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A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

Posted by: Schawk | Date added: Mon 09 May 2011

Ian Miles of Schawk looks at how saving money on image quality can impact negatively on campaign response

By Ian Miles, Sales Director, at Schawk’s creative imaging division

Many advertisers spend significant sums on ensuring that their branding and communications are consistent across different media and different international marketplaces. They understand how important this consistency of brand experience can be when it comes to unlocking the full potential of a brand at every consumer touchpoint.

However, one aspect of this where brands seem to fall short is in the quality of the image reproduction of their products across different communications, from press ads and direct mail through to catalogues and ecommerce websites. This could be due to a general lack of experience, but it can often stem from a desire to save a few pounds here and there. Either way, if you don’t ensure that imagery is high quality and realistic, you can risk a very real impact on both campaign response and sales.

Effective and accurate image reproduction not only significantly reduces customer returns but also has a great impact on the final quality of brand communication and its success. If the consumer is able to see colour and fine details of a product portrayed accurately, experiencing it much like they would in a bricks-and-mortar store, they are more likely to make the purchase. Also, equally importantly, they are more likely to be happy with what they’ve bought.

Not only that. It’s also about trust, reliability and creating long term engagement. How can a consumer have confidence in a brand that sends them a product which differs from the one they ordered?

Essentially, when looking at creativity, brands need to not only think about the imagery they use, but how it reproduces through different media and the tools they can use to maximise the impact of each image.

Imagery needs to be matched to colour swatches and product samples to ensure that the results, whether reproduced online or offline, are an accurate reflection of the product’s true identity, with colours, sharpness and texture that make them look good enough to eat, wear or use. You need to ensure that you provide customers with the product they purchased –not one like it.

The world is changing and so are customers’ expectations. Consumers interact with catalogue, retail and online shopping touchpoints in many different ways – for example, browsing a catalogue and then buying online or researching online and buying in-store. All of which means that brands need to have an effective strategy that ensures that their products look the same, wherever customers see them.

However, this is a complex challenge. It is somewhat worrying that online colour reproduction often dips to a level estimated to be as low as 20% accurate. There are, though, specialist creative imagery companies, such as Schawk, who can carry out bespoke image optimisation and colour profiling specific to online delivery. We have found that this can not only increase accuracy four-fold but also make a real impact on boosting sales and reducing returns.

Etailers can also benefit from investing in other image enhancing techniques too. 360° spin photography, for instance, is a process by which a product may be viewed online from all angles, creating a visually rich experience for shoppers, is a particularly strong tool that helps images “break through.” Spin photography allows shoppers to pan and rotate the product image while zooming in and out, giving them incredibly detailed product information and colour-select options. This allows etailers to emulate the in-store shopping experience, creating a powerful emotional driver for consumers that compels purchase.

Another important aspect to think about with regards to imagery reproduction is who is responsible for this across all media. Many advertisers use a variety of agencies to work across different channels – and this fragmented approach can impact on consistency of image. In our experience we have found that it can makes sense to put the control of imagery reproduction under the jurisdiction of one premedia and production imagery specialist who can then ensure that each visual is not only beautifully reproduced, but also consistently reproduced at every touchpoint, be it at home, on the go, in store or on shelf. The streamlined processes that are created by this approach can also reduce costs too.

So if investing in quality image reproduction means not only better sales, greater customer satisfaction and you save money too – what’s not to love?!

Image Credit: GRAY & OSBOURN

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