Dear Ginny WTH,
Business has been kind of slow, and I am a pet lover. In fact, my dog is a big part of my life. I was thinking about having my picture taken with my dog, and using it on all of my marketing. It might set me apart from the competition. What do you think?
Pet Lover from San Francisco
Dear Pet Lover,
No you just didn’t? It is not my goal to ever offend anyone in this column; it is my goal to be straightforward and advise. This may be the exception.
Listen to me…do not now or ever include your dog, your cat, your hamster or any other prop in your professional photograph, which would be the one you use for business. I thought we had gotten past this. I guess not.
Meaning of the word professional: One that engages in the pursuit of an activity professionally. Ok, you’re right it depends on what profession you are in as to how your “professional photo” should look.
If you’re Carrot Top it’s okay to have rabbits and wild hair in the studio when you get your photograph taken. If you’re a pet sitter, it’s okay to have small animals at your side.
Ok Ginny, if you’re stuck on this no pets thing, how about something that relates to my business like my PDA or notebook computer? That’s okay right? NO. Props is props.
Would you like to see your doctor wearing a rubber glove with his index finger extended in a picture of him in the lobby? Snap!
Realtors have typically been placed low on the list of the Harris Poll in which people were asked to rate the prestige of various occupations. Doctors, nurses, firefighters, military folks all rank high. Realtors, not so much.
Not saying that the picture determines this overall bad attitude towards real estate agents, but it certainly plays a role. If the first impression a consumer has of a local Realtor is them with their pet puggle, is that good? You’re selling a professional service that takes intelligence, strategic thought, detailed coordination and financial acumen. If a picture speaks a thousand words, what is it that you are saying? I’m a professional Realtor or I’m a dog lover?
I can hear some of you now: Ginny shouldn’t people be more real in this transparent world and somehow shouldn’t that be reflected in my photo? Real means never having to shove it down my throat. Dog in photo, not subtle. Not real.
Let’s raise the professional up. Let’s all vow to extricate the props from our professional photos forever. Please will you join the cause?