How you brand your business sets the tone for everything you do afterwards: How you advertise, how you handle your customers… even the appearance of your business and its products.
That’s because your brand is the personality and identity of your organization and everything reflects that identity… your logo, your advertising, your storefront. Think Apple computers: anytime you walk into an Apple store, the facility, its employees, the window displays… everything says “we’re cool, we’re creative, we’re on the cutting edge.” Go to any Cracker Barrel restaurant and everything says” “we’re homey, we’re country, and we serve grits.” This allows the customer to connect on a personal level.
The point of branding is to offer customers a distinct choice. If you hate country home cooking you stay away from Cracker Barrel. If you love fried catfish you know you’re in the right place. Good branding doesn’t try to please everyone, it let’s people know clearly what you are. Then buyers makes the right choice.
One of the best ways to convey the feeling of your brand is through photography. Images are able to project mood and values where words would fall short or seem contrived. Just like packaging design invokes “high-tech” or “intimate” or “elegant” a good product photograph lets someone know this item was made specifically for him or her. Miss the mark, or show the product in a poor light (or cheapened) and suddenly the customer has lost all interest.
In many cases, companies also like to put a face on the business; for example Dave Thomas with Wendy’s, or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. Or Steve Jobs of Apple. And it’s no accident that in all these examples the business leaders are portrayed in a consistent way that is congruent with their corporate culture. If this is the case with your company, a personal portrait should be shot with the same care you would give in creating a logo or advertising headline.
Whether you are planning a shoot for your advertising, collateral material, or web promotion, think about the right look for your company. And the right message for your customers. Good advertising images build relationships and confidence. They should be visually appealing, yes. But they should appeal in a way that works for you! Ask yourself: “What are the qualities my customers seek?’ When photographing the people in your company consider: “What kind of look and expression will my customers relate to?” How should they dress? Leave nothing to chance and your photographs will tell a cohesive and powerful story.