It takes a village to put a self-promotion piece together and no one can attest to that more than Los Angeles-based lifestyle, portrait and fashion photographer Lou Mora.
Mora has been shooting lifestyle and portraits professionally for about five years, and in that time he has developed a client roster that includes the likes of Ford, Bank of America, Pfizer, Nike, Shure, Asics, Alere, Intel, Team Detroit, Hill Holiday, Mires + Ball and Cline Davis & Mann, just to name a few. The Mora philosophy is “less is more” and certainly is evident in his clean, sophisticated imagery and the promotional pieces he produces for his work.
This past year, Mora decided he wanted to do a new self-promotion piece that would stand out. He also made the decision to be very selective about whom he would target with this new promotion. Just as the idea of a new self-promotion was hitting him, his wife bought him a new telephone for his work. He used it every day and it became a critical piece in his office and of his daily regimen. It was then he had his “light bulb moment” as he likes to say. “The phone! It would be something that they could use to "call me" and something that would stick around in their office a lot longer than the average promo,” says Mora. With this phone revelation idea that he liked, Mora contacted his designer Dylan Jones right away, and together they began to develop a strategy for packaging a phone and including several fine art prints that would showcase Mora’s work with very unique presentation.
The first creative decision for Mora was to produce a wooden box to house the phone and display his work. “With a great recommendation from a friend, I found a carpenter who is as detail oriented as I am and commissioned him to build the boxes,” says Mora. The next challenge was getting his logo on the lid. Mora was adamant about not changing the color of the wood (many of the processes do this), and he found that CNC routering was the answer. Just as a bit of background for non-carpentry types out there. CNC routering is a tool that creates objects from wood and stands for computer numerical control. The CNC works on the Cartesian coordinate system (X, Y, Z) for 3D motion control. Parts of a project can be designed in the computer with a CAD/CAM program and then cut automatically using a router or other cutters to produce a finished part. The CNC router is perfect for hobbies, product development, art and production work.
With another recommendation from a friend, Mora found the perfect person to handle the CNC routering. While the boxes were being produced, Mora was also working with well-known creative consultant and marketing strategist Amanda Sosa Stone, who helped him choose and coordinate the images for the fine art prints to be included in the box. Mora did a lot of research before going with one specific consultant and decided on Sosa Stone because of her wealth of knowledge in the business as well as her fun and terrific upbeat personality. With these pieces in place, he now focused on the paper for the prints. “Dylan recommended an incredible fine art printer, we sourced paper and had the images produced. All that was left was to make a few final decisions about packaging presentation, write personal notes to each recipient, assemble them and ship them out,” adds Mora.
Each promotional box measures 13 1/4"(L) x 10 3/4" (W) x 3 1/2" (H) and weighs just under 5 pounds. Each box also contains a branded cover sheet, four fine art prints, a tear sheet with Mora’s partial client list and a telephone that plugs into any Smartphone. Mora also wrote little notes to each person that ended with the tag “call me.” The promotions were shipped in individual cardboard boxes with bubble wrapping and went out via Fedex or UPS, depending on the coast. Mora was very specific with his promotions and sent to a very targeted audience of art buyers, creative directors and production people who he felt would be dream clients for the new relationships and collaborations he wanted. He also included several photo rep groups in New York on his list.
Mora launched his new promotion the week of July 9th, 2012 and started to hear from people almost immediately. The targeted response so far has been fantastic. Allison Candage, Sr. Creative Production Manager of Juice Pharma Worldwide in New York City comments, “I can say it definitely made me pick up my phone and call you! It is an over-the-top, pay attention to me kind of promo. I can't image receiving your promo and not responding in some way.” One art buyer called Mora and mentioned that she has the wooden box propped up behind her desk and that it has been a conversation starter in her office. She even uses the phone and loves it. Another creative director from an agency emailed a thank you and even posted a photo of himself using it on his Instagram. Jennifer Lamping, Executive Art Producer at TbwaChiat\Day had this to say, “Well, that is some promo! I can't say I've ever seen anything like it - thank you for including me in the mailing! It's such a unique and fun piece!! And so nice to be introduced to your work - it's really beautiful stuff! Always good to know of talented locals in the area. Perhaps we can set up some time in August for you to swing by the office for a visit to share more of your work?”
The general feedback was that it was an impressive promotional piece and that they love my work,” says Mora. The promotion was so favorable that he came to New York City this past August to meet with several photo rep groups, along with creatives at Juice Pharma , BBDO, Publicis and Saatchi all of whom contacted him from the promotion. His his book was also requested by Ogilvy
Mora has had a great response so far and is confident that all of the hard work that went into the piece has been well worth the effort. He got it right with specific goals and a targeted audience. That kind of focus is now creating opportunities for new and rewarding relationships and creative collaborations—everything Mora set out to achieve.
You can see more of Lou Mora’s work at his Web site and his blog at www.loumora.com and be sure to give him a call. He’s a pretty busy guy, so we can’t promise he will be sitting by the phone, but he might send you one.