Our amazing photographer, partner and fellow storyteller Brian Morowzcynski of Via Photos, guest posts on the value of image.
What is your organization’s image? How do paying clients perceive you? More importantly, what do prospective customers see when they encounter your brand? Are they encouraged to dial your phone number or walk into your store, or are they turned off for reason’s you’ll never know because they weren’t enticed to pick up the phone?
It’s difficult to consider abstract ideas like image and perception and whittle them into a spreadsheet for analysis. They’re variables that often go unconsidered and it’s easy to understand why. Determining what people think of your organization is about as finicky as catching a butterfly fluttering amid shifting winds. After all, what busy entrepreneur has time to sweat the the small stuff like the shape of her logo or the color scheme of his website. It’s true, we’re all pressed for time. But ignoring your organization’s image is done at your own peril.
Because everyone likes to eat, let’s compare your organization to a restaurant. If you’re a small operation, you probably can’t afford to offer clients a fast food meal. It’s too impersonal and you don’t have the traffic to warrant a drive-thru window. You need to offer every client the service, attention and time needed to make it easy to work with you. Your company might be more similar to a restaurant with sit down service – music playing, artwork displayed on decorated walls, mood lighting and staff wearing matching colors and attitudes. This is atmosphere, and although it can’t be eaten from a plate, it offers value by surrounding your meal, enhancing it’s flavors, inviting you to linger for another drink.
When your food arrives at a restaurant, what’s the first thing that you notice? It’s not the flavor. It’s the presentation, an impression on your eyes before your mouth. I’ve heard it said that people eat with their eyes. The same is true of your clients, regardless of your industry. There’s so much for them to interact with before they finally consume your product or service; web design to show them to their table, copy to present them their menu, photography for lighting and mood music. We don’t usually go to our favorite restaurants for the food alone. We go because we enjoy ourselves from the moment we walk in to paying the bill, which we’ll do in delight if all was right. It’s no different for your organization.
Business is rarely just a simple transaction, it’s an experience.
Image is the atmosphere of your organization. Trouble is, many don’t plan for their image because the results are tough to quantify. Image can be ignored if you’re a restaurant serving food from paper plates, but not if you want to offer an experience with real flatware instead of plastic forks. The good thing is, image can be molded like the atmosphere of a restaurant, it just takes consideration. That’s why collaborating with partners like Blue Daring and ViaPhotos offers the communication and strategy to set a course with photography to reflect the genuine personality of your organization.
Image presents an organization with the simplicity of a single photo or a national multimedia campaign. When it goes unconsidered, a company’s value begins to fray. But when planned with strategy and visual skill, image carries the value of your message with character, quirk, and clarity.