Yesterday I was at Martin Davidge-Stringer’s networking lunch for Farnham Business Connections, hosted at Sadza restaurant in Farnham. It was a mix of new faces and familiar and I found myself chatting with Linda Crawford of Outline Health. Linda is an Osteopath but has a background in marketing and a partner who works for an Ad agency, a combination which I think triggered in me a flash of a thought, mid flow, about the message I try to get across to businesses.
The thought was an analogy. The School Prospectus.
I believe that businesses, almost regardless of what they do or how big they are (or small) should portray themselves authentically. They should also look carefully at how they regard photography within their marketing and message strategy. Very often I speak with people where there is little budget for well planned photos, especially when the lion’s share has already been committed to branding, website, leaflets and pretty much everything else.
The photos you use could be damaging your reputation. You might actually be putting clients and customers off contacting you; you won’t really know because, well, they’re not contacting you.
The issue I’m talking about is stock. Now I have written and said before, there is nothing wrong with stock. It is a fantastic resource but it needs to be used appropriately and should never, I repeat never, be used as your identity. If you use stock on your website you are not talking to your customers and clients visually. It is possible that all your lovely well edited narrative is being undone because it isn’t supported with authentic photos of you.
You have a chance with good well planned photography to say ‘this is US, come and do business with US‘
So what about my analogy?
I think without exception, schools use photos which depict their school, the pupils, the staff, the facilities. Photos which are genuine and authentic. Let me ask you this, you are looking around at schools for your child, how would you react if the prospectus had great words but used stock photos and showed you nothing of the school for real?
Might you be put off?
For fun and to make the point I bashed this together this morning. Using stock photos.
I know it is a bit daft and extreme but my questions are these:
Are you damaging your brand, your image, your bottom line by not investing in well planned, professionally produced, authentic photos of you and your business?
Are you diluting your message and appeal to new customers and clients?
My message is you should be elevating the importance of photography and see it as a visual language. People are visual creatures and respond on many levels to visual messages. Photography is not a cost to your business, it is an investment, it is a language you are using right now on your website.
The question is, how fluent are you and can learn something from school?