Download (direct link):
She described a specific example of a sale expanded by her use of images: “I just had a customer who had never bought this one line before, and she liked a number of different things in a display. The sales challenge was that she didn’t think she would remember what she wanted to order because she was not buying just one item, she wanted to buy this whole look. I simply told her I’d take a picture of that display and send it to her, and that immediately made her feel really comfortable about ordering everything. In my business, you’re trying to get through all these different barriers with people. They can think of a lot of reasons not to buy something. That’s why I got my camera—to not give them those excuses.”
94 GOING VISUAL
Sample of a line with a “look"
Carrocino’s communication goal is so well defined—to give her clients the best possible visual information about the products she’s representing—that she can focus on how to use the modest digital tools at her disposal to get the maximum effect.
STEP 3. ARCHIVE
Create a resource that provides access, retrieval, and storage of the images.
Her archiving strategy evolved from necessity. When she first started taking pictures, she didn’t consider that she would quickly have hundreds of images from seven different manufacturers. She used the program that came with her camera to create a simple but effective archive. She recalls her challenge: “All of a sudden I had a ton of pictures from several different lines, different manufacturers. Hundreds of pictures, all lumped together in this folder, and I wanted to be able to sort them by manufacturer. I made a file for
every one of my manufacturers and transferred the appropriate pictures into those individual files so that when I need to find them I can do it very easily.” Carrocino doesn’t have an extensive keyword system because she’s more comfortable reviewing her pictures visually. As she puts it, “The most pictures I have in any manufacturer file is 100, and I can view the thumbnails very easily and find what I’m looking for. So naming the files hasn’t really been an issue for me.”
Carrocino regularly refreshes her archive because the images’ sales value lasts no longer than one selling season. She describes her process: “As a product is discontinued, I delete it. I don’t need it in my file anymore because it is not available, so it’s no longer important to me. At the end of a season—and my seasons run from January through June and July through December—I’ll delete most of my pictures and start over fresh, because my customers have already seen them, and one of the things they enjoy is seeing new displays and new pictures.”
The simple archiving needs are the result of three factors:
1. She uses her images for only one purpose—selling. Therefore, when an item drops out of her catalog, the useful life of the image that represents it has ended.
2. Since most items last no more than one season, the useful life of the images is very short—only a matter of months.
3. The scale of Carrocino’s business is such that the total number of items she has in her archive at any one time is quite small— a few hundred—and therefore does not require a sophisticated indexing and retrieval process.
Companies that operate on a larger scale can put their visual records to multiple uses, some of which unfold over time. Therefore,
96 GOING VISUAL
when they describe their Visual Communication strategies, archiving and retrieval have a much more central role and require greater investments of ingenuity and resources. We present an in-depth look at an extensive image archive in Chapter 6.
STEP 4. TRACK AND EVALUATE
Observe and analyze the effectiveness of the Visual Communication strategy in terms ofincreased knowledge-workerproductivity, better and faster decision making, the promotion of customer loyalty, and the enhancement of overall values and mission of the organization.
For a sales rep like Sally Carrocino, measuring the value of her Visual Communication strategy was very straightforward. As she stated earlier, “Every aspect of this speaks to my bottom line.” She reviewed how Going Visual has fundamentally improved her business in light of the four essential requirements:
1. Increasing knowledge-worker productivity. In this case, Carro-cino targeted her own productivity by becoming an image-active entrepreneur and communicating to her clients more efficiently and effectively than she’d ever done before. In terms of her own productivity, the technology was an accelerator well worth its cost. “The digital camera has just been so easy,” she said, “because you can take a picture and you can see it right away. You don’t have that downtime of taking it to the store and getting it developed. What I spend the most money on is ink and paper, but I don’t mind because it’s part of my business expense, and what I spend on it I get back tenfold.”
2. Enhancing decision-making support. By using her own images, Carrocino moved her clients to buy more products in shorter sales cycles. “I’m selling more products, faster, to my customers, and they’re getting the product faster, and then they’re reordering faster. My sales have increased over 30 percent since I got the digital camera. Another thing that inspired me to use a digital camera was that some of the companies I work with print black-and-white catalogs, which don’t really show all the different finishes they offer. Going to the show and taking color pictures has made a big difference in being able to show clients the different displays. I put my color picture alongside the black-and-white picture from the catalog. There’s nothing worse than visiting customers and hearing them say, ‘I can’t tell what this looks like.’ My pictures have solved that problem. I relate everything to pictures.”