Don’t Airbrush Your Sales Away

By Jon MacDonald
3 minute read | Last Updated: June 13, 2016

The logic behind one brand that stopped using Photoshop and increased sales 9%.

Content can be one of the hardest pieces of the conversion funnel for brands looking to optimize their ecommerce or online lead generation efforts.

This is especially true for photographs. Choosing the most compelling, on-brand photo that also provides the most visual product information possible, can seem like a difficult content task.

It is no surprise then that many brands hire models that adhere to the popular convention of beauty on which to display their products. If they are putting in so much effort to getting the photos just right, they would also want to ensure the photos look the best—or at least what is the perceived best.

But following popular convention, or perceived best, is an outdated mindset. Today, results and higher revenues are achieved by following the numbers.

Data is Sexy

Here at The Good we make decisions based on the numbers. We often like to say that we don’t have all the answers, but we know how to find them (hint: listen to your customers). So when we recently read an article about Aerie (owned by American Eagle), and their #aeriereal campaign which boosted online sales a massive 9%, we wanted to how they did it.

The article’s headline says it all: “American Eagle Stopped Airbrushing Lingerie Models And Sales Are Soaring”.

So by simply not photoshopping their product photo models Aerie saw massive revenue gains. Less work for more return? Sign our clients up!

An additional article from a few months later confirmed Aerie’s results, “Since removing altered images from its advertising arsenal, Aerie has seen a huge payoff. On a conference call last year the brand said sales had climbed 9%.”

Outside of the reasons Aerie stopped photoshopping their models, which are noble and most would agree just the right thing to do, they found out that the brand and their new photos were resonating better with consumers because they saw themselves in the photos, and thus the photos were much better at providing the most visual product information possible.

Sales are Sexy

It is safe to bet that your perception of beauty and its role in sales will change quickly if your brand sold 9% more by doing less post-production work in Photoshop.

Perhaps your marketing department could argue that your large billboard next to the busy highway is more eye catching with that overly photoshopped supermodel. And perhaps that billboard succeeds in driving traffic to your website. But once the consumer is on your website, the content needs to resonate with them. This means, as a brand, it is time to stop marketing and start selling.

Once a consumer has reached your online store, your marketing has won. You no longer need to catch the eye of a speeding motorist. You need to assist the onsite consumer in accomplishing their goals, which include researching and purchasing the product that is best for their needs.

And that includes seeing your product on authentic models, helping consumers picture your product in their life.

So ditch all the overzealous photoshopping. Ditch the photos that don’t resonate with your consumers or assist them in the path to purchase.

Sales will go up, and perhaps your marketing team will win in other ways—like all the free publicity Aerie has received and a customer base that feels more connected to their brand promise—in addition to the massive revenue increases.

Interested in driving online customers, leads and revenues through better content strategy? We wrote the book on it. Get your copy of Stop Marketing Start Selling today.