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The Value of Visual Storytelling with Paul M Bowers
Episode 189th November 2021 • Copper State of Mind: public relations, media, and marketing in Arizona • HMA Public Relations | PHX.fm
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In this episode, Abbie Fink and Dr. Adrian McIntyre talk about visual storytelling with Paul M Bowers.

They discuss the nature of the relationship between the creative and the agency, choosing a creative person who is invested in the success of the agency as well as their own gig, and building an ongoing understanding over time. They also talk about the "secret sauce" in a photo or video shoot: the ability of the photographer to coach and create an environment of safety for subjects with whom they’re working, how to direct, how to create the best “performance” from the subject, especially those for whom photography/video is uncomfortable.

Paul M Bowers describes himself as "an incorrigible multi-hyphenate with a 30+-year history helping people sell products, services, and ideas using photography and video." You can see Paul's work on his website and connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Read Abbie Fink's blog post for this episode: "Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?"

If you enjoyed this episode, please follow the Copper State of Mind podcast in your favorite app. We publish a new episode every other Tuesday. Just pick your preferred podcast player from this link and follow the show: https://www.copperstateofmind.show/listen

Additional Resources

Copper State of Mind is a project of HMA Public Relations, a full-service public relations and marketing communications firm in Phoenix.  

The show is recorded and produced in the studio of PHX.fm, the leading independent B2B podcast network in Arizona.

Transcripts

Adrian McIntyre:

Visual storytelling, the images that make an impression, that connect with ideas and emotion and create an impact in our audience. We're talking today about pictures. They say a picture's worth a thousand words, a great picture is worth a whole lot more. Joining me for this conversation is Abbie Fink, vice president and general manager of HMA Public Relations, and a special guest. Abbie, what's on your mind?

Abbie Fink:

Well, when I was in journalism school and we had to select whether we were going to do editorial, public relations, or photography, and I had absolutely no eye for photography. My subjects were off-center, they were blurry, and I'm like, "This is clearly not going to be where my career takes me." My first assignment and my first job out of college was to go take pictures of something. I'm like, "What is this? Why can't you understand I don't know how to do this?" I'm not sure that I'm any better at it now all these years later, but I recognize the value of having imagery to accompany the words that we say and that so much of us are attracted to the visual element of something. Our eye is drawn to that in a story, or we notice something hanging on the wall, that visual thing. It's become painfully obvious to me that I need to understand it a lot better. But at least, at the very bottom line, is make sure that we are always considering that visual component when we're putting together our communication strategies for our clients. I thought it would be really interesting today to bring on an expert in that visual storytelling. It's my pleasure to have Paul Bowers with us today. Paul and I met several years ago at a public relations conference where he was leading a workshop on just that; the idea of using visual and imagery to help tell us our stories. I just want to read something from his bio because I think this will help set the tone for what we're talking about. He says, "I create an environment of emotional safety and playfulness that encourages the subject to become part of the creative process." I think that's so important, especially in the people part of taking pictures. So it is my pleasure to invite Paul Bowers to join us today. Thank you, Paul.

Paul M Bowers:

Hey, how are you?

Abbie Fink:

Doing terrific, thank you. Just give us a little bit of your background and how you came to this approach, I guess, in terms of how you take a look at a subject and think about it from a visual perspective.

Paul M Bowers:

Like most things, it's a lot of mistakes. I actually started, I wanted to be an advertising agency owner. So I went to school in marketing and I learned some graphic design. In the background, I was always playing in photography since I was a little kid. I was the school AV monitor and I pushed projectors around. I actually loaded film, and touched film, and handled film, and was fascinated by it. As I got older, I was fascinated by the whole advertising thing. I was right on the edge of the Don Draper era and I thought, "Well, that looks like a fun career," but I also wanted to be self-employed. So I got my little marketing degree and set out to find a job. I was not having any luck, people were not hiring me for one reason or another. In the meantime, I got a job as a photo assistant, and I started looking at it, I thought, "Wow, this is kinda fun." Then I started looking at the power and potential of using images to help people sell things or help people convince them of things. There is no more powerful ... and Abbie, I know you're a word person, but it's nowhere near as powerful as words. By the time somebody has the time to read a paragraph, I already have them. I already had them a long time ago. I got them before they even read the fancy written paragraph. So I started taking pictures, and pretty soon I stopped looking for jobs and there I was.

