I’m sometimes surprised at how often photography seems like an after-thought for marketers online. The surge of user-generated-content has created a level of complacency that tempts us to believe the images will take care of themselves. And there’s plenty of other reasons to under-value the visuals and do it all yourself:
- Low-cost cameras
- Low-cost software
- Speed of transfer from camera to screen
- Low-cost web publishing tools
This has created a monster in which bad website photography is often simply accepted as ‘good enough’. Why is it that someone who wants to sell their sofa on ebay intuitively understands the value of good photography but will gladly publish amateur shots of their products and services on their business’ website?
Perhaps worst still is the use of stock photography when, for just a little effort, the real thing is easily shot. Stock photographs often lack the ability to connect in a positive way with the viewer. Some have made it into an awkward hall of shame, others just send you to sleep and can reflect more poorly on the business than having no photos at all.
I looked at the professional services category of accountancy in nearby Brisbane for some insight. This is an industry that relies on the quality of their people to build relationships, trust and competency. It’s hard therefore not to be critical of the way they present their services:
- The classic ‘shaking hands’ shot in a vanilla montage isn’t very inspiring: www.businessaccounting.com.au
- Cheese in silhouette, words fail me: www.accountingaffaires.com.au
- If you’re too ashamed of your staff, show a picture of your fax machine: www.dmak-assoc.com
- Cheesy stock photographs convey a ‘me too’ 80’s image: www.accountia.com.au
So, apart from proving that accountants don’t value their image, what does this prove? Well, it suggests several other things:
- They are forgetting the needs of their prospective clients
- They don’t convey their business as an inspiring place to work
- They don’t value the web as a lead generator or reputation builder (I wonder how many of these offenders will post a comment below?)
Most of them are forgetting what they’re selling….their brains. They’ve overlooked the first rule of selling online. Show me what I’m buying. Or in this case, show me who I’m buying and what they’re like.
Accountia actually look like a really professional and serious outfit, especially when looking at the ‘real staff’.
These guys are actually interesting folks – they are the REAL value of the company, but not enough care has been taken to make them shine. Companies who have high integrity will value their people and they will then feel valued as a part of something bigger.
That’s a lot to convey and a big ask for Steve from HR to achieve with his brother’s Canon, even if he does know a thing or two about Photoshop. There’s a lot at stake so for pity’s sake, get a professional to help you!
We’ve recently re-designed our site: www.punklogic.com.au and asked Andrej from Artisan to help us capture our personality. We may not have got it 100% right but we’re happy that he captured our real selves.
Andrej is fun to work with, thinks creatively and really applies himself to a project. He’d be no good with your tax return though!