Are “Brands” the Next Big Trend in Photography?

Are “Brands” the Next Big Trend in Photography?

They are indeed, according to Paul Melchor.

The influence of social media and brand identification are quite a powerful force. And where once editorial ruled the sensibilities of the advertisers, it is now “brand” photography that is engaging the ad world. Images developed around and for the brands are leading the advertisers approaches.

This photography is still driven by an editorial ethic, but it also lays claim to the amateur aesthetic as well. Instagram, Hipstomatic, Flickr, Vine and others are capturing viewers, and that is the exact thing that advertisers wish to do.

In a very interesting piece, Melcher lays out a scenario where amateurs, brand aficionados and pro photographers feed from the same pipe of fan response / fan engagement.

This means that photography is beginning to be recognized for the power it has again. This will be a very exciting time for brands who can pick up on this new shift and push it to the fore.

“It will not be surprising, it is happening already, to see editorial photography influenced by brand photography. In an effort to keep pace with current trends, online and print publications are more and more looking into what works for brands and applying it to their spreads. After all, if that type of photography can sell products, it can also attract large amount of viewers. In fact, publications are  behaving more and more like brands themselves, and, as such, are seeking the same results from photos. From photojournalism to fashion spread, the keywords are becoming engagements and shares. Publications are using photography to extend their readership outside of their owned url’s, an exercise very familiar to brands. They are also very closely tracking numbers.

For now, we still live in a world slightly dominated by editorial photography, only because of cultural habits. But deeper, the evolution has already happened and is progressing with patient obstination. As generations shift, the millenniums, who consume ( and produce) more social media pictures than editorial ones, will expect no less than brands using the same visual language they do. And brands will turn to pros and non- pros photographers to execute. And because they will never run out of money, brands will get to define what photography is, how it is consumed and who gets to make a living from it. In fact, they are already.”

Read more here:


The Marketing Roller Coaster… Get Off of It

The Marketing Roller Coaster… Get Off of It

Many of us struggle with the roller coaster of marketing then getting busy – when you are busy you don’t market, so then you get not busy and start marketing – cycle up again.

The key is to create a working plan, commit it to a calendar and then MAKE those commitments as important as anything else you do.

Blog posts can be readied when you are not busy, and quickly inserted when things are hectic. Keeping the blog / journal / news section going is important. If you stop, you look like you are not busy instead of the other way around. (I use Editorial Calendar to automate that process.)

Direct mail can be handled by a mail house pretty inexpensively. Have the cards all ready to go, and they will drop them on dates you have pre-determined.

Email newsletters can also be set to go out at a pre-determined time. You can be on location in Saskatchewan and know that your newsletter went out on the date you wanted it to although you are eyeballs deep in snow.

If you are an ardent twitterererer…(?) you can use tweetdeck or hootsuite to automate that process and have them go out on predetermined times/dates as well. Keeping that flow is important if twitter is part of your arsenal.

Linkedin is becoming more and more viable as a place for photographers and there too you can time release content.

Behance should be an as you go situation – adding content as often is it is deemed ready and should be part of your process:
Edit / Cull / Re-edit / Choose / Process / Website portfolio / blog / Behance. I use a folder on my desk for all I like as I am pre-processing. I edit that group later for what I want to show.

The roller coaster of marketing / working is one we can manage more on the marketing than on the working, so design a good system and then… and this is important so listen up… then USE the darn thing.

Gatorade’s Campaign for Exclusionary Positioning

Gatorade’s Campaign for Exclusionary Positioning

Gatorade Tells Huge Demographic to Get Lost

This is a very interesting commercial. They are actually telling a large demographic that they do NOT want their business. If you aren’t someone who works up a sweat, their product is NOT for you. There are a hell of a lot of people who don’t sweat every day and like this product… now the brand is telling them they are not interested in them.

The power of exclusion / premium product branding is that it forms tighter identification bonds with its core customers.

This kind of brand presentation can help ‘position’ the company as a ‘specialty’ company and prefers to cater to an exclusive group of consumers.

The (Gatorade) are not interested in the casual “sport drink” purchaser, they are interested in helping THEIR clients feel elite/special for purchasing the brand.

Could this work for them? Of course.

Can work for a lot of businesses -even small business.

