I used to think a brand was just a snazzy logo with an attractive colour scheme and font. But it is so much more. Think of a famous product. Why is it well known? What makes it memorable? What makes it stand apart from all the rest? What has the company done to build brand awareness so successfully? We have all seen the taste tests on TV. Consumer Brand A verses Consumer Brand B and C. Everyone says they prefer the taste of Brand A but then they do a blind tasting and they actually can’t tell the difference between any of them. Humanity is a fickle beast and the trust we place in a product’s quality is often just based on familiarity with its visual identity.
How do you create your brand identity?
Think about your business. Who are you? What’s your history? What’s your ethos? What do you sell? What makes your product or service unique? Who and where are your customers? What customer needs do you or your business fulfil? By answering these questions, it will help you develop a brand identity that expresses what your business is, resonates with your target audience and makes you stand-out from the crowd. You can then go on to build brand awareness.
The importance of images in building brand awareness
As consumers we are drawn to images far more than text. An image speaks a thousand words. An emotive image on the front page of a tabloid will often tell a story before the headline and help sell newspapers. A great image sells ideas, creates desire, inspires, sparks curiosity, engages customers and persuades them to buy. In this digital age of fast paced consumerism and snap purchasing decisions, digital media, particularly social platforms, are a valuable tool for building brand awareness. Digital media can be a cost effective method of targeting specific audiences, anywhere in the world, at any time of day, on any day of the week and as frequently as you like. But whilst digital algorithms require text to operate effectively, we humans are far more simplistic. The earliest humanity relied on images for communication long before any form of alphabet and written word was created. Words rarely make us stop and think but an eye-catching image has the power to draw us in instantly before the accompanying words hit home. Think about your own use of digital media. What makes you stop scrolling? What makes you click that button? Is it a long paragraph of well written text or an attractive image? Is it because you have seen the same image repeatedly for the last few weeks and it now holds a comforting familiarity? We are all similar and what draws your attention likely works for the next person or at least people of like mind.
Why brand photography is a worthy investment
Think about your brand identity. You have written down what your brand is but how can you convey that brand in an image? Are you a whizz on Adobe Illustrator? Are you a talented artist? No I’m not either. Photography is the most straightforward way to convey your brand. We are all photographers these days. All of our phones have in-built cameras of reasonable quality. Taking, storing and sharing photographs is so easy but it does require some thought and expertise. A hasty selfie on a Saturday night is possibly not how you want your brand to be associated. Nor is a badly focused, poorly lit, product shot.
If you have any kind of digital platform; a website, Instagram, facebook, pinterest etc, then you need some good quality images to convey your brand identity. Do-it-yourself photography has its place but if you really want your brand to be taken seriously you need professional brand photography. So my advice is to invest in great photography. Hire an experienced brand photographer. Someone whose style you admire, which resonates with you and sits comfortably with your brand.
Don’t just dive in and take a lot of random photographs but have a pre-meeting. Discuss what images you want and need. Go back to your brand identity and construct images that best convey your brand. Think about the location. Where do people use your product or services? At home? At work? On the beach? Up a mountain? Do you need people in the photograph? Will they be models wearing or using your products? Will it be you at work making the product or delivering your service? Will it just be the products themselves? Where are you going to use these images? Take advice from your photographer. They are experienced in developing brand images. Look at their portfolio. See what your competitors are doing.
This is not a one off investment. You need to keep your images up-to-date. We all evolve and what was relevant two years ago may not be today. Regularly refresh your portfolio as your brand develops.
Stock photography can be helpful but creating a strong portfolio of images personal to your business is invaluable for developing your brand awareness. By creating brand images unique to your business you can create consistency and with frequent use can help imbed your business in your customers minds.
Thank you Steph Stevens* for encouraging me to think about my brand and arming me with some amazing photography to help me build my brand awareness. I have never felt very comfortable in front of the lens but somehow you made me feel less awkward, put me at ease and helped make the experience a pleasure and not a pain!
I chose Exeter and Exmouth for my brand shoot locations as I am based in Devon. I am mobile so work wherever I can find a space for my laptop, a phone signal, a bit of peace and quiet and a good coffee (NB. not always at home!). I quite often find myself at the beach with the dog. A walk along the shore and a breath of fresh sea air is a great mind booster if I’m ever struggling. Steph gave great advice. The best light for outdoor photography is often at the start or end of the day. The beach shots were taken at sunset which also happened to be when the tide was coming in so kept us on our toes! I got my hair done (can you tell?!), considered my outfit choice (smart but not too formal), took a load of props (magazines and books, note books, business cards, blankets etc) most of which we didn’t use but I like to be prepared! Also the obligatory celebratory gin and tonic, in a glass over lime and ice, as I like to do things properly wherever I am!!
If you are based in or around Devon and are looking for a great brand photographer then get in touch with Steph.
My name is Charlotte and I am a venue consultant based in Devon. I have been in the business of organising events and managing wedding and events venues for over 20 years. This has given me a tremendous breadth of experience in customer relations, sales, marketing, PR, business development, risk management, change management, event planning and coordination, budget management and team leadership. I help venue owners get the most out of their business. With a reputation for consistently exceeding expectations and a passion for delivering exceptional events and customer service, I can help your business survive and flourish beyond 2020.
For further information, please get in touch.
*All photography featured here is by Stephanie Stevens Photography