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Why investment in photography pays off for your brand

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 28 Nov, 2014
Essential Essential topic

Studies showing how investing in branding can make a difference

When you’re running a business, investing in a professional to help you with your branding then it can seem like a costly and unnecessary expense – unless your brand is incredibly outdated a rebrand rarely feels like an essential. But the thing is, it’s probably a more crucial tool for growing your business than you think.

Why a brand matters?

Having a lacklustre brand or one that looks home-made and generally unprofessional will make people question the quality of your service or product – if a company can’t be bothered to invest in itself, why should they?

In today’s market, the internet means the consumer is confronted with an abundance of choice from entering a simple search term – and your business only has a few seconds to make a good first impression. If you website, product and brand don’t look the part, it’s likely you’ll lose out to a competitor who has taken the time to invest in their branding and aesthetic appeal.

There is a lot of power in perceived value – branding can make a huge difference in the way people perceive the quality and thus the value of your business. A great example of the principle of perceived value is wine; various studies demonstrate this - if people are told a wine is more expensive, they will rate it more highly than a cheaper wine BUT ONLY if they are told the prices, otherwise there’s no difference. Also if people are told a wine is more expensive they will have increased enjoyment of the wine – both on a subjective level and neurologically.

The pure perception that wine is better actually leads to us experiencing it as tasting better. What this translates to in business terms is people are more likely to desire high-market branded products –by creating a high-end, professional looking brand customers will believe you offer a higher end product.

Basically, perception matters. You can offer the same product but if you present it differently it makes it more attractive. It may not be rational or a conscious process but this is the simple principle the entire marketing, design and advertising are based on.

Still not convinced it’s worth the spend? After an in-depth analysis the financial experts at Credit Suisse reported that a smart and solid brand offers a genuine, tangible competitive edge; to quote the report directly:

'Companies that focus on brand building consistently generate outsize, long-term growth, profitability and return'.

Why hiring professionals for your imagery makes a difference?

It can be difficult to part with large sums of money for services like high-end designers or photographers - often because it feels like something you could do yourself. Have faith that your investment will pay off in the long run – websites and brand designs that are made by amateurs, look amateur. Professionals understand the market and should be able to easily communicate your brand– they do it every day, you may know your business but they know design.

Getting the feel and look of your brand just right is especially important if you’re attempting to take your business to the next level – adding a more sleek/professional look to your brand can attract higher calibre clients. Taking the time and effort to invest in your brand demonstrates that you are taking your business seriously and conveys that message to others, making them more likely to act accordingly.

Campaign example of an image increasing conversion rates through professional photography

Featuring the right images on your website can significantly improve your conversion rate. A case study by VWO, found that simply changing an image on a webpage increased conversions by over 40% (tested with 11,000 visitors to each version of webpage).

The page being tested was for a digital marketing conference, the original image it featured was a laptop with the conference announcement on screen. The image that improved conversion rate (measured by conference bookings) was an image of a packed auditorium, it directly represented the event, clarified it was a live event instead of online and was a professional, non-stock photo.

One piece of advice that crops up over and over again when it comes to choosing optimal imagery for a website is not to use stock photos – they look cheap and everyone knows their stock photos. In fact a study which tracked website user’s eye movements found that images considered important and scrutinised were those of real people and products, not stock photos.

Professional photography can be particularly important if you’re selling products online, it’s the closest individuals can get to the product and will allow them to virtually explore what you have to offer. For example, Harvey Longsons, a company who specialise in static caravans for sale, are investing a large amount of time and money on photographing their parks all over the country because as their owner Gary Long says:

'Using professional photos for our adverts makes a huge difference in the volume of response we receive'.

harrylongsons photography

Another instance is Due Maternity, who found by featuring product images you could spin 360 degrees it increased conversation rate by 27% compared to the standard 2D images.

These examples demonstrate how just one simple aspect of your company’s branding, the images you feature, can make a measureable and powerful difference on your businesses sales or conversions. Put simply, investing in professional help for your branding is a worthwhile investment that will make a difference to your business.

Image/Copyright: Flickr, Harveylongsons.com
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This is a post we've invited from a digital marketing specialist who has agreed to share their expertise, opinions and case studies. Their details are given at the end of the article.

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