography as well as your positive uplifting personality. As far as other brands I am loyal to the only one I can think of right now is Kroger. I always try to get all my groceries there no matter where I live bc I think their stores are the cleanest & have the best value for price.

  16. Sarah reply

    I follow photographers that are personable, relevant, and have a beautiful sense of aesthetics. I am particularly drawn to photographers who share advice that I can apply in my business. these individuals are generous with their passion and so I find them to be “follow-able” as well as inspirational. Like Katelyn James and Jasmine Star!

  17. Sarah Adams reply

    Ah! I just LOVE your brand…and i think the main reason I am so drawn to it is because of how real, open, and genuine you are! I felt like I knew you before I met you on our coaching session! Also- I look up to you!! So much! Not only your amazing photography skills- but also your work ethic, your adorable sense of style, and your LOVE for Christ! I love that you blog about real things in your life- when I read your blog, I feel as though I’m having a conversation with a good friend :) And lastly, but not leastly (haha thats def not a word either!)- is how organized, consistent and gorgeous your blog and website are :)

  18. Lauren Gregg reply

    I started visiting your blog ‘way back’ because I was inspired by (& addicted to!) beautiful weddings & beautiful photography… but what keeps me coming back is watching your photography, your company, your brand, & YOU develop. It’s been really exciting to see things grow & change over the years… & now that crossed over from ‘blog stalker’ to bride, I feel like I’ve been a PART of that development. I’m a part of the community that you’ve formed, & I can feel that. I feel like I know all of these people that I’ve never even met simply because of our shared love for your business & the fact that we’ve all been here together watching it grow. I feel an even stronger sense of connection with your other brides because we not only share that love for KJP, we also share some pretty special life experiences by having you present for the excitement of each our engagements, the roller coaster of planning our weddings, & most importantly- the BIGGEST DAY of our lives to date! We get to see you & your business grow, & we are part of that development, but YOU are also part of OUR personal development by witnessing & documenting such an important time in each of our lives! It’s all of the intertwined connections that I feel with you, your business, your brides, your fans, & all of our shared experiences & growth that drive my loyalty & keep me coming back. :) And while I can’t say that I’ve connected with many other businesses on such a personal level, I’ve realized that I witnessed the development of each company, person, band, brand, or even idea that I feel loyal to. For me, it seems that what starts out as inspiration turns into loyalty when I begin to feel like I’m part of something bigger & part of a journey.

  19. Rebekah Hoyt reply

    KJ fan for LIFE! You are the first blog I check every day and I haven’t missed one in a long time. I just love how open, honest, and vulnerable you are. You share freely, you are so kind, generous and uplifting, and you truly share your heart and your passion. Oh yeah, and your work is GORGEOUS :)

  20. Katie s reply

    Katelyn I love your work! I have been following your blog for almost three years. I found about you when I was getting married and since I still keep up with your posts! You have grown so much and I love your consistently, crisp images, and how you help others 0ut, I am a cheerleader!!!

  21. Lauren Gregg reply

    opps… now that *I’ve* crossed over from ‘blog stalker’ to bride… sorry!

  22. Stephanie McDermeit reply

    I started following you about a year ago and was instantly addicted! Lol I love your excitement for photography, positive attitude and passion to help others succeed! Your brand screams who you are and that’s amazing. You are able to capture your audience in a way that I feel like we have been friends for years and that every post is specifically speaking to me. Thank you so much, you have helped my business more then you could ever imagine. Keep up your awesomeness!!!! ;)

  23. Christy Tyler reply

    You are always just so positive and such a LIGHT in this industry! You open your soul and leave nothing behind when sharing what you’ve learned with us! (and i’m pretty obsessed with your dog and watching your house come to life!)

  24. Mandy Naylor reply

    I follow you, and I’m loyal to you for a few reasons.. Lets get the obvious one out of the way: your work is ALWAYS stunning! A few other reasons are that you are so open to share your trials, errors and success with others and sometimes when we (us small photo business owners who are starting out) think we are doing it all wrong, your words tell us, “It’s NORMAL!”.. Like at The What’s Next Tour- it made me feel SO much better when Mary talked about days she didn’t feel like getting out of bed, or times when she wasn’t excited to edit (I think she even mentioned you- culling your images RIGHT AWAY when you’re still EXCITED about them!).. You speak in true words, and you haven’t let your fame get to your head. You’re humble, honest, and REAL! You have no problem sharing your success and teaching- a lot of photogs HATE when people ask them questions. I think I speak as a whole when I say we (your fans) appreciate that a lot!

