In past articles I have written about when good enough isn’t, how to save money with photography, integrity, quality service and a lot of other things. So what is the message this week? In a word, quality.
What value does quality photography have to the average client? Whether they realize it or not my clients want it, need it, and, in fact, they require it.
Advertising, corporate image, marketing, all require that you get your message out there. It takes time to build a brand that creates an image of quality and value for the money spent. If we look at the auto industry we can see perfect examples of what branding can do for a company; how putting forth a positive image can make or break you.
It doesn’t matter what brands I name, Hyundai, Toyota, Chevrolet, Chrysler, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari, all make you think of an automobile. But, if you look at each of those names, each conjures up a completely different image and gives you a completely different type of vehicle and a completely different feeling.
Let’s start with Hyundai; they first appeared on the American market in 1986, most people had never heard of them and fewer could even pronounce the name. Now just 25 years later they are the fifth largest auto maker in the world. The first car to be introduced in the US was the Excel. Although they had a rough start making vehicles that were less than optimum, they started increasing the quality of the vehicles and they started offering a 10 year warranty, the longest of any car sold in the US up until that time. In time other auto makers have stepped up with better warranties just to compete. However, if you ask someone what they imagine when you mention Hyundai, you will get many different answers. Mostly though the answer will be “affordable.”
Until very recently Toyota held the title of “best car for the money” but many will argue that Honda has held that title too. Both are good quality vehicles and their sticker prices have shown that. The stronger the reputation, the more expensive they become. My sister had a Honda when she was in college and she had it because it was “affordable” for a student at that time.
Now if I mention Mercedes, BMW, or Lexus the idea of luxury and being spoiled come to mind. All are just automobiles just like the Hyundai or the Toyota. All will get you from home to work; all will keep you relatively safe if an accident happens. So why is there a difference in how we see these cars?
Branding. This is how the manufacturers have presented these different vehicles to us. I am not saying that there aren’t differences in how they are made or that they don’t offer different levels of quality. In fact I am sure they do. But the fact remains that we are being told that there is something more with a Lexus than with a Toyota but they are made by the same company.
By teaching us that there is a difference in the quality of the construction and the options available in the different automobiles we have come to understand the differences.
When you are looking to grow your business you have the option to be the Hyundai or the Ferrari or the Mercedes. The choice is yours and how you present yourself tells your potential customers the quality of your product or services. If you use stock images to help present your message it is possible that your customer may see that image in a different market presenting a different message. This will also affect the message you are presenting. On the other hand if you use high quality original imagery, images that really tell a story, then your customer will interpret that as quality.
You have taken time to learn your business; you have taken the time and put in the work to know all that you do. You have become the expert in your field. How do you want to represent that knowledge? Would the top attorney in your city put a picture of themselves with an ex ripped out of the image? (OK, maybe a divorce lawyer might.)
The point is this; if a picture is worth a thousand words, what do you want those words to say? What is your story and how can I help you tell it?