Picture Perfect Recognition
Establishing your company’s Style Guidelines
The Sheffield Report
by Les Maness
Professional photographer and marketing consultant
I've had the privilege of shooting lifestyle, conventions and recognition photos for a billion dollar network marketing company for the last 10 years. I’ve photographed celebrities – Les Brown, Gary Hall, Jr., Charles “Tremendous” Jones, Robert Kiyosaki, Dan O’Brien, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Fran Tarkington, Doug Wead, Dennis Weaver — just to namedrop a few. I’ve shot lifestyles pictorials in mansions, yachts, mountain retreats, tropical getaways, and all the other places and things that distributors dream about and post on their refrigerators. And while all of that was fun, I’d have to say my favorite subjects to shoot have been the new and leading distributors at events. Their enthusiasm for their companies is so prominent, they literally wear their loyalty on their face. And the more that owners and execs are able to capture that zeal and make it public, the more incentive and momentum they create for others to do the same.
With that mental picture in mind, here are tips that can turn your photo opportunities into snapshots of success at your next meeting or convention.
The great thing about point and shoot digital cameras is almost anyone can operate them. That means that the people working the registration desk at your next event can quickly and effectively grab a snapshot of your distributors against a background (maybe one with your event theme). Once you take their photo, ask questions to make sure all of the information you have on file for them is accurate – especially their current emails. Having that image on file with their current information is like putting money in the photo bank. You can use it for their ID tags, a memory jogger for when you speak to them on the phone, and a headshot every time you do a testimonial or quote from them. The distributors will have something they can put on their website, business cards and other promotional collateral, because the reality is, they aren’t going to go out and get one done for themselves. And if they push back and say they want to wait until they get dressed up, shoot it anyway and tell them you’ll replace it with the new one later. That way, if later never happens in all of the excitement, you’ve at least got one in your files.
There are at least four photo ops you can take advantage of at your next event that will thrill and motivate your distributors like nothing else.
- Put Them Center Stage. Take great pictures of them getting their pins or awards on stage. If you don’t have an industry savvy photographer to shoot this (you should), invite all of their upline and team members to come to the front when they walk up. Trust me, with 20 flashes going off at once, the paparazzi effect will make the recipient feel like a super star in your organization. And if you can get the people to send those photos in to you, you can feature them in your publications with the “photographers” by-line.
- Rock Their World. Set up times and backdrops where they can get their photos taken with you and the other key people. Once the photo is taken, make sure you send it to them – preferably in a paper frame with a note of appreciation – in the mail directly after the event. It should arrive just about the time the afterglow of the event has dimmed and the hard work and reality of how they build their business sets in, so the rejuvenating effect can be enormous. And remember: for most distributors, owners are like rock stars, so if you can remember any personal information about them to include with your best wishes, your business will indeed rock.
- Picture Them At Their Best. Since most of today’s distributors work part time from home, they seldom have opportunities to dress to impress. Your cocktail party or awards dinner will be their invitation to come looking their best, so you should take advantage of it. In addition to someone shooting candids, you should have a photographer shooting your top distributors against a studio backdrop. This will give you the quality photos of them you need for the home office, marketing materials, newsletters, and the assorted industry media that will want them. Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to invite your “emerging leaders” or “rising stars” to get their photos taken because you believe they are going to be a major player in your company. Talk about incentive to rise up through the ranks!
- Put The “Fun” In “Function”. Make sure you get lots of fun candid shots of your distributors, their upline, team mates, families, industry leaders and legends, and plenty of them dining, wining, dancing, hanging out at the pool, goofing off, etc., at your function. This will remind them – and tell the others who didn’t come – how much fun they had. Those photo reminders will help you build a much greater attendance at your next event, and underscore how important they are to you and your company.
- Turn Them Into Big Shots. Few things will thrill your distributors like seeing their photos projected onto a big screen at your event. A good photographer can shoot digital images, edit them down to the very best and load into a computer slide show almost on the fly. If the photographer comes in the day before your convention, they can capture your leaders, distributors and staff at work and play, and have it showing when your distributors first burst into your meeting room. Your photographer can also sync all of the weekend photos to theme music for a conference recap to play at the close of your event. It’s a little extra work (and pressure), but trust me, nothing will say you think your people are “larger than life” than seeing their photos that actually are on the big screen.
In closing, we’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. And in the Network Marketing, Direct Sales and Party Plan industry that’s a thousand words that says your company rewards your distributors and leaders with picture perfect recognition.
Les Maness, as a veteran author, editor, marketing director, photographer and consultant for the Direct Sales, Network Marketing and Party Plan industry, has developed advertising, marketing, and public relations materials for a one billion dollar Network Marketing business. He has also edited, authored content and/or provided images for print and online publications, created corporate content for advertising, branding, celebrity contracts and endorsements, interactive media, Internet, Intranet, labeling, publicity, public relations, promotions and sales training materials, and served as corporate spokesperson and trainer for a new products launch. He has provided lifestyle, success story, feature, and recognition profile images and/or content for Avon, FreeLife, New Vision International and VEMMA. Les has trained in Washington, D.C., on the Federal guidelines for becoming legally compliant with FDA and FTC guidelines for Multilevel, Party Plan and Direct Selling content.
Les has owned and operated his own creative services business providing authoring, consulting, photographic images, public relations, training, speaking, and marketing communications solutions to businesses, organizations and publications. He has created original content and/or images for over 25 print and/or online medias including Arizona Woman, AIM, Archery, bizAZ, Dream Big, Empowering Women, FLEX, Health News International, Home Business Connection, Hyatt-Regency Hotels, Insight, Ironman, Money Maker’s Monthly, MOMENTUM, New Vision Magazine, Phoenix Foundation for Homeless Children, Real People, Scottsdale Quarterly, Success From Home Magazine, Tribune Newspapers, US Archer, VisionLink, Vmagazine, Cox, Knight Ridder and Petersen’s Publications, and Muscle and Fitness magazine’s 7.5 million readers in 80 countries and 14 languages. He is an educational and motivational speaker for many businesses who has taught Business Communications, Mass Communications and Public Speaking at seven colleges. He holds a Master’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA.
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