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Our imagery
Experience. Understand. Implement.

Our imagery

Images: Lovely accessories or a driving force?

We enrich people’s lives by giving them an opportunity to be an active part of their community, sharing special moments, opinions, ideas, and knowledge with others from anywhere in the world, at any time. It’s in our nature to seek connections with others.
Images have proven to be a driving force in creating advertising with a strong impact. This is why they are so important in our communication: They convey our brand personality and do a great deal to get our messages across. Telekom’s imagery reflects our brand promise, “Life is for sharing.”. It shows moments both big and small. Events in people’s everyday lives. Special experiences that people have and share with each other.
We define the frame that our brand offers.
This frame consists of three reward areas:
  • 1. Enable participation
  • 2. Foster shared experiences
  • 3. and enriching pepole´s lifes.
The human brain takes these implicit concepts as rewards and manages our behavior accordingly - in buying decisions as well. Therefore, the persistent communication of these value adding areas is very important. It substantially shapes the image of our brand in the perception of our customers.
How do we want to be perceived?
„sociable“, „approachable“, „authentic“, „trusted“ und „inspiring“ provide the thematic focus areas for our visuals.
We don’t show all of these associations in the same intensity in all of our images. We incorporate specific associations depending on each individual context, as well as our target audience and their needs. This helps us communicate a positive message at the moment people encounter our brand. We usually focus on two to three attributes in each photo.
A supporting gesture, a trusted touch, a meeting where partners see eye to eye
Codes express background information that has a subconscious, automatic impact, especially when it comes to social, inspiring, and vital attributes. Our brain processes these incredibly quickly. We intuitively understand these clear messages without really thinking about it. This was also shown in the findings of market research we conducted in 2017, featuring 900 test subjects who viewed 54 photos from our PictureWorld collection.
If you’re interested in reading more about how imagery impacts consumers, check out Phil Barden’s “Decoded. The Science Behind Why We Buy.”
The story we tell in the image also plays an essential role.
The story we tell in the image also plays an essential role, from intimate, everyday moments with family to exciting, extraordinary situations – whether in groups of people, as couples, or alone, at home or out in the world. We show experiences that people want to share, and present our products and services as part of these moments. They are what make these shared experiences possible, enriching both our personal and professional lives.
It’s often the supposedly little things that decide whether or not a photo is right for our brand: the perspective, styling, location, natural lighting. We defined four principles to give us valuable guidance in selecting and creating images – our „golden 4“. They provide the basic constants for our imagery while ensuring the greatest possible freedom in implementation and maximum identification with the brand. They help us create emotional series of images with a distinctive, clearly recognizable concept that showcases people without looking staged. When we create or choose images created on the basis of our „golden 4“ they have a strong Brand Fit, and effectively support our brand positioning over the long term.

Choosing the right image

Our Golden 4

  • Real life

  • #2 Snapshot style
  • #3 Togetherness
  • #4 Openness

A wide range of images reflect our brand personality. They cover a spectrum that extends from positive moments in people’s everyday lives to situations that are less conventional, but very special.

It’s important to ensure that the viewer can identify with each situation. Be sure to show moments that resonate with viewers because they are familiar with them, or intuitively understand them.

KEY QUESTIONS:

Does the image show either a positive moment in everyday life, or a very “special” moment?

Can the viewer intuitively understand the moment/situation?

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CODES
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  • #1 Real life
  • Snapshot style

  • #3 Togetherness
  • #4 Openness

Aspects of our brand personality, like “authentic” and “trusted,” benefit from spontaneous photos that don’t appear staged. Instead, they look authentic and vibrant.

Using a realistic, true-to-life setting and emphasizing the authentic features of the testimonials – in place of perfect models – further enhances the reality of life instead of artificial, staged settings.

KEY QUESTIONS:

Does the image look as if it were an actual snapshot?

Do the people’s gestures and facial expressions seem real and authentic?

Are honest/authentic characteristics features visible in the context or on the models (e.g. natural hair, crumbs on the table, half-eaten fruit, etc.)?

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CODES
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  • #1 Real life
  • #2 Snapshot style
  • Togetherness

  • #4 Openness

Positive interactions between people are the most important ways to activate the concept of our brand. As such, images featuring several people interacting with each other should form the core of our available imagery. There is a great deal of latitude in the types of interactions we can show, including shared experiences, dialogue, teamwork, and much, much more.

