People use images to share information. To learn about new ideas and educate themselves about things that interest them. Images can convey what text alone cannot. Images affect us cognitively. They increase understanding, recollection and retention. They affect us emotionally and are a key influence in our decision making and our ability to make rational decisions.
Photographs are a universal language in a time when everyone has a camera in their pocket. Photographs are uploaded to social media at an unprecedented rate. Sharing images is a form of social currency. Tech savvy audiences expect original high quality imagery in order to trust brands.
A lot of businesses use other's existing imagery or stock photography for their website and marketing collateral. There are some good quality stock images available, but do not underestimate your audience. Never risk your businesses reputation by using other people's images and infringing copyright laws. Stock imagery that may be used by your competitors and more than likely used elsewhere in completely different contexts are not the wisest options for your business. If you are aiming for a high level of authenticity, invest in the creation of quality imagery that represents your unique brand.
Images increase engagement, they help with understanding and making purchase decisions. They can stimulate interest and convey emotion. We pay attention to visual imagery over text. A picture speaks a thousand words. A high quality image can evoke qualities about your business to set you apart from your competition.
Ballarat business Country Style Smallgoods are a local example of a small business who less than 12 months ago had no web presence and now are commanding the top SEO position for it’s category. The business commissioned Alphaville to create original high quality imagery of their products. Country Style Smallgood’s website imagery depicts rustic, artisan quality that words alone could not convey.
The power of visual communication, The Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab asked 2,440 participants how they evaluated the credibility of websites they were shown. Almost half (46.1%) said that the Web site's design look was the number one criterion for discerning the credibility of the presented material.
Original, high quality imagery is a valuable asset for any business and should be factored into the budget for any business undertaking branding and marketing development. It is a fundamental component of design thinking. An interesting article, How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business, illustrates this basic premise that is often overlooked by businesses.
They upgraded all the amateur photos to beautiful images. There wasn’t any data to back this decision originally. They just went and did it. A week later, the results were in: improving the pictures doubled the weekly revenue to $400 per week. This was the first financial improvement that the company had seen in over eight months. They knew they were onto something.
Pictured is an example of a Ballarat apartment available for short term stays. The owner commissioned photography to use on their website and on Airbnb. They know that the decision to stay somewhere is based on quick intuitive judgements and an emotional connection.
Quality imagery conveys stories to emotionally connect with your audience. Images paint the picture of your business and what you stand for. Do not underestimate how images impact how your business will be perceived.