Visual communication is ubiquitous across all media channels – including television, print campaigns, direct mail, trade shows and key social networks. Imagery reinforces your brand and position in the marketplace. Making the time and effort to create your own image library will provide you a powerful tool to connect and engage your customer. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, these five tips will get you started in the right direction.
1. Think about your brand.
Brand image plays a key role in building both awareness and customer loyalty. Using the right photographs, graphics and illustrations will be instrumental to the success of your brand. You might want to look for images that share a theme or support your company’s message. Think about your company’s color scheme and general look and feel. If your services are high-tech, people-oriented, etc., you’ll want to choose images that reflect that.
2. Try creating your own images.
The least expensive option is to create your own images. Taking your own pictures works well for simple things like product shots. If you want to take your own photos for other purposes, make sure you know what you are doing, or the amateur quality will show. Even though your images will be on the web, use a camera and not your phone, unless your phone takes very high-quality images. Keep your images up-to-date and relevant. Consider incorporating images that convey a bit of humor, hope and humanity.
3. Using purchased or rented stock.
If, like most people, you lack the talent or the equipment, or if you’re not in the right location, you’ll have to resort to purchasing or renting images. There are a lot of low-cost stock image resources out there. If you buy stock images, it makes sense to purchase them as you need them and then build your library from those purchased images over time. You can also purchase subscriptions to stock sites. The larger subscription sites are Getty Images, Corbis, I-Stock, Dreamstock, Image Source, and Shutterstock. When searching stock, look to see if the stock site ranks the most popular photos. Try to avoid using the most popular images and instead work to build a unique portfolio by starting at the bottom of the search results and work up from there. Just as your company is unique, your corporate communications has to be unique to break through the media clutter.
4. Image usage rights.
It’s always tempting just to download images you find on the internet, but be aware that most are copyright protected. Google Images now offers a filter in its search results that helps you find content you can reuse. There are different types of image usage rights: Contracting for services directly, rights managed (licensingi the rights) and royalty free (fee based). Creative Commons, a non-profit, offers free licenses that help promote sharing and use of copyrighted content. The best-known users of Creative Commons’ licenses include Google, Flickr, Al Jazeera, and WhiteHouse.gov.
5. Make your image library searchable.
A database that stores images would be the most useful, but also would take the most time to set up. Assuming you are simply storing your images on a server or hard drive, you’ll want to plan a system for storing your images. Setup folders by topic or by client and create subfolders if necessary. More importantly, plan ahead how you will search for images and name your folders and files accordingly with keywords to help your search.isual communication is ubiquitous across all media channels – including television, print campaigns, direct mail, trade shows and key social networks. Imagery reinforces your brand and position in the marketplace. Making the time and effort to create your own image library will provide you a powerful tool to connect and engage your customer. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, these five tips will get you started in the right direction.