5 Reasons to Have a Photoshoot with Your Marketing Team

April 2, 2016

What does your marketing team look like? Are you a group of impeccably-dressed businesspeople, standing stiffly in a featureless white office? Do you exchange fake smiles while you engage in awkward high-fives, huddles, or group fist bumps?

If so, you have my pity. But odds are your marketing department doesn’t bear much resemblance to those “Businesspeople Smiling in a Row” stock photos. So why do we see those guys at the top of so many blog posts?

Contently’s Shane Snow has a quote I think says it all: “Brands should create content that’s so good that they’re proud to put their name on it.” Inspired by that sentiment, we recently had a LinkedIn Marketing Solutions team photoshoot. And we had a fantastic time.

Whether or not you’re all camera-ready rock stars, I highly recommend getting your team together for some professional shots. It’s good for your team, your brand, and your audience.

5 Reasons to Have a Photoshoot with Your Marketing Team

1. Team Bonding

The problem with most corporate team-building exercises is they’re so…well…corporate. Ropes courses, seminars, the dreaded trust fall…

At the photo shoot, by contrast, it was easy to get into the spirit and have fun. We knew the photos would come out better if were all able to loosen up. So we kept the atmosphere light, tried to crack each other up, and we ended up with some great posed and candid shots. So try out your best Blue Steel supermodel gaze. Sneak in a few photo bombs, rabbit ears... whatever helps you loosen up.

2. Ditching Stock Photos

There’s nothing inherently wrong with stock photos. But using too many of them can make your brand look impersonal and unoriginal. After all, the reason to add photos to your content is to spark visual interest. There are some stock photos that are used so often they’re the equivalent of that “Hang in there!” cat poster.

Once you get some great shots of your team having fun together, you can replace those “stocky” stock photos with something original.

3. Transparency, Authenticity, and other Buzzwords

There’s a major push towards keeping it real in marketing right now. Unfortunately, with a lot of brands, I’m reminded of a quote from French novelist Jean Giraudoux: “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

Transparency and authenticity really mean showing the people behind your brand. Just as you strive to see your audience as individuals, your audience needs to see you, too. One sure way to give your brand personality is to use the personalities that make up your marketing team. Pull back the curtain and let your audience see who you are and what you’re like. A photoshoot is a great first step in that direction.

4. Boost Organizational Thought Leadership

In The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership, we talk about three different types of thought leadership: industry, product, and organizational. You build the first two as a brand—demonstrating your brand’s knowledge and point of view in the industry and the solutions you offer. The third type, though, depends on individuals.

A candid photo shoot can show off your organization’s culture better than the most carefully crafted manifesto. Don’t just tell people your company hires the best talent, is creative, is innovative, and is a great place to work… show them.

5. Boost Your Team’s Personal Brands

LinkedIn Marketing is a huge part of my personal brand, but it’s not the whole thing. I’ve strived to develop an identity that is linked (no pun intended) to, but separate from, my job title. Bringing my personality out from behind the LinkedIn brand has been good for establishing my personal thought leadership.

A team photoshoot can help everyone on the team step out from behind the brand and further develop their own brand. That’s good for each person, but it’s also good for the organization. Every speaking engagement I take, every podcast interview I do or guest article I write, helps build the LinkedIn brand as it builds mine.

Since you’re reading this blog, it’s a given that your team is full of sophisticated, intelligent, awesome marketers. Give everyone a moment in the spotlight, and it’ll be great for everyone involved. So go ahead and schedule that team photoshoot. And if there have to be awkward high-fives, at least do it ironically.

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