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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.

Marketing Mix – How to Understand your Message

Messaging – This is a key goal for your staff and management to understand and to buy in to. The message that you give out in every piece of paper or vocal or visual communication says everything about your business and your team.

Can you create your own version of this graph?
Can you create your own version of this graph?

I wrote this week to a client about how they should go about deciding what their brand, message and overall marketing strategy should be.

I thought you might be interested to read my suggestions to them:


Dear ******

I suggest your next steps within ********* is to agree the target and messaging you want to push outward. For example:

  • Have a round table meeting to discuss any and all ideas as to what your core message is for the business.
  • If this means splitting up the various activities then this must be done, or more likely will involve separating out the target market sectors etc. then again this must be done.

Once you have decided who the website is aimed at – in a very detailed way. I.e. age, sex, job role and level of education, public sector or private business, likes and dislikes, then you can move on to the messaging.


This is a key goal for your staff and management to understand and to buy in to. The message that you give out in every piece of paper or vocal or visual communication says everything about your business and your team.

How do you find out your existing message? – Try these questions:

  • What is the actual reason why your company exists? What’s its purpose?
  • Who are the stake holders in the business? Staff, directors, clients?
  • What do your existing customers say about your services?
  • Do you react to complaints and change course or carry on as normal?
  • How do you filter down praise from customers to the relevant staff.

The above sounds like a quality assurance checklist, but I always use this when I do formal messaging reviews with clients. And it can really help in bringing to the surface they key messages that are in the NOW and the ones that you should look to adopt in the FUTURE.

I wrote a proposal today to a prospective client and it had the following two columns in it. I created the columns after a creative briefing for their new brand and website. When we create a style we create a look and feel. I suggest you write down your existing look and feel. Be harsh on yourselves and the results will be more convincing, be too soft and it’s a waste of time.

“The Look”

  • Simple
  • Effective in message and tone
  • Vibrant and strong
  • Convey “quality”
  • Inspire Confidence
  • Be memorable
  • Ensure Longevity
  • Corporate Appeal

“The Feel”

  • Success
  • Partnership
  • Strength
  • Connections
  • Add Value
  • Elite
  • Beneficial
  • Helpful

This is theirs, you need your own.

Of course your business needs a Marketing Plan, without one it is difficult to know exactly who and how to target. We all have the plans in our head. But that’sno good when you expect a team of people to deliver it. Firstly draft our some ideas like these:

Marketing Plan objectives:

  • Drive market growth.
  • Increase market share.
  • Create sustainable competitive advantages.
  • Improve market adoption.
  • Increase demand.
  • Manage product life cycles.
  • Establish long-term customer loyalty.
  • Improve brand equity.
  • Execute profitable marketing campaigns.
  • Develop effective messages for international markets

Now your own will need to reflect your business and not be a generic one as above.


Is there something in this for you as well? If you want help with your message, give us a shout.