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In the A-Z of Marketing P is for …

Do you know who first said that a picture paints a thousand words? The phrase emerged in the USA in the early part of the 20th century. Its introduction is widely attributed to Frederick R. Barnard, who published a piece commending the effectiveness of graphics in advertising with the title “One look is worth a thousand words”, in Printer’s Ink magazine in December 1921. Barnard claimed the phrase’s source to be oriental by adding “so said a famous Japanese philosopher, and he was right”.

Printer’s Ink printed another form of the phrase in March 1927, this time suggesting a Chinese origin: “Chinese proverb. One picture is worth ten thousand words.”

Who changed the number from 1000 to 10,000? Who really said it first? That remains a mystery, but what is clear that pictures really do have a lot of power when it comes to marketing messages. Social media has become noisier over the years and a great way of being heard and seen now is by adding images to what you’re saying. Images can replace the words that you want to use, or be used in combination with them. Many tweets and posts on Instagram are just that – words and pictures combined into one image that successfully gets the message across. Studies even show that image-based marketing messages are more likely to be shared and therefore reach a wider audience. Think about putting together a series of images that you can use in your social media posts, with a theme. I love using Pixabay to find images – that’s where I found the Python and most of the other animals in this A-Z series.

Profile Photos

As well as using images to put across your marketing message, the images you use of yourself and your team can have a huge impact on your marketing. Profile photos can make the first impression that you want them to make – or they can do a lot of damage if they’re not right. You need a professional looking profile photo on any social media accounts that you use; you also need good images for the rest of your marketing.

Here are a few tips on how to make the best impression:

Always use a photo. People want to see who they’re connecting with and helping them put a face to your name will make it easier to build trust and a relationship. Don’t use your company logo as people want to connect with you when reading your blogs and newsletters. This image is taken from one of our client’s websites – the photos are all the same style and look really professional. It shows that they are a professional team.

Dress for the job. You should always wear a professional, well fitting outfit in colours that suit you in your photos. Wear something you would wear in a business situation rather than your hobby or sport. Unless you dress up for a living to make bubbles at children’s birthday parties! Dress for whatever job you do. 

Maintain your brand. If you have specific colours in your branding, you can make a better impression if your images match those colours. Carrie Birmingham has used her branding colours in her latest report ‘Leading Through Extraordinary Results’ to great effect.

Make sure you are the only person in the photo. Group photos are great for showing your team on company outings, but family get-togethers aren’t suitable for situations when you’re looking to promote your business. Don’t assume that everyone will know who the other people in the photo are. Who is standing next to my client Richard in his LinkedIn photo? Answers on a postcard, please!

I’ve recently changed my LinkedIn profile photo to make it more head and less shoulders. Here are some other examples of not so great LinkedIn profile pictures – and why.

However many words a picture can paint and whoever said it first, the saying has held truth for many years and will continue to do so. Take a look at the pictures that you use in your marketing, so make sure that they are making the right impression.

If you need to update your profile photos, I know some very talented photographers who can really put you at ease and take great shots for you. Just let if you’d like me to put you in touch with them. Call 01635 578 500 or click here to send me an email.

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