In America’s digital marketplace, good first impressions are vital, while bad ones are difficult to mend.
Relationship building has shifted online, with the headshots on your company’s website and social media channels replacing in-person face-to-face firm handshakes. As of 2014, 84% of top-level business-to-business buyers use social media to research their vendors during the purchasing process—almost half utilizing LinkedIn to build trust and confidence in business partners. Clients buy from people they like, and photographs of your executives and staff can humanize your company long before a prospective client actually meets a member of your team. No matter how eye-catching your headline or snappy your copy, imagery first attracts a viewer to an ad, article, or website. It’s also the first and sometimes only thing later recalled by a viewer. The best advertising images have people in them. For example, look at all the people staring back at you in the magazine aisle on your next visit to the grocery store. When humans register another human face, they instantly lock on to it and rapidly process it.
Viewers process and judge the photos of your people fast—really fast. According to a Princeton University study published in Psychological Science, people make near-instantaneous decisions about competency, trustworthiness, and likability when encountering a photo of a face—all in less than 1/10th of a second.
Because people like to be right, prospects will continue to use a website or read written material that makes a favorable first visual impression to confirm their initial decision. Psychologists call this the “Halo Effect.” If this first impression is un-favorable, clients will be out of your site or tossing your mailed pieces in the trash before they learn you may be offering more than your competition.