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How To Use Psychology in Marketing?

Marketing Photography with Brendan Gallagher

How to use psychology in marketing? And where does photography meet marketing and the psychology behind consumer behaviour?

Commercial photographer Brendan Gallagher gives a fascinating insight into the thinking behind his work, combining photography experience and marketing knowledge, for our latest ProfileTree Business Leaders interview.

Photography is an essential element of marketing. But why? Photography has the ability to connect with consumers in extraordinary ways.

But how does it all link? Professional photographer Brendan Gallagher attributes his success to using photography and the psychology of sales and marketing to understand consumer behaviour. 

In our recent Business Leaders episode, guest Brendan Gallagher gives a fascinating insight into the thinking behind his work, combining photography experience and marketing knowledge to achieve head-turning results for businesses.

Want to know more? Check out our full interview below or read on for the highlights.

Brendan has been helping businesses with their visual communications for 13 years through his passion for helping companies market their services.

Blending Photography with Psychology

Brendan has been helping businesses with their visual communications for 13 years. In our interview, he gave an insight into his career journey, saying how he stumbled into his passion of photography “by chance”.

“I come from an IT background – so obviously a more rigid area. I became a photographer by chance and, over the years, have worked with many businesses across the UK, like Coca-Cola and other massive companies.”

The more successful he became, the more he wanted to hone on his craft by finding out what resonates with consumers. In this, he tells us how he branched into psychology.

“In the last few years, obviously with business going really well for us, I just took a deeper interest in what I was doing as a photographer. Rather than just taking photos, I really wanted to understand how the marketing system works on a deeper level.

“I took a deeper interest in psychology and it has taken me off in a whole new, different direction.”

However, for a long time, Brendan says his approach to photography was much more relaxed.

“When I started out, like in anything you do in life – you’re not your most confident – you’re just out there giving it a go. So I was like that for a long time, until I realised that I could help businesses understand how to use their photography.” 

Brendan outlines how this passion has unfolded in his work since advancing his knowledge in the psychology of marketing. He wanted to go beyond photography as a “tickbox” service for clients who simply wanted images. To do this, Brendan started looking directly at the sales process, and immersed himself in how his work could help companies succeed in this area.

“I found it far more interesting to help them understand what gets the value back to them in terms of what they are paying me for, so they feel like ‘that was worth it’.

“I had this extra bit of value of making them understand how photography actually gels together. What you have sometimes with companies, they are working with different agencies…so their marketing is all over the place, there’s no central hub.”

After identifying this issue, Brendan realised where he could implement his expertise.

“I was coming in and helping them understand where I fitted in and, more importantly, where everyone fitted in. We take things for granted when we are doing our job but sometimes there are a lot of holes that need filled.”

He began by explaining how he discovered an interest in the psychology of marketing: “I come from an IT background, so obviously a more rigid area. I became a photographer by chance and, over the years, worked with many businesses across the UK, like Coca-Cola and massive companies like that.

“In the last few years, obviously with business going really really well for us, I just took a deeper interest in what I was doing as a photographer. Rather than just taking photos I wanted to understand how the marketing system works on a deeper level.

“I took a deeper interest in the psychology and it has taken me off in a deeper direction.”

Brendan outlined how this passion has unfolded in his work and how he wanted to go beyond photography as a “tickbox” service for clients by looking at areas such as the sales process.

“I found it far more interesting to help them understand what gets the value back to them in terms of what they are paying me for, so they feel like ‘that was worth it’.

“I had this extra bit of value of making them understand how photography actually gels together. What you have sometimes with companies, they are working with different agencies…so there marketing is all over the place, there’s no central hub.

“I was coming in and helping them understand where I fitted in and, more importantly, where everyone fitted in. We take things for granted when we are doing our job but sometimes there are a lot of holes that need filled.

“How I learnt psychology and marketing? Because I needed to know what my customers were thinking, and I do love the sales process. A lot of companies are going online and they don’t understand what the buyers are doing.”

He gave an example by way of young people and their relationship with brands.

“We’re going into the world of authenticity, younger shoppers today are engaging deeper with their suppliers. They want to have a communication and to feel that they are part of something.

“And, funnily enough, we could maybe talk about social media in that social media has become selling media, and it seems to be one-way traffic to ‘buy me now’, and I find that very tired and boring and not what social media should be about.”

To learn more, thanks to Brendan’s many years at the junction between visual communications and marketing, see our full video interview.

Using Photography to Mirror Consumer Behaviour

With photography, psychology and marketing all being professions within their own right – Brendan had a lot to learn to get to where he is today.

“Why I learnt psychology and marketing? Because I needed to know what my customers were thinking and what they wanted to see. Then I could mirror that.

“I love the sales process, it’s the most challenging and scariest process for clients, but they are still person-to-person, so looking at your customer is the best place to start. A lot of companies are going online and they don’t understand what the buyers are doing.”

He gave an example by way of young people and their relationship with brands.

“We’re going into the world of authenticity, younger shoppers today are engaging deeper with their suppliers. They want to have communication with these, and to feel that they are part of something.”

Social media plays a huge role in this too, whereby businesses are not trying to understand or communicate with customers in a relevant or valuable way. Instead, they are merely seeing it as a selling tool, as Brendan highlights. 

“And, funnily enough, we could maybe talk about social media – in that social media has become selling media – and it seems to be one-way traffic to ‘buy me now’. I find that very tired and boring and not what social media should be about.”

People Are the Secret to Successful Marketing

In the grand scheme of things, people are the secret to successful marketing. We need to understand them to sell to them, whether this be visually through imagery, or our messaging through our content

As Brendan emphasises, it is all about going beyond the textbook learnings of marketing.

“When I started learning what marketing was about, it was textbook stuff. I wanted to know why we are doing this stuff and how does it help us? So that led me to psychology, which was amazing when you’re working to try and make people do things.

“Behavioural economics is a huge part of it. It covers the buying process, how people are irrational buyers and they don’t buy the way economists say we buy. 

“So, as a photographer – I should say I am a social psychologist really – it all fits.”

From the start of his career until now – Brendan’s adaptable, person-centred approach has seen him on a successful stride.

“I started in events, my first big event was Belfast Fashion Week. My brand today is a marketing photographer – I shoot for businesses. But I bounce around all the industries, like food, hospitality, law, accounts – even Bushmills. It’s huge.

“I see photography as a tool for marketing – so I see marketing as what I do.”

To gain more insights from Brendan, see our full Business Leaders interview.

To contact Brendan directly, find him over at his official website.

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