Why your brand needs its own images

If you have ever talked with a creative agency, or done marketing of any sort, chances are you have heard of brand photography, or even pondered if you should make them or invest in them. Long story short, if you have a brand, its visual expression is in need of brand images.

Brand photography or images is an integral part of your brand expression. It tells a story of who you are and value as a brand, it builds an emotional bridge between you and your customers, it cannot be replaced by standard placeholders. (Above example, Kyrö Distillery)

What is brand photography?

Like a visual identity is more than just a logo, brand images or photography is an integral part of your brand identity, one of the tools from your palette of expressions, right alongside your logo, colours and tone of voice to name a few.

Whether brand photography is the same as product photography, the answer varies. It depends on your brand architecture, marketing strategy and what your brand is about. You might have a product focussed brand with high-level images and key visuals for each product, or a lifestyle brand just needing photography that tells your story. However the brand images concept is structured, all work together and tell a unified story of you and your products.

Brand photography could then vary depending on your brand, product, and overall brand identity, it could vary from lifestyle photography to product key visuals, to 3D images or illustrations. But that's the job of the creatives and strategists to figure out what is most appropriate for your brand.

But what about my blog posts? The marketers and growth hackers out there might be wondering how are they going to manage their content marketing strategy, their one blog post a week with only a handful of brand images. Or can you even use brand photos for all your blog posts? Well, not really, not always. Brand images tell a larger story, they are the spearhead of your visual marketing and communication, they do not need to be recycled forever as blog post covers and should not. Think of brand images as the hero, not the sidekick, they will serve as inspiration, guiding direction for the image style you should be using in your content marketing needs.

Why should you care about photography?

There are times your tone of voice and typography will not be enough to convey your message, or your audience just doesn't have the time or attention span to read it all. A picture is worth a thousand words they say, and it can say things words cannot.

Nonetheless, your brand photography is a shortcut to your customer's heart, it will support the visual identity and express it in a more emotional and relatable way. When considering that the purchase decision is heavily driven emotionally, your brand photography is a powerful tool for your bottom line.

Now that everyone is convinced of the reasons for the investment, you might be jumping the gun and thinking you could increase your ROI and ask your helpful designer to go on one of those stock images websites, hell maybe even the free ones. Rumour has it that, a designer entertained that idea, and searched for unique, meaningful, and differentiating stock brand images and was never seen again.

Nobody falls in love with conformity, if you want to grab your customers by the heart and take them on a journey, think twice before buying those stock images.

How to create brand images?

On occasion, stock images could serve a purpose, they could help get your MVP out, speed up your go-to-market strategy or could even work okay for your brand. But that is not a long-term solution. Never has it been said that stock images support your brand strategy and identity. You have gone through the process to build a brand founded on truth and meaning, you got a unique and differentiating positioning, your values are authentic to you, the visual identity is spot on and memorable, how could the same brand images bought from the same stock photo website as all your competitors around the world do you justice? Maybe that same stock image you want is used by another company in a totally different category, what does that say about your brand and products? Hell, if Coke and Pepsi were using the same photography, how would you know which brand to drink?

Which brand is better, what do they stand for, what story each brand is trying to say and which one do I belong to? Without differentiating brand images, the brand’s positioning and authenticity start to fade. Maybe even another brand is using the image? (Image for illustration purposes only.)

Trust your designers and creatives. You could go and buy brand images elsewhere or shop around different agencies to get your photographs, but how will you brief the artist and production company on what to execute? See above, brand images or photographs are part of the brand identity, they stem from the strategy to express your brand, the photography is drawn from the identity concept, so who better to art direct the photography and image creation than the designers who built your spot on visual identity.

Brand images tell a bigger story, they complement the identity with anadditional narrative layer. They make your brand emotional and relatable. (Above example Plugsurfing)

That's what we do at Werklig, we take a holistic view of your brand identity with every expression supporting the brand's visual storytelling. Brand photography complements the visual identity with its own narrative angle, bringing a new emotional layer and another tool to your marketing kit. This might sound straightforward but, it requires that the creative muscle be used to build the image or photography concept, define the right topic, style, and treatment, find the right artist or photographer that can execute it, and art direct the production, all while documenting when and how to use the images with the rest of the identity. So, trust a designer and don't search for a one-size-fits-all free stock image that everyone else is using.

Once that brand images concept is nailed, nothing stops you to keep on producing more, create brand videos, commercials, or key visuals. The same goes with your portraits, if your images tell the story of your brand, your portraits tell the story of you as an ambassador of your brand, surely a pixelated selfie will not suffice or convince any investor. So think of your long-term ROI and get images and portraits that speak yourv alues.

Invest in photography: Why your brand needs its own images


Art direction