Standing Out by Fitting In
We were so honored the best headshots photographer in the area, Alimond Photography, asked us to be a part of their blog post on BAD real estate agent headshots. It's so funny and if you're an agent, take note! The examples of GREAT headshots, which Aliyah took, are coming soon. Stay tuned! - Sheena
by Aliyah Alimond
The first Perception Management blog seemed to really hit a cord with people. I figured that it was time for a follow-up.
In the last blog, I spoke about the fine line I have to walk in the photography industry in order to appear not only professional, but approachable. I want to expand on this a little more, and how it relates to my headshot business in particular.
A headshot, in my mind, can only do one of two things:
It can help you fit in (which can make you stand out); or
It can help you stand out.
According to Entrepreneur.com, corporate culture is defined as “a blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time.” That sounds scary, doesn’t it?! Having to develop some sort of intangible personality with a group of diverse people is challenging, if not almost impossible.
Do this for me: search “is corporate culture important” on the Internet. Corporations pay big bucks to establish their own culture for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most important reasons is that every business wants its own unique image in the marketplace.
Image is everything, right?
Headshots are possibly the cheapest way create a corporate image. They can construct a unifying appearance and make each person look like he or she is part of a bigger picture. Headshots can make a company look organized. Plus, the tone of the headshots can help define a company’s character as a whole.
I don’t want to point any fingers, but real estate companies really struggle with corporate branding.
The constant movement of agents from one company to another is proof of this. Instead of constantly recruiting new agents, why don’t realty companies just try to retain good ones?
Did you know that a strong corporate culture retains talent? And, talent retention equals profit?
In his book, The Culture Cycle, Harvard Professor Emeritus of Business Logistics, James L. Heskett says:
“We know, for example, that engaged managers and employees are much more likely to remain in an organization, leading directly to fewer hires from outside the organization. This, in turn, results in lower wage costs for talent; lower recruiting, hiring, and training costs; and higher productivity (fewer lost sales and higher sales per employee). Higher employee continuity leads to better customer relationships that contribute to greater customer loyalty, lower marketing costs, and enhanced sales.”
Take a group of go-getters (otherwise known as Realtors), mostly type-A, throw them together into an office, and see what happens. Ohhh… but wait, you CAN SEE what happens…
All you have to do is look at the “For Sale” signs:
Trisha looks like she is possibly a Realtor AND a psychic. Her head is surrounded in an ethereal glow of white against a black backdrop. I think she may give free palm readings with every listing.
Jane looks like she may have modeled back in the day – and by “day,” I mean 1989. Her glamour shot, with bare shoulders and big hair, really makes her… uh… stand out.
John is old-school. Really, really old school. He hasn’t had a headshot update since 1976. You may not recognize him from his headshot, but he claims that he loves his picture because he was young and had so much hair back then.
You get the idea.
Real estate companies need to understand that they aren’t exempt from needing their own cultures. So many of them get lost in their seas of individual personalities that they forget that corporate branding is critical to long-term success.
What if you visited a real estate website and the headshots were all recent, fresh, and cohesive?
What if you drove around town and noticed that that same company’s “For Sale” signs really stand out because all of its agents look well-polished and professional? And you could actually identify who they were with, simply by looking at the headshot. You know, like identifying companies by their logo?
What if fitting in is the new way to stand out?