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Does imagery used in marketing really matter?

website images convey messgagesI’m a rugby fan. There I’ve said it. Not football: Rugby.

My sons played football and I’ve been known to kick a round shaped thing around myself in earlier times. The image above is, of course, of some famous faces of the current Welsh international rugby team. In mitigation for aficionados of the English game; I grew up on the borders of Wales and had a Welsh rugby coach so you can forgive me for not using the boys in white. Actually it’s even more complicated than that as I am half Irish so depending on who is playing who, I will support a wide range of coloured jerseys.

I work in marketing; marketing using the Internet. My agency designs and builds websites for businesses. All sorts and sizes of businesses. Very often we are asked to provide images for websites that try to convey a sentiment, a mood, a feeling around the message that the page or the content dictates. You know the usual thing, bright white teeth – perfect complexions – or abstract meaningless shots of “something”.

Maybe it’s my age that is making me become very cynical about “stock” imagery. For years we have used the usual suspects – Istock, Fotolia, even Getty when the budget allows. Recently we redesigned our own website and I wanted to do something a bit different and not use the standard and often over-used images that are chosen by lazy marketeers. I thought; “how about using famous people to catch the eye of the web visitor?”

So I did some research as I already knew the sort of thing I wanted to say, which was along the lines of “picking the right team” having “great backup and support” and, well you can see what I was thinking. I was trying to convey that my team are brilliant at looking after the client AFTER the website has been completed and that the support they provide is honestly valued by our clients.

After several hours of pondering and searching for images I thought I would look at buying (and you must always buy – or photograph yourself – images to avoid breaking copyright. Who wants to end up with a bill for using someone else’s image from Google and the like?) an image that would have some impact. So I searched..

As a rugby ex-player and advocate for the finest points of the beloved game I ended up trying to get images of a try, scrums, line outs, tackles. The best imagery was taken by professionals at big matches, but could I get hold of them, legally? Nope.

I wasn’t going to give up. My business website is important. After all, it is what we do so I have to really care about the messaging that I want to convey.

After numerous emails to photographers and even photo agencies and the copyright owners themselves I was very lucky to be allowed to buy the rights to use this image, along with others.

My questions to you are these:

What does the image above say to you? If you had to write a strap line or two to reinforce your message what would you put on it?

If you come up with something that gets the message of “support” or “team” that inspires me, I will use it – and credit you if you like.

There’s your challenge, over to you, give it a go if you have a minute to spare. Email me at shaun@clickingmad.com.