But it must be handled very carefully, because they can be opening themselves up to some pretty interesting pushback from competitors – who could use the exclusionary message against them.

Gatorade is NOT a stupid brand, and I am pretty sure they know what they are doing here. They want to position themselves as THE premier sports drink available for consumers thinking of a purchase.

It will be fun to watch this campaign unfold.


Visuals Can Be Currency

Visuals Can Be Currency

Andrew Scrivani is a food photographer in NYC. He has noted a trend among marketers that shows how powerful they regard visuals.

“So, this latest, most disturbing turn involves a PR company calling me to ask if I would do a “takeover” of their Instagram feed for an event that they are promoting. They reference “terms & conditions” when making the request but it seemed pretty clear to me that these did not include any fees. When I requested clarification of what these “terms” were I got radio silence. I think people in many businesses that need visuals are finding that appealing to an artist’s vanity is an effective way to get free professionally made content. The use of the word “takeover” is a not so veiled reference to when TV music channels and radio stations have Lady Gaga “take over” the channel and play her music and a few of her favorite songs for a few hours….this is NOT the same thing.”

No, it is not the same thing at all. In the case of Lady Gaga, she is spinning other people’s music for which they are compensated. In the case of a photographer “taking over” a companies Instagram feed, it is little more than exploitation with a carrot dangle… the carrot being the amount of people who will be seeing the photographers/designers/illustrators/creatives work.

I imagine one could build a lot of followers on their Instagram and Tumblr feeds if they acquiesce and simply go along. But the biggest lie is that the numbers are more important than the quality. A well targeted, highly loyal ‘fan base’ is far more important to a creative than a massive amount of people who are not engaged, only clicking the like button because they can.

Beware these sorts of campaigns, and at least go in with your eyes wide open. Yes, you may get a lot of new followers, but then so did the person before you and so will the one after you… big deal. The importance would lie in the quality of the followers.

So far, that has not been determined.

(Photograph from New Jersey on a very warm evening in June.)
Big Images on Websites: The Truth

Big Images on Websites: The Truth

From the article on Crazy Egg:

“It is easy to see why this is becoming a regular practice among websites, it gives your site a very sexy look.


A good looking website is one of the first aspects of your site that your visitor responds to, both consciously and subconsciously. The background image, when used appropriately, is an easy way to give your site a sleek look without compromising major real estate.


A well-known conversion killer is stock photography, and the mega image trend requires companies to invest in quality, original photography. With a renewed focus on how photography impacts conversions, the mega image trend has eliminated one of the long-time conversion faux pas.”

It is sometimes easy to look for the cheap way out. And with all the free imagery out there, it is simple to find free and very cheap images.

But if they do not work for your website and actually drive people away, their value becomes contradictory – and they become a liability. One you chose.

Choose wisely.

Will “Native Advertising” Become More Powerful for Small Businesses?


What is Native Advertising you ask?

Let’s explain it this way… an ad that takes the form of something native to the site it is being shown on.

An example: A regular ad would be something like a banner for an accounting firm placed on a community page. It may be a banner or a box or even some sort of text link. We see them all the time.

A native ad may be something that appears as content within the community site. For all purposes, it is an informational article that looks like most of the other informational articles… but it is NOT. It is paid advertising that simply LOOKS like the surrounding native content.

We have had “Advertorials” for a long time, and they are considered “Native” advertising. The newer forms of native ads may not appear so blatantly advertorial, and instead be perceived as content created as information only, and placed in such a manner as to help that perception along.

A couple of things to consider: IF the content is good, and informative and NOT misleading in any way, there is simply nothing wrong with it in my view. If it goes down the rabbit hole of bullshit ad speak, misleading at best, fraudulent at worst, then it can damage the content provider as well as the advertiser.

I think it is here for a while, and presents some amazing possibilities for marketers who are very sure of their message and aware of the possible pitfalls. This can be an extraordinary new platform for getting a valuable amount of info into the hands of consumers who are seeking it.

But remember that the content MUST be accurate, informative and free of ‘selling’.

Here is a graphic that introduces you to the concept and what others are thinking about it. Visit Copyblogger (click graphic) for more information and what the breakdown of stats mean.

Copyblogger's 2014 State of Native Advertising Report
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