A brand by any other name…

Top of the survey when asked ‘What do you want to know about when it comes to your business images?’,¬† came ‘Clarity of Message’ and ‘Branding’. And as we aim to please today’s blog is a straight forward look at some ideas on those very topics.

A quick disclaimer I’m currently working with the very talented Andy Johnston to drill down my business message and getting a really clear and consistent brand, so don’t take me as the greatest example at the moment. You can judge me at the end of the summer!

This is probably the first tip. Get outside help. It doesn’t have to be a professional (though a trained eye does help). A colleague, team member, mentor, prospective customers, ideal clients are all good to bounce ideas off. I have been known to test things at networking events too.

Then listen to what comes back. We all get bogged down in great ideas, being all things to all people, what we think people want to see. This can lead to our message becoming muddled and our brand getting a bit lost. Another set of constructively critical eyes are incredibly valuable for keeping our brand and message clear.

Next tip colour is great for branding. Here’s a screen grab of an image search for Cancer Research. I drove past a billboard this morning and it struck me how well they use colour. You can see that the colours from the logo in all their visuals, be it diagrams, events, people, research. Small business can do this through clothing, pop-up banners, pens, etc. It doesn’t have to be expensive. A bit of attention to detail is all that’s needed. For example if you are giving a presentation where you are going to be photographed, wear something that features your colours, match your whiteboard markers or PPT to your company colour scheme.

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You can also look at/Google the psychology of colour and what is standard in your area of business, e.g. business training is a dearth of blue/grey stock photography. Clothing, image treatments, lettering all using the same palette. If you come to any of my training sessions through the year I’m may ask you to wear something bright, as this isn’t anything like I want training to look or be. Dull!

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Unfortunately there is no simple answer. It can be a trade off between people making the connection with people through the use of standard industry colours and being lost amongst all your competitors doing the same thing. If you do an image search of ‘Edinburgh Law Firm Logos’ vs ‘Edinburgh Asset Management Logos’ you can see their different approaches.

From colour to people and clarity. If you have a specific target market use them in your images. This ties into last week’s blog on audience. Use people who connect with your target market and don’t use people who will muddy the message. When I think about my audience it’s not about a specific age, gender or industry. It’s about people looking open, engaged, professional, confident and happy. When I share any image promoting my profile pictures I make sure the image says all those things to me.

PPD eventbrite 2018

A similar argument can be made for location. If your audience is very local think about how you can feature that in your images. If you audience isn’t in California, stock images that feature roller-blading under palm trees can make you look inauthentic. The reverse can be true if you sell internationally i.e. looking to small scale, but not always. Think about the strength of the Scottish/UK brand in China.

Last tip for now…there are a million things that contribute to clarity of message and branding so I have to draw the line somewhere. I’m sure it will regularly appear in other blogs in the future and if you need specific help with your business come along to a training session or join the Digital Content Masterclass Facebook group. Where you have the chance to get that outside help I mentioned ūüėČ

So as I was saying last tip…sticking your logo on stuff! One of the easiest ways you can get your branding out there is get your logo in a PNG file and drop it on to all your images. If you’re not sure how to do it for your specific device, app, software ask the internet…Youtube will have the answer!

To recap a brief introduction to clarity of message and branding think; outside feedback, colour, people, location, watermark (logo). Things not covered yet; filters, styles of photography, repetition of composition…and on and on and on. Still lots to cover in the future!

Always love to hear your feedback and questions so ask away!

C x

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Targeting your market

 

Unless your goal is shouting about your business into the void, which I admit is what it feels like at times. You need to think about your audience. What do they want to see? What do you want to tell them? What do you want them to do? What’s stopping them buying from you? When you have an idea of the answers to these questions then you can look at the next step. The pictures!

How do you use images to target your market? Lets have a look at some really simple examples for each of the questions posed above.

What do they want to see?

Take areas of the female market. There is evidence that a large part of this market responds best to images that contain people that they relate to. Meaning people who are of a similar age, earning level and life stage, etc., so high earning, single mums in their late 30s respond best to similar mums. Pictures of married mums in their 20s isn’t going to work as well.

What do you want to tell them?

Your message could be something as simple as you have a higher quality product than your competitor. For example the difference between a traditional butcher versus buying meat from a supermarket. By removing any plastic packaging, placing the meat on a stone/slate block, adding a sprig of herb you can effectively convey that message in a single image.

What do you want them to do?

You want your audience to visit your cafe. Take a picture of a cake put some text with a code next to it and the message, whoever orders a coffee between 10-11am on Saturday with the code gets a free cake. There are few things more engaging than free cake…maybe a puppy eating a cake…but that’s a bit gratuitous ūüėČ

What’s stopping them buying from you?

