Few of us received formal art education past Middle School, and fewer of us still work in design, yet we can often tell when something doesn’t quite fit a composition. Likewise, few of us are experts in psychology, but even so, we feel that we can accurately judge people simply by looking at a photo of them. As much as we want to believe that consumers will evaluate us based on our products or our personalities, the harsh reality is that presentation truly is half of the recipe for success. By embracing these subconscious decisions, we can capitalize on basic human tendencies and improve our sales, strengthen our brand, and encourage a positive perception of ourselves by others.
Perhaps the least forgiving arena for having subpar photography and a poor profile picture is the realm of social media. This is the closest we are able to come to connecting with others on a personal level without actually meeting in person. Leaving a good first (digital) impression is important, as we’ve been found to judge others solely from a photo in as little as 1/10th of a second. This means creating a proper and effective photo that is tailored to each social network is critical. The same abstract, hip, or silly picture that attracts attention on Facebook might not be the best choice to show your professionalism on LinkedIn. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that looking healthy and vibrant is more important than looking smart.
You could probably discern the difference between a dish made with premium products versus one made from inferior ingredients right? Diners in the Serge et le Phoque restaurant in Hong Kong thought so too. During a test conducted by the strategic consulting agency, CatchOn, diners were presented with two of the same dishes. One dish was made with premium ingredients and was accompanied only with a list of what the dish was made of. The other one was made with inferior ingredients, but was presented by a fake chef that concocted a story about how this dish was inspired by a treasured childhood memory. This emotional presentation of the inferior dish was good enough to sway 77% of the unsuspecting diners into preferring this version over the premium one.
Admittedly, the previous experiment conducted in the restaurant as small and unofficial, but the result still provides a lesson for how we should portray our products. Professional photography and lighting is becoming the standard, and to truly stand out there has to be an emotional connection between your products or services and your target customer.
Bonus video: If you thought the experiment in Hong Kong was amusing, check out how these two guys fool experts at a food convention into giving rearranged McDonald’s food great reviews.
How many times have you been shopping and noticed the same exact picture of a specific model being for all sorts of different products by a bunch of different brands?
It’s the year 2015 and brands are finally realizing that using their own photos taken from a point-and-shoot camera of their products or business for their website and other collateral just isn’t acceptable anymore. Unfortunately, this has led to an overuse of easy to access stock photography. Extremely convenient, and professionally lit, it would seem like these photos would be the perfect solution for a marketing department on a budget. This strategy however, poses its own problems.
In order to increase sales, most contributors to stock photography websites create photos that are generic and can apply to a wide range of uses, in order to earn the ensure a high number of downloads. These photos are well lit, and composed properly, but because they are so generic, they end up looking very “posey,” and without much personality to them. Perhaps stemming from the advancement of computer animation in blockbuster movies and being bombarded with so much media on a daily basis, our brains are becoming very adept at spotting what elements are real and which are staged or artificially added.
Communicate honestly with your customers and you’re likely to be rewarded. A recent study has found that 63% of consumers surveyed across 12 global markets would buy from a company they consider to be authentic over and above its competitors. Moreover, respondents indicated that they considered it more important that companies communicate honestly about their products and services (91%) than it was that companies have products or services they can’t live without (60%).