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Kodak Moments: Photography in Marketing, Part One

As a copywriter, I’m loath to admit it, but the old adage is certainly true: a good picture is, in fact, worth a thousand words. Especially when dealing with photography that communicates brand identity on a website, print piece, billboard, or e-blast.

Many times, when clients come to Cassel Bear for design work, we suggest a one- or two-day photo shoot to garner fresh, new imagery for their marketing materials. Why? Any variety of reasons:

The stock photography that they’ve been using often feels generic and “story-less.” Designed to be useful to a broad range of clients who can buy them online, stock photos rarely add anything that conveys “This is how we as a company are distinctive and specific.” It’s difficult to get a stock photograph that shows who you are, the clientele you serve, how you work, where you live, and more.

The photography they’ve been using is from several eons ago. Staff members have new haircuts or don’t even work at the business any more. Technology in the images is outdated, conveying a dinosaur mentality about the business. The services or products pictured no longer convey the totality of what the business provides. Simply stated, the photography has not kept pace with the company.

The photography is not telling the story of the brand. For example, we recently began working with an appliance store. The staff members pride themselves on the specialized, over-and-above customer service they provide – the benefit that comes from buying from a local store instead of Best Buy. And yet, all of their materials look just like Best Buy’s: tons of shiny refrigerators, gleaming washers and dryers, and umpteen products. What if, instead, their photography captured smiling salesfolk who are familiar faces around town, or clients looking pleased as a handyman makes a repair in their home? In short, what if the photos could tell the story of great customer service?

Identifying why your current photos aren’t working is only part of the equation. How do you then go around capturing great photographs that revolutionize your marketing materials? Our next installment will tackle that question.