Member Article

Your business profile image

Graeme Rowatt of Burns Rowatt Photography looks at the use of images by business people.

You only have to think of the 100’s of images that bombard you on any given day, through television, internet or print media to realise how efficient you are at making subconscious assessments, based on image content and style. We all do it everyday; looking for new suppliers, reviewing potential clients, or planning a social event… but what does your “Profile Image” say about you?

As a professional photographer I could blame the rise of the IPhone-O-Matic mugshot machine. Everybody has a smart phone now it seems, and has been told that content and imagery are more important than quality. Really it comes down to the fact that often business people don’t appreciate the audience such images reach through social media platforms. They may have seen the presentations, listened to the “guru’s” but the reality that their personal profile image can be seen by every business client, supplier and contact doesn’t always truly sink in.

It doesn’t take very long to pull a few “horrors” from LinkedIn. North East business owners and directors using office party pictures complete with large drinks with fruit and umbrellas - the works! Then there was the commercial director of a large local company using a hiking holiday picture, complete with shorts! The social media marketing executive, yes really, pictured slumped in an airport chair looking bored, bored, bored! (know that feeling!) Perhaps the one Profile Image which might really bring the house down was the web development director pictured acting the monkey up a tree!

Indeed I’ve heard from colleagues and clients that some companies are actually using employee I.D. badge photos as avatars for Twitter, on Facebook pages or LinkedIn Profiles - Talk about being “penny-wise and pound-foolish!” Having said that a quick trip to the local “omnipresent” supermarket is guaranteed to raise a smile. Just look at the Customer Service Board with pictures of the Store Manager, Head of Vegetables, Bakery etc, all taken by a staff member. Seriously, they expect us to buy our food from them - yikes!

It doesn’t have to be like that: local recruitment consultancy WESTRAY Recruitment said: “we understand the need to deliver a good first impression to clients and candidates… the first time they will see us is via our website or LinkedIn profiles. We took the decision to utilise the services of a photographer, to deliver that positive first impression and we were delighted with the results.”

Indeed Adam Lee, of Teesside based KOODOO Creative, who create websites and social media for their own clients took a similar view saying: “We wanted to break the mould a little and do something different and vibrant, we wanted to produce some images which would be consistent throughout the company. We are all on social media platforms, and we wanted to be able to use the same images across all platforms - to have consistent brand awareness for the company.”

There are those who suggest that Facebook is for family and friends. A little exaggeration. And LinkedIn is for business, but I’m sure you get the point - it’s about relevance. Or put another way I was once told “if you need to wear a tie for somebody to hear the message, then wear a tie, the message is more important!”

Your company reputation and image is so important, more so now that potential clients and suppliers are only a few mouse clicks away. So before you throw away that hard won reputation think carefully about your “Profile Image”.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Graeme Rowatt .

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