In this article, we discuss photography as a branding tool. Corporate branding has got to be one of the most powerful tools in the business toolkit when it comes to getting your product or service out there in a focussed, strategic way. The importance of corporate branding was highlighted way back in the nineties by Stephen King, founder of the Advertising Research Unit.
King (not to be confused with the horror writer) noted that the way in which consumers choose to buy is dependent less on how they evaluate the features, functions and benefits of a service or product, and more about “their assessment of the people in the company behind it, their skills, attitudes, behaviour, design, style … the whole company culture, in fact.”
As consumers are offered more choices across a range of mediums and have access to a global market at the press of one or two buttons, businesses have to act fast to capture their attention.
In order to do that, it is important to understand how our attention span has diminished rapidly with the onset of the digital age. We are not quite on par with the ever-circling goldfish in a bowl, but we do not stay focused for long when surfing the web—nine seconds for the fish, 8 seconds for the average Internet user, in case you are wondering.
It has been estimated that the time it has taken to type this sentence is all the time it takes for someone to decide whether they will stay on your webpage.
There, blink and they have gone.
However, if someone remains on your site for half a minute, you have a better chance of them browsing for over two minutes, and they are more likely to return. While taking onboard information, the brain, instead of reading along the written lines, is now being rewired to “scan” and take in information in short bursts whilst looking for keywords. When an image or video clip is in front of us, it takes around 90 seconds (not 8) for our attention span to drop off.
A Picture (or Photograph) Paints a Thousand Words
So if a business wants to get across the style, design, skills and culture of a brand or company, it needs to invest in good photography. This is your opportunity to get across your professionalism, your unique selling point, and the very essence of your business to your customers. Get this right and you will have this branded on the hearts and in the minds of your clients.
A number of companies do this very well. For example, IKEA features good quality photography set in real homes with cleverly designed storage spaces, and stylish and comfortable products with Scandinavian traditional and modern designs. It is easy to picture their products in your mind’s eye (and in your house) because they showcase them very effectively.
How to Get Across the Company Culture at a Glance
Start by thinking about creating a connection with your customer; it is important in this digital and occasionally “virtual” age that your client feels they are linking in with a real human being. Deciding on the right headshots is really important, as you need to start with your senior leadership team and your staff, but you can be creative about this.
You can avoid the standard pose (remembering that in more traditional businesses such as the legal profession, a more traditional headshot is required to instil confidence and trust) and go for a modern twist. Whatever is chosen, it is important to keep that image or design consistent across all the marketing, from brochures and business cards to your website.
If you are a family firm or very much a team-based organisation, then ensure that the photographs you use reflect this. Shots of your team working onsite or at marketing events, or better still, of staff involved in community events say much more than just everyone standing underneath the entrance to the company.
Telling the Story with Photography
If your product or service has a recognisable theme or logo, then tell the story through pictures or photography. (Even better, organise a reunion like Kraft did in 2007 when they got together the original Vegemite 8 for the advertisement’s 50th anniversary). Look at the colours, the text that you use to annotate the photography, and the mood of the overall design. Keep it consistent with your branding so that you don’t confuse your customers.
Use a Professional Photographer
Last but not least, avoid stock images and invest in a professional photographer to take photographs that are relevant and meaningful for your product or service. Ensure that you get a stock of high quality photographs that can be used on websites, are mobile friendly, and that are good enough resolution for newsletters or sales brochures and online marketing materials. Quality photographs with a crisp, clear finish will send out a message that this is a business that prides itself on a professional approach with attention to detail.
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- The Importance of Good Photography as a Corporate Branding Tool - October 10, 2016