Compare research reports today with those that were written 10 years ago. The first thing to notice is that most current research reports are written in PowerPoint rather than word. This means there is more opportunity to be punchy with the text and, importantly, to include stimulating graphics. Hopefully the research reports of today have a tight story and drive to an actionable conclusion. The subject of this post is about the use of photographs and graphics that add value to reports.
We human beings love photographs. The visual scene is how we are programmed to assess a situation and photographs provide a record of a setting. For example, a report could include many facts and figures explaining why textiles made in the Philippines are low cost, but a photograph would do the job in an instant.
It isn’t necessary to visit the Philippines to obtain a photograph of this kind, it is there for everyone to see from a simple Internet search. The source of our photographs is very often something that is easily found under “images” on an internet search.
Photographs can be appropriate when reporting on competitors’ products. The photograph could be a close-up of the product taken from a picture on the supplier’s website.
Photographs show us how products are used in the workplace or displayed in a merchants’ showroom.
A company making workplace gloves kept a diligent record of photographs featured in the financial times which showed a worker donned in protective clothing. Over a period of a year it was possible to obtain an approximation of the leading brands in gloves on the assumption that the Financial Times would be using a random sample of photographs and the choice of glove worn by the worker would be representative of what was happening in the marketplace.
Today everyone is a photographer and everyone carries a camera in their pocket as an app on their phone. This means that respondents can take photographs at any time and mail them instantly to researchers who can compile an album of pictures that tell a story.