Adrian McIntyre:

Paul, let's talk about that for a second, because I think it's really important. For the vast majority of humans with typical capabilities, vision is the primary sense, and it's tied in so many profound ways to our survivability. Our ability to take in some small piece of information and begin acting on it before the saber-toothed tiger jumps out of the bushes and eats us, is part of what's kept us alive. In some ways, we take vision for granted because we don't often see how we see. We simply see the things we think we see. And any cognitive scientist will tell you that it's a very interesting disconnect between what's actually there and what you see. That's a whole other rabbit hole to go down. But what you said about the quickness and the power of the image, I think, is really important and it probably has some profound implications for the storytelling, for the marketing, for the communication. Tell me a little about that.

Paul M Bowers:

A lot of what I have photographed and subsequently video, in my career, has been all about people. I photograph a lot of people. I have to explain to others who don't know this subject, this individual, exactly who this person is. I have to provide them with not only who the person is, not what they look like, mind you. That's a common misperception, is that a photographer is going to show you what a person looks like. If I've done that, then I've fallen short. I have to show you what that person is like or what I want you to believe that person is like. There's all kinds of ways of doing it. But it's, first, get their attention, and there's numbers of technical ways to do that. You got rods and cones in eyes and there's contrast and there's color, there's movement, particularly in video. So we have a lot of different ways of getting people's attention, tapping into the whole saber-toothed tiger thing, and then expanding on it by the content of the image. So I get their attention, I get them to look, and then I get them to have a certain perceived value attached to that individual or even a product. That's the secret sauce of photography.

Abbie Fink:

Paul, I think from my perspective, when we're talking with clients and we're developing communication strategy, it's rising to the top a little bit quicker when we talk about what imagery we need to accompany whatever it is we're developing. If we're developing social media content, if we're developing a brochure, or we're sending out a news release, what imagery do we have to go along with it? Over the years, of course, that's evolved now that we all potentially think we can do this ourselves, but I've always said that's there really no substitute for that more professional approach to something. Yes, we can snap off a quick photo and send it along, but the end result, where it needs to go and where it needs to be, and to your point about what do we want them to know when they're looking at this picture, has to come from a much more strategic approach. You have to really think about how this imagery, in whatever version that is, is going to help tell and carry forward really what the messaging is, if we think about it strictly from a marketing perspective. It's not just the pretty picture that accompanies the words. These have to be part of, and thoughtful part of, everything we're doing from a strategy perspective. That a professional approach, at least in my view, bringing that conversation in at the beginning, not as an afterthought, is so critically important to the success of what that imagery is going to be for this particular campaign. Agree?

Paul M Bowers:

Well, I obviously will agree with anything that you say, Abbie.

Abbie Fink:

Well, you've now become my favorite guest.

Paul M Bowers:

I knew that. The answer is, of course, unequivocally yes. I tend to look at photography, image making, video, there's hardware and there's software. Hardware meaning people that know how to technically execute an image, people that know what camera to use, what lens to use, these kind of things. Truly, that is the lesser important part than the software part. That is, when you're trying to use images to influence. Now, in your example, an advertising agency should have creative partnerships with people that are creating images for them, whether still or moving, and include those at the very beginning. I love it when agencies call me up and say, "Hey, we've got a new client and we have to find a way to accurately tell their story. Photography may be part of it or may not, but how would you approach this creatively? What would you do? What are the tools that you would use to tell this individual story in the most effective and persuasive way?" Instead, what I get sometimes is, "Hey, Paul. We need you to take a picture of this guy." Well, I'm happy to do that. I am into it for the money. I'm paid for it, and so I will go take that picture. But that leaves a lot of my capability on the table when you do that. I might have a different approach, a different way. I might want to say something different that is going to increase the power of the message that you're trying to get. So it's very helpful to bring in a person with whom you have a strong relationship. If you don't, you start developing them, and talking to people, and talking to people, the same as you would a copywriter or a graphic designer. The more they know about your goals and the more clearly your goals are defined, which is another thing, because sometimes people don't go through that process. But the more you have those goals defined, the better I'm going to be able to help you out with that, even if it's to the point of, "You might not want to put this person on video. I met this person. Let's not use video for them, let's use a solid still image rather than a video." Or if I were to meet the person that you're talking about or some of the people you're talking about, I can say, "These are great storytellers. Let's video them. Let's figure out a way to do it in a budget effective way so that we can help tell their story." Those are very effective decisions.

