Photos and videos of products can help show what a product looks like, but if you want your product or service to get real traction, people have to be able to visualize themselves using the product or service themselves.

A study was done where two groups of subjects had to put together sets of Lego. Each time they put a set together they were going to be paid a reward. For each consecutive set they built, however, they were paid eleven cents less for their efforts. Each Lego set was 40 pieces and they were all identical. The amount was set at eleven cents to make the math difficult to keep track of in people’s heads.

The first group of subjects put together each set and placed them on a table in clear view so that they could see what they had accomplished. The second group had each one they build dismantled so that they could build it again instead of having all the completed sets in front of them.

Even in several variations of this study, when people could visualize the fruits of their labor, they always build more sets then the 2nd group. Being able to see that they were creating a large number of sets, instead of having to keep track in their head or guess how many they built, was a key factor in them continuing the task.

When I worked as a contractor at Nike in t he Sports Marketing group, the marketing guidelines were quite clear. I can’t get into specifics, but one thing you will notice is that people are almost always in motion and using the products. You can see yourself on the court in your basketball shoes or running around a track in your cross-trainers.


Customers can visualize themselves making that crucial putt, wearing their Nike Golf gear.

Every Coca-Cola or McDonald’s commercial has people dancing around, happy with their friends, enjoying the products. It’s not just an emotional connection because of the dancing around and happy acceptance of those around them. It’s the fact that people can visualize themselves using the product and feeling those emotions.


How Can My Small Business Take Advantage Of This Big Corporation Tactic?

I’m glad you asked.  It’s actually very simple.

Show people using your product or service.

If it is a product that fits in your hand, show it in a person’s hand! If it’s a product that makes sounds and motion, shoot a quick video of it on your phone! Do you sell apparel? Show people wearing the clothes.  One of my pet peeves is service companies who don’t have pictures of themselves actually doing the service they provide. Customers want to see you at work.


Show yourself in action doing your craft! Pictured here is photographer Amy West from Blissful Mondays and David Marcotte of Elements Massage at a recent Hillsboro Chamber event taking some fun candid photos. (Sorry about the photo. I was behind the lights, but that’s why I’m not a photographer. ~Matt)

If your service is towing cars, show yourself towing a customer’s car from the side of the road.  You just came to their rescue! People want to visualize that you are going to come save them when they are stranded on the side of the road!


Before and After Photos Are Not Just For Weight Loss

If you fix cell phones, show someone with their broken phone and then their smiling face with their shiny new phone.

If you fix fences, show the fallen down, broken fence and then the shiny new sturdy fence with the smiling home owner next to it.

Help your customers and potential customers visualize themselves using your product or service and it will help them make an emotional connection to you, your product, and your brand.  Studies have shown that the more people visualize something and make an emotional connection to it, the longer and more clearly they will remember it.