If a marketing consultant walked into your office right now and said, “The first thing your visual brand needs is a staff photo,” you’d probably think you hired someone from the Dark Ages — or at least the Pre-Facebook Era.
What about social media? Video marketing? Retargeting? SEO?
The part that most businesses miss when they jump on the digital and visual marketing train is that, first, you need to figure out the basics if you’re going to play in the big leagues. If you don’t have a visual brand to start with, then what is your digital marketing actually selling?
Establishing a foundation for you visual brand is essential.
Along with professional headshots, a staff photo is at the top of that list. Just trust and read on.
As you develop a digital marketing campaign, your photographs and graphics will quickly become your most valuable assets. You will use them in every avenue of your campaign — from Facebook to Instagram to email signatures, ads and videos.
While a good marketing campaign is diverse in its avenues, that is precisely why you want your visual brand to be consistent. Your visual brand needs to be immediately recognizable, so when your audience sees it across many different platforms, they can make the connection. Then you’re on your way to developing a strong brand presence.
A staff photo is an essential piece of that foundation because it gives the entire team a consistent look. Everyone wears similar colors and styles of dress. Everyone is photographed and edited by the same photographer. And, most importantly, everyone is present in the picture, which sends the message that you’re all in it together — and everyone is treated equally. Consistency is established within the company, so it’s also communicated outside the company.
A staff photo tells a complete story. It doesn’t leave out the people your clients interact with on a regular basis, such as the receptionist or a second-in-command. Instead, it brings together all of the reasons your clients remain loyal to your company in one visual, showing the bigger picture of what you do for them. A staff photo helps your clients remember that your company is a team of people — and it takes every single one of those people to service the client.
It also connects the personal brands, or stories, of your staff. Each team member has his or her own relationship with the client, community and public; they are all part of telling the company’s overarching story. A staff photo unifies those individual stories, connecting personal brands to the company and strengthening the company’s overall brand. It encourages clients to maintain a relationship with the company, as well as the employees.
I respect a company that respects its team enough to put their faces on the wall — Facebook or otherwise. And I bet I’m not alone. People love faces. They want a “face” on everything, from Progressive Insurance to the iconic founder of Apple.
Faces are filled with emotion. So when you put a bunch of happy, smiling ones together for a staff photo, you’ve just created a lot of feels: unity, appreciation, teamwork, collaboration, loyalty. The list goes on. While logos and building fronts are incredibly important visual brand tools in their own rights, they don’t give you the warm and fuzzies like a good ol’ fashioned staff photo.
As you may recall from a previous blog, I posit that emotion is the foundation of effective branding. You want people to feel things — the right things — when they see your consistent, cohesive visual brand. What better way is there to tell a positive, emotional story than to start from the beginning: with the faces that make it happen every day?
Cherish your story,