Abbie Fink:

In essence, you're becoming a critical part of the strategy team long before actually doing whatever the tactic is that they've brought you into do. You're involved with those early discussions; the messaging and the development and the concepts, bringing in this team. Adrian, you and I have talked about who's part of your communications team. And bringing in the visual component should be part of that early stages as much as it is who's going to write those words, or who's developing the media training or whatever it might be? That creative concept needs to be part of that discussion early on, as well.

Adrian McIntyre:

Let's talk about some of the blind spots though, that keep agency owners and people managing projects from realizing the critical importance of this. Because we live in a world where business can be sometimes more of the same, more of the same. Or can be like, "Well, we're looking at what our competitors are doing. We're looking at what clients have done in the past and we're going to do more of that thing because it's safer, because we know we can bring that in under budget with a healthy margin." And at the end of the day, managing P&Ls is an important part of making your agency survive. To make the case that hey, you know what, we should pause for a second, we should think differently, we should see differently, we should bring in other perspectives because we're going to make better work and we're going to get better results for the client, may not be immediately obvious. Even though as we sit here and comfortably talk about it, it's obvious to us. How do you, Paul, in these conversations with the agencies who maybe aren't there yet, how do you even broach the topic? How do you get them to see that having the calculation is only part of it and that the creativity is an equally important part? In other words, what I would often call that tension between math and magic. You've got to make both of them happen. How do you get people to begin this conversation with you?

Paul M Bowers:

Well, it's dating. Truly, it's dating. You ... I shouldn't say "you," I should say "one," because Abbie's a writer. One should associate themselves with people that understand this. One should understand that there's a lot of ego involved. We see this with managers that refuse to hire people that are better than they are. If you're not hiring people that are better than you are, then you're really not a very good manager. A lot of finding these relationships is nurturing the ones that are working well and deciding the other ones, whether they should be continued or not. Now, I certainly have clients and have had many clients over the years for whom I just execute what they want. They tell me this, they show me examples, they give me mood boards. They say, "Paul, I want you to take a picture that looks like this." I say, "Okay, it's going to cost this much." They say, "Okay, it's fine." I get new motorcycle parts that week. The better clients, the ones that I get to know through that process, I can start nurturing a little bit. I say, "Have you considered that this is an individual that is associated with the environment? Perhaps we photograph them in an environment rather than on a blank paper background." And try to signal to people that there are other ways of doing this. They may or may not be better, but I have an obligation as a professional to suggest them. Sometimes they take it up and sometimes they don't. We'll go to pet peeves, we're going to go quickly there. Whenever you go to an event, say a gala or something, and you see a podium there and you have people standing behind a podium, talking with papers that they're shuffling, you're signaling to all the people in there that you are pretty much behind the times. That you have an old construct and you better hope that your audience in that particular gala wants that. Now, when COVID happened and we could no longer have galas, I was successful in transitioning one of my clients to doing... We rented a theater and we did a more TED talk type format. Where people are walking and talking and gesticulating. Fortunately it's video so I could feed them the line and they can feed it back. But it's a way of stepping up the game that they might not have otherwise done, had COVID not come along. There's opportunities along the way to help people shift their approach.

