Digital strategies can’t be successful without appealing images. That’s it – that’s the blog post. (Kidding.) But that’s essentially the foundation upon which any photo or video strategy hinges: in our increasingly saturated digital marketplaces, images are a critical vehicle for brands to connect with their audiences. With thousands of options for every good or service being just a click away, a brand’s ability to catch the customer’s eye comes down to how much its images can stand out. However, long-term appeal isn’t about shock value; it’s about – and here’s the Millennial buzzword we’ve all been waiting for – relatability. Simultaneously straightforward and vague, “relatability” is the currency with which the success of a digital strategy is dealt. Sure, funny videos and images bring in leads – but your brand’s ability to contextualize itself into audiences’ daily lives, forming relationships that last? That’s all on your ability to connect on a real, relatable level. And that hinges more on your images than you might think. Wondering why that is, or what you can do to capitalize on the need for digital relatability? Keep on readin’.
Images and the Awareness Stage
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First impressions have always been tough, but our crowded digital spaces have made them both difficult and essential. In the digital marketing world, the Awareness stage refers to the process by which customers find out about your brand. Whether it’s an ad on their Facebook timeline, a beautiful photo on their Explore page, or a serendipitous Google search, the Awareness stage is the moment when connections are made. A successful image-driven digital strategy is bound to ask: “how can you use photos to help attract customers at the awareness stage?” Of course, there is no shortage of answers to this question – and one of the most reliable is lifestyle photography.
Successful awareness-stage lifestyle images accomplish two important things: they convey the overall look and feel of your brand in a way that’s specific and distinctive. They are able to stay true to what makes your brand unique while appealing to the sensibilities of a larger audience. This is where the whole “a picture’s worth a thousands words” thing comes in. Good lifestyle shots at the awareness stage of your campaign will be fresh, eye-catching, and in line with your vision for your brand. They’ll make customers want to see more.
Make Industry-Specific Topics Feel Universal
A lot of really smart people across specialties have theorized and think piece-d about what relatability truly means in our day and age. Our two cents is that relatability is making specific thoughts, feelings, and ideas feel universal, making them resonate with people whose sensibilities and experiences intersect with your brand’s in a meaningful way. Lifestyle photography is a powerful way to make your brand relatable because it’s a glimpse behind the curtain. In addition to posts of perfectly staged product photos, share snapshots of your team’s behind-the-scenes setup. Along with photos of your employees smiling and posing perfectly, show that snap you got of someone laughing so hard they cried or making a funny face. There’s a place for the polish: images can be a great way to convey your brand’s professionalism. But the polish isn’t what fosters connection: the imperfect, the spontaneous, and the authentic are.
Humanizing Your Brand Forms and Strengthens Connections
Your audience’s long-term relationship with your brand hinges on the quality of the services you provide as well as the extent to which they perceive your values and mission as compatible with their own. All of these complex image-driven strategies are geared toward one very simple goal: passing the customer’s vibe check. And that happens when you never let them forget who you are. Not what you do, not what your promotions are this season – but who the people are behind the brand. What makes you love coming in to work every day? What bonding activities, inside jokes, and silly moments make your company unlike any other? Our digital world is inundated with offers, promos, and too-good-to-be-true designs. There’s a place in it for all of those things (and, when leveraged correctly, they comprise important parts of a digital strategy, too). That said, in a digital space that can, at times, feel fabricated and inauthentic to customers, lifestyle photography is your company’s chance to embrace and celebrate what makes it special – in real life.
Successfully incorporating lifestyle photography into your digital campaign takes equal parts creativity, authenticity, and strategy. To explore how you can make the most of your digital presence via fun, resonant, and purposeful lifestyle photography, don’t hesitate to check out our free eBook!