As explained in my post ‘Attention grabbing communication’, a great image plays an essential role in promoting a business. For some businesses such as architects and designers this can be very subtle by presenting images of past projects in various portfolio formats and specifically in bids for new work.
However for other businesses images can be used in a more direct manner and can vary in terms of the messages they are portraying. For example, a simple image (Image 01) can go a long way to explaining the products that a business sells, but will generally need to be accompanied by other means of supporting text and branding. In more direct images the branding can be included in the image in ways that range from a subtle (Image 02) to the more ‘in your face’ (image 03) approach that directly links the branding with the products.
One of my recent projects had the primary objective of promoting a shopping centre (Image 04). The brief required a series of images of the centre itself, but also the various retail business that occupied the centre. The images were used to populate the centre’s web site, but to also create a video for presentation at a major event. The result of this was that the promotion of the centre capitalised on the major retail names and, reciprocally the retail units benefited from some free advertising.
A key feature of businesses that occupy the buildings is people, without which they would not exist. It is therefore essential to include people in various ways. In the case of the shopping centre, this includes the general public that give the centre a sense of community (image 05), the interactions between customers and shop assistants (image 06), the pride of the sales staff in their products (image 07) or the hands that create of products to order on site (image 08).
This all very well for businesses that have a physical presence and sell physical products, but what about those business that sell services, as a few tradespeople have pointed out to me. The chances are that the typical consumer lacks a full understanding of what is involved in delivering trade and professional services and as a result, has a sense that costs are high and unjustifiable. One way for service-based businesses to counter this is to explain the processes involved in delivering the required service. Photography has a significant role to play in this as a single image can have more impact than an extended textual explanation. These two examples (images 09 & 10) are selected from a series of images that explain the start to finish process of installing solar panels.
So, no matter the type of business, photography has a really important role to play, but if images are used in this way, it is absolutely essential that they are of the very best quality. After all consumers judge businesses on their first impressions – a poor quality image can lose a sale at the first hurdle, but a great image can lead the consumer through to a valuable purchase.