In 1981 Frank and Shirley Colzato packed up their family and made the trip from Griffith to Bathurst to set up their own professional photographic studio. They opened on 11 November 1981 and within days Frank had already started photographing families and creating baby portraits. By the end of the month Frank had shot his first wedding and by the time 1982 rolled around, they had begun to establish themselves as a household name in Bathurst.
I joined the business in 2006 as a permanent design specialist, production and project manager.
Business & Strategic Roles
Implementing strategic marketing to meet seasonal demand and ensure financial sustainability across commercial, family and wedding markets was essential. To achieve this in a highly saturated market, it was important to have a clear understanding of the differences between client cohorts and meet their individual needs. Underpinning these activities was the necessity to maintain positive sentiment and build long term relationships.
Further, securing and nurturing strong supplier relationships allowed us to use the JIT system to balance delivery time frames and seasonal demand to meet or exceeded customer expectations. Keeping up to date with current technologies and trends through training and professional membership ensured the product was current and desirable by the target demographic.
With a strong focus on customer service, the needs of the clients were at the forefront of each sale and in after sales service. Understanding the careful art of salesmanship encouraged repeat business and considerable WOM promotion. This was clearly evident as during the 35 years of the studio’s operation, the photography became generational. For example, repeat business from one family was as follows:
- Family portrait: Mum, Dad and teenagers
- Engagement portrait (was teenager in former portrait session)
- Baby portraits for children # 1, 2, 3 & 4
- Family portraits
- Engagement portraits (was baby # 2)
- Their first baby
This was not an isolated case and demonstrates how quality product, correct price point and stellar customer service produces long term customer loyalty.
Digital Marketing & Promotion
Digital marketing efforts were facilitated via the website and social channels including Facebook and Google My Business. They were interlinking marketing efforts with unifying purpose to generate timely bookings without stretching beyond capacity.
Initially I built the website from scratch using Dreamweaver, however I migrating across to the WordPress platform for greater responsiveness for mobile users. The aim of the website was to present a portfolio of work which showed variety without presenting a “how to” for competitors within the locality. Careful consideration was given to SEO, site navigation and image optimisation to ensure easy access to information and faster viewing speeds.
Regarding branding, a template was applied to each image for the viewer to immediately identify the company, see professional accreditation and contact information. The template design was simplistic but differentiated us from competitors in the target demographic. It was especially useful when the weekly Flashback Friday social posts would be published and we would see an increase in traffic to the website and inquiries. Pinterest was also utilised for a short period but had a smaller yield comparative to Google My Business and Facebook.
Frank retired after a continuous career spanning 45 years in the industry. During the studio’s operation from November 1981 to July 2016, every commission was archived, resulting in 12000+ negative packets and 2000+ digital discs meticulously filed and safely stored. As Frank and Shirley wanted to give customers a chance to purchase their negatives I was commissioned to manage the archive sale project.