Our All-Encompassing Creative Strategy for Brands
In this age of digital marketing, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to implement a creative strategy for brands to stand apart from their competitors. These visual assets should capture attention, embody brand identity, and add lasting value to the business.
So many creative agencies emphasize how they go above and beyond, but rarely in practice do they offer anything beyond the standard of the industry. That’s where we’re different. At Marika Creative, we help you take your customers on a visual journey that gets them to buy into your brand. Our approach is bold, strategic, and service-oriented.
We’re keen to tell you more and illustrate exactly how we work to elevate your brand with great photography services. In this blog, we’ll be giving you a behind-the-scenes peek of our process and the services we offer including:
- Creative Direction
- Production Services
- Photography Services
- Videography Services
Keep reading to learn what we do that makes us the best choice for your brand photography services. Already sold? Get in contact with us today and let’s bring your creative ideas to life.
Where Our Creative Strategy for Brands Began
Our founder, Marika Adamopoulos, started as a hobbyist photographer over a decade ago, and quickly saw the opportunity to monetize when friends started asking her to be their family photographer, wedding photographer, and so on. Around this time, Instagram was shifting from being a photo-sharing app to a marketing tool. What followed was the influencer boom and the rise of personal brand photography and accessible advertising photography. Marika hit the ground running working with brands as a freelancer. Since then, our client base has grown and evolved. So has the business, bringing us to the agency-ish model we embody, offering creative direction and production alongside meeting your photography and videography needs.
Now that you know a little bit more about who we are, it’s time to do a deep-dive into our services to give you a greater understanding of what we offer.
Creative direction is high-level vision and strategy work that goes into creating your visual assets, and every client who comes to work with us goes through this phase first.
Why? It’s an essential piece of the creative scope puzzle, as this process allows us to get to know our clients well and get a better idea about what kind of content is going to convert to sales across all platforms.
When people come to us saying they just need photos, it's usually not a good fit because we believe it’s necessary to lead with strategy by unpacking a concept and clarifying the vision so that the work can be executed with intention.
When a client comes to us and subsequently signs on to work with us, we take them on a creative direction journey as follows:
- Kick off/discovery call;
- Brand questionnaire (to gain customer insights, metrics, and a sense of the brand's mission and values);
- Campaign concept development (using mood boards, Pinterest, other brands for reference, and an easy, plug-and-play system we created for laying out all the aspects of the vision); and
- Refinement of the concept through phone calls and meetings, or check-ins via Slack/email.
All of which lead up to our production phase, which we will dive into more next.
But first, if you want to make the most out of the creative direction we offer, here’s what you should be prepared with:
- Know your audience, or at least be ready to allow us to figure it out with you;
- Patience for the time it takes to build trust between us, and understanding that the better we know you, the better the work will be in the end; and
- Belief that the behind-the-scenes work is just as crucial as the beautiful content you see on the other side.
Production is the administrative, logistical plan and tasks needed in order to execute on the creative direction for a project. While sometimes overlooked, it’s of the utmost importance that this role is filled to successfully complete a project.
There’s a lot more that goes into production than you may have previously realized. When we produce a project for a client, here’s what we’re taking care of:
▪️ Securing the right creative team to for the project;
▪️ Finding and casting models;
▪️ Finding and booking locations;
▪️ Sourcing and buying props;
▪️ Styling and purchasing wardrobe;
▪️ Coordinating hair and makeup;
▪️ Sourcing and purchasing backdrops;
▪️ Building scenes and sets;
▪️ Coordinating all travel and expenses;
▪️ Determining what gear is necessary and what we need to rent vs. what the team has
▪️ Handling insurance and billing;
▪️ Coordinating craft service and food for the team, client, and models;
▪️ Creating a schedule and deadlines for the team and deliverables; and
▪️ Finalizing the creative approach for execution, including creating a shot list.
Sounds like a lot, right? It is, and this is why we always recommend you work with a team who has the capabilities to do this for you because planning and producing a photo or video shoot alone can be a full-time job.
