Shutterfly was founded in 1999 as a comprehensive online photo service catering to the burgeoning digital photography market. The service enabled users to upload their digital photos to be shared in virtual slide shows, printed for traditional photo albums, or applied to any number of calendars, mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, and photo books.
Soon thereafter, SnapFish, later acquired by HP; Picasa, later acquired by Google; and Webshots, among others, emerged as strong competitors. Leading brick and mortar brands like Walmart and Walgreens were also providing in-store digital photo services and adding online capabilities.
When the digital photography market hit its tipping point with over 50 million digital cameras sold in the U.S. alone, Shutterfly engaged brandadvisors to assist in fine tuning the brand positioning strategy.
brandadvisors conducted an extensive analysis, including customer research and competitive store audits in key U.S. markets, and learned that as the category pioneer, Shutterfly led countless innovations, enabling users to be more creative with their images. Its engineering expertise also allowed Shutterfly to develop a more intuitive customer experience.
These assets matched closely with the needs of Shutterfly’s primary target audience—recently married women with families, who valued the practical value of Shutterfly’s convenience, the emotional value of expressing themselves creatively, and the opportunity to connect more deeply with friends and families.
brandadvisors’ positioning theme recommendation of “Make it. Personal” emphasizes Shutterfly’s unique focus on empowering users to strengthen personal relationships through the emotional power of photographs. This focus on emotional benefits distanced Shutterfly from a sea of competitors who employed typical retail discounting and merchandising tactics.
brandadvisors extended the positioning to enhance and refine service offerings, evolve merchandising, create messaging, advise on packaging, and develop naming for Shutterfly services. Since the brand relaunch in 2005, the company led a successful initial public offering on the NASDAQ, and grew revenue from $83 million to $200 million.