Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A picture paints…and all that


They say a picture paints a thousand words, which I guess is true unless of course you happen to be the next Shakespeare oops I think that might be on the verge of blasphemy, as surely there can’t be another. Anyway many, many years ago when I was taking my first faltering steps into the big bad world of work as a young designer in the UK home improvement market, one of my hobbies was photography, and so I looked to somehow integrate it into my daily work. I came up with a stroke of genius…the before and after photo! Now before everybody out there gets on their high horse, I’m quite aware this was not my exclusive idea but I use it to illustrate that back in 1976 (I know) images were used to show prospective clients just how good we were at our jobs. If we added that to recommendations from satisfied customers whom we’d completed projects for then the order was as close to in the bag as you could get.

Between then and now we’ve all employed tactics such as recommendations or case studies in our newsletters, brochures or websites, but somehow they didn’t quite hit the mark as sceptics out there may have got the notion that either we or a creative PR agency had perhaps garnished the truth a wee bit, which of course we would never, ever do…..right? Which brings me neatly to the point of this article, that being now some 36 years on there are some great and easy to use marketing tools that accomplish basically the same end result but with far more credibility than we could ever have hoped for back then. Facebook, YouTube and most recently Pinterest are all social media sites that a business can use to showcase their products and projects in both still and video imagery with actual customers being able to comment directly on what a great job you’ve done.

It pays to get a photographer to take high quality images and I’d suggest getting the owners somewhere in shot otherwise the sceptics will be bleating about them being staged shots from a showroom or worse. Perhaps even personalise it a little with the team who’d been involved from the designer to the installation team (they don’t get enough kudos in my opinion) so that it looks real (by the way, make sure everybody is smiling). The best social media sites to use for this are Facebook and Pinterest, Twitter is restrictive as you can only use 140 characters and any pictures take the user away from the site. However, you can also use blogs to do much the same thing as the case study used to do and there’s the opportunity for comments to be left below the article.