In this case study we’ll take a look at how Bristol based recruitment business Isme People, combined personal branding photography, copywriting and a great customer experience on their new website.
If you’re about to create a new website, there’s a huge amount to consider before you’re ready to share your new product or service. One of the key considerations is how to incorporate personal branding photography for your website.
So before you get started you’ll need to have a clear understanding of
- Your target audience and how your product or service helps them.
- Your brand positioning.
- Why will your customers buy from you?
- How will you communicate your offer so it’s easy to understand?
- How to find and work with web designers, business photographers and copywriters to bring your project to life.
It sounds simple but often businesses overcomplicate their message. If your customers don’t understand what you do they’ll go elsewhere.
Your job is to communicate clearly and create a connection that encourages your customers to get in touch.
So following a recent collaboration, I’ve created this case study to take you through the process. For my part, I created the personal branding photography, but you’ll also hear from the web designer and the client.
We’re going to focus on the website design process and creating your personal branding photography. In addition, your copy is incredibly important. If you’re interested in working with a copywriter this article is a great place to start and will give you the confidence to handover your words to someone else.
Before we get started it’s important to say this was a website relaunch for an established business, with one business owner. The brand positioning had also been completed which helped guide the briefing process.
Cathy Knight, director of Bristol based Isme Recruitment, was relaunching the business as Isme People. As the sole director of the new business, Cathy is at the heart of the business. If you decide to work with Isme People you’re buying into Cathy, her skills, her experience and industry knowledge.
Cathy told us she wanted to have more visibility on the new website. Specifically, the website and photography should communicate her experience, warmth and approachability as well as outlining her recruitment services to businesses and employees.
Deciding who to work with?
Through a networking group Cathy had met Nick from Nick Cole Photography, Louise from Louise Maggs Design, and Barry Hunt from WordSmart Communications. Networking had given Cathy the opportunity to get to know Nick, Louise and Barry before deciding she wanted to work with them.
If you don’t network or have existing contacts it may take a little longer to choose your creative partners, but it’s worth taking time to consider your options.
Here’s a few suggestions to help you choose the right partner.
- Ask for referrals, look at their work and talk to them.
- Do you like their style and approach?
- Do you feel a connection?
- Take a look at their Google reviews from previous clients.
- And don’t forget to make sure they’ve completed similar projects to yours.
The project team
The website designer is typically at the heart of the project as they collate the copy, the brand guidelines and the photography and bring it all to life.
For the project team to work effectively, you need to be confident your brief is clear and the team are working well together. Regular project updates or group zoom meetings are a great way to ensure everything stays on track.
The role of the web designer
When I create websites for my clients, I use a 4-stage process which enables me to consider all areas of the website build.
Contrary to popular belief it’s not just about designing a website that “looks nice”. The website needs to be able to direct the target audience to a clear outcome – the call to action. This is usually a contact form, a telephone number or another way to easily contact the business owner.
A website also needs to be set up correctly, not only to connect with the audience but to enable Google to understand what the website is about. If Google doesn’t understand your website, it will struggle to show your website in relevant searches.
Of course, the website should be visually engaging and easy to navigate. If it isn’t it’s unlikely to encourage visitors to stay and connect with the business owner.
The first stage of my website design process is the Prepare & Research Stage where I get to know my clients. It was lovely to get to know Cathy, her business and all of the elements she wanted to showcase to her target audiences.
After the research stage I was able to move onto the second stage of my web design process: the Wireframe Stage. This was where I map out the structure of the website so Cathy could understand the user journey and make sure the website structure would work for her.
Collaborating with the team
Cathy had engaged Barry Hunt from Wordsmart Communications and I was able to share the wireframe so he could understand the project and write great content. The copy was really well written and easily explained Isme People’s services in an engaging and informative way.
Cathy had also chosen to work with Nick from Nick Cole Photography to create her brand photographs, which was brilliant news for me as I knew that Nick and we would work really well together.
Nick and I discussed and shared ideas for Cathy’s project. We each knew what Cathy was looking for in her photography and her website and we made sure we were considering each other’s requirements. For example, Nick checked with me if I was planning to overlay copy on the images, and if so, would I require extra copy space to be considered in the photographs? I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t too restrictive with the images that I could use within the website, so was happy to be guided by Nick with his thoughts on imagery and style.
