BY DEBORAH COLE
As landscape professionals, we are visual people. We are almost hard-wired for imagination, but give us a clearly drawn landscape plan or detailed specifications with pictures, and we have hit the jackpot. We know that 65 percent of the population understands information best when it’s presented visually. Because this is true, our messaging through images needs to be exceptional. It’s also true that a picture is worth a thousand words.
For this reason, it’s important to create superior visual documentation of the work we produce on a regular basis. Just as we schedule tasks on any project, we must also consistently photograph all projects and activities within the company.
The photos we take with our phone are quick and easy, but what also needs to be included in every landscape company’s toolbox is either a small digital camera (and someone tasked with using it!), or an ongoing relationship with a photographer who can help document the activities and outcomes of all work.
9 Ways to Use Images
- Marketing: Professional images of work that the company has completed can be used in print materials, on banners for trade shows, on signage for vehicles and trailers (rather than stock photos).
- Social Media for Outreach: Smartphones work great for this. Regular postings on the company Facebook or Instagram accounts are easy, inexpensive and effectively communicate with the world telling all just how great you are. Photos should always be in a square format. Use free and easy editing apps to ensure quality and size.
- Social Media for Inreach: Staff and crews may appear to be camera-shy, but there is pride in being featured in company communications. And if there are multiple locations, sharing what each is doing builds a sense of community.
- Newsletters/blogs: Photos in newsletters and blogs can provide information about what is currently “hot” leading to informed clients as well as new sales opportunities.
- National and/or State Environmental Improvement Awards: What better way to acknowledge well-executed projects and honor those who produced them than to enter (and win) industry competitions?
- Training: How-to videos are useful as are still images of the preferred way to perform specialty tasks, equipment maintenance, and even sharing boo-boos.
- Recruiting: Images of productive, happy staff can be used in all information provided in recruiting booths and on websites.
- Website: Every web site should be filled with photos of projects and especially with people—your people doing what they do so well.
- Education of clients and potential clients: Giving presentations through lunch ’n’ learns to current and potential clients positions you as an industry leader and allows your company to be the go-to for information. Our markets are hungry for information on how we do what we do.
Like all initiatives, there must be a plan and consistent execution. Ownership of a camera which lives in a drawer won’t get the results desired. Make smartphone captures a part of everyone’s mindset and either assign someone to be the company photographer or find someone who knows what you need and how to deliver it.
ABOUT DEBORAH COLE
Deborah Cole is the founder of a commercial landscape firm with multiple locations throughout Texas. She now devotes herself full-time to photography, writing, marketing and training.