Adrian McIntyre:

Well, I want to underline something you said because it really makes this distinction clear when we pause and reflect about it. Most people are aware of TED talks now, it's become a format that is widely consumed. And what most people might associate with TED talks is compelling 18 minute speeches. What they may not realize, but what you just pointed out implicitly and automatically, is that the TED format was also a visual style. It was not just a way of structuring a talk that was start with a story, bring in some evidence, bring in your personal journey, etc. The TED format is a visual format as much as a speech structure format. It's not like nobody had ever done that before, but they made that the thing they did with the red carpet circle and the dark background and the logo. They basically were creating a visual style along with the structure of the speech. That's what you're suggesting can be done in almost any arena. Find a way to innovate, find the art, find the difference, and run with it.

Paul M Bowers:

Yeah, and I completely agree. What TED did was contemporize the pipeline of conveying information by a spoken word. Rather than behind a podium, get out, walk around. The fascinating thing about a TED, is part of that has to do with technological advancement. One is multi-camera video, the other are prompters down below and low, rather than having to have papers. Here's what happened. That TED presentation format became almost inseparable from the theme, which is high credibility, contemporary content and you believe what those people say. I just play on it and I say, "Okay, I'm going to put people in that environment. I'm going to shoot video of them doing that." I've actually told some of the subjects, "You could be speaking in Swahili, but the fact that you are in this environment and photographed this particular way, means that you automatically have high credibility. People will believe what you say, even if they can't understand it." Think about that, that is hugely powerful. Even if people don't click through and listen to the video and watch the video, just that they're presented with a visual of a person in that environment and associated with the brand, you become successful. That's the basis of advertising. Create a mood and associate a brand. There's pejorative ways. Let's call it mind foolery, but nevertheless, that's what I'm doing.

Abbie Fink:

This is a family friendly show, Paul.

Paul M Bowers:

With the mind foolery like that, you use these visuals, whether video or just still work, you use them, you serve them to the audience and then you attach the brand to it and then you're successful.

Adrian McIntyre:

I know Abbie has something to say. I want to quickly just connect back to something we've talked about in other context, to make these connections for our listeners. When we talked at length about fake news and how fake news works by pretending to be real news visually, the same chyron "lower third" at the bottom of the screen with the ticker scroll, the same logo in the upper right, the live flashing away. All they're really doing is staging something that has credibility and using that to communicate at least half of the message. Abbie?

Abbie Fink:

Right. Paul, one of the things that you said in your bio was this creating the environment for emotional safety and playfulness. I think when we're talking about the biggest hesitancy that we get from our clients is, "I don't like my picture taken." I will be top of the list, I don't like what my hair looks like, whatever. I mean, go down the list of reasons I'd rather and can't you just use that headshot of me from 19 whatever? Then so much of that conversation is why we need to do it. But for me, bringing in someone like yourself is I'm trusting you in the process to help my clients understand that they are in good hands, that they're going to be taken care of. That your job is to make them look good and comfortable and that they're pleased with the outcome. I'd like to talk a little bit about if we've gone through all the process and we're now to that point where we've got the shoot scheduled, how are you creating this sense that you have the best interest at heart, that it is your goal and your responsibility to make sure that this subject of this photo is coming in the best possible way? So that I, as the subject, feel comfortable and obviously, if I loosen up a little bit my smile is more natural, my body stance looks better. I mean, it's going to create a better subject. But talk a little bit about what your process is in that room once you've got that person committed to the idea, to help them get to that sense of playfulness and really be an active participant in the process.

Paul M Bowers:

I'm sorry, that's proprietary.

Abbie Fink:

Okay. Thank you so much, that concludes our program for today.

Paul M Bowers:

