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Edward Bernays, named one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th century by Life, transformed marketing as we know it. Utilising photography in marketing, he created stories for the observer to connect with and induce emotion. We often overlook the importance of images in marketing. A trained professional understands the benefits of professional photography while marketing.
The photos companies use to portray their brand speaks volumes. The classic cliche says it all, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Therefore, it’s crucial to know what your photos are saying about your company. Are they telling your customers you are a large scale professional company that can accomplish anything? Or are they saying, you are unprofessional and lack the organization to perform even the smallest task?
WEBO Digital believes in the importance of good photography in marketing and a consistent standard of high quality with images across all of your platforms. The benefits of professional photography are endless; but so are the negative impacts of bad photos. Ever since Edward Bernays stepped on the scene in the early twentieth century, photography in marketing has become more than just images. Now, photography is the story your brand represents.
Seth Godin, a well-known marketer, summed it up perfectly, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories, you tell.”
We want to ensure you know and understand the importance of good photography in marketing. Below we talk about how the images you use can make or break your company. Additionally, we touch upon the biggest mistakes companies make while creating their brand.
We now live in the digital age. Our actions, behaviours, and thoughts are dominated by the technology we use. Internet access has increased around the world, and especially in Australia. Whereas, over 88 per cent of the country has internet access (Statista). Moreover, in 2018, ABC reported that on average, Australians spend seven hours a day on the internet.
The vast amount of time spent on the internet is an indicator of the importance of good marketing and branding. Photos and images are a crucial component to marketing plans. Guttulus stresses the importance of these two components in your marketing campaign. Stating that “first impressions usually last and the power of visual communication has never been higher than it is right now.”
Visual communication needs to be seamless across all of your platforms. Whether it is social media, blogs, websites, or even pictures of your team; they should be consistent and accurate across all of your photos.
Julian Wallis, the founder of WEBO Digital, says this is one of the biggest mistakes companies are currently making. He stated that
“Companies are using photos that either don’t accurately describe their business or are inconsistent across their platforms. Inconsistency and unrepresentative photos confuse the customer, and subconsciously impact the decision they make about your company. Ultimately resulting in bad branding, a decrease in trust and sales falling off.”
It’s essential to focus on consistency and accuracy while thinking about photography for marketing. Below are things that are important to consider for these.
Consistency in your photos is the difference between telling a good story and a bad one. However, like writing a story, you need to understand your targeted audience. Gary Vaynerchuk, advocates for knowing your audience when it comes to telling your story, stating, “people forget that, now more than ever, great content is predicated on context.”
This statement ultimately means that you must understand the psychology of your audience in order to create a consistent message across your photography. The easiest way to know your audience is to have a well established and thought out branding strategy and goal.
Marketing is all about communicating the right meaning to your customers, and high-quality images are likely to garner more engagement from customers.
High-quality photos also help your customers to remember the content, as they can associate/visualise with the content they were just reading. Neil Patel talks about how using high-quality images on your website will directly increase your sales. He notes that it will increase your authenticity and improve readership.
Creating consistency in terms of tone throughout your content will pay huge dividends to your company. Whereas an article by SEMrush notes that it builds trust and connections, increases revenue, and creates a memorable brand. These are all crucial factors in the age of data; where an article by DOMO states that by 2020, 1.7 MB of data will be created for every person on earth every second.
A consistent tone doesn’t necessarily mean the use of editing tools to give it the perfect touch. Instead, it would help if you visualised how the photos will be used, and how they will fit in with the rest of your content. A consistent tone in your images will relay your brand story, increase user engagement, and build recognition for your brand.
As a photographer, you need to know that your images are judged based on what you show, not what you shoot. So, if it doesn’t fit with the theme, intention, or the story, then why even include it, right?
A consistent brand image in your photos is one component in using photos correctly. However, it’s crucial to represent your business in the correct light with the right pictures. By using high-quality photos that highlight the capacity of your organization, you can portray the capabilities and characteristics of your business.
In a recent interview with Jerry Wallis, WEBO Digital’s Head of Marketing, he shared the importance of using high-quality photos that represent your organization well,
“Images speak by themselves to the reader. If your images are blurry, edited badly, cropped weird, or don’t portray your subject properly, your readers will pick up on it, and shy away from your content. They are thinking “If you aren’t paying attention to the simple details of image quality, what else do you overlook?” Ultimately, if your photos are bad, your conversion rate will suffer.”
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this couldn’t be more true when it comes to images. As Jerry notes, photos can make or break the effectiveness of your marketing efforts whilst potentially damaging your brand if not done right. However, if you are unable to assess photos and images properly, you may want to consider getting a professional that can help.
Solve echoes this point well. Stating that content with high-quality images that are relevant to the content, get 94 per cent more views.
You may be thinking, “What are the right photos?” As mentioned above, the right photos for your organization need to be high-quality, consistent, and representative. The easiest way to accomplish this is having a brand goal, and having an employee who has the proven skills and abilities to produce high-quality photos. If you have the budget, a in house photographer or videographer would be the way to go. However, remember that it is crucial to ask for recommendations on “what a good photo is” if you are unsure or inexperienced yourself.
It is easy to find a stock photo online for free or for a small fee, but this can be damaging and off-putting to your customers. Marcel Digital talks about just how damaging it can be if you do not use authentic stock photos. Moreover, that the images that you choose should accurately depict your products, team, and services. Marcel Digital added that if your photos don’t meet the above-mentioned factors, more than likely, your conversion rate will suffer due to overused and cheesy stock photos.
Business.com also adds some important information when it comes to stock photos. Stating that stock images may come off as unfriendly, uninviting, and unrepresentative. However, they do highlight that stock photos can be effective and should be used in the correct manner. As long as the images are relevant and can provide crucial context to your blogs they should be used.
Jerry echoed the same thing Business.com said, however added that, “We also use stock photos, but at the same time we spend a great deal of time on every photo to make sure it meets all of our criteria, it has to be relevant to the content and of good resolution quality. One example of how we use stock photos can be seen here.”
The last thing Jerry mentioned was that, “Another issue of using stock photos is that companies may run into copywriting issues.” Hootsuite discusses this very thing. Stating that you can find yourself in plenty of legal problems if you use photos that don’t belong to you. Hootsuite mentions political figures in the US that have gotten into lawsuits due to copywriting issues.
A quick way to understand what the difference between good photos and bad photos is, take a look at any company that sales online goods. For example, if you search through the different photos on gumtree.com, uploaded by sellers, you can easily see how photo quality can influence which items you might buy and which items you wouldn’t. In essence, your subconscious evaluates the item by the photo that was uploaded. It would be best if you were assessing your photos on your website with the same method. Or better yet, ask a third party to do it for you.
Photography in marketing will continue to evolve, and new methods, ideas and tricks to get the best photos will emerge. However, the importance of good images in marketing will always stay the same. Being able to capture your company and represent what you stand for and what you do in a professional light will mean the difference between great conversion rates and lacklustre ones.
The benefits of professional photography are endless, but that doesn’t mean you have to break your budget to get it done. We at WEBO Digital use – and recommend – using an in house photographer to take your photos. As photography isn’t always a full-time job, we utilise our colleague to monitor our image resources online, and most importantly develop a coherent brand image and goal that the whole company can work towards.
If you are ever in doubt or need some advice on the photos and images you’re using to represent your company, feel free to contact us and schedule a chat!
“A picture is worth a thousand words. What are yours saying about your company?”
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