Humans are naturally hard-wired for storytelling. We’ve been doing it since the very early days of our evolution, whether through verbal tales around campfires, or painting pictures on cave walls.
The medium may have changed over the years, from stone slabs and papyrus scrolls to the printing press, books, radio and film, but the principles are still the same.
We love stories, and we love the visuals that go with them. Either we dream them up in our minds as we read our favourite novels, or we let an experienced director bring them to life on the big screen. But what has all this got to do with using brand photography to market a business?
Build Your Know, Like and Trust Factor
Consumers are becoming more aware not just of what they’re buying, but where it comes from, how it’s made, who makes it, what it’s made of, and they’re also looking for companies that understand their needs, and someone they can relate to.
We’re moving away from big, faceless corporations and looking back within our own communities. We’re searching for local businesses who we enjoy supporting, and rebuilding those human connections.
By letting people get to know you, you can share your own ideals, habits, goals, interests and even your struggles. Many of your customers can relate to one, if not all of these aspects of your life and business. Because of that, they’ll be more likely to know, like and trust you.
Create Unique, Scroll-Stopping Visuals
In our online, open world, we like to see what we buy before we buy it. You wouldn’t buy something from eBay if there were no photographs on the listing. It’s the same with whatever decisions we make, from choosing the shiniest apples at the market to the cars on the showroom floor.
It’s one thing to tell someone you do things in this way, but it’s another thing to actually show them. For that, you need visual imagery. Not just any imagery, but unique images that tell your story and no one else’s. You want images that make people stop their idle scrolling on social media, and sit up and take notice. You won’t get that with the same cliched stock images that all your fellow business owners are using.
Show people where you live and work. Make use of local landmarks as backdrops. You’ll draw in your ideal clients when they see that your favourite walk is also their favourite walk. Maybe they own the same brand of fridge-freezer or are using the same journal that you are. Straight away that creates a point of connection, and you have something in common before the first “hello”.
Perhaps you’ve heard of Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle”? In it, he encourages businesses to make their “Why” the focus of their marketing strategy. Too many companies start with the What or the How, but starting with Why is what really draws people in. I’d also add that the Who is another important factor. People want to see the face behind the name. They want to know who they’re buying from.
“But I’m camera-shy!” I hear you protest. “No one wants to see my ugly mug everywhere on their social feeds!”
I was like that, too. I was always behind the camera rather than in front of it, and I hated having my picture taken. Having to wear glasses before Harry Potter made them cool, and years of orthodontic treatment for my wonky teeth had made me self-conscious, but it’s the same for everyone.
We all have our insecurities about our appearance, but you know what? No one else notices them! While you’re busy panicking about your bushy eyebrows or that spot that erupted on your chin this morning, everyone else only sees your friendly smile or your bright eyes.
It’s also quite nice to meet someone face-to-face for the first time and they recognise you from your LinkedIn profile photograph, or your Instagram feed!
Be Consistent in Your Marketing
By using quality images and brand photography to market your business, it helps you to look more professional. It shows that you’ve invested in yourself, and put a lot of thought and planning into your business.
A carefully curated set of brand images helps you to be consistent in your marketing, and in the aesthetic of your physical and online presence. Everything from your business cards, to your social feeds and your website will be cohesive.
Building your marketing around a select set of stories allows you to have a variety of sources to dip into for inspiration, without deviating too far from your purpose or goal. You’ll also have a library of photographs to accompany your posts, articles and graphics without having to scrabble around looking for an old picture, or trying to take one on your camera phone every day.
Develop Your Brand Awareness
Remember that old Royal Mail advert where people were receiving parcels of seemingly random items from friends and loved ones? Inside was the message “I saw this and thought of you.”? The recipients were always delighted with their unexpected deliveries, because the items tapped into one of their major interests.
Good brand imagery should create that same sense of connecting the dots. You want people to see your brand colours, your fonts and your aesthetic everywhere, even if it’s not your content.
Whether it’s a purple mug in a shop, a bee pendant on Etsy, an otter soft toy, you know your marketing is working when you get messages from your network saying “I saw this and thought of you”. Even if they don’t buy from you now, you’re in their minds, and they know where you are when they need you.
Let People see Behind the Scenes
People love a sneak peek into what it takes to run a business! It makes them feel like they’re in on a secret, and they can see what goes into creating your products or services.
As an example, over the weekend, I bought an audiobook after watching a short video on Audible. In it, actor Richard Armitage (Spooks, Robin Hood, The Hobbit) showed us the DIY home studio he’d made in his wardrobe so that he could record the narration for a series of Anton Chekov short stories! It made me smile, and let’s be honest: who wouldn’t want to hear Richard Armitage reading them a story?…
Anyway, what can you share to give a glimpse into the hard work that your customers don’t always see? Do you deal with big deliveries on a daily basis? Are your hands and fingernails scruffy from planting trees all day? Is your home office on the kitchen table? These are all aspects of running a business that everyone can relate to, or appreciate the effort you’re putting into it.
Save Your Time and Energy
The good news is that you don’t have to be looking out for opportunities to photograph and share your brand story every day. It would be too exhausting, too draining, and frankly, some days you’re just not feeling it. Your hair’s a mess and you’re still in your pyjamas, but you need an image to go with the earth-shattering post you’ve just crafted.
By having a brand photography session, you can encompass all aspects of your business and yourself with only a couple of hours’ shooting. At the end of it, you’ll end up with a collection of custom images that help you to nurture your audience, sustain your brand and grow your business.
However you want to use these images is up to you. Upload them to your website, sprinkle them throughout your social media feeds, illustrate a blog post, or create graphics and banners with them.
All in all, brand photography allows you to market your business. It lets you share the stories that you want to share with your target audience. In this way, you create a connection with them, to show them Who you are, and Why, How and What you can do for them.
It helps you to create a consistent marketing strategy that you can draw on, even on the days when you don’t want to show your face. You can always change things up with a close-up of your hands at work, or an over-the-shoulder shot.
Having a library of brand images frees you up to spend less time on social media and more time doing the important things. Use that time to serve your customers, spend more time with your family, or indulge in a hobby.
Because life is too short to spend fussing over a Facebook photo.
If you’d like to find out more about how brand photography can help you market your business, why not book a free, no-obligation 15-minute clarity call with me?