There is a magic sauce, but I have to rewind a little bit to what you're saying, is that I'm only partially responsible for the successful execution of a photograph, particularly of an individual. I'm still not completely there, but I'm still disappointed when a subject doesn't like their photograph. Now, I can look at the photograph and I can see that it is really well done and that I have the best so called performance I'm going to get from that individual. But the truth is, it's still a lot of it has to do with the person sitting in the chair. Now, I'll tell you and I'll get to that and exactly what my secret sauce is for that. But let's be sure, first of all, I don't think everybody should be photographed. I don't like to be photographed, I really don't, I'm very uncomfortable with it. It's the wrong side of the camera and I'm sure Dr. Sigmund Freud would say that's why I became a photographer, to assure my position on the opposite side. Nevertheless, is it important that the person is photographed and are they interested and capable of working with a photographer to try to get the best shot? A classic example of this, it was on PBS about rock and roll photography. If you haven't seen it, it's awesome. I can't recommend it enough. But it's showing hundreds and hundreds of images that were shot in the '50s, '60s, '70s of rock and roll icons. And every one of these images is awesome, shot beautifully and you feel all the emotion from it. My wife and I are sitting there watching this and I'm looking at the technique. The techniques with old school cameras, one light, film, nothing sophisticated about those techniques whatsoever. Often they were shot just on the fly. The thing that joins them all together is that people were photographing performers. These are performers, they're used to making love to the camera, is the old way of saying it. They're used to performing in front of the camera and they're very comfortable. That's what links all those images together and what makes them all so powerful, is not a technical execution, but the fact that somebody knows how to work a camera. That's a talent that not everybody has.

Adrian McIntyre:

And the "somebody who knows how to work a camera" is the subject that's being photographed.

Paul M Bowers:

That's correct. Yeah, it's not how to set the shutter speed and the aperture. They are knowing what they look like and they're direct in their enthusiasm to convey a message to the photographer. When I photograph a professional model, it's like a walk in the park. I can give them all kinds of directions and these are magic people, they know how to do it. Now, I have a career of photographing CEOs for annual reports and for any number of other reasons, and sometimes they're good at it and sometimes they're not.

Adrian McIntyre:

How much of this is a kind of emotional intelligence?

Paul M Bowers:

Yes, but a certain type of it. Now, to answer your question, and this is a very long winded preamble. But for those of you listening, we're all connected by visual so I can see Abbie waving her hand, saying, "Yeah, no problems."

Abbie Fink:

Keep talking, keep talking.

Paul M Bowers:

I'll tell you my magic sauce. My assistants and my crew are so tired of hearing this thing every time somebody sits in my chair in front of the camera, but it happens, starts with someone, myself or someone. Someone has said, "You are scheduled for a photograph." Comes in an email, it's going to be Monday at 10:00 in the morning. You're going to such and such a place. All right, well that directive can be a little intimidating, particularly for a person that does not really feel comfortable about it. They don't know what they're getting into. So either I personally respond to that email and cut out the person that's contracting the whole thing, so I'm establishing a personal relationship from the very get go. Or I have the person in charge, the agency person convey this information. First that it's going to be fun. Second, you're not going to be required to smile. That is such an important thing. I am not going to make you smile. I've been shooting non-professional models for over 40 years, never one time have I ever said, "Smile." I'm not going to force you to do something that you're not comfortable with in front of a camera. Meaning, smile is the first one, I'm not going to over pose you, I'm going to make it casual. It's a conversational environment. Bring whatever you'd like to wear. Now, I have in my head I don't want them wearing certain things, but it's the beginning of giving permission. That happens at the email level, well before they ever show up at my studio. When they arrive, "Hey, how are you?" Very informal. Sometimes I'm photographing a number of people that day, so their first human touch when they arrive at the location or the studio is not me, it's generally my makeup artist. I hire a makeup artist first based on personality. They got to have the personality first, then I look at their work. The reason is, they're the first contact for that subject and how that subject perceives the whole process is critical to me. I want them warmed up. I explain to my makeup artist, "Please tell them you've been working with me for years, that I'm a great guy, I'm so much fun to work with. You're going to have a good time."

Abbie Fink:

See, that's where those words still matter. Words still matter.

