A picture is worth a thousand words, but it can also make your business thousands in revenue—if you do it right. Too often companies fail to put a value on photography and are thus unable to justify its cost. Milestones pass by undocumented and products are shown in a bad light.

The returns on good photos (and videos) may not be easily quantifiable, but rest assured that it is now more than ever, an essential ingredient of any successful marketing plan. The heightened standards and skepticism of today’s consumer mean that bad photos can actually hurt your earnings. You can blame the Internet for that.

With the Internet seeping into every nook and cranny of our lives, traditional marketing tactics become less and less effective, while inbound marketing picks up the slack. Gone are the days when pushing products through TV ads and telemarketing was enough. Now it’s all about earning people’s attention through interesting content, hopefully interesting enough to attract traffic, to increase potential for sales and to turn customers into brand advocates.

Fact: white papers, blogs and other forms of content marketing work best with visuals. On Facebook, photos are liked and shared more than text, videos and links, according to a 2012 study on more than 1.3 million posts published on the top 10,000 pages. Another study found that 52% of consumers felt more confident about purchases after watching product videos, with 47% saying that professionally produced videos seem more reliable.

This trend applies to B2C and B2B brands alike. Whether you’re selling sandwiches or drainage systems, effective visuals are a must.

Get out of the price war

B2B brand Fast Flow designs rainwater management systems for building projects across Asia Pacific, specialising in complex architecture such as the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing and Changi Airport in Singapore. Its offerings can come down to literally the nuts and bolts, but good photography can make the most mundane of subjects look interesting. We developed the art direction to reflect the advanced engineering that Fast Flow uses to help make architectural marvels possible.

Photo: Howie Choo; Art Direction: Consulus

Photo: Howie Choo; Art Direction: Consulus

Photo: Howie Choo; Art Direction: Consulus

Photo: Howie Choo; Art Direction: Consulus

Getting the perfect shot of your product is important, but don’t miss out on sharing the less than perfect story behind it. Nowadays perfection breeds suspicion, while authenticity sells. Showing the challenges you faced along the way and the amount of expertise it took to get to the end product can be an effective marketing tactic.

It can even take you from fighting a price war to charging a premium. Brands that fail to invest in visuals and design that reflect the quality of their products and services are often stuck getting less than they’re worth, and sometimes all it takes to get a leg up on the competition is to look better.

Get potential customers to take the bait

On the B2C end of the spectrum is Catch ‘n Bite, a new F&B brand that offers a fresh take on indulgent seafood. We worked with Catch n’ Bite to develop a marketing strategy that would make full use of the average social media user’s love of pictures. The brand is set to launch its first kiosk this December at Westgate in Jurong East, but it has been whetting its would-be customers’ appetites on Facebook with photos of its po’ boys and salad rolls for a couple of weeks now.

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

A photo for its maiden promotion received 400 likes and reached 30,000 in just seven days, showing how effective photos can be in building word of mouth even before the first bite. As long as the real thing lives up to the promise of the photo, the buzz can only grow from there.

Get the most out of your marketing spend

Earlier this year Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), Brunei’s leading Islamic financial institution, unveiled a fresh identity and banking experience at its refurbished Kiulap Branch. The launch was a major milestone in our journey with BIBD to develop and implement a new brand strategy centered around the theme of “Bruneian at Heart”. Like the Wish Campaign, the event was a prime opportunity for the bank to build bonds with its customers and engage the close-knit community it serves.

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

Photo, Art Direction: Edmund Ng, Consulus

When you spend all that time and money on organising such events and campaigns, make sure you reap the rewards long after the last piece of confetti has been swept away. Stretch your marketing dollar by sharing photos and videos that recreate your events’ energy and intent for those who couldn’t be there in person.

Better pictures can go a long way in projecting a professional image and lending credibility to your brand. When all that could stand between you and higher profit margins is a badly shot photo that fails to portray your value, why even take the risk?

 

Edmund Ng is a Senior Design Consultant at Consulus. He has helped to create visual identities and environment designs for clients in the luxury sectors. He has brought his photography expertise to a wide range of industries that include F&B, banking and hospitality.

Nicole Brion is a Senior Manager at Consulus. She specialises in designing web experiences for both business and consumer markets to boost the online presence of clients in various industries including retail, F&B, banking and real estate.

This article is part of The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. For past issues, browse the complete archive.