How to use marketing photos during COVID-19

by Patti Rowlson

“Be conscientious with the photos you use for marketing during the pandemic.”

That is advice I would share with any marketer who is working through COVID-19, particularly if the business you are supporting interacts with people or products.

Now is the time to pause using photos from years past — images that might include employees interacting with people or products without proper personal protective equipment.

Think about it. Using older photos — even images from the first quarter of this year — no longer represents the current market conditions. A certain segment of the market is nervous and cautious about interacting with businesses in person, and they need reassurance, which can be given visually.

If you are the marketer for a service business that goes to people’s homes, now is not the time to share a group shot of a dozen staff members huddled together without masks on.

It is up to us as marketers to help consumers feel safe and protected during these times.

Using images that are not in line with current market conditions causes confusion in the market, which is never the goal.

Instead of causing confusion, marketers can help ease consumer worries by being conscious of photo selection and by being authentic and strategic.

For now, use real people (staff, customers) in marketing photos. Visually show consumers what to expect when they engage with your business in person, and show them that your business values the wellness of consumers and our community.

Here are examples for three different industries:

  • Food service: Use images of friendly servers wearing masks. Share photos of people dining at tables that are appropriately positioned for social distancing. Snap a photo of safety guidelines you may have posted on the front door.
  • Health care: Use photos that show safe patient check-in windows, hand sanitizer stations and medical workers wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
  • Retail: Use photos of customers shopping with masks on; include photos of your staff with masks on. Share the classic “feet on social distancing floor decal” shot so customers know you are abiding by that health recommendation.

How to use marketing photos during COVID-19.

Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism has a visitor safety guide that includes wonderful examples of Whatcom County businesses that are being conscientious with their marketing images during the pandemic. Scroll through their webpage for inspiration!

Here are a few more examples of local brands that are taking care with image selection during COVID-19.

I hope that bringing awareness to image use during COVID-19, paired with these examples, will help marketers in Bellingham, Lynden and throughout Whatcom County think a little differently as they communicate with consumers in the days and weeks ahead.

We have a unique ability to help ease the worries of humans while promoting local business. Go forth and do good things!

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