You can’t ignore the fact that we’ve become obsessed with images.
From the growing impact of Instagram to the use of images in every single piece of marketing, visual content is taking over the world as we know it.
And the truth is it’s not surprising.
As a society that now wants instant gratification, we’re lazy and we don’t want to spend our limited time on lengthy reams of text or explanations that could have been summed up with a few words on a meme.
It’s a well known fact that our brains process visuals 60,000x faster than text, and a recent survey by Zabisco found that 40% of people will respond better to visual information than plain text. So the statistics are clearly there, but many are still struggling to grasp the concept.
Visual imagery can power up your communication, boost engagement across social media, and spark an interest about your business that a few lines of text just can’t.
No matter the medium, whether it be traditional marketing, blogs, emails, social media or even your website, there needs to be a strong visual element.
When a great image is chosen your audience can feel instantly connected to your brand and your philosophy, so they play a much bigger part in the way your business is viewed by your customers than you may think.
Of course the true power in an image lies within it’s quality and the message it conveys.
Sharing grumpy cat memes or clunky graphics can do your brands reputation a massive disservice. You’ll look amateur and they’ll start thinking the service or product you offer is just as cheap.
So where should you start?
Be ‘on brand’
Your company should have its own brand guidelines that can help you to define the style of images that you use to promote your business. This way, without your logo being splashed all over it, your customers will know who it’s from.
“These days, pictures are worth much more than a thousand words. Visual communication helps to solidify your customer’s perceptions of your business, whilst simultaneously helping to establish you as a brand”, comments Jessica Ann, Creative Director of Jessica Ann Media.
Look at the company guidelines, and if there’s nothing in there to give direction, it’s time to start a mood board and get creative.
Discuss the elements that you want to convey in your images.
Do you want to mainly use graphics or opt for more photography?
How do you want your customers to feel when they see these images?
Once you’ve considered these questions you can then begin to put together a brief so that the entire company is aware of the images that should be distributed.
From brochure to social media, it all needs to be fluent in it’s message.
Stay away from stock
With a wealth of free image libraries now available it’s easy take the quick route and just download any old stock photo that takes your fancy. But you’re forgetting that every man and his dog has the opportunity to download exactly the same image.
“Good photography shouldn’t be an after thought, you should embrace photos as brand art and seek a professional who can offer proof of a portfolio so that you know what you’re getting for your money”, comments Director of USB4Photographers.
Stock photos not only cheapen your brand, but it’s also shockingly embarrassing when a competitor brand uses the same image as you for their marketing.
Avoid them as much as possible, and if you really have to resort to them try and change them as much as possible with a filter.
Use what you have
Many people believe that to take great photos you have to be an expert and have the most expensive pieces of kit. But unless you’re creating hi-resolution images for print, this is simply not the case.
Our phones are now equipped with incredibly good cameras, and with a good eye can capture the most unique angles and snapshots of life that can spark intrigue.
Once snapped there’s then a plethora of many free or cheap image editing apps to be able to make it look like it’s been taken by a professional.
Don’t be cheap
Since our world has become full of imagery all vying for our attention, it’s no wonder you’re probably worried that your images may get lost in the crowd.
However, it doesn’t need to be like that.
The images that often get lost are those that have been done cheaply, and offered nothing engaging.
You can’t buy quality, but you have to invest money into quality to ensure it will earn its way and work for you.
Hiring a graphic designer or photographer may cost a little more than a ‘do-it-yourself’ approach, but if you really want to get your brand out there and insert some ‘WOW’ factor into your imagery, you may find that it will work wonders for your reputation and lead generation.
It doesn’t matter what your business does, it’s now a game of show, don’t tell.
Embrace the visual imagery era and you may find that your business will succeed because it looks the part. Then all you need to focus on is being the part.