  25. Victoria reply

    KJP is “followable” (now a word!) for me because I WANT to see you and your husband succeed! I feel like I’m cheering you on with every new blog post, photo shoot, and update. You are so relateable – even through the wall of the Internet – and I love watching the new steps your business takes.

    Also, knowing you guys are my brother and sister in Christ makes me want to see that element of your work, the most important work you’re doing for Jesus!

    Grace and peace.

  26. Caroline reply

    oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, how EXCITING!!!!!!!!

  27. Alice reply

    What makes me come back every day? after a long think I’ve put it down to down to YOU! you make me feel like I’m your friend, even though I’ve never met you, (and this is my first blog comment) your blog isn’t “look… my photos are fantastic” (even though they are!!!) its much much more. I love hearing about your life and family, I love finding out the back story of your clients, I love that you make me want to strive for more for me, I love that you share. but also hearing that you have a huge pile of washing to do and haven’t cooked today or been to the Gym makes me relate to you. Makes me think we could be friends and i already feel that I would be comfortable if you were taking my photo. I would also want you there (as we’re now friends) if i got married.
    and most of all i love………. the colour teal thats how I found your blog after a google search for teal in december 2010!
    looking forward to following you for a long time, xxxx

  28. Sarah Syhakhoun reply

    Wow, I wish I could go! I’m part of many followings. For photographers, Zach and Jody, Jasmine Star, You (Katelyn James), Abby Grace, my wedding photographer (Leah Fontaine). For other types of brands, I am part of the followings for Dave Ramsey, Apple, Shop Ruche, Target, and I’m sure many more!

    I know I am part of the following or community because I gush about these people/brands all the time to others. I am spreading the word and am a loyal purchaser/listener to everything they come up with.

    Awesome post, Katelyn! I should comment much more, but I’ve read your blog every day since over a year ago!

  29. Regina Hurst reply

    Katelyn, I follow you because You draw me in! I first knew of you through my CNU connection (my son!) — you were that girl who invited EVERYONE from your community to your wedding…oh — and the girl from the country who had those fabulous Christmas get-togethers (for all her CNU friends..:). I felt like I Knew you before I actually got to (finally!) meet you! I love the way your share you life…for example: because you are so “in tune” with beautiful things and know how to put things together WELL (and I”, NOT so good at that), I get ideas from you…and they are a springboard to me to help me decide what I want to do myself. Also, I have a daughter who is about 10 years younger than you….and because you share so much about your life, I enjoy seeing how someone can navigate those oh-so -important transitional years of college, career, AND marriage. (And you have done it well!) In a word, you are an INSPIRATION to me in so many ways — and so I “follow”. You also exude energy, hope and happiness. WE can use all of that we can get in this world so I thank you for being willing to share you life with us SO freely.

  30. Amanda Hedgepeth reply

    I wanted to go to United so badly! Tell me you will be eventually making something like this available for purchase online?! :) XOXOXOX

  31. Kandi Hodges reply

    I actually wrote a PR-oriented blog post a couple of years ago about brands I couldn’t live without. So, I went back and read it. Granted some of those brands have evolved, I noticed the theme is that I am loyal to brands I have an emotional connection with. Take Bare Escentuals makeup – I started wearing it when I was pregnant and for the first time in my life felt truly beautiful. Or my hair stylist – I first went to him right before my husband proposed. He has cut my hair through marriage, babies, job changes. So, why keep coming back to Katelyn James? You inspire me in one of my greatest passions – photography. Thanks for connecting :)

  32. Kat reply

    Oh girl I can’t even give you all the reasons I love your brand! you are the first blog i check every day (and i sorta feel guilty if i read another one first! ha!) I’ve been a follower since “way back” because I fell in love with your images & blog style. you are so REAL! I feel like I KNOW you, could be myself with you and just RELATE to you! I’m not a wedding photographer, just a girl who adores gorgeous wedding shots, but I read your blog Why? Because I’m inspired! I feel like i’ve walked through the last few years of your life with you & your brides! You were the VERY first person (outside of friends & family) I emailed after the engagement – I knew that no matter what, I had to have you photograph Wedding day – and we didnt even have a date yet! I KNEW i woukd fit right in with other KJP brides; i’ve seen you grow SO much over the last 3 years – both personally and professionally- and i wanted to be apart of it! when the budget seemed tight, I knew I HAD to make it happen!! Why? Because there’s something about your photography style and your transparency & consistency in your blog that made me realize I’d regret it BIG TIME if your weren’t apart of Wedding Day! I come back to your brand again and again because there’s a friendly openness that draws me in, captures me and makes me feel like I’ve known you PERSONALLY for years. I feel like I know your Brides through your images and blog posts about them; and now I am so SO blessed to be one!!