People in touch with each other, sharing moments and experiences. Working together – not next to each other. This brings them closer, strengthens their relationships, and enriches their lives.

KEY QUESTIONS:

Is it possible to see an interaction between people in the image?

Does the image show a moment in which people are doing something together or communicating with each other?

Are people smiling or laughing? People who aren’t smiling, laughing, or making a positive impression do not reflect our brand and its values. Please note: A lack of contact with the face or the look of the testimonial detracts from the overall impression made by the image.

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CODES
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  • #1 Real life
  • #2 Snapshot style
  • #3 Togetherness
  • Openness

The people in the images approach each other – and the viewer – eye to eye. The people shown in the images should appear inviting, giving the viewer the sense that they’re part of the community – or could be. Our brand is friendly, open, and approachable, just like the people we show in our photos. No one is left behind or excluded.

KEY QUESTIONS:

Does the image indicate the presence of at least two people? Please note: It’s not necessary to see all of the people completely or clearly. They can be blurred or partially cropped out of the photo. It’s also possible to show a conversation in which a device symbolizes the “presence” of another person sharing a moment.

Does the shown group seem open to other people?

Are the people in the group interacting eye to eye?

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Brand Fit Image

Strengthen your brand

Go for Gold
Increase your impact and strengthen the Brand Fit with images from Telekom PictureWorld.
63 %
Average
Brand Fit
68 %
PictureWorld
Images
Our PictureWorld images have a high Brand Fit (68 %) when compared to the average Brand Fit of images. This means that these images help foster our brand image and verifiably strengthen Marcom KPIs. (DTAG Brand Fit Test 2017 featuring 900 test subjects who viewed 54 images from PictureWorld. Research Institute Decode).
Sociable
66 %
Average Brand Fit for " Sociable"
91 %
Brand Fit Image
Honest
64 %
Average Brand Fit for "Honest"
90 %
Brand Fit Image
Open
64 %
Average Brand Fit for "Open"
90 %
Brand Fit Image
Authentic
67 %
Average Brand Fit for "Authentic"
86 %
Brand Fit Image
PictureWorld – creating and developing a pool of images specifically for Telekom. It’s an exciting job!
Astrid Grosser
I had already done a photo shoot for a Telekom campaign when I was asked to work on shooting a pool of images with an HR/working environments theme. Organizing photo shoots for pools of images involves special challenges. You have a lot of freedom because specific motifs haven’t been defined. But you do need to meet a large number of thematic and brand-relevant requirements. We need to create a platform to effectively present products, devices, and relevant services. We need to cast models that reflect the desired target audiences, and present them in the context of the brand.
Every photo shoot is different, it doesn’t ever become routine. We ask ourselves: How can we tell exciting stories? What makes images honest – and in what way? How do we convey the idea of “authentic”? Or “inspiring”? Or “sociable”? What futurerelated topics move people today? And finally: How do we make images clearly recognizable as coming from our brand?
The “Golden 4” are your guidelines: “Real Life,” “Snapshot-Style,” “Community,” and “Openness
Astrid Grosser
Over time, we’ve focused more closely on our imagery as well as the impact that these visuals have on people. This was a collaborative effort involving branding experts, neuroscientific findings, market research, and creativity. “Guidelines” help me as a photographer and the entire production team, providing us with specific requirements to point us in the right direction in our work. This starts with the models we select and how we style them, the location we choose, and the staging of each image.
Interesting. Can you give us an example?
Astrid Grosser
When we were shooting pictures on the themes of “friendship” and “young,” we casted people from different model agencies who were actually friends in real life. You can just see whether or not people have a relationship with each other. We also created a situation for the shoot in which friends take some time off together – and spent the entire weekend together at a finca. We thought of a variety of fun, natural activities that we could do over the weekend. We went to the beach and rented a fishing boat. The group went jogging, and, of course, we all cooked meals together. We also had plenty of time to chill and relax. We set up a television with a Telekom receiver, along with music and a bunch of different mobile phones. Of course, we incorporated the devices into the setting as well.
All of this helped us to capture a situation that was as authentic as possible – the main attribute of Telekom’s imagery.
Choosing models is one thing, but telling a story with a picture is something very different. How do you do it?
Astrid Grosser
