Direct Selling: Picture Perfect
Close your eyes and think of a Pottery Barn catalog. Or Lands’ End. Or J. Jill. Can you picture them? Chances are, you have a clear and distinct image in mind. You know what the photography looks like because all of these brands have established a certain style and “look” that is unique to them. They’ve achieved this over time through consistent execution of their defined styles.
Pottery Barn, for instance, always shows a warm and inviting room consisting of the various pieces of furniture and accessories sold in the photo spread. It allows you to picture yourself in that perfect environment. Lands’ End, on the other hand, focuses on the details of its garments. Quality is key, so by showing unique fabrics or the stitching on a button up close, the cataloger can emphasize the attention to detail given to all its products. J. Jill shows off its clothing on models, typically outside in a natural setting, portraying a casual and comfortable lifestyle. All of these creative decisions are made with each catalog’s specific brand in mind. The fact that they maintain consistency over time is the secret to their success.
Branding is a hot topic in business today. In a competitive and saturated environment, it’s essential that you set yourself apart from the competition by creating a memorable and relevant brand. One step to achieving this goal is by using photography as a differentiator.
Give Your Products a Face
Branding is much more than good photography. But a distinctive, recognizable photographic style can go a long way to helping you establish a strong brand. Brands should be “experiential”—meaning customers should be able to experience your brand on many different levels using all of their senses. Consumers have an advantage when they’re shopping at a retail location because they can put all their senses to use and experience products. But when shopping through the direct channel, consumers have to rely far more on sight. So as direct marketers, you’re challenged to visually communicate everything about your brand. You need to harness the power of photography to help you stand out from the crowd.