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Successfully Captaining Mentorship in a New Way
We attended The Women in Tech Regatta (WiT) in Vancouver from June 8 - 11th 2022. This event is designed to drive positive change and innovation for women in tech and workplace..
Visuals are a huge part of your story. Your brand imagery is often your customers’ first introduction to who you are and what you do, and it needs to reflect your core values and your unique selling perspective right from the get-go. That means it needs to be created just for you.
Good brand photos put you and your business in context. Especially if your clients are primarily local, they want to see where you live and work. They want to see places they recognize in the community. While the Acorn Interactive team is spread across time zones, HQ is in Mount Pleasant, Vancouver, so that’s where we booked our first brand shoot.
The first images we shared from our shoot were headshots of us, introducing us and our roles in the company. We’ve experimented with different kinds of visual content and found photos of our own faces consistently garner more engagement than anything else. Not everybody loves putting their face all over the internet (I, for one, do not), but followers want to see the real people behind the work before they consider becoming paying clients or customers.
It’s important to have a portfolio to showcase the kind of work you do, but the reality is that your followers aren’t there to see your client work. They’re there to see you. At the end of the day it’s who you are and the experience you offer that sets you apart and draws in your ideal client. Show your face! Headshots can be a relatively inexpensive entry point into custom brand imagery, and they’re a great way to start to connect with your audience.
Stock photos are by definition generic. There’s a place for this, but it’s usually when you’re just starting out, and it’s for things like social media posts. Besides, good stock photography costs money too, so you might as well save your pennies for the branding shoot of your dreams.
It doesn’t have to be all photography (though having a photographer on your team certainly tips the scale in that direction)!!). Depending on your brand, a suite of illustrations might be the best fit. For example, on our blog we use custom-designed graphics as the lead image for all our posts. This highlights our aesthetic and ensures every post fits in with our website branding. Then we can either use images from our most recent brand shoot.
Either way, the key takeaways are the same: Create high-quality content and use it consistently.
People love to use the word “investment” instead of the much simpler “price”, probably to soften the blow of an expensive service (see: every wedding photographer ever), whether you can expect a return in a financial sense or not. But quality brand imagery for your business is an investment in a pretty conventional way.
One accepted principle of marketing is that it takes multiple touchpoints to convert an observer into a client or customer (general consensus right now is eight, but depending on your industry and product your mileage may vary). That means that before you can even think about making a sale, you need to give people a chance to get to know you.
You want your touchpoints to be strategic. You want them to build to the point where a follower or a reader knows enough about who you are and how you work to make an inquiry. With a clear brand story, visuals tailored to that brand and content that puts your team front and center, the next step for your followers and readers is to become paying clients.
Run your numbers and figure out how many new clients or projects you’ll need to book to recoup the cost of your brand shoot. Then you’ll know for sure just how big a return on your investment you’re getting.
Another good reason to regularly invest in solid collections of brand visuals is SEO. Consistently updating your website ensures Google is frequently re-crawling your content helps to boost your rankings.
On the flipside, it hurts your credibility if you go on a month-long streak of beautiful custom content and then fall back on bland stock photography. Again, consistency is key, which means it’s often more valuable to budget for smaller regular brand shoots over one large infrequent session.
We’ve talked about the importance of SEO practices, and high-quality imagery is an important piece of that puzzle. Remember, search drives 1,000% more traffic than social media, so by incorporating your top-notch imagery into your SEO strategy, you’ll be able to see the impact on your revenue and maximize that ROI we mentioned above.
Maintaining your collection of brand imagery can be a really fun part of your marketing efforts, and a chance to hand over the reins for an afternoon and bond with your team while someone else captures that magic. You won’t regret it.