Mental health related services can struggle with prospective clients being fearful of the entire situation. By using images to tell the step by step process of a visit, from what the front door, reception and room look like, to friendly engaging pictures introducing them to everyone they will meet. Images can reassure prospective clients and get them to book a session.

As you can see with a little thought you can use images to talk to your audience in a much more effective way.

If you have any questions ask away!

C x

Communicating what to whom?

What do you want to say? Who do you want to say it to?

Are the two most important questions you should ask yourself when thinking about the pictures you are taking for your business. Let us stick to social media for this post for brevity’s sake.

What do you want to say? Images are all about communicating your message so what is that message? Who are you as an individual, small business, company? What are the things and values that are important to you? What makes you stand out from your competitors? What do you want to achieve? These questions are our starting point in improving our communication with our target market.

Who do you want to talk to? Is the second part of that successful communication. Are the people you want to talk to present on the social media platform you are using? What do they want to see? What questions do they want answered about you? What is going to make them engage of disengage with you?

You should look at using pictures as a way to improve how you communicate with your current and prospective clients. Effective communication is never just one directional (no I don‚Äôt mean the boy band). If you’ve not sure how you can start doing this have a look at your competitors. Who’s doing it well?¬†Ask your market what they like. Or come along to my next training, get some tips and try out some different options.

I’m fairly new to Instagram myself, so I’m out looking for guidance and ideas. This is one of the blogs I thought was useful. ‘21 Mistakes You Can‚Äôt Afford to Make in Instagram Marketing‘ by Rachel Daley.

To conclude, pictures can be used to both attract and put clients off. So make sure it is intentional not as a by-product of not thinking thinks through properly. This picture might alienate large sections of the market but speak directly to a specific group. I’ll let you guess the market.

Have a great weekend.

Claire x

UK police visit Balearic islands

Edinburgh castle silhouette with fireworks

Photography for fun training

This weekend, Sunday 14th September, in conjunction with Re-Union Canal Boats I will be hosting a photography workshop with a difference, on the lovely Lochrin Bell.

What do you want to take better pictures of?

Animals, the wild or the friendly?

People, big ones and little ones?

Places?

Events?

Join us on the Union Canal of a fun and informative morning improving your photography skills and knowledge.

You will learn some top tips on composition, whether you are using a camera phone, tablet or SLR. You will also be able to ask questions about your photography challenges, practice your specific interests and get tips and feedback on your pictures.

I am bringing all my experience and lots of enthusiasm to the canal for this 2 hour course, which will begin by looking at how to compose better pictures in general and specific tips for different kinds of photography. Then there will be time for questions before lots of practice opportunities both on and off the boat, feedback, more tips, more practice and tea, coffee and cake.

Join us by booking your tickets here.

Smart phone photography training dinosaur

Photography for Business – 5 Top Tips

Recently more and more people have been asking me how to improve their photography for business. Not using expensive equipment, but tablets, smartphones and their other existing equipment to generate higher quality more engaging images for their websites and social media channels.

As I can never say no to an interesting idea, I’ve put together a training course to help SMEs and start-ups improve their photography. Click here to see more of what is covered on the course.

However,¬†if all you’re looking for is a few quick tips here are a some things that can make a huge difference with very little effort.

Look: Look for light and interesting angles. Is the light coming from as strange direction? What colour is it? Are there reflective surfaces where you can see yourself? Picking an unusual angle of an everyday subject makes it more interesting.

Ask: Ask people to move closer together in group shots. It makes them awkward to get into each others personal space, but leads to better pictures. Ask if people mind having their pictures taken. It keeps people happier to be considered and can raise awareness of your company if you encourage them to check out the pictures on your social media channels.

Move: Move closer to your subject. Too much dead space is not (usually) that interesting. Move to change the perspective. Get lower or higher so your image is not what people would expect to see.

Use: Use the apps on the phone or tablet to make the best of your images quickly before you upload them. Use something to stabilise the camera like resting your arm or the camera itself on a table to keep the picture sharper, especially in low light situations.

Think: Think about the composition. Peoples eyes move from left to right across a picture, so put something there for them to look at. Think about a plan before the event. What is going to appeal to your target market? The venue, people, food, entertainment? Have a plan and you will save time on the day and be more likely to get the pictures you need.

Here are a few examples of different looks you can achieve from a camera phone and if you want to learn more come along to the training courses on the 15th and 31st of July in Edinburgh.

For other enquiries contact me claire@clairewatson.co.uk