With businesses becoming increasingly reliant on digital platforms to connect with customers, cultivating trust online is paramount.
Many enterprises use team photos on their websites to foster a sense of authenticity, and develop a connection with their audience. But of course there are considerations and concerns associated with this.
It’s not just websites that need to be considered from a security perspective, or with a view to the legal rights of employees regarding how their images are displayed and used. Company intranets can be just as vulnerable to malicious meddling, particularly in the case of geographically dispersed teams becoming the norm, and central oversight bumping into a cavalcade of complexities.
So keep reading to examine if you should take this step, and some of the best ways to put it into practice.
The Rise of Corporate Transparency and Its Impact on Website Design
In modern times, businesses are placing a high emphasis on corporate transparency to build trust with their audience and employees.
In fact a recent PwC study found that this is the number one priority in 95% of organisations, with only 27% of consumers confirming that they trust the brands they are loyal to.
One way trust is built right now is through website design, integrating elements that express authenticity like team photos.
However, it’s not as simple as just posting any picture you get hold of. The depiction should communicate genuineness and professionalism without compromising team members’ comfort.
It’s crucial to understand how this trend impacts your online presence and company brand before deciding if it suits your business needs.
Pros and Cons: The Effectiveness of Using Team Photos On Websites
Displaying team photos on your website can offer several benefits but also bring along certain drawbacks. Let’s weigh them.
- Humanises your brand: Having the faces behind the business connects emotionally with your audience, especially on social media.
- Enhances trust: It conveys transparency, making visitors more comfortable in establishing relationships or committing to transactions.
- May affect privacy: Not every team member might be comfortable having their photos posted publicly.
- Varies across sectors: In some industries like cybersecurity or legal services, it may not always be suitable to show staff images due to confidentiality concerns.
This issue is complicated further in the case of remote teams being encouraged to take and submit their own photos to add to their employer’s website. Pictures captured on a personal smartphone may contain geolocation data that could be exploited by malicious third parties to pinpoint their location, thus creating a privacy conundrum that goes deeper than many businesses might realise. And with 83% of companies reporting breaches in 2022, this is a flagship issue to tackle.
Then there’s the possibility for data mining to extract even more info from seemingly harmless image files, perhaps even granting hackers access to hardware that can expose a user’s entire identity, leaving it ripe for exploitation. Since we keep a plethora of personal details on portable devices, from bank accounts to medical information, it’s not worth cutting corners in terms of security.
Understanding these elements and their implications is vital before you proceed to integrate personnel photography into your site.
Businesses can overcome the specific challenges of sourcing photos from remote team members by taking images from personal devices and editing them in-house to remove revealing metadata from them. Having a rigorous BYOD policy in place, along with security requirements for any personal devices used for work purposes, is also wise in this context.
For example, Stink Studios has a global team represented with personal snaps posted to its About page. These offer unique perspectives on members, showcasing their individual tastes and personalities, while ensuring that no private information is accessible.
How to Standardise Photos (e.g., Removing the Background)
Standardising team photos goes a long way in maintaining professionalism. One crucial aspect is removing extraneous backgrounds, which keeps the focus on the people and also creates that all-important consistency.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
- Use uniform backdrops during shoots: This minimises distractions and enhances cohesion between images.
- Harness specialised background removal tools: Certain apps work to wipe out backgrounds from photos providing clean, uncluttered portraits in a jiffy.
By ensuring your images follow the same format, you not only enhance their visual appeal but also tie them neatly into representing your brand style. This attention to detail establishes an additional level of commitment towards quality that won’t go unnoticed by visitors. Of course it’s always possible for such images to be manipulated and misused by third parties, but so long as any changes and alterations made in-house are done with the individual’s approval, major stumbling blocks can be avoided.
Apple is a good example of this. Known for their commitment to elegance and simplicity on all levels, the company showcases professional, standardised headshots of only the top-level leadership team. This technique aligns with their overall clean aesthetic and speaks volumes about their dedication to quality, as well as linking through to profiles on each individual executive for visitors to peruse.
Legal Considerations When Publishing Your Team’s Photos
Respecting privacy and abiding by the law is another must when it comes to sharing team photos publically . To do this you must:
- Ensure explicit consent from each team member before posting their photo to your site.
- Explain how and where these photos will be used, allowing them to make an informed decision.
- Remember that any staff changes mean you’ll need new permissions, so keep records of who’s joined the team and who’s left to avoid issues.
Consulting with a corporate lawyer can provide guidance on the best process to follow in keeping up with regional privacy laws.
