Rob Smith

“I just don’t like the look of our website,” says the sales & marketing director.

“Our printed material feels dated and isn’t representing us,” remarks the CFO.

“Life in our communities is bright and vibrant. I don’t get that feeling from our communications,” laments a board member.

These are all paraphrased responses that we’ve heard from organizations with which we’ve partnered. They aren’t uncommon sentiments, and it’s these types of opportunities that we work with every day. Having encountered these statements many times, we’ve learned that there is usually one common thread:

The design isn’t dated, but the photography is.

Having a repository of high-quality photos that can be used for your marketing efforts is one of the most overlooked resources in the aging services space. Everything that marketing does is affected by not having a file of up-to-date imagery from which to draw. Additionally, in our field, these images routinely become stale because of resident transitions and health concerns. A great photo can become unusable overnight, leaving you with a gap in the marketing imagery that is crucial for your success.

As a creative director, one of my biggest challenges is working to keep an organization’s marketing efforts fresh and interesting. While graphic design is a key part of each piece of collateral, having a strong library of photography is so very important. I liken it to having to work with a limited palette of colors — it can be an enjoyable challenge, but eventually, everything starts to look the same. Refreshing photographic assets can help shift a brand from stagnant to vibrant once again.

When a situation like this arises, we sometimes look to stock photography to fill in the gaps. Stock photography can provide the high-quality pictures needed to produce marketing products, but it also has the effect of feeling inauthentic, especially if someone sees the same piece of stock photography that is used for your community in another ad. Obviously, we want potential residents to feel engaged with your unique brand platform, making a library of photos that depict your organization appropriately much more valuable. For additional thoughts on how we’ve used stock photography at Varsity, check out our Engage: Boomers article, titled “The Real Way to Reach Baby Boomers.

At a minimum, you should refresh your photography once every two years. If you can afford to do it every year, that’s even better! If you’re thinking about developing new marketing materials, whether they be print or digital, we at Varsity fully recommend that you engage a professional photographer sooner rather than later.

At Varsity, we’ve worked with some outstanding professionals who specialize in working with communities and residents like yours. If you need help finding the right photographer, let us know, and we’d be glad to help!