Paul M Bowers:

Words still matter. Anyway, they're warmed up along the way. When they come to me, I always have some instruction about where they're going to sit and how they're going to get there. I say, "Hey, there's some cables on here, we're going to walk your way back." I generally walk with them to wherever they're going to sit to be part of this photograph. It's not that I'm so concerned that they're going to knock something over. I want them to know that they're guided through this process, that they have somebody to carry them through it. That it's not, "Sit over there and make good faces," which is what they're really afraid of. They're afraid that somebody's going to say, "Sit over there and make good faces," and they're going to choke, then they're going to feel awkward, and then they're going to have a picture that's cast in stone for the rest of their life. So I walk, literally walk them through the process. If I feel a subject is particularly afraid, I will sit in the subject chair. I will say, "Why don't you stand over there like you're me and this is what you're going to do," and I role play it for them. So they can actually see what's expected of them. They look at it and say, "Oh. Well, that's not hard." I tell them, "I will give you some direction," but I don't have people moving their nose to the left by one millimeter or something like that because you over pose people and they feel over controlled and they feel uncomfortable. So I don't do it that way. Once the subject is seated, I tell them, "I shoot a lot of what we used to call film, okay?" So instantly they go, "Oh, this is not like school pictures where I have three and if I screw it up," people think that because that's their experience with photography. Is they walked in, sat down, click, click, click, and their tongue was sticking out and it was in the yearbook and they were pointed at and laughed. No, I shoot a lot of what we used to call film. I'll tell them I'll shoot 100, 200 frames if I need to and all we need is one. If you're not playing with this, if you're not making funny faces, if you're not laughing, then you're doing it wrong. There's a real easy process. Then I move back behind the camera, I tell them, "The first few frames are for me, just to get my lighting squared away." If my lighting's not squared away by the time they hit the chair, I've done something really wrong. But what I'm trying to do is show them pop, strobes go off, I muck around a little bit. I go, "Ah, I got to do this, or do that." What that does is it helps them chill out just a little bit, they see that I'm a human too, I might make mistakes and so my expectations of them are not extraordinarily high. Then I start having a conversation. I'll punctuate it with direction. "Point your nose at my hand. Let's try that." In my head I see how their faces are cut and I know how the light's going to fall. I don't say that. I say, "Hey, point your nose at my hand." Okay, click, click, click, just. "Just move your eyes over to my camera." Okay, click, click, click, click. And just constantly shoot. A common mistake that photographers make all the time, drives me nuts, is one, two, three. Wow, you've just escalated their stress every time you do that. That's how I approach it and that's how I do it, is create that environment from the very beginning of how is this going to go. Decline the level of stress, make them think it's easy, and it is. And that they're not going to be overly stretched and overly demanded and off we go.

Abbie Fink:

For me, where this settles in, is that this is an investment and not just a financial investment and we are going to contract and pay a professional photographer, but there is so much time that is built into getting to that perfect visual. And it's the discussions that happen beforehand, thinking through the whole creative process, between what words are we going to use, how are these going to come forth, what visuals are going to be there? And then the development of that visual, whether it is a human subject or other, it isn't just a couple point and shoot things and out we go. I mean, there's really an investment in the time it takes to find that perfect creative visual that goes along with it. For me, in that discussion and I know we do it, you just need 15 minutes to schedule that photo and in a perfect scenario you haven't even started with the camera yet in that 15 minutes. There's a lot that has to prep that subject. Again, whether it's a physical piece of something or if it's a human being in that. I think where we need to be more instructive in our conversations is really thinking about the importance of that visual in the same way that we would anything else. We need to give it the benefit of the time and the creative process that goes into it. It's not just a click, click and out the door. We really need to give the creative process its due in order for us to come out with the best successful creative piece at the end of the project.

Paul M Bowers:

There are times where it's not a photographic solution. I see people say, "Well, here we're going to run a picture of Mr. or Ms. Big," and it's just going to be a quick headshot or something. And I think, "Maybe that's not the tool you want to use there." For example, if Mr. or Ms. Big is extremely uncomfortable in front of a camera, I'm going to encourage you to use an illustration, because illustrations are cool and illustrations lie. You can make Mr. or Ms. Big look cool in an illustration, that I can't do in a photograph because a photograph is too literal. You have to start at the very beginning. Do we want a photograph? If so, what does the photograph like? And can this individual pull off a photograph like that? If it's supposed to be moody and interesting, can they do that, are they capable? If they're not, don't set them up for failure and don't set your photographer up for failure either because they're going to charge you one way or the other.

