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Improve your Brand's Emotional Power

White Paper

Images that provoke an emotional response can improve how your brand is perceived and inspire action from your target audience. So how do you find the right image for the job? And what gives an image “emotional power”? At Getty Images, we shoot, manage and licence a huge range of imagery used by advertisers around the globe daily. Here, you’ll find the results of a study we undertook into the emotional qualities of imagery, and guidance on what to look for when shooting and choosing images that will make the most impact.

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Where Do Images Fit Into This? And What Gives An Image “Emotional Power”?

The images you choose in your advertising campaigns and communications have a direct bearing on campaign effectiveness. Images that provoke an emotional response can improve how your brand is perceived and inspire action from your target audience.

So how do you find the right image for the job? And what gives an image "emotional power"?

At Getty Images, we shoot, manage arid license a huge range o l imagery used by advertisers around the globe daily.

Here, you'll find the results of a study we undertook Into the emotional qualities of imagery, and guidance on what to look for when shooting and choosing images that will make the most impact

The Research

Getty Images commissioned Brainjuicer, an Independent research agency to investigate the emotional qualities of Imagery. Using a sample group of over 600 people In the UK, aged between 18 arid 64, they tested lour print adverts for different industry sectors, using three different image conditions. Each person saw only one treatment of each advert.

Advert treatments

  • No image
  • Standard quality Image
  • Premium quality Image

They were then asked for their reactions, both rating the effectiveness of the advert against a number of qualities, arid also describing their feelings towards the advert

[Table or chart in PDF file - Register or sign in to view]

The Conclusions

The adverts tested in this study, were not part of a wider campaign strategy, but even as one-off messages, people reached In a more positively emotional way 10 !hose adverts using premium Imagery.

These were perceived 10 advertise better qualify products In a more memorable way.

  • The adverts with Images fended 10 drive higher happiness and overall emotional intensely than adverts with no Images.
  • The use of premium Images fended 10 Improve brand perception by being more memorable and distinctive.

Your choice of image can have an effect on brand positioning.

Premium images can drive fame and differentiation.

The higher the emotional Impact of an Image, the more likely your audience will remember your brand and your message.

Premium images result in stronger brand associations than standard images.

Those hard·to achieve positioning measures of trust, quality and differentiation tend to be improved by using premium images.

In the IPA study, trust was the most rarely achieved element. yet was strongly associated with success

In all cases except the finance advert, the adverts using higher quality imagery were perceived as more trustworthy than the other adverts. Given the wider banking crisis, we have seen a trend towards banks using specific imagery in a bid to regain trust. For more on that, see our visual trends report

Premium imagery tends to powerfully convey a concept and elicit an emotional reaction. Here we share what it Is we look for from this kind of image. These elements can help guide your choice when selecting imagery.

1. High Quality Production Values

High quality production and research can turn a standard shot into a unique image for a brand. Whether you commission a shoot or use stock photography, think about the casting, styling, location, artistic treatment and access. These elements when done well, can create a unique perspective differentiating you from competitors.

2. The Emotional Feels Real

With the explosion in digital and social photography, we've seen a rise In brands' use of images that convey emotion In an authentic and believable way. Often these images are professionally shot. They have the high quality production values we talked about, but they "feel real - Authentic, or as we call them, "perfectly imperfect" images can align a brand more closely with its target audience, particularly on social channels, where the option of sharing and engagement is far higher.

Crucially, these authentic images are less likely to be recognised as a "standard stock shot". In the insurance adverts, for example, you can see the difference in perception and that's all down to the image used.

A New Idea

Freshness is something brands strive for in advertising to stand out from the crowd and got people thinking. Choosing an Image that powerfully conveys a concept in a new way, is a great strategy to get a reaction from your audience. Advertisers approach us on a daily basis to source fresh, new images that haven't been used before and communicate a concept In a modem way. For this reason, we've seen a strong trend towards highly-crafted images using unique techniques 10 communicate an Idea.

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