BRANDING – We’ve heard it’s key for convincing customers to do business with us, but how do we communicate it? One powerful tool is photography. Don’t let the word brand intimidate you. Read on and you’ll see why it’s an important part of your business and how photography can help you stand out.
Why is branding important?
Customers don’t just buy a product. When consumers go through the process of selecting a product or service, they are influenced by what they perceive your brand to be. When I talk about branding, or ‘lifestyle branding’, I’m referring to how all the services and products you offer add up, the overall experience you offer customers. It’s the essence of your personality, your way of doing things, the interaction you promise. Branding is your ‘Visual Story’. Many entrepreneurs, online businesses and sole business owners offer more than just one product; they offer a range of services or products which fit together to make a cohesive offering. If you find yourself in that position, your branding is crucial to attracting customers.
It’s not enough to have a cool product, or even a great photo of that product on a modern website. You need to communicate a personality, a brand – and photography is one of your secret weapons.
Professional photos tell a story
People love stories, we always have. A professional photographer can be the difference between a static shot which gets the information out there, and a story. What do I mean? Let’s say you’re a florist. While you may be able to apply filters to your iPhone and get a pretty photo of a bouquet of flowers, a session with a professional photographer can do so much more. Imagine if you had images of huge bunches of flowers, their colours complementing each other. Then close-ups of florists carefully constructing a bouquet. The owner of the company laughing with an employee. The delighted look of a customer receiving their bouquet of flowers. All of a sudden, you haven’t just got some gorgeous photos, you’ve got a story. This is what you get with an experienced photographer. They don’t just click the shutter and move onto the next shot. They will consult with you to understand your business, the feel you want to create, and make sure that comes out in every image.
When your photos tell a story, customers sit up and take notice, because they can put themselves in that story. When you invest in professional photographs, you take your company from transactional to personal. Customers can relate more deeply to a person than an object, so they are engaged and more likely to do business with you.
More than a headshot
Headshots in particular can tell a story. Most of us freeze when faced with a camera but a professional photographer knows how to help you relax and how to bring out your personality. They have the tricks to get you to smile, which is crucial in order to come off as approachable and attract new customers. They’ll make sure your brand comes through in the images.
This is almost impossible to achieve with a selfie or your best friend taking your picture with an iPhone. A professional shoot will do way more than produce a static portrait. You can have photos showing you doing your job, you in your environment, team members interacting, your team working in different settings, your customers experiencing your service. This variety creates atmosphere rather than being static.
Personalized vs. generic stock
While stock photography may seem like an attractive investment, especially to new businesses, it is generic. What if your competitor buys the same stock images? It doesn’t help communicate a message of professionalism or uniqueness.
There is an alternative: ‘personalized stock photography’. These can be images that don’t necessarily contain your product or employees, but props which communicate to the customer the industry you’re in, the kind of service you offer, the type of culture you embody. The beauty is that these images are personal to you; they show exactly who and what you are. These will make you stand out, which is what you need in today’s crowded marketplace. It also shows that you’ve invested in your business, therefore letting customers know that you’re serious and worth purchasing from.
That’s not to say there isn’t a place for stock photography. It can work well for high turnover pieces like blog posts and social media posts, but you want to avoid it in your core marketing collateral like your website, portraits, business cards, and brochures.
It can be hard to stand out as a business these days. In order to encourage customers to purchase from you, you need to do more than show them a product; you need to communicate a brand. One key way to do that is through your photography. Do your photos reveal your brand?
Before I leave you the photos featured in this post are from a recent branding session with the beautiful:
• Keren Reiser – Keren is a registered dietician and she LOVEs to build perfect menus for her clients, taking into account ALL your dietary restriction, calorie count and nutritional needs. Her menus are perfect you don’t have to think about counting calories, macronutrients she’s done it all. To keep you on track she’s got an app for you. To find out more visit her online at: KerenReiser.com
If you’d like to capture your brand story, get in touch, I’d love to help!