Keeping your brand image consistent speak volumes to your customers. For the last 6 month I’ve been working with an incredible client that has offices spread across the south eastern United States. They came to us wanting great imagery, but also be genuine while representing each of the unique office locations. As a photographer I’m looking at each location to try and make the best visuals possible. This client’s offices were drastically different in each location, but we needed to keep consistency with the visuals. In order to keep the look, in one of the locations we had to shoot very tight in order to keep focus on the subjects and not show the surrounding areas of the space.
How is your company using imagery and visuals to communicate your brand story? And, are these conveying the brand image you want people to associate with you? These elements can play a large role in cementing a positive or negative picture in your current and potential clients’ minds.
Great photos that are relevant, consistent and tie in with who you are and the products and services you offer can work with other elements, like design and messaging, to tell an engaging, impactful story. The wrong images, or ones that just don’t quite fit, can indeed have the exact opposite effect. In a Social Media Examiner report, 32 percent of marketers say visual images are the single most important form of content.
So, what can you do to ensure your brand image fits your goals, audience, reputation, and products and services? We’ll go into detail below about how custom brand photography can help, but at a high level, you will want to:
Define your brand position and messaging
Determine what makes your company and its offerings unique and positions you above competitors
Develop your brand story and how you can communicate it to your audience
Determine which elements, like custom photography, can best tell your story across multiple channels
Create an emotional connection and enable clients to visualize how your products or services can help them
Be consistent and relevant in all communications
Define who you are and what you want to communicate to clients
Start with your brand position and messaging. What is your company all about? How does it help clients in their everyday businesses or solve their pain points? What do you want potential clients to know about you? Maybe you want to convey trust, professionalism, authority, fun, edginess or something else completely.
More than likely, you are not going to be able to simply hunt down stock photos that precisely communicate what you want to say about your brand. And in this case, you run the risk of using the same photos other companies (or worse yet, competitors) are using in their advertising and creative. On the other hand, custom photography is a great option that is unique to you and can work with your marketing campaigns and messaging to tell the story you want to tell and how you want to tell it — to your target audience and across all channels.
Build your brand story and decide how you will communicate it
So, what is your brand story and what does it say about you? It is partially about the narrative you build and communicate, but much of it also is based on how your clients view your brand. Some elements you can control, but of utmost importance is how your audience perceives you and your products and services. Keep in mind, it is critical to determine how you will communicate your story, via what channels, and how clients will interpret it. And within that, you will need to consider the creative elements and messaging that need to be included in these communications.
Make a plan for the specific content elements that can best tell your story
According to Dr. John J. Medina's Brain Rule Rundown: “We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%.” Not only do you need to have a strong headline and messaging, but also the marketing creative design and photos need to complement and strengthen what you are trying to communicate to current and potential clients about your brand. This combination will not only help you gain your audience’s attention, but it will also assist in engaging them with your brand in a positive way and make you memorable.
Use custom commercial photography to paint a clear picture in clients’ minds
Create an emotional connection and enable clients to visualize who you are and what your products or services can do for them. Let photos show them what is possible and how clients can benefit from working with you. Sometimes you only have one shot; it is that first impression, how it makes them feel about your company and if they would consider doing business with you. Of course, it is also important for all creative elements to work together to ensure you are adequately conveying the same message across all channels, as mixed messages can hurt your credibility and work against you.
Be genuine and relevant in all communications
Use custom brand photos to convey trust and authenticity. Images that match your brand and highlight your offerings in a positive light signal to clients that you are a professional, reputable company and better position you against competitors. According to Stakla, “the vast majority of consumers (86 percent) said authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support.”
Consistent branding, including custom photography and relevant messaging, when used to communicate a story will also help in keeping you top of mind for your target audience. By telling an engaging narrative with memorable visuals, people are more likely to remember your company and what you do. Start the conversation with them and support it throughout the client journey, always reinforcing your story and brand image.
Custom commercial photography can also be valuable for your content marketing. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute found that 56 percent of B2B marketers use photos or illustrations in their content marketing efforts. Images can work together with other content to strengthen communications delivered through email, social media, blogs, magazines, websites, events, webinars, in-person presentations, and more. Again, images can reinforce your brand with not only current clients but also with potential new ones, as well.
Learn more about how custom brand photography can help your company
Are you ready to explore the next steps and find out how custom commercial photography can help you tell your brand story? Contact Brett Winter Lemon online or at 540-529-3876 to talk about your company’s specific needs.
In our digital world run in by the Internet and Artificial Intelligence, we are apt to forget that a great deal of the sweat and tears behind the functional machines in our lives remain unseen – hidden behind the walls of industrial factories stretching far and wide throughout the US. The examples are endless: the cars we drive; the refrigerators, washing machines, boilers, and broilers in our kitchens; not to mention our garden implements, and myriad other household items. Of course all these as mentioned compile only a small subset of the industrial production landscape that inevitably makes our lives easier. Indeed, factory dynamics reflect another world – one that is simply fascinating to the eye if presented by an industrial photographer that knows all about imagery and building specialized image libraries.
