How Good Photography Can Make or Break Your Brand
By: jordan hefler
GOOD PHOTOS WILL BRING YOU GOOD BUSINESS.
How do I know this?
My name is Jordan Hefler and I’m a professional photographer and creative entrepreneur.
I like to think that I’m known for my love of visual content by personal expression, and I’m here to tell you that I wholeheartedly believe that great photos can completely transform and carry a brand.
Photography has always been important for businesses when it comes to advertising and marketing a product or improving brand awareness. However, in this day and age with content creation and social media, I truly believe that it has become infinitely more important than it ever has before.
When your average Joe wants to learn more about your product or brand what’s the first thing they do? Probably Google you and visit your website, or more likely in 2018 they’re looking for your brand on Instagram. It doesn’t matter if your company sells shoes or juices or toilet paper- consumers are online so that’s where you or your brand needs to be. And if that’s where everyone needs to be, it’s obviously going to be a crowded market. To stand out amongst the noise and become successful on a social media platform, it is inherently important that your content be visually appealing.
Let me break it down for you!
(hope this doesn’t get too nerdy : )
Sales come from trust that has been built between the brand and the consumer which has converted them into a customer.
Trust is built between the brand and the consumer from the consumer learning more about the brand and identifying with it over time.
The consumer identifies and learns more about the brand over time by seeking out or being shown consistent information from the brand.
Consistent information from the brand is displayed in the form of visually appealing content, which thereby drives traffic and creates a following.
AKA, visually appealing content or great photography is one of the first steps towards building a trusted following, driving traffic, and converting fans or consumers to customers over time.
An even more simplified summary:
Good Photography = Building a Following
Having a Following = Traffic
Traffic = Clicks
Clicks = Learning More
Learning more = Building Trust
Building Trust = Sales Conversions
I want you to think of your favorite company. Your favorite brand. Why do you like them? I know for me, a big part of what I like about a company is their aesthetic. What they post online. What their photography looks like. There are companies I don't buy products from, people I don't like, and bands I don't listen to that I still might follow on Instagram all because of their visual content. This is when you know someone's branding is successful. I recognize these things consciously because I am a photographer that works in creative marketing so I have an eye that is drawn to these details, but the average person probably consumes this subliminally: Great photography can make or break your brand, because consumers are subconsciously attracted to your product or content depending on how it is visually translated to them.
For example, if you are a chef or a food blogger and your photos of your food online are not properly lit and look dingy, people are not going to want to come to your restaurant or try that recipe you’re blogging about because the visual representation of it will make them feel like it was dirty or not professionally crafted, even if you’re wildly qualified in real life. If you are a boutique trying to market to a high end clientele and you take a picture of a $3,000 purse in a dark corner, the consumer is not going to think of that purse as $3,000 and exclusive or luxurious, they’re going to think of it as common and cheap...because the way the photo was taken didn’t make them feel exclusive or luxurious. Everything in branding and marketing is about perception, and you could have a professional photographer make a $4 purse look more expensive than the $3,000 one just by the way it is lit and composed and the environment that it was photographed in. This is called visual strategy, and every company needs to care about this A LOT in order to beat out their competitors.
I’m not just saying this because I am a photographer and I want to stay in business: Quality photographic content is NOT something you should skimp on when it comes to marketing your brand. Nobody wants to buy products or hire services from a person or company who has terrible photos on their social media platforms. This may be a harsh and subjective reality, but it’s the shallow truth. There are brands out there with awful products that have great photography and marketing, and amazing brands out there with little to no visual strategy and terrible perception. It may end up being subliminal, but which one do you think will be a successful first impression to the average consumer who is ready to pay for a product?
This may all sound intimidating and scary, but have no fear! The best way to leverage your brand perception is with great content, and there are so many avenues you can use to accomplish this. If you are a corporate brand with a budget, HIRE SOMEONE to do this for you. There are plenty of freelance photographers, designers, creative agencies, and content creators out there who are passionate about visual strategy and hungry for work. If you’re a small business or an individual trying to solidify your brand, there are many resources out there to help you learn how to do it yourself, my online creative workshops included (shameless plug, more information about the Do What You Want Workshops here.) Practice taking better photos with your phone, watch tutorials online, study your competitors and their aesthetics, and above all just be consistent with your message. Slow and steady wins the race, and if you are patient by the end of this you will have a dedicated following ready to purchase whatever you have to offer.
I hope this motivated you and inspired you to do an audit of your brand if you’re not seeing growth or sales with your business. If you’re interested in learning more about what I do, tips I have, or what services I can offer, visit my website at www.jordanhefler.com