“Try to find the right imagery for your target group!”
As I already said in the introduction of this column: it’s fundamental to know who your target group is in order to define the imagery of your brand. You’re the one who knows the product best, so you may decide which generation and which lifestyle your clothes are made for. Social media channels can help you find out more about current trends affecting your costumers. You can see who they follow, e.g. influencers and bloggers, and what they’re interested in. The reason why this is so important to know is the model you are going to choose for your brand. She or he is supposed to represent your target group perfectly and therefore collecting as much information about your potential fans as possible makes it easier to picture your future model and find that particular face.
Today, everything is about “storytelling” on all levels. So it could be very useful to keep in mind which story you want to tell your costumers. In order to give them a very authentic impression, the details in your campaign pictures should be well-defined and matching each other perfectly.
In the following, I’m going to give you some image examples to make evident in which way different picture elements impact on various target groups. (For reasons of copyright, I’m just showing pictures that I have taken myself.) Of course, you can also browse some magazines and analyse the contained advertisements to see how other market players and their photographers characterize their target groups through photographs.
1. The Location
The place where your story takes place is the seed of imagination
If your target group belongs to the higher earners and is being interested in status symbols, as well as their own good looks, those people might identify with such a location, when your campaign photos have been taken there. Even though for sure not every one of your costumers is a golf player, such a topic hints at a certain lifestyle, that is to say, luxury and elite activities. The rest is going to emerge from the viewers’ imagination.
2. The Model
The hero in your story should embody your target group, so she or he should fit your brand perfectly
You can see Mr. Jo Weil in this picture, he’s a German actor. As a good looking and successful midlifer, he has a role model function for many same-aged men as well as being a “Prince Charming” to numerous women starting 25/30. The sporty clothes and his dynamic jump are revealing that he’s still young at heart and his little smile projects a feeling of happiness which makes him very authentic. Now, if you imagine this picture as a huge bill labeled with the brand from his shirt, the viewers would be definitely associating attributes like “happiness”, “eternal youth” and “sportiness” with the brand too.
3. The Total Style
Draw attention to the right basics, accessories, hair style and make-up
Let’s pretend that this picture is about the shirt. We can tell from the surroundings of the model, that we are dealing with something very valuable. The young man is wearing some sober pants with a fine pattern, a scarf, and these prominent glasses. Without the latter, the whole style could possibly look boring, but as a matter of fact, the glasses make him look intelligent and a little mysterious too, which makes one curious about the rest he’s wearing. Additionally, when paying attention to his gesture, he seems to invite you to take a closer look. That’s how you again notice the fine fabrics of the shirt, etc.
4. The Model’s Attitude
The face of your brand should give your costumer the right feeling
Caro Daur is a German blogger and an influencer to plenty of young girls and women. In this picture, you can see her leaning against a shopwindow, while she’s casually showing her slim waist and looking into the camera with a knowing glance and a content little smile. You can tell that she’s next going to enter the boutique and buy something nice for herself… and thousands of fans would love to follow suit. That’s the effect you may aim for with your campaign.
But if the model isn’t as prominent, her or his facial expression and attitude are even more important to your pictures. You can make use of the fact that people are empathetic and therefore mirror the emotions they see on other people’s faces. The result is that they suddenly feel like the person in the picture seems to feel. This way the image above is able to put someone in a shopping mood, thanks to Caro’s well-acted attitude and independent from her fame.
5. Go the extra mile
An exaggerated story can cause even more interest, because everyone dreams of a better life
The Look on this model is very snobby anyways, but it’s getting underlined by the monitoring camera, the neat bushes, and the expensive car. The message is very clear: this fashion is for rich people who want to show their wealth. Though, it might be showing things that a wealthy person already possesses and so it might fail to impress the whole target group.
To be on the safe side and eventually go another extra mile, you could show this guy wearing the same style, but on a yacht for example. It would invite everyone who feels attracted to the lifestyle of the richest to buy that fashion too. That’s how you can, in this example, connect with the new-rich as well as the aristocrats with the same image.
Besides all the above-described imagery elements, which are to make sure you get your target group’s attention, it is also essential to know, if the person wearing your clothes is also the person buying them. E.g. if you’re supplying children’s fashion, your campaign images should rather target the parents and make them want to buy your stuff for their kids. That means that in the pictures your child-models are to make a positive impression on parents. Adult-catching child-attitudes could be e.g. joy, sense of humor, cuteness, cleverness, etc.
Another particular case to be considered is the fact that menswear is usually getting bought by women too. So when you show a couple wearing your clothes, some female costumes will be even more interested in your brand. The other way around, men are more practical and better trust a brand to be the right one if they see a man on the advertising images only. Knowing this, you can make sure to plan double and single shots for your shooting, so you won’t miss out on having the man photographed alone. This way you can individualize your newsletters for example and optimize your ads.
You see that it’s important to find out the messages you want to encode in your images to make sure your target group reacts to them. I really hope that I could help and inspire you to find the right imagery for your brand. In case of any questions, please let me know.
If you liked my tip no. 1, you might also like my next tip (;
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