This was my response to a question on Alignable:  “Do You Feel Headshots Are a Great Marketing Tool for Your Business?

Yep. (Though framing the question as “a Great Marketing Tool” kinda tips your hand.) Okay, so we’re all agreed that pictures are better than not-pictures.

As a ‘user experience’ practitioner, I’ve long been and advocate for ‘putting a face on it’. I’m not alone in that belief. It’s been well-tested. It’s generally accepted as a given. It’s valid.

Here are a couple of observations from the interactive/social media design perspective:

The Face of Service

In 2006 I redesigned the corporate website for the NIA Group . Since they were a face-to-face service-based agency, I recommended that they capture and use executive portraits as a part of the new look. I contracted with local (he’s on Alignable) professional Rick Daccardi Photos to do the work

Rick produced excellent results shooting onsite quickly and with little fuss. Although NIA stakeholders had been skeptical initially, they were delighted with the value of their investment. I later did a photo-service website for Rick. Navigate to the “Corporate” section to see for yourself.

PS: It’s no surprise that Rick’s primary focus is fashion photography. He’s just got a knack.

The ‘Who We Are’ design pattern

In blog article “Non-Profit Site Redesign” I lay out some of the common design patterns that you want to deal with. The article focuses specifically on non-profit/do-good agencies, but the who-we-are pattern is common to virtually all sites.

Scroll down to the “Who: Staff DrillDown” section (It’s about halfway down the article) for a little explanation and advocacy.

Interactive Flow

Nobody disputes that visuals are eye-catching – and well-executed images are dandy. But – if that’s all there is – then why not just buy a video ad? (BTW: as an ex-video guy myself, I don’t suggest that you *not* use other media).

But another real value of a great portrait of a real person is to *make the connection* – not only an impression on your audience, but also functional rubber-meets-the-road with your service. Notice that the “who we are” pattern (above) makes your service real. These real, accessible people do real things.

It’s Traction to Action

“Putting a face on it” is a primary differentiator for you and your business in The Age of impersonal Bots.

“Who we are” is a fundamental point of connection. Do it well.



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