How Photography and Video Enhance Your Brand Experience

“Do you think I’m beautiful?”

I didn’t ask that; your brand did. It asks this of every, single person who comes into contact with it.

Over the last twenty years, marketers have moved beyond the realm of visuals into all the five senses to reach consumers. By activating cues in their marketing like the sound of a car door closing, the scent of coffee and the smooth feel of Apple products, marketers hope to intensify perceptions of brands.

Vast research has proven that we’ve entered an era where increasingly more and more companies are capitalizing on the wonders of sense-based marketing.

And among the senses, sight rules.

Is Your Brand a Visual Goddess?

83% of the information that people retain is received visually.

 - Geoff Crook

If sight is the most seductive and powerful branding tool, why is it that there are still countless cringe-worthy flyers, signs, posters, websites and other paraphernalia circling the marketing world? Consider the forces of the visual sense before succumbing to this sad fate far too many brands share.

What we see has the power to overrule our other senses and persuade us against all logic. Dr. H. A. Roth conducted a food experiment in 1988. He tinted a lime-and-lemon flavored drink in varying degrees of intensities.

Hundreds of students were then asked to decide which drink was sweeter. Most of the students got it wrong. They concluded that the stronger the hue, the sweeter the drink. It was, in fact, exactly the opposite.

In another experiment by C. N. DuBose, participants were asked to taste orange, cherry, lemon-lime, and grape drinks. When the colors and the flavors matched, they had no trouble identifying the flavor. However, when the colors were switched, only 30% people identified the drinks correctly upon tasting!

Needless to say, when we talk about the necessity of excellent photography and video in your brand experience, it’s because you, me and all consumers are humans (at least we hope so!) and our reliance on visuality trumps everything.

Oh, Hey Beautiful - Why Photography Sells:

According to entrepreneur.com, more than 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day, so in just a few minutes, a million more will be added; plus the charts, graphics, illustrations, doodles and other images that will be pinned to Pinterest or posted to Instagram, Twitter, foursquare, Tumblr and Google+.

Photographically strong brands have incredible advantages. They are dynamic and saturated in a variety of messages. They’re also highly emotive because photos can impact people immediately with real world stories and feelings. When done properly, they reflect ageless human truths. Take a look at these tips for creating a photographically-solid brand:

1. Create a Feeling Board

Grab photos from all over the place that look the way you picture your brand looking and feeling. Use art or photos from magazines or lifestyle brands, other products, stock photo sites, wherever. Go with your gut, but also show it to your team to see whether it resonates with them.

2. Consider the Elements

Minimal and desaturated imagery gives a tasteful, calm feeling. Vibrant and contrasty imagery gives an cinematic, epic feeling. Black and white can be artistic, raw, or elegant. Whichever palette you decide on, make sure the colors are harmonious and strike emotions that are within the same emotive family or that together communicate the messages you intend for your brand to relate.

3. Use High Quality Photography

Critically evaluate each photo just like you would a design, ensuring you consider the following elements:

Lighting:  Do the details get lost in pure whites or blacks? How is the exposure?

Contrast: Is there an appropriate amount of contrast?

Colors: Do the colors appeal? Do they clash with other content?

Composition: Is there defined composition or does the photograph feel flat?

Distractions: Is it free from clutter, or are there distracting elements? Is there crazy stuff going on in the background or on detailed inspection?

4. Tell A Story

If you can combine the desire people have to be told a story with their sense of sight, you create a powerful platform for delivering the message of your brand and getting stuck in people’s minds.

Photography plays into this because you can communicate drastically different things with just a few, tiny differences in your photos.

If you look at a high-quality photo of a bubbling glass of Coke, for instance, you might be intrigued by the photo if it’s a good one, but you won’t be inspired to go buy one like you would be if the photo had a smiling girl in a swimsuit drinking a bubbling Coke on a sunny day, surrounded by five of her hot friends.

Suddenly there’s a story behind the photograph; a story that consumers want to jump right into.

Lights, Camera, Action! - The Importance of High Quality Video

Matt Lawson, Head of Conversion at ao.com

”At ao.com we put the customer first. We strive to deliver what they want in everything we do; from our proposition to the content they see on site. To understand what they want we watch hundreds of customers using our site, and we always hear a “wow” when they discover our video! Video gives us the opportunity to wow our customers and this in turn delivers results. We have tested and proven that when someone watches our video reviews they’re 120.5% more likely to buy, spend 157.2% longer on the site and spend 9.1% more per order. So my focus this quarter is increase customers watching video. Simple.”

Laurie Williams, Senior Manager of Website Operations at Zappos.com

"Since Zappos started producing product information videos in 2008, we have seen an increase in conversion, decrease in returns, increased organic traffic through SEO, and an enhanced social presence. Our goal when creating product videos is to educate our customers in making the best buying decision.  Even with the offer of free returns, if a customer receives a product and it isn't what they had in mind, they can become disenchanted.” Videos help the customers feel confident in their purchasing decisions, which (yay for Zappos) leads to higher conversion rates.

Without going to school for film or exhausting yourself trying to master flawless videography, there are just a few points you should consider in order to create appealing video content.

1. Listen to Your Consumers

Find out what your consumers want to see. You can add a tremendous amount of value to your video content if you seek to understand what they already watch or want to watch.

Before settling on an idea for your video, spend some time getting to know your particular audience, looking at what they want to know about your brand and what they are talking about in the industry.

2. Check for Congruency

Once you’ve identified a topic for video content that you think your audience would enjoy, the next consideration is your brand. Does your video idea fit with your brand’s mission, objectives and message? If not, it’s a waste of yours and your consumer’s time.

3. Become Associated with Highly-Emotive Content

Whatever it is that you are making your videos about, make them stand out with highly-concentrated feeling. If you want your videos to be shared because of their hilarious punch line, make that punch line funny. If you want your video to make your consumer cry, touch their hearts. If you want to inspire, do just that.

The quickest way to become obscure among brands and consumerism is to become emotionally bland. When your viewers think of your videos, you want them to immediately associate them with a feeling.

While you probably aren’t aiming for your brand to be a charade, it’s better to be over-the-top than not emotive enough. Go big or go home. Be hot or be cold. Lukewarm is for sissies. Reach out to 10twelve if your company needs more tips on how to enhance your brand experience with photography and video.