New Blog Series aimed at talking about money photography and profit.
Per Webster’s New World dictionary, the worth of a thing in money at a certain time. (2) estimated or appraised worth.
Worth – (1) material value, as expressed in terms of money. (2) the quality of something, the esteem in which a thing is held.
Per Mike Boatman, If your investment doesn’t return a profit it has no value.
Make no mistake about it, the use of photography, whether it’s from an iPhone or professional, is an investment…of time, resources and visual property – whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn or a printed piece. The other aspect about photography is its inherent value which is grossly overlooked.
Photography’s inherent value – people looking at pictures first before they read!
Photography instantly communicates esteem or disrespect.
The photograph catches the attention, sets the tone and the expectations before the headline or tagline is ever read. That old adage a picture’s worth 1,000 words happens to be true. And most likely the 1,000 words is a gross under estimation. What’s worse, nobody said that the 1,000 words are the right thousand words that you’re counting on.
Just having a photograph isn’t good enough, not if you want to reap profit and rewards from the imagery.
Which reminds me of a conversation I recently had with a FedEx executive. He was telling me about the $7.3 million that they invested in production for their ad campaign that aired as a Super Bowl commercial a couple of years ago. Their net increase in sales zero!!! Quite a different return than their “Absolutely, positively have to have it overnight” campaign that they also introduced at the Super Bowl some years earlier. Must have been the wrong set of 1,000 words (bad imagery).
Of course there’s some great examples on the flipside, here are a few of mine.
Return on investment – $360 million first year sales increase.
Return on investment – 66 houses under construction. Average contract price per house – between $750,000 to $1.2 million.
When choosing to invest in a photographer or photography always evaluate the imagery relevant to how it will increase sales and if you’re photographer isn’t creating images based on how to increase sales…Please look for new photographer.
Photographers – if your imagery doesn’t sell your clients product, then your photography has no value! It really is that simple.
Free doesn’t mean it didn’t cost you a ton of money!
Money really needs to be thought of a little bit more abstract with regards to photography. Our thinking has to go beyond what it cost me to produce when we’re referring to photography. Again, photography has an inherent value in that it instantly communicates. If you’re not controlling your communication you’re not controlling your money.
Fo9r example – We’ve all heard about that selfy posted on Facebook the cost the college graduate their dream job. Poorly produced, flawed imagery represents the total essence of your company. The same as the selfy represented the personal character of the college student, regardless if the representation is true or not.
The essence of your corporate representation’s first impression is controlled by photography, because photography by its nature is instant communication and people look at photographs first.
As a business owner – which would be better, to entrust the essence of your corporate reputation to an intern or your sales manager with an iPhone, a freshly graduated fine art photography student with no experience, or a seasoned, trained, professional photographer with a proven track record of delivering images that sells?
I know it’s a rhetorical question but please take a look at who’s doing the photography in your office for your social media…It’s not just social media it’s your company’s first impression.
Return on investment after expenses.
With flawed photography how much money are you leaving on the table? Potential customers and clients that you never meet because your visual representation conveyed the wrong message. Whether that message was a lack of integrity or quality, regardless of the truth and merit due to your imagery, these customers never went any further than evaluating your first impression (imagery).
Your first reaction may be to cut the photography budget because the photography really isn’t generating any sales. Or, you invest in stock imagery that eliminates the flaws but has very little direct communication with your target audience. Of course, if it is communicating with your target audience your competition is probably using the same stock image as well.
To increase profit you have to evaluate your audience to develop a sales strategy (brand). Then create custom imagery that communicates the brand’s message to your audience.
Photography should always be evaluated relevant to “what is this communicating to my customer”? By developing a sales strategy that meets the needs or satisfies the desires of your customer; reinforced with strong, first-impressions imagery, that instantly communicates this message, grossly increases sales and therefore increases profit.
The brand message imagery needs to be consistent through all forms of communication including social media.
What I’m saying here is spending money on photography that doesn’t do its job is a waste of capital and will never return a profit on the investment.
Value is creating custom imagery that communicates brand strategy instantly to your target audience. If your brand strategy is fulfilling the needs and the desires of your audience your sales will be overwhelming.
Without the advantage of the instant communication that photography delivers, your sales will never achieve full potential or will take a considerably longer time to achieve.
Poor and flawed photography or space-filler photography will grossly handicap a brand sales strategy’s effectiveness and cost you hundreds of times more money than custom imagery from a seasoned professional.
Subject matter of the next post: Impact Imagery and PR.