Image IS everything

By: > August 15th, 2008

A New York Times blogger (Errol Morris) just wrote an interesting article on images and the power they have. In his article/blog he interviews Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor who is an expert on digital photography and said this about the Iranian missile photo (without Godzilla) published almost everywhere on July 10th.

“Oh look, this picture? It’s a fake. This picture? It’s a fake.” But you know what people remember? They don’t remember, “It’s a fake.” They remember the picture. And there are psychology studies, when you tell people that information is incorrect, they forget that it is incorrect. They only remember the misinformation. They forget the tag associated with it.

I remember when my youngest son was a few months over 2. He didn’t even know his alphabet yet, but he knew when he saw a McDonald’s logo. He even would watch American Idol with us and while driving through Atlanta one time we passed a Ford production plant and he screamed: “Hey Mommy and Daddy, American Idol!” It took us a minute to figure out what he was talking about, but after was saw him pointing to the Ford logo, we realized he associated Ford with American Idol.

Now if we all had the advertising budgets of Ford and McDonald’s we might not have a problem. One of my favorite marketing authors is Harry Beckwith and in his book Selling the Invisible, he articulates how smaller business or even independent professionals can take advantage of this same principle:

Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are. People deal with you because the feel comfortable with you. Convey that you are “positively good.” It is better to say too little than too much. Watch what you show – lobby, clothes, business card, etc. Make sure people see who you are. Make the invisible visible. There is no correlation between the orangeness of an orange and its flavour. Growers pick oranges when they are green. They never get any riper or juicier. The oranges are coloured artificially. Seeing is believing, so check your peel. 

Have you checked your peel? If not, redo your web site, get a new brochure or maybe update your logo. Your image communicates a lot more than you think.