Cathy decided she wanted her photoshoot to take place in Bristol, which is where the business is based. Once the photoshoot had taken place and the final images were sent to me, I was then able to move onto the Design & Build stage.
To start this stage I needed the copy from Barry and the images from Nick. I was then able to start creating the website and I spent time catching up with Cathy at various stages, so she could approve the website design and stay involved in the process.
After the website was designed and approved by Cathy, the final Go Live stage was planned. We went live and the feedback has been incredible.
Choosing a photographer and creating personal branding photography for your website
People buy from people. So, the initial connection you create with your photography is essential if you want to encourage them to find out more about you. When people can see you, when the images are good quality, there’s a much greater chance they’ll connect with you and what your business represents.
Choosing a photographer is a personal choice. It’s important you like their work, so take a good look at their portfolio. Can you imagine their style of photography on your website?
The next step is to set up a call with your photographer.
They’ll want to know a bit about you, your business and what you’re hoping to achieve. Personal branding and business storytelling photography is a bespoke service so you’ll want to feel confident they can create the style you’re looking for and that you feel a connection with your photographer.
A professional personal branding photographer will guide and collaborate with you. They’ll work with you to create content that’s aligned with your business and your customers.
There’ll be an overlap with the work you’re doing with your web designer, but most projects can be broken down into three simple stages.
The planning stage
It’s essential to get to know the client’s business and what they’re hoping to achieve.
It’s a collaborative process where we explore…
- Your services, your core message and how you want to come across.
- How you feel about being photographed.
- The style of photography.
- Location ideas.
- Where the images will be used? Is it just for your website or maybe for a digital or print project as well.
- Any graphic design elements that need to be considered.
Occasionally the planning stage highlights areas that require clarification. It’s best to step back and check the direction again at this point, rather than further down the line. Only when you have a clear brief should you move forwards to the photo session.
Let’s put it another way. The time spent planning and preparing up front is crucial to the success of the project.
It’s important to check your photographer has experience of working with web designers and they understand the technical requirements. As Louise mentioned, your photographer should be talking to the web designer throughout the process to ensure the photographs meet the design brief.
The photo session
This is where we draw on the outputs from the planning stage and we capture the images.
By this point you should be clear on the location, outfits and styling, the style of photography and how the images will be used. It’s also helpful to discuss any concerns you may have about being in front of the camera.
And this is really important – your photo session should be fun too! By relaxing and getting involved, you’ll add a sparkle and connection that’s such an important part of successful personal branding photography.
The edit and delivery of your photography
The edit is where we choose the strongest images and enhance and prepare them for the web designer. Your photos will be also optimised for your website. Let’s not forget, as well as looking amazing the personal branding photography for your website also needs to load quickly for a great user experience.
Your website designer can also give you some simple SEO tips. A quick win is to add your keywords to the images which helps Google read your images.
It may seem scary at the start, but with careful planning you’ll end up with a set of bespoke images that are fit for purpose, authentic and you feel proud to share.
A few words from the client
” When I decided to re-brand and create a new website I chose to engage people I’d met through networking. They’d heard me talk about my business and they were people I could trust. It was such an easy process. They took the time to get things 100% right for me, to understand what I was trying to achieve and knew me well enough to make suggestions that helped create a website I’m really proud to share.
I’m not a technical person but Louise explained things in layman’s terms for me. I had complete faith she’d create a site that was perfect for me. Barry really understood my tone of voice and was able to create copy that was completely aligned. And Nick put me at ease. I hate having my photo taken but he was able to help me relax which really shows in the photos. I actually liked all of them which is very rare!
An example of how networking creates collaborations. These individuals knew each other and how to work as a team. I would have no hesitation in recommending these guys to any of my clients or friends”.
Cathy Knight. Director, Isme People
This has been a quick look at the process of creating a new website and ensuring your photography feels on brand.
The time spent planning will ensure you’re really clear on your target audience, your messaging and your tone of voice. This will bring clarity to the brief and should ensure the project runs smoothly.
With regular project updates, you’ll keep your creative team focused to deliver your new website on time and on budget.