First impressions mean a lot. Both in your personal life and in business.
I've read that a single imagine can represent a thousands words. It's no wonder then why so many marketers fuss over getting just the right image to represent their brand, location, product or service. In advertising, this perfect image is commonly referred to as a hero shot, which is a photo or graphic that immediately represents the benefit of a product or service.
It's somewhat surprising then, in today's informed and enlightened age, you still find companies using images on their websites and in their ads that don't seem to represent the attributes of the item being sold.
Take Cisco.com for example. Currently, there are two guys that can be seen in a banner ad promoting the new Cisco tablet. The men are dark, mysterious and kinda creepy. Like two thugs who might wanna break your legs. The Cisco Cius tablet may be a badass portable device, but I'm just not feeling a strong desire to place an order at this time. A restraining order? Maybe.
Then there is the Shewee, the portable urinating device for women available at SheWee.com. The main banner ad at the top of the page rotates between four images of women doing various physical activities. Unfortunately, the dissolve effect used makes it look like someone is peeing on the banner ad. Eeew!
Domino's Pizza's local advertising touts the fresh ingredients and down-home value of it's pizza deals. They urge recession-hungry customers to clip coupons so they can afford to purchase Domino's delicious pizzas. They also have the audacity to showcase their ultra-hip and expensive office decor found at corporate headquarters on their company website. Let me get this straight: Promote bargains to the masses while showcasing your gluttonous corporate excess at the same time. Tsk, tsk.
Main Auto Repair out of sunny Las Vegas sure knows how to capture a website visitor's attention. Just place a photo of a local stripper next to an offer to fix your transmission and bam -- the phone starts ringing! We're not prudes or anything but is it really a good idea to associate your brand with stock images of ultra-sexy models? Then again, Main Auto Repair does promise that we'll love their quality service. Ahem!
The Quest Diagnostics website does a nice job of pitching its colon/rectum cancer detecting product, ColoVantage. They even use a pleasant photo of an attractive couple in their 60's relaxing on a sofa. Press the Learn More button and you are taken to a page with more information on it. The photo of the couple on this page is the same one found on the previous page, except that it's flipped horizontally. If you click the back button on your browser, then click the forward button, then the back button -- you may notice that the man's expression seems to becomes a grimace, similar to one having incontinence pain. Note to Quest's marketing department -- you might want to take a closer look at the phony stock images you publish on your website to at least make sure they are aligned consistently throughout.
Famed photographer Edward Weston once said that "Composition is the strongest way of seeing." When it comes to online marketing, image choice and composition just may be the strongest way of "seeing" a brand. Smart brands make a point of picking and publishing the best images to represent their products and services -- at all times.
Anything else is a dereliction of duty.