Adrian McIntyre:

It seems to me, as I listen to you talk, that you're really onto something that I hadn't considered with regard to photography. As an academic, as a culture anthropologist, I've studied representation and the idea that you are looking at these artistic expressions, these creations through the lens of symbol and meaning and light, et cetera, things of that nature. What you're also talking about though is managing experiences. Of course, not just the experience of the viewer of the individual, although that's critically important. You are creating this work towards the emotional impact you expect it to have that is aligned with the strategic goals of the piece, the campaign, the whatever. But you're also working in the realm of the human experience of your subjects. It occurred to me, it's really simple but profound at the same time, that you are talking about them as subjects, not objects. And that as the human subject of the photograph, they are in a way, as we learn in simple grammar, they're the one that does the doing. The subject of the sentence is the one that does the action. It's not that they're there as a static image, the photograph will capture a moment in time, it will freeze a moment, in a way. Although, what they photograph means to the viewer and what it meant to the subject of the photograph are not the same, obviously. We all have those disconnects ourselves. But you're designing these experiences for the human subject your photograph. Of course, you do product photography too, that's a little easier. The products aren't nervous about how they're going to look. But you're really working in this realm of human emotion and human experience. How do you put a price tag on that?

Paul M Bowers:

I put a big one on it. The answer to your observation is absolutely yes. And it gets even more complicated when we start shooting video. I'm doing a lot of that now and for the same reasons, it's really fun. I don't shoot movies, I don't shoot crazy experiences. I'm not out shooting Red Bull motorcycle stunts. I help people tell stories. It's important to create in a video the same kind of environment that you refer to. That allows that individual to tell their story both with words and with their nature. With the way that they sit, the way that they express, the way that they look or don't look at camera. The pacing of their speech, their intonation. It starts getting really complicated when you do that compared to still work. I love it and it's very powerful medium. If it's properly done, you are factoring those things into the process. You're factoring first from the choice. Do we want to feature Robin Jones in a video? Yes or no? Well, then you have to think, does Robin Jones come across well on camera? Does Robin Jones have an interesting story to tell? If all those things click, then you have an opportunity to create something that's very powerful and to which you can attach a brand and we're back to mind foolery.

Abbie Fink:

Well, and again, for this whole discussion on really thinking about the visual from all angles, not just this is the photo that I want or the video clip, the 30 second sound bite that I'm trying to achieve, but how does it factor into all the things that we're doing? How is the imagery going to improve upon the words that we're saying? How is what we're doing; lighting and sound and all sorts of elements that go into finding that perfect visual, is not done in a quick point and shoot situation? That we really need to give it the benefit of the strategy and the discussion. That it is more than just that quick photo, but really the understanding from a professional like Paul, of someone like yourself that gets in there and really helps guide the conversation and helps us as the wordsmiths figure out how our visuals are going to impact and ideally improve ultimately what we're trying to do. I'll give you one opportunity here to wrap up and share some last words of wisdom here as we think about what the visual storytelling role is in our communication strategy.

Paul M Bowers:

I think the overarching thing, factor is to be clear on your intent. What are you trying to accomplish? We're trying to position this company or this individual in a certain way. So how do we do that? How do we use all of our resources? The visual, the photography or the video is one portion of that. How do you successfully integrate all of those moving parts to that one goal? If you're clear from the beginning and you bring in the partners that help you accomplish that goal, then you're going to be fine. Don't make assumptions about what your goal is, think about it carefully because it's the most important part of your strategy.

Abbie Fink:

Paul, thank you so much for spending some time with us on Copper State of Mind. It was a real pleasure to talk visually from how we want to think about our communications strategy. We will include some additional information on how to find Paul and his work in our show notes and our blog post that we do to accompany this. Adrian, it's always a pleasure to spend some time chatting with you, as well. I think that is what's on my mind for this episode.

Paul M Bowers:

Thank you both, it's been a pleasure.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please find and follow Copper State of Mind in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or any other podcast app. You can also find the show online at HMAPR.com. For all of us here at PHX.fm, I’m Adrian McIntyre. Thanks for listening, and please join us for the next Copper State of Mind.