Cautioning against a Triffid perhaps?

We all know that a picture paints a thousand words, but few people really stop and think what those words are really saying when selecting an image for their marketing materials.

Using unchanged stock photography is usually a no go. By all means use it to be inspired or to bang up on a blog post, but these days, everyone’s got access to stock shots and you really don’t want to look like everyone else, so consider chaning it up a little. You might crop the shot, change the colour or add a layer, maybe even turn a couple of photos into a photo montage.

Using a good designer might cost you a little more, but your materials will then jump out from the sea of sameness. There are lots of people who know how to use design software (and call themselves a designer), but lots fewer understand design elements and the power of design as a communication tool. Ask to see examples of their work and have them talk to you about why they chose to use the elements or colour they did – you’ll see who knows their stuff pretty quickly.

Regardless of whether you’re using stock shots, your own photography, sketches, etc or images that have been especially created for you, ask yourself these questions before using or posting your next image to make sure you’re using the right ones that deliver the right 1000 words.

  1. What message are we trying to send with this piece of marketing material?
  2. What message does this photo/image convey?
  3. Do 1 & 2 match?
  4. Would a cartoon, graph, real-life customer/user/insert image of something else grab our customer’s attention better?
  5. Are the concepts behind the materials and photo in keeping with each other or do they fight each other?
  6. What’s the hero (or centre of attention) in the shot?
  7. Is this image about us or our customers – remembering the WIIFM principle is the most powerful of all
  8. Does it really reflect our brand?
  9. Have we defaced/obsured or in any other way altered our brand?
  10. Does the image fit with our brand essence and values?
  11. If it has a caption, does it deliver the same message as the shot?
  12. Is it in any way divisive or offensive?
  13. Does its use send a professional message?
  14. Is this image so popular, our clients will have seen it on every other site
  15. Have we infringed someone else’s rights (copyright) by using it?
  16. If it’s a creative commons image, have we given it due credit?
  17. Have we used the image at the correct resolution for how we’re reproducing it?

Not all of these questions will require answering every time, but asking some of them might just ensure the message you want to convey and the one you do match up nicely (which is important if youwant to avoid confusing your customers).

Kristin Austin is a marketing & communication strategist and trainer who’s been doing the marketing ‘do’ for almost 20 years. She’s loves creating content and campaigns that drive engagement (using WIIFM) and capturing customers for her clients. She can be found hanging out in social media land – for her clients’ benefit of course when she’s not working on client campaigns, strategy or writing them content. You can follow her @glitteratichic or click on the LinkedIn icon on the right handside to connect there. If you’re not on social media and still want to connect – she’s happy to talk marketing and business boosting over coffee.

Image credit – WARNING
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