iBrand Blog

Posts tagged Photos that work
From online to on the wall, Peet's serves up Instagram photos
Peet's urges us to share our best moment using #PeetsDC. They curate the submissions and share their favorites in an in-store collage.

Peet's urges us to share our best moment using #PeetsDC. They curate the submissions and share their favorites in an in-store collage.

I wasn't online, on my phone, or even on my iPad when I browsed through Peet's favorite Instagram photos. 

In the Washington, DC store, across the street from the White House, Peet's Coffee and Tea served up their customers' Instagram images in a framed collage that hangs in the store.

Peet's asked us to Instagram our favorite moment with their brand. If they like it, they include it in the next 'on wall' gallery.

It's hard to turn down a photo challenge, so my #PeetsDC entries will be my illustrations for this post. I came to praise Peets with my photos.


A reflection of the Instagram wall as seen through the window.

A reflection of the Instagram wall as seen through the window.

Why it works

Hashing it out -- By now most social businesses know that hashtags provide an easy way to engage in a conversation with your clients and followers. Supply the hashtag and savvy customers will use it to connect with their kindred spirits on Twitter and Instagram.

Creating competition -- Nothing generates engagement and excitement like the opportunity to win at something. Peet's didn't just ask us to share our photos; they gave us a chance to be recognized. We get to win…and see our art displayed on their walls. 

Encourage return visits -- Here's the sneaky part. There's only one way to know if your photo won. You have to go back to the store. If you won, you might want to visit again with a few friends to show off your accomplishment. You might even want to tweet or share a photo of your photo in their winners gallery. The cycle continues.


What might work better

Currently the gallery of winners only shows the photo. It would be great to also include the real name or screen name of the person who submitted the image. The only thing better than seeing my work hanging is seeing a byline with my name on it.

This not only shows off the image but gives the photographer some extra exposure. Think how I would feel about Peets if my follower count ballooned because my photo was hanging in their store. It's an easy win for everyone.


Curating your customers' photos is an effective way to build your community and show off your brand. Peet's found a way to bring it full circle by posting the online images on the wall.

Happy birthday from the NFL - with a personalized jersey photo

The NFL knew my birthday was coming and knew I was a die hard New Orleans Saints fan, so they sent me a personalized jersey -- sort of.

Let's face it, they could have written a cheesy happy birthday message encouraing me to celebrate by shopping at NFL.com.  (Isn't this the part where I am supposed to receive the gifts?) 

What caught my eye when I opened this email was a photo of my name on my favorite team's jersey. 

There aren't a thousand sappy words that could have elicited the response this one photo did. This is personalized visual marketing at its best.  

For brands, images take the stand on marriage equality
Brands remixed their logos and products in the recognizable red equal symbol.

Brands remixed their logos and products in the recognizable red equal symbol.

As the Supreme Court hears arguments in key same-sex marriage cases, brands are taking a stand -- not by issuing statements of support -- but creating images that showcase their products or logos in the red Human Rights Campaign symbol.

The advocacy group made the gay marriage equality symbol available in red, which represents the color of love. HRC then took the fight to Facebook, asking users to update their status, showing support for marriage equality.

The HRC campaign was showing that demonstrating support can be as simple as using an image. Not long after, brands got involved with their own remixes.

Companies have long turned to cause marketing as a way to connect with customers, and apparently that's what we expect. A Cone Cause-Evolution study reports that 83 percent of Americans say they wish brands would support causes and 41 percent have bought a product because it was associated with a cause. 

Even more astounding, Cone found that 94 percent of consumers would switch brands if one carried a cause and another did not. When factors like cost and product type were made equal, 94 out of 100 people would choose to buy a product that supported a good cause.

It should be no surprise that with support for marriage equality on the rise, brands hitched their marketing to the issue.

"Support for marriage equality is growing every day, but this one simple image gave countless millions a straightforward way to show their support for this civil rights cause -- many for the very first time," said Chad Griffin, HRC president.

It gave brands the same opportunity.

Why is the image campaign effective?

Bud Light's remix was one of the most often cited examples.

Bud Light's remix was one of the most often cited examples.

  • It takes a stand at a glance. Consumers might not read position papers or news releases as easily as they will notice your image supporting their favorite cause. At a glance, I know that we believe in the same thing and have the same values. 
  • It can create an instant emotional connection. A photo or visual, done right, can create an emotional connection or bond with the viewer. Sure words can create the same effect, but it usually takes a longer time to read and digest.  
  • It is easy to share. So many social media sites make it easy to create awareness, show support, and organize around a visual. We can't repin a thousand words, but a photo can create its own following.
  • It is an easy way to contribute to a conversation. Think of it as a knowing nod to a stranger. If I am walking down the street and see someone wearing the t-shirt of my favorite team, I know we have something in common. If I'm wearing the same shirt, we pass with a knowing nod. 
  • It provides the opportunity to build community. As others like and display your brand images, they can create community with others who feel the same. Your brand might give others in community permission to contribute to the conversation.
  • You might become the conversation. Bud Light's remix using beer cans was often cited as a creative example in news stories. Bud Light's support is earning them a prominent role in the ongoing conversation.
  • Your product or logo connects something familiar. Customers who know and love your product, connect with it visually. When I look for a coke, I look for a red can. If I drive a Mustang, I know the shape and logo. My emotional connection is tied to the visual representation of your product. Use that visual to signal your support of my cause, and it can help strengthen those feelings of loyalty.
JCP chose this image as their "statement" of support.

JCP chose this image as their "statement" of support.

Sometimes an image is all you need. Business Insider noted that "although JCP isn't scared to show ads featuring same-sex couples, it hasn't made an official statement regarding gay marriage."

Maybe images showing that there is nothing remarkable about a loving couple is the ultimate statement.

Is this a trend or a fad? You can expect brands to continue using images to signal their support if it meets their business goals:

  • Does it help create greater awareness for the company, its products and services?
  • Does it help more people engage with the brand?
  • Does it help introduce them to new audiences?
  • Does it help with employee retention? Recruiting?
  • Does it help increase the opportunity for more strategic partnerships?
  • Does it help increase overall loyalty?
  • Do more people buy?

I'm willing to bet many of the brands showing their HRC support are polling these very questions and issues. The answers will signal where business goes next.

In the mean time, what about your business? Are you supporting a cause or nonprofit? A creative image might be just what you need to make the case.