Home Tech Digital Why you need to get digital branding right the first time

Why you need to get digital branding right the first time

Research tells us that 90 percent of first impressions are made within the first four minutes of meeting someone. This statistic still rings true when people look at your digital branding for the first time – there’s no opportunity here to win over your customer with your charm or a witty one-liner. Your image is your sole weapon in your professional pitch.

A strong image, taken by the right photographer and with the right styling is a quick and easily identifiable snapshot of your business. It helps present the company in a constructive light through good representation in print media advertisements, websites and company brochures. Conversely, using imagery that is low in quality and representing the wrong message can damage a potential customer’s opinion of you and turn them away from your company. In the competitive world of business, powerful and authentic digital branding cuts through the clutter and helps you stand out from the pack.

Thanks to the rapid advances of the world wide web, your digital image is visible morning, noon and night. Now with social media tools like Facebook and LinkedIn replacing networking functions as the place to meet new people and do business, your image is at the forefront, and having the right profile photo endearing you to your clients as being trustworthy and approachable is of paramount importance. You need to do more than just say that you’re an expert in your field. You need to look the part too, letting your photography do the work for you to engage new clients and encourage them to pick up the phone to connect with you.

Research tells us that 90 percent of first impressions are decided upon within the first four minutes of meeting someone. This statistic still rings true when people look at your digital branding for the first time. There’s no opportunity here to win over your customer with your charm or a witty one-liner. Your image is your sole weapon in your professional pitch.

Your profile image is the corporate version of that first impression. So much time and energy is taken each morning by businessmen and women grooming themselves to portray their most professional image. But your digital image is working for you even when you’re sleeping. People are forming opinions on you and your business based on your website, your company brochures and other marketing material. It’s so important that people see something positive about you and your business when they do engage with it for the first time. So when you think of it like that, you would want to ensure that your corporate photography is strong and a reflection on you and your company’s values. As they say, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!

Imagine the scenario of you attending a networking event. You make some terrific connections and develop an instant rapport. You’ve exchanged business cards and get back to the office to send a follow-up email, but before you do you decide to take a peek at their website to find out a little more about them. Imagine doing this to find that the images on the website look nothing like the person you just met. It’s not the start to a good business relationship that should be built on a foundation of honesty and trust.

Too often, dated photos are used with the belief that it captures the subject in their prime, when they were younger, thinner and had less wrinkles. This leaves a false impression of them to clients and from the outset makes the relationship less authentic. Fashions, makeup and styles of photography all change over time and are a telltale giveaway that they’re not using a current digital image.

Another mistake which many people make is the tendency to go overboard with retouching photos. It’s all too tempting to erase a couple of wrinkles or blemishes, which done correctly can actually enhance a beautiful photo. But there’s a fine line between fact and fiction and an image that’s gone heavy on the ‘erase’ button can be spotted a mile away. Surprisingly, it’s been shown that men are more likely to retouch their photos than women, perhaps a reflection of my observation that women in general are more comfortable in front of the camera. Male or female, it doesn’t matter to the viewer of the image, who in general would equate a heavily edited photo to the subject having a lack of self-belief or an enhanced view of themselves. Neither is the kind of impression you want to make to a potential client.

I am fortunate to hear first-hand about the follow-on effects that occur after a client’s new digital branding is released; an increase in sales and greater customer contact via the company website being the most common and obvious comments. But a surprising benefit can be that it’s not only the customers who have an increased perception of you as a person, but also can shift the way you view yourself. So many of my clients are forever transformed with a change in attitude which reflects the dynamic images that their website and company profile now portray.

Choosing the right photographer is a vital step achieving authentic digital branding photos. Many photographers can take a great looking image, but what is needed in this instance is for the photographer and client to make a true connection, for the photographer to really tap into the uniqueness of the client to take images that best represent them and their business. I call it the x-factor. It’s that little something that you can’t quite put your finger on, but it can certainly be tapped into by the right photographer. It’s the thing that sets leaders apart and brings forth a truly dynamic quality.

There needs to be a shift in mindset for businesspeople to grasp the importance of good digital branding and recognise its place in business today. So many businesses spend thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns and other business resources but are severely let down by having tired and dated photography. Having “a friend with a good camera” doesn’t quite cut it. A professional eye, good lighting, styling and direction are all the ingredients of a dynamic corporate photo.

Corporate photography should not be viewed as an item of luxury or vanity, but an essential investment into your brand toolkit.

Zahrina Robertson is an award-winning photographer who has photographed Sir Richard Branson and does work for brands like Qantas and Tourism Australia.

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