For instance, with the photos used by UK news outlet The Guardian, each contributor has consented to associate their image with the works that are published to its website. Not every piece has this treatment, reflecting the company’s commitment to adhering to the preferences of each person, whether a permanent team member or a freelancer.
Fostering Brand Affinity through Visual Authenticity
Showcasing team photos on your website can boost brand affinity by injecting a human element into an otherwise faceless corporation. However, it’s important that these images reflect the ethos and authenticity of your brand:
- Content consistency: Ensure the pictures used align with the tone, palette, and design language that your company typically follows on its digital platforms. This is also good for employee engagement.
- Image quality: Grainy or low-quality images can harm perception. Invest in good photoshoots for credible representation. We’ll expand more on this later.
- Realism over perfection: While professional shots are recommended, they shouldn’t be overly airbrushed. Keeping some natural elements makes them relatable and genuine.
Through such visual authenticity, you foster stronger connections with audiences because people connect more readily to humans than abstract concepts or faceless corporations.
Humaan goes the extra mile in this regard. As well as having a humorous full-team photo headlining its about page, the rest of the pics are not just static, but looping animations of members that bring them to life. It’s a combination of quality and authenticity that really stands out.
People Buy From People: Promoting Connections Through Team Images
A commonly heard phrase in sales and marketing is “people buy from people”, referencing the trust that buyers seek when parting with their money.
By including team pictures on your platform, you’re essentially leveraging this principle. It helps establish a basis for customer familiarity and rapport with your company, thereby breaking down barriers to doing business together.
Real faces instill an element of relatability, allowing customers to feel like they know who they are transacting with, forging a human connection while providing reassurances of authenticity. This is a major selling point of including team photos on your website, if you’re still on the fence.
Zendesk reflects this strategy well. As a customer service software company, it makes sense to see it use relaxed, colorful employee photos that reflect an approachable team conducive to building user trust while reflecting its corporate values as well. Since software products are sometimes seen as abstract concepts, made and sold by unknown specialists, it’s good to show that there are actually people behind the offerings.
Photo Quality 101: Tips for High-Quality Team Photos
Investing time and resources into capturing high-quality team photos is non-negotiable. It builds credibility and positively represents your brand:
- Hire professionals: They’ll ensure appropriate lighting, composition, and angles.
- Use consistent settings: Use the same background, mood and try to capture each member similarly for a unified look.
- Focus on personality: A distinct theme or an embracing environment can portray the unique personalities of your team members.
- Consider dress code: Maintain uniformity in clothing if applicable to your industry.
Remember, these images are a reflection of your company’s identity, and form part of wider brand storytelling efforts. Always choose quality over quantity when it comes to showing off who powers your business. High-quality images will not only enhance branding but also contribute to the overall user experience.
Salted Stone is an agency that hits the nail on the head on all these points. On its team page, professional-quality, consistently styled photos are commonplace. There’s even a uniquely engaging stand-in image that’s used for members that haven’t yet had their picture added officially, which is a nice touch.
Evaluation Time: How To Measure The Effect of Incorporating Staff Pictures
Once you’ve incorporated staff pictures, it’s key to measure their effect. First, monitor engagement metrics such as average session duration and bounce rates before and after the implementation. Next, collect user feedback, and check if they feel more connected with your brand. You can even conduct A/B tests comparing pages with team photos versus those without.
Additionally, keep an eye on conversion rates. Are people staying longer and engaging better leading to higher sales or interactions? If so, that’s a good sign. All these evaluations will help establish if this approach is beneficial for your business.
An example of this comes courtesy of Thrive Themes. By adding images of clients to testimonials on landing pages, conversion rates rose by a marked proportion. It’s evidence that having a human connection really does make a difference to sales.
Effective Team Photo Implementations: Best Practices Round-Up
As a refresher, let’s talk about some of the key best practices utilised in the various examples of team photos we’ve explored:
- High-quality photos: Both companies invest in well-curated images emphasising professionalism while capturing each individual’s essence.
- Brand consistency: They strategically incorporate brand values within photo representation.
- Employee comfort: Ensuring the comfort level of employees while taking these pictures is prioritised.
These successful implementations prove how effectively chosen team photos can enhance online presence and nurture customer trust without compromising security or brand essence.
The Bottom Line
Not every business should be using team photos on its site, but for plenty of modern firms this is an excellent move.
All that it takes is attention to detail when it comes to things like taking, editing and formatting the snaps for your online presence. In addition to keeping employee consent at the top of the agenda, this will put you on the path to effective team photography implementation.
Photo credit: Photo by Thirdman