An important thing to remember is that producing a project takes time. You need to take this into consideration when setting the shoot date, especially when you are relying on other people involved in the project, like models, or even other people on your team, to get back to you, make certain decisions, and confirm availability, logistics, and more. Plus, depending on the props, wardrobes, backdrops, and sets, you could be delayed by shipping times and other unforeseen issues, so consciously choosing not to rush the photoshoot planning process is essential for avoiding stress on your end and for your creative team.
Production tip: We recommend reaching out to your photographer and/or agency at least 6-8 weeks ahead of time, and expect to be planning for 4-6 weeks. That way, no one is rushed and everything is just right (including the creative direction phase).
If you want to be competitive in your industry, you need great photos that will help your brand stand out. Your photos are used across multiple platforms to tell the story of your brand, and you want that story to be a good one. Your brand photos should intrigue your ideal clients and tell them who you are if you want to successfully turn those ideal individuals into converted buyers. Statistically, photography has just as much power to convert consumers as video, if not more in certain instances. And the influence photography has in a brand’s presence is unrivaled.
Compelling facts about photography:
- Photography carries your branding, reflecting the tone of voice of your brand and offering a consistent brand image consumers grow to trust and respect;
- Photos can share your message quickly and efficiently, allowing consumers to understand your brand and improve their buying experience;
- Great visuals are crucial for amazing ads and support their potential to go viral. People love ‘Pinterest-worthy’ content, and they want to feel inspired. Aspirational imagery gets shared and saved more, causing your brand to get noticed;
- Photos can help solidify a purchasing decision. When a consumer can picture your product in their own life, literally, then they are significantly more likely to purchase; and
- Great visuals can almost guarantee improved return on investment (ROI). While the numbers will look different from brand-to-brand, investing in stunning images that are on brand will convert and deliver the results you’re looking for.
If you’re still unsure about the power of photography, then check out this data that’s bound to convert you:
- On average, people will only remember 10% of information they consume for three days after hearing it. Adding a picture can improve recall to 65%;
- Images rank as the most critical content type, ahead of text and video. Consumers are significantly more likely to think favorably of ads that emphasize photography over ads that emphasize text;
- Articles with relevant images get 94% more views, on average, compared to articles without images;
- While videos on Facebook receive 20%-30% more engagement than photos, images receive 352% more engagement than links and images are less costly to create and test with Facebook ads;
- 60% of consumers say they're more likely to consider or contact a business that has an image show up in local search results;
- 67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is "very important" in selecting and purchasing a product;
- 78% of online shoppers want to see the product as if it's part of their own daily lives;
- 50% of online shoppers say, "large, high-quality product images are more important than product information, descriptions, or even reviews";
- 90% of online buyers say that photo quality is the most crucial factor in an online sale, according to Etsy and Justuno; and
- Using a larger product photo size on category pages increased sales by 9.46%
If you’re a client of ours, you are familiar with these stats, as we share them with potential clients so they can see just how influential photos can be.
Types of Photography Images You Need for Your Brand
With all this considered, we can appreciate why photography is so important. The next step is understanding what kind of photography will actually help you achieve the results you’re looking for.
The kinds of images you need will depend on the type of brand you are, but generally speaking, every brand needs images for the following categories:
This is a great opportunity for aspirational, lifestyle-focused content. We want people to imagine themselves using your product, or engaging with your service, and this is a great place to share your seasonal content, holiday focused work, and user-generated content as well. Beautifully styled product photography works great on organic social, too! You’ll almost always need portrait imagery for social.
GIFs work wonders for paid ads, or a series of multiple images in the same ad, with text overlaid. Ads need to make a potential consumer want to stop their scroll to purchase, so the images not only have to be stunning and eye-catching, but they need to feel compelled to see more than they are getting from one photo. The type of image will vary depending on what you sell, but going into your photoshoots knowing what campaigns you intend to run will allow for your team to capture the right kind of images. You’ll likely need square or horizontal images for paid ads.
