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.

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 11.38.11

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!

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 12.05.54

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 😉

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

Advertisements

5 questions to ask yourself about your social media images

“89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers report they are using content marketing to increase leads and drive their brand forward” – Gary Henderson, Forbes

I’m not going to touch on the serious content of the article, you can read the full thing here, but it did get me thinking.

Always a dangerous thing!

Looking at it from an imagery perspective, what’s your content saying about your business? We looked at this last week at No Ties Networking when I was giving a talk on visual communication. Instead of just telling people stuff I took two of the businesses as case studies. Then used the knowledge and experience of the group (there are some excellent marketers and brand specialists) to develop some ideas to help those businesses with their visual content.

We can all refocus our social media content by asking ourselves the same 5 simple questions we discussed at No Ties (the questions are simple…the answers might be a bit harder ;):

  1. Who or what is your business? …ask yourself this 3 times and try and expand on the answer each time. The clearer you have this the easier it is to target your message.
  2. What do you want to say? …I suppose this is sort of looking at your USP, but maybe more importantly how you want people to see your business.
  3. Who is your target market? …pick someone as specific as possible. Generally only multinationals have the resources and budgets to target everyone. And they regularly get it wrong…see Pepsi.
  4. What do they want to see? …what do you think will engage your market? Get them over their indifference. What do they like looking at? How can you match that to what you want to say?
  5. What stops them buying from you? …people are naturally suspicious about services. You can use images to help people get over their concerns about buying from you by identifying these problems and then tackling them one by one.

There are no answers in this post, only questions. I need to do this for myself too. I’m often guilty of the same thing as everyone else with a small business and limited time. I grab random images with ‘that will do’ attitude…I would never do this to a client, so I’m not sure why I think it’s okay for me.

If you’d like to learn more…possibly with answers this time…I will be putting some training sessions together for the coming months. One of which will be a full-day and run in conjunction with Katie Goudie from Words that Work and Brendan Reilly from Dangerous Studios. We will take you through the whole process from planning to practical skills for both photography and video, so you can walk away with the skills and knowledge to get on with your content marketing.

Leave your email address below or signup and we will let you know what we have planned.

Any other questions or requests for info just give me a shout.

Claire 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’t 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’t 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

What do you get when you hire a professional photographer?

Today is a different type of information day. I’m sending you to look at something that explains how photographers work. A great video from the talented Magnus Bogucki, a Swiss wedding photographer, who lays out in less than 3 minutes what exactly you are getting when you hire him. Obviously, other types of photography have different requirements…album design isn’t really called for in profile pictures (I’ll make you one if you want ;)). I would like to challenge is the impression that I often get that we, being photographers, are only working for you when we are actually taking the pictures. There is a lot more to it. I’m sure this will ring true with a lot of other people, especially in the creative industries.

What do you think? Was it what you expected? Was there anything that you found surprising?