We spoke to Brett Lemon, a noted and prolific commercial photographer in Raleigh NC to get the inside scoop as to why this aspect of photography is in such high demand, and why it commands finely attuned skills to capture the right moods and image-induced emotions. The chat was not only illuminating it was quite mind boggling when boiled down to the nuts and bolts of the matter (excuse the pun). Brett’s insight was deep, notwithstanding his experience covered the region from Raleigh in North Carolina to Roanoke in Virginia. The following captures most of his enlightening description.
Industrial environments are hard-core, to say the least: they represent blue-collar America in its best light, toiling over churning production lines with spanners, wrenches, screwdrivers, and hammers to keep the wheels of commerce turning. Factories in America are integrated with fire, kilns, stark brick walls, sheets of metal, iron and alloy ingots ranging in color from dull grey to brassy gold. Also, forklifts, steel-structured warehouse shelving loaded with parts big and small – all overlaid with billowing steam, and the perspiration streaming from the pores of factory workers.
It’s the task of the industrial photographer to extract the most compelling images – the ones that capture the reality of the most stressful moments; the furrows creasing brows of grizzled individuals that mark the years of dedication to the production line; the extreme temperatures endured every day no matter what the climate outside is like – and then, of course, there’s the machinery. The machinery may be modern or antiquated, gargantuan in size or minuscule, simple or intricate, new or worn-out, active or idle, manually operated or automatic. The industrial photographer is inevitably contracted by the manufacturer’s management to capture the moods, the dynamics, and the personnel inside the business with standout brand imagery as the underlying motivation. This requires him or her to be adept at shooting close-ups as well as macro-photography, which in turn involves skillful adaptation of macro lenses and accessories, ring flashes, comprehensive lighting gear and all the other latest-technology equipment needed for high-end shooting. Here’s the bottom line: in any factory setting geared to modern-day USA, the raw and gritty lives alongside the slick & smooth - sometimes with a facade. This implies there’s importance attached to depicting glaring contrasts inside typical factory businesses as essential ingredients of any advertising image portfolio.
Finally, from Brett’s viewpoint looking at things through Raleigh NC colored lenses: great industrial photographers emerge from a versatile professional photography background. It is not uncommon to see the best industrial-image-experts link back to photojournalism, architectural shot makers, or even those whose skills were honed in fashioning portraits. In almost all cases, in this somewhat unique but extremely profitable branch of photography, the best have been apprenticed to dedicated industrial photographers for a reasonable tenure before breaking out on their own.
So if you are a factory owner anywhere in the North Carolina or Roanoke areas, and you want the soot, fire, and heat of your facility to shine through in black-and-white or color imagery, contact…
Brett Winter Lemon
Strong brand impression is the name of the game when it comes to winning marketing campaigns in our world dominated by digital social media. Put another way, advertisers want to make their brand the cool alternative in a consumer arena where there are infinite choices. Any commercial photographer dialed into the client’s wavelength knows that mind-blowing brand differentiation is the surest way to secure his or her loyalty. In the trade we formally call this branding photography; informally, it means using our special skills to make our clients brand stand out from the crowd in every positive way.
An age-old debate has been raging that tosses around the merits and demerits of custom photography versus stock photography when it comes to giving a brand the power-boost to shoot for the stars. As a Roanoke and Raleigh corporate photographer with a client reach across Virginia and North Carolina I have the credentials to say it’s no contest: a marketing photographer wins hands down every time when it comes to virtual advertising of all brands striving for distinction.
Most of what I have to say on the subject is really common sense, but here are my thoughts anyway: first off, with stock photos, you can never be sure if they’ll hold up under license review. Getty Images, for example, makes a mission of chasing unauthorized usage of its material and bringing the culprits to justice one way or another. When the images are originals in your own exclusive image library, there’s simply no discussion as to who owns them.
A commercial photographer has the talent to twist and turn a newly created image portfolio to fit in exactly with the brand under focus. This is far off the other end of the spectrum where picking out fixed photos from a confusing range of stock images is the order of the day; one that frankly becomes a blur after five minutes. Rather, it’s taking the right photos to create the right emotions that fit naturally, as opposed to somehow looking forced or staged. When end users lock on to a brand it’s usually because it’s a natural fit and the benefits are subtle - not in your face. Naturalness and subtlety are the staple attributes of a professional photographer who takes the time to understand the advertiser’s imagery requirements from every angle.
So let me put it another way. If your brand can afford to take the risk of staying non-exclusive and slotted into a stereotype corridor, then stock photos are a viable option. This means that your competitors can leverage the same images and there’s not a thing you can do about it. Alternatively, if you don’t care one way or another there is a big question about your commitment to distance your brand from the competition. For a brand to be pristine, its imagery has to be pristine. There’s simply no way stock photos can get around these requirements and come out winning.
Imagery today works best if different technologies are merged in creative ways. For example, vectors are becoming a favored medium – look no further than the all-time leader, Google. The best route for big city advertisers in Raleigh and Roanoke to push their brand images is to plug into a versatile branding photographer who understands all
the digital options and can connect them with customized depictions to bring more users and repeat buyers onboard.
For more information contact……………
Brett Winter Lemon