Prior to doing photography full-time, I was in advertising sales. In that capacity, I once had a job where over the course of ten years, the CEO never once came into the sales offices to ask, "what's happening in the market?" When I attended Babson College I learned of something called "Management By Walking Around." Simply, it emphasized the importance of management talking to employees to gain insight on what was really happening in their business/industry/market. Clearly, this CEO never read that chapter of the textbook! I left that organization largely because I didn't feel valued.
Why is this relevant?
I recently did a commercial photo shoot for a company that makes furniture for parks and other outdoor uses. We were making images for the purpose of showing the craftsmanship that goes into their products, rather than just doing typical product shots. The images were to be used for marketing purposes (advertising, sales collateral, website, etc.). This is a family owned company in a small town. Many of the employees are "second generation" employees, meaning one of their parents worked there as well. In a few cases, related individuals are working side-by-side. There's a tremendous camaraderie among all employees and everyone on the management team knows each of the factor workers well. As I walked through the factory with the Director of Marketing, he often told me stories about a factory employee's family. It's small town America at its best.
I was pleased with the images we created. I thought they were visually arresting (I have to admit, it was a lot of fun working all the sparks into these images) and could result in attention getting advertisements. I was confident the Director of Marketing would be pleased. But what surprised me most was the response from the president of the company when she saw the gallery of images. She told me that they were a beautiful testament to the dedication, craftsmanship and hard work these employees show every day. She was ecstatic that we had honored these employees by creating such wonderful images featuring them because, after all, this company could not exist without their fine work. And so, in addition to the images being used for marketing purposes, they purchased many, many more to be given to the employees as a means of recognizing them, and thanking them, for their dedication to the company.
In short, this company president recognized that every individual has a story, and photography captures moments in an individual's life and help tell that person's life story. I could tell just from the reaction these employees had when I was lighting and photographing them that they felt honored to be the focus of such a production. The message was clear: if the company was going to feature them in national advertisements, they must clearly value their skills and what they contribute to the company. I imagine the photos, displayed in the homes of these employees, provided at least two other important messages for recipients. They'd be a reminder that:
So, even though this photo shoot was intended to be for marketing purposes, it actually had equally valuable benefits for the HR Department! In fact, when you recognize that the cost of this photo shoot could be amortized as both a marketing and HR cost, it was really quite cost effective.
How might you do something similar for your company? Your employees don't need to be welders to lend themselves to some cool photographs. Call me (443-326-2050) and let's kick some ideas around. I'm happy to put my marketing AND photography experience to work for you to craft a similar idea.