I recently had head shots taken on a very hectic trip to Seattle, and I was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been. Thankfully, with the help of a great photographer and my sister helping me to prepare, I got some good shots which weren’t in the style I had intended. Head shots and other imagery associated with your brand, personal or corporate, should match your company’s position and messaging, which you should explicitly define internally. Choices made by your employees, including images for marketing materials and head shots, will then more clearly portray the value of your life science brand.
Larger companies may have a style or content guide which indicates the messaging, voice, and imagery that the company uses. For smaller companies like Comprendia, I’ll admit we don’t have a formal document because we are relatively small and I thought I understood and could communicate it clearly. However, when excellent photographer Connie Riggio asked me what I wanted the pictures to convey, I stumbled a bit. I know the mission and messaging of Comprendia, how we help companies communicate their value, yet I was struggling to explain it because I am too busy and perhaps too close to it.
We run into life science companies that also struggle with their messaging and value proposition. When they started their company, they had a clear vision of the niche that their products would fill (hopefully). After a few years of dealing with the details, they may lose sight or be so close to the issue to see it clearly. If you are in this position, perhaps an exercise where we look at Comprendia’s value proposition, and how my head shots fit with it, will help you to explore and refine your own.
When I started Comprendia in 2008, I knew a fair amount about the life science marketing agencies that existed, and was inspired by their success. I have a very science, computer, and web ‘heavy’ resume, and also began to see the burgeoning role that science communicators would play, using tools such as blogs and Twitter. I decided this would be our niche, to champion science communication between life science companies and researchers, using social media as our toolbox.
We want to challenge ‘business as usual’ for life science companies by encouraging engagement with researchers at every level. One aspect of our messaging is the images on our blog, which are all simple and illustrative, mostly isolated objects meant to serve as an analogy. This imagery conveys our modern viewpoint of communication, which is to be clear and to connect with the reader. For personal imagery, we want to appear as approachable communicators, and we practice what we preach by helping out scientists online by serving as champions for their blogs, etc. and IRL (in real life) with monthly life science networking events in San Diego.
In keeping with our mission of communication and engagement, we’re asking you which head shot I should choose! The photos are numbered, please leave your choice of #1, #2, or #3 below, based on your perception of Comprendia and the points raised in this post. Also, I encourage you to think about your company’s positioning and message (write it down!), and to consider whether your imagery accurately conveys it.
Special thanks to Connie Riggio Photography in Seattle, she is more than just a fantastically talented photographer, she knew how to lead me into the shots I needed. She’s willing to travel and would be an excellent choice when you decide to redo the head shots for your company.
Which head shot would you choose for me to communicate Comprendia’s messaging and why? Please leave your vote for #1, #2, or #3 as a comment below, along with the reason(s) behind your choice if you have time.