For two years, this permanent installation has generated fantastic, free advertising for our studio, as every person that passes through the area is a potential client. Mothers about to deliver, visiting relatives, friends—anyone can call our studio for themselves or to give our photography as a gift to the person they’re visiting.
Between the hospital installation and word-of-mouth referrals, we have not needed any other advertising. With referrals coming from patients and nurses who had participated in the original project, patients at other hospitals have started to call our studio. Return visits from all these clients have added to the response, requesting new appointments as their children grow.
Since this project began, we’ve had a 10 to 15 percent increase in profits. (Measurement is easy because we categorize all our invoices in QuickBooks accounting software.) Every year, this part of our business has increased by an average of 35 percent. The flow of clients is steady and increasing yearly, without any additional conventional advertising.
The biggest challenge for us during this whole process was coming up with the original proposal. A comprehensive, well-thought-out proposal professionally presented to the hospital was imperative, because anything less would have hindered our ability to convince such a large institution to award us the project.
This collaboration has brought both of us much exposure and success. The project was a success for the hospital because it gained national recognition and regional response as a result of our careful planning and detailed execution, with little additional time or effort required by the hospital administration or staff.
We have gained credibility with the hospital, which has helped us win other photography-based projects. The project has helped us achieve the goals we had envisioned, and has exceeded our expectations for business growth.
Nels Akerlund, owner, with Anna Brahmstedt Akerlund, of Nels Akerlund Photography (www.nelsakerlund.com), in Rockford, Illinois, has been a freelance photographer for 13 years. Starting as a photography intern at the White House, he now has a national and global clientele, including the National Geographic Society, Architectural Record, and The New York Times.