    I also follow Southern Weddings pretty avidly for the same reasons – I feel like I KNOW the bloggers, I’m attracted to the content & I keep coming back for more! They are relatable, consistent bloggers and their brand is clear & defined. I know EXACTLY what I’m getting and I like that!

    Hope this helps girl :) Good luck with the walk-through!!!

  33. Ashlyn reply

    Ooh I wish I could be there. I follow a few local photos but mainly I L O V E you and J*. You all are AMAZING, and inspire me so much. I found J* through you, (I don’t know how I didn’t know her!!) I think that something that keeps me coming back to you and J* is that you are willing to pass info and help on, and that you all are consistent bloggers. You’re just not gone for two weeks. :) that’s a big one for me. J* has inspired me so much. I had been discouraged because my dream is wedding photography… It’s what I want to do, and I had so many obstacles- but they were all me! I listened to her story online recently and started crying… My dream is attainable I just have to WORK at it!!! Unbelievably, I set a goal to shoot a wedding within the next two years… And like 4 days later… I found out I’m doing a wedding this fall!! I am nervous, pumped, and super excited. :) am I good? No, nowhere even close to y’all. But as long as I keep getting better at ME, that’s all that matters! :)

  34. rosie reply

    KAtelyn, your spirit, positivity, energy and absolute love for what you do is in every post, message and response! You have loyal audience because you are amazing, and you share yourself so genuinely with your “followers”. <3

  35. Kirsten reply

    I keep coming back to your blog because I am obsessed with the way you capture light. Your images are so bright, so captivating, and so beautiful. I also come back because you always having something positive and uplifting to share. checking your blog always brightens my day! i love how you share parts of your life on the blog, too. you are so friendly and relatable!

  36. Hillary reply

    As a marketing major, the concept of brand loyalty follows me daily. Something that I love about everything you do, is that you’re consistent. You post something daily, your brand has one look not five and everything flows together.

    Instead of talking only about your business, you make a personal connection with your audience. I can walk into a store and point out things that would match your branding…I find myself doing it all the time. “Oh Katelyn James would like this, it would match her office” and I’ve never met you.

  37. Kristen Beichler reply

    Katelyn, you are an inspiration and your business and images are amazing! I heard about you through Buddy & Jill, and have loved checking your blog since then. I’m not a photographer, and I’m no longer a bride (so happy to be married! Jill shot our wedding….) so even though I may not be your “typical” blog reader, I follow your work daily!! I’m inspired by your life, your marriage, and your business sense. Your style, images, and brand are beautiful and I keep coming back. :) I think a lot of people are loyal to a brand if they can relate to it, and so many relate to you because you let yourself be real, vulnerable, and you share and teach others, instead of competing against them. You’re sweet and giving, and have a positive outlook. :) And I love your consistency with blogging! I can always look forward to beautiful images and a fun & inspiring blog post. Thank you for your work and how you share with all of us!! :)

  38. Annamarie reply

    KJP bride for life!!!!! I follow you because you are the most caring and genuine person…you set such a positive and loving example and you are so sincere. I continue to follow you because I love photography and obviously I think your work is the best in the world, but also because through my wedding you truly became a friend and I love that! You share so freely and with so much humility…and I think that’s really what sets you apart for me! Love you Katelyn!

  39. Shauna Ploeger reply

    I keep coming back because you’re so willing to share. And your posts are so helpful not to mention beautiful. Thank you for being a positive voice in our community!

  40. Annetta reply

    Katelyn, it’s your personality that has me coming back every day…(the photography too) It shines through in everything you do and even more so now that I did one of your workshops.

  41. Eryn Kesler reply

    Brands I am loyal to: Showit, Starbucks, toms, target, apple, gap, nordstrom

    interesting what this says about me! I like brands that give me consistent product, and a price i can expect. I also like amazing customer service, and reliability.
    Your blog is always fresh and inspiring to me…you care for people, love the lord, and deliver amazing creative images…all things i aspire to:) Best wishes for United! Wish I was going so so badly!!

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