Once upon a time, back when we graduated from art school, the buzzword for the graphic design industry was “corporate identity.” Having a cohesive visual language to reach your market was known to be a vital thing when it came to a company’s strategy and positioning in the market space. A no-brainer. It goes by a different name now—branding—but the meaning, goal, and importance haven’t changed.
The scope has changed, of course. Social media, a very visual market space, is increasingly the place people and companies network, communicate and do business. In this increasingly visual social marketing world, content rules and great content is king.
How are you using good branding to communicate with your market? More specifically, is great photography a part of your company’s visually cohesive marketing approach? It should be! We recently had the opportunity to deliver a robust set of images for Smyrna Trucks/Fouts Bros, showcasing their La Grange, Texas plant, two days after their event.
Show a great story
A great branding story is more than just matching print collateral. What do you want your customers to know about your company? How do you want your clients to respond to you? These are questions we consider so we can deliver images that fit our client’s purpose.
Hearing Smyrna Bros/Fouts Trucks CEO share his thoughts on their company solidified the message for us: they’re a family-owned company focused on building solid products with a great team behind them. That was a theme that was at the forefront of our minds while we spent time at their La Grange, Texas plant. We were invited to creatively photograph each part of the process that went into building and finishing each truck that they built. Have fun and experiment during a session? Yes, please.
It was very much something new to us, definitely unfamiliar territory, photographing around a manufacturing plant in action. I had assumed that much of the process was automated but was happy to be wrong. Every part of each truck is assembled with great care by teams assigned to different tasks, from welding to final testing and cleaning. So we wanted to take the time to focus on their interactions with each other and the materials they work with.
The heart and soul of Smyrna Bros/Fouts Trucks are the people that put their talent, skills and elbow grease into every part of each vehicle that leaves the plant. It’s important to the company to convey their people-centric company culture to attract clients that value personal attention at every step of the process and expect excellence in the results.
In keeping with the idea of encouraging a personal connection to reach their target audience, we not only focused on abstract, graphically strong images but also made sure to give attention to the team members themselves. The staff knew ahead of time that we would be there to capture them in action. They were told to give us help or work with our cues if we asked, but we opted to let them do their thing and capture more genuine action.
As part of the client’s brief, we also took group photos of each team working throughout the plant. Capturing them in their own comfortable environment made that part a cinch. They made it really fun!
Keep connections strong
Building and executing a great brand identity is not a one-time thing, but a company needs to build consistently. One of the benefits of having a session like we provided means having a pool of images to use and work with for future campaigns. We made sure to include some images that they could use for their own stock photography library, like elements and little vignettes found in different parts of the plant.
Local connections are so, so key for a growing company! Part of our brief included capturing the ribbon-cutting event for the new part of their business: their firetruck manufacturing plant. The local chamber of commerce had a few of their own officers attend to support the company. Photographs of this portion of the day were used in local PR efforts as well as in Georgia, the company’s home base. Part of the event was a catered barbecue lunch for the entire crew, complete with dessert and, of course, sweet tea! Sharing time over a meal was definitely welcome, and it was great to witness everyone enjoying a slower pace.
You might be curious about how photography can help you in your marketing efforts to strengthen your brand. Get in touch and we can help your company put together a game plan to help you.