Why photography is so important to your KBB business
Marketing consultant Hayley Simmons looks at the power of good imagery and explains why investing in professional photography for completed client projects can pay dividends
In the fast-moving digital world, marketing your business can become a complicated affair. Sometimes we need to strip things back and take a look at the basics. For many showrooms, the number-one priority should be to improve the quality of images used by investing in professional photography of client projects and showroom displays.
There are plenty of businesses that already invest in professional photography with beautiful scroll-stopping imagery as a result. I believe that more businesses should consider following suit.
Many showrooms are using a combination of images provided by their suppliers, along with photos that have been taken as the installation is being completed. Imagery provided by suppliers, usually computer-generated (CGI), can often be quite cold and clinical. You’ll often see very large rooms, with an expanse of flooring visible and unusual architectural features that aren’t always commonplace in British homes.
CGI is becoming increasingly advanced, and I have had the pleasure of working with some highly skilled CGI artists and stylists. However, many independent showrooms still rely on these images that sometimes fail to capture the true essence of a real home. This can lead to the “uncanny valley” effect, where people feel a sense of unease about images that appear almost, but not quite, lifelike.
STRETCH YOUR INVESTMENT
Make the most of any professional photography by using the images in a number of different ways, such as:
- Showroom portfolio of case studies
- Own branded digital or printed brochure;
- Social media feeds;
- Social media paid campaigns;
- Digital display adverts;
- Marketing emails;
- Printed adverts in local magazines;
- Design competition entries;
- PR exposure in magazines/online;
- Trade shows/events.
The lack of realism in these images can detract from the emotional response that we’re aiming to evoke. We need high-quality stimuli to create that dopamine-induced excitement that makes potential buyers aspire to have that kitchen or bathroom in their own home.
This imagery definitely has a purpose, and I am not suggesting that you discard it. You need a lot of images to showcase the vast variety of colours, door styles, and cabinet features offered by the average showroom and it’s very useful in that sense. However, it cannot replace the impact of seeing a high-quality image of a real-life project that has been designed and installed by the retailer. Unfortunately, though, when these images of real-life projects are obtained, they’re often taken in a rush – hastily captured before moving on to the next project and before the clients have fully settled into their new space and made it feel like home.
While it may be seen as an added expense, hiring a professional photographer to capture images of the showroom’s completed projects can be a wise investment. A professional photographer has the skills and expertise to manipulate lighting and experiment with wide-angle lenses and depth of field to create visually striking effects. They also have the time and ability to move belongings around and capture multiple angles and close-ups of the details. These details showcase the showroom’s capability to overcome unique design challenges to create bespoke spaces for clients.
Customers don’t usually require much persuasion to allow a photographer access to their homes. Professional images of their new kitchen or bathroom that can be shared with friends and family are often a sufficient incentive for them to agree and many clients will share these on social media.
Not all projects may warrant professional photography, but it is worth considering for those that the showroom is particularly proud of. By creating an image library of five projects, for example, with 20 images per project, the showroom would have 100 images that can be used in a variety of ways to promote the business. Try out a photographer in your showroom first to assess the quality of their work.
The good news is that in our industry, trends tend to evolve slowly, meaning that images usually have longevity, and some projects could still be promoted five years later using the same images. Considering how this could enhance every aspect of your marketing, investing in professional photography becomes a no-brainer.
When your marketing images are also your case studies, this is a really powerful differentiator.
Good photography is a way for showrooms to set themselves apart from competitors. By having a portfolio of high-quality photographs that depict the unique elements of your designs in the best light possible, marketing your business suddenly becomes easier.
It allows you to promote your expertise in design more effectively as a reason to buy from you specifically, rather than focusing on the product itself or your supplier’s brand.