While you can absolutely use some of the lifestyle content you created with social in mind, this is the place to show off your brand’s best work! First off, you need e-commerce images for your products. You can go with a standard white backdrop for these kinds of shots, or you can have some fun with texture, light, and styling, so long as it doesn’t distract from the product itself. You’ll need to communicate to your photographer that you need wide angled shots for the web banner images.
Blogs / Email marketing / Earned media / Print marketing:
You can use or even recycle your photos in your blogs, earned media, and marketing materials. It’s important to maximize your photoshoots to get enough variety to cover all your bases, and when you do creative direction and production with us at Marika Creative, we handle the discovery and strategy phase of determining exactly what specific photos you need for your specific brand.
When it comes to planning your photoshoot, you want to make sure you are working with a skilled creator who understands marketing applications so that you get a variety of angles, orientations, and formats for your images.
A photoshoot is only as useful as how you can actually run with the images, so doing the prep work ahead of time to make sure you are getting exactly what you need can change the game entirely, and result in much better work.
From traditional video marketing, to TikTok and Reels, video is a phenomenon in marketing today more than ever before. The videos we create for your brand can be used to entertain, inform and share knowledge, or simply inspire a buy.
The recent evolution of video zero to hero is staggering, and while it hasn’t edged out photo, video is crucial to be incorporating in your marketing, and here’s why:
- Consumers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video;
- Calls-to-action get 380% more clicks when in videos;
- Video content increases organic traffic to your landing pages by 157%;
- Marketers and brands who use video grow 49% faster than those who do not use video;
- How-to searches on Youtube are increasing 70% year over year; and
- 87% of consumers will prefer to watch videos if it means they can see more BTS content.
We could keep going on and on. There are dozens of articles and so much research with more compelling stats and support for the ones above, proving that video marketing can change the course of your business.
At Marika Creative, we offer video content in a few different formats:
RAW video clips
These are quick, organic video clips shot handheld in camera to show moments and vignettes of a brand/products, and are shot in tandem with photos. These professional quality videos are great to use on stories, as web page banners, in-feed posts with text over them, or to cut into shorter videos for social or longer form videos as b-roll.
UGC style videos
User generated content (UGC) style videos are videos shot using a phone! You can do these in your office with your people, or we can create them with you on set. They can incorporate things like behind the scenes, day in the life, video testimonials (great for ads), and whatever you want to film and share in this easy, convenient way. We’ll get models to film video testimonials of the products we are shooting on set, give clients shot lists for what they can film when we aren’t around, and more to get well-rounded UGC style video.
Professional, high-end videos
We work with amazing videographers globally to offer our clients high-end, high-production value video! These can look like long-form video interviews, filming courses, promotional videos, how-to videos, product videos, and literally so much more. The applications for video like this are endless, and depending on the brand, we suggest having a well-rounded library of various professional videos to use across all platforms.
Video takes you that layer deeper with your customers, allowing them to see, hear, smell, taste, and imagine life with your product or service. Customers buy when they relate and see themselves in your video, so in this way, video takes the viewer that extra mile to convert them from potential customers to lifelong fans.
Overall, we recommend brands take advantage of all three types of video content to maximize their brand authority online, but if you’re a newer brand or working with a smaller marketing budget, RAW video clips and UGC style video are a fantastic and affordable place to start.
By incorporating this kind of video with photography and your other brand marketing efforts, you’re guaranteed to see an increase in revenue and a deeper connection with your customers because they will know you, your offer, and your mission even better.
Let’s Work on Your Creative Goals Together
Our creative strategy for brands and our passion-driven work is what makes our services unrivaled. We thrive in the four key services we offer to our clients and we see these services as essential pieces of the same puzzle. By taking these key services and working collaboratively with you, we help you realize your brand goals effectively.
Marika Creative is here to support your business goals with creative direction, production support, and incredible visual assets. Book a discovery call to see if our agency(ish) is the right fit for you.