Compelling photography can be a powerful tool for social change. Here are 4 reasons why compelling images are vital to any social marketing effort:
Images easily attract the attention of people, which is not surprising considering that a great portion of the rear brain is devoted to visual processing and half of the cortex is involved in sight. But emotional images do more than just get your attention. They draw you in and arouse your curiosity. They make you want to learn more like this one below that I was commissioned to capture for A-Nahda Women’s Society in Saudi Arabia. Wondering why this boy is standing there looking so sad? This is what advertising greats call “story appeal” which readers find engaging. Images with “story appeal” peak the reader’s curiosity and prompts them to read the ad. This is very important if you are trying to inform the reader about an important social issue or event or if you are trying to convince them to change risky behaviors.
People always say, “seeing is believing” and this is crucial in cause marketing. Compelling images have the power of persuasion which is vital to convince stakeholders that you have an authentic need. It’s one thing if you tell people that children are starving in Africa, but it’s more convincing if you show them an image of an emaciated child with flies buzzing around his face. Provocative images are also great vehicles for nonprofits to powerfully demonstrate how donations are being used. The NGO that commissioned me to capture this image on the right wanted culturally sensitive images to authenticate their programs for disabled women in the Kingdom.
Most people are familiar with the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”. In other words, compelling images can be so powerful words become unnecessary. And in social marketing this is extremely important given the limited time of the reader, the limited space for copy and the limited resources of many organizations. Truly evocative images can exceed the impact of language.
Engaging images that are emotionally charged are more memorable. And being “unforgettable” is vital to nonprofits and corporate citizens who are trying to raise their cause above the “noise” of other organizations competing for awareness, funds and media attention.