The Power of Photography in Brand Marketing

By Courtney Dade, CEO, Chief Strategist, CSD Marketing and Consulting, LLC

 It takes about .005 of one second on average for our brains to react to something visual. David Williams, a professor at the University of Rochester and one of the world’s leading experts on human vision says that more than 50 percent of the brain’s surface is devoted to processing visual information. He should know. He’s pioneered new technologies that improve the eyesight of people around the world. This all means the powerful information processor we call our brain is using a lot of juice to enable us to make judgments literally in the blink of an eye. 

That’s why impactful photography can help you solidify your personal brand and take advantage of the way the human brain works. Sure, with today’s smartphones, you can take a high-definition selfie and upload it on your website, embed it in your emails, and use it for your social media profiles. But in that instant the brain takes to process this information, will this image you’ve created reinforce the image you’re trying to create for your ideal customer? Is it appropriately part of the unique bundle of associations you’ve tried to assemble to create your brand identity

Brand Photography

If you’re running an online business or building your brand identity, brand photography provides you with a host of professional images that visually represent your business. They fit with your visual identity. We’re not talking about portrait photography. We are talking about using high-quality authentic photography to evoke an overall image and feel that aligns with the personality of your brand. The appropriate use of colors, tone, props, sets, and locations is part of it. Brand photography can include photos of you, your team, your products, your process, your workspace, your customers, your business location, what you influence, and what you care about.  

CSD Marketing and Consulting often partners with photographer Ivan Harris of Ivan S. Harris Photography/Suede Social. I first introduced Ivan in my podcast about Overcoming a Crisis Through Creativity, part of our series called “The Phoenix Project.” Ivan says a picture is worth a thousand words, but it can be worth far more than that. According to Ivan, “A single picture can showcase a complete range of emotions pertaining to any given era, event, person, industry, or, business.” Think about it. 

  • A photo of a sailor kissing a woman with joy at the announcement of the end of World War II. 
  • A photo of Marilyn Monroe, face alight, dress in flight, standing over a grate in the sidewalk as the subway passes by. 
  • A photo of a young woman kneeling near the body of a fallen student shot down on the campus of Ohio State while protesting the Viet Nam War. 
  • A photo of a cool person with a white milk mustache silently telling you that milk is cool before you read the ad copy. 
  • A picture of Michael Jordan sitting with a basketball next to a loudly clad Spike Lee who stands over him, both wearing branded tennis shoes, and silently speaking volumes to a target population about who wears this product and what you’ll achieve when you wear it.

Leveling Up With Authentic Imagery

Maybe you’ve had a professional headshot taken for your LinkedIn profile or the “about” page of your website. It may be beautiful, but what does it communicate about your brand? You may have gorgeous stock photos on your website, but are there any authentic representations of you, your business, or your company on that website? Or could it be anyone’s website, anywhere, selling “fill-in-the-product”?

Plug and play websites with stock photos are definitely better than no website and no images. But Ivan cautions, “As you prepare to take your business and your brand to the next level, the identity you project through the images in your portfolio matter. You want to look your best, be consistent with your brand identity, and portray high-value production and quality in your photos across all your marketing materials.” You can make a positive impression in the .005 of a second in which someone’s brain is judging you.

Final Thoughts

Our first quarter theme is called “Fresh Start” for a reason. You can make a fresh start today by adding just a few professional brand photos to your portfolio. You can start with photos of you and your team or someone or something else that adds authenticity. The point is to start somewhere and know that this is just the beginning of your journey towards advancement and progress. 

CSD Marketing and Consulting is ready to help you refresh your image and get ready for your close-up. Contact us today!

Just for kicks, here’s a three-minute video from the Salk Institute about how the brain recognizes what the eye sees.

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