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They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And that’s never been truer than it is today. Thanks to the Internet, people can feel as though they are overloaded with information, which might explain the move towards image-based social networking sites like Instagram and Pinterest. If you can communicate your brand’s messaging through images rather than reams of text, you’re more likely to attract and hold a customer’s attention. This is particularly relevant when it comes to your packaging design, website design or marketing material. Here’s a few reasons why images are so important to your brand:

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1_ In branding, emotion is more important than logic.

The best way to plant your product and brand firmly in the mind of consumers is to make them ‘feel’ something. For example featuring an image of a fluffy Labrador on your packaging gives it a personality. Used consistently your brand can inherit all of the puppies best qualities, soft, loveable, friendly, loyal- without actually having to mentioning any of those words. It doesn’t have to be a photograph, it could be a stylised illustration, the effect is the same. What research has taught us is that busy shoppers tend to make ‘emotive’ purchases rather than purely logical ones, particularly with everyday products like groceries. There are many reasons for this but in part they simply don’t have (or aren’t willing to spend) the time comparing the pros and cons of different products. Our fluffy Labrador product with all it’s qualities of softness and homeliness is certainly going to be more appealing than a rival brand that simply states ‘This is soft toilet paper’. This is probably why Andrex toilet paper outsells all other brands in the UK market by a significant margin. It’s also why other brands are slowly following suit- (adorable fluffly Quola bear anyone?)

2_ Great imagery appeals to the right audience.

Whether the products you sell are aspirational and you want to portray a feeling of luxury or you specialise in everyday essential items, you can instantaneously establish your core brand values through the tone and style of imagery you select. There is a reason luxury watches tend to be photographed with beautiful people on dark backdrops. They are trying to tap into the customer who is attracted to the sophisticated, finer things in life. In contrast supermarket products are always photographed in a light and bright way, they need to appear fresh, friendly and good value. That said, there is no harm in defying convention occasionally to make your product stand out from the competition.

3. Good packaging should show, not tell.

There’s a saying between writers that goes ‘Show don’t tell’, this also applies to branding. For example, telling customers to ‘Buy this lamp, it will make you happier’ is not going to gain their trust. It’s much better to place the product in an aspirational real life scenario. This encourages the customer to apply it to their own life and imagine their own satisfaction with the purchase. If you can achieve this, you’re one step closer to a sale. You can do this with carefully considered product photography. Flat pack furniture moguls ‘Ikea’ are masters of this technique. Both their store and catalogue is cleverly designed to place the customer in the middle of their ‘dream’ home (or office) and then sell them the products to make it reality.

4. Imagery brings clarity to your product and brand.

It may be that your product is the kind of innovation that wouldn’t look out of place on ‘Dragon’s Den’. But if it’s the first of its kind, consumers will be unfamiliar with the concept and they won’t give you much time to explain it to them. People are also distracted when purchasing, you have to consider these factors during the branding process. Using illustration to explain the key features of your product can clarify things much more quickly than complex written instructions. The same goes for explaining your core services in marketing material and on your website.

5. High quality imagery is vital.

It goes without saying that when it comes to product images, they should always show the product in the best possible light. Hiring a professional photographer and retouching the photographs is initially more costly than doing it yourself but it is an investment worth making. It will ensure your products truly look their best. At Gorilla, we design lot’s of e-commerce stores and we firmly believe that imagery can really make or break a website. It’s a fact that people only read 10% of your website text on average yet they are absorbing almost everything you present to them visually- both consciously and subconsciously. Put simply great photography is often the difference between a sale and a customer spending their money elsewhere.

Using Stock photography.

It’s also worth noting that if you want a less costly alternative to hiring a photographer or an illustrator, sourcing images from stock photography can be effective. However you must select images that feature ‘naturally’ posed people. Stock websites are flooded with groups of suspiciously good looking people huddled together giving the thumbs up (we’ve all seen the classic ‘Beautiful woman wearing headset’) These type of pictures are very obviously staged and can look contrived even to the untrained eye.

The decision to represent your business with professional photography, illustration or stock photography is often dictated by budget and the tone of voice you want to establish. Gorilla can offer free friendly advice on the best route for your business, so get in touch to talk with one of our design team here

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