The Telekom team compiles a list of themes – which target audiences, products, and new devices – and drafts a rough plan for the year. What countries are most suitable? We don’t want to do all of our photo shoots in Germany, but specifically focus on the strengths of the countries in which Telekom is located. Then there’s choosing the models: We take a very close look at every model, and meet them in person. We organize castings all year round in a variety of different cities to find an interesting, international group of people. We try to avoid clichés and put together groups that represent an interesting cross-section of different types of people. Groups of people who all look the same are boring – and they rarely exist in real life. We also pick the styling, hair, and makeup in line with the models’ personalities. It’s true that “you are what you wear,” but it’s important to be sure not to dress anyone unnaturally. We ask our models to bring some of their own pieces as well. This creates a truly authentic and personal look.
Choosing models is one thing, but telling a story with a picture is something very different. How do you do it?
Astrid Grosser
The set is the stage on which real stories can play out. One model may need a little more instruction, and one a little less – but we basically let them be themselves. Of course, this doesn’t work with every theme. When we focus on devices like phones, functionalities or business, we obviously need to provide more direction than topics like “community” or “support” – but the idea is always the same: We want to be as authentic and as close to people and their experiences as possible. If you trust people to be creative and use their imaginations, they usually take the initiative, and inspire each other in the process. And this shows in the images. They usually just need to be themselves. If we need to feature an architect in a picture, we try to find someone who is in real life, and brings this knowledge to the image. You can see this totally different intensity when he talks to others about his experiences. This makes the characters we show in each picture very credible, along with the entire situation. It’s really challenging to bring the idea of “Life is for sharing.” to the world of our business customers, which focuses more on specific products and devices. It’s important to take these topics out of their familiar context and present them in a new, creative way. We don’t want to show more business and communicationthemed pictures that we took at the airport or trade show – it’s been done hundreds of times. Our focus is to disrupt conventions and try something new. We look for locations that tell their own stories, or create a certain kind of atmosphere using light. It could even be in a gym.
Authentic – how do you handle taboos while still trying to take an honest look at real life? For example, alcohol, sex, cigarettes, people who are always online, kids using mobile phones?
Astrid Grosser
Of course, this is a sensitive issue that we discuss a lot. Can our models drink wine? Beer bottles – yes or no? Smoking in our photos is definitely taboo, but I’m guessing the next step in attempting to create more authentic imagery could include being more open to this as well. Real people have real feelings. Vices and passions are all part of life, but it’s important not to overdo some things. “Authenticity” will also pose a greater challenge for our models in the future. Subtle differences in people’s facial expressions and gestures quickly reveal whether or not something appears to be truly and believably authentic. Just looking gorgeous and successful won’t be enough at some point. And that’s another thing that we mean when we talk about “Life is for sharing.” We’re constantly stalking people in their personal lives on Instagram. We watch everything they do – shopping at the mall with Grandma, in bed, cuddling on the couch, or sometimes even when they’re drunk. It might be a bit too much for me. But this just shows how most people feel compelled to present themselves – even if they aren’t models in the conventional sense. They show themselves as they really are, what they like, what they eat, with whom and where … and people can identify with these things. The boundaries of intimacy are blurring – people are sharing more, and participating more in other people’s lives as well. Taboos are always just a reflection of their time, and thankfully, they’re also constantly changing.
“Artists and rules” – isn’t there a conflict there?
Astrid Grosser
No, I don’t see any real conflict here. It’s true that the “Golden 4” and the subject that we’re supposed to present do provide a framework. But by choosing the location, models, and atmosphere on the set, I have a great deal of freedom in shaping each image, and creating my own interpretation and story.
I get the impression that you’re always working to fine tune the imagery. What do tomorrow’s pictures look like?
Astrid Grosser
I think that we’ve come an incredibly long way in these past five years. We’ve added a lot of really strong black and white images, including some very bold contrasts and blurring, and mostly avoid retouching our images.
But I still think that we can be bolder, stronger, and more inventive in our observations. Of course, we need a lot of time to figure it out – we can’t just make real feelings happen at the touch of a button. Instagram bombards us with enough spontaneous emotional outbursts, but as a photographer, it’s important to produce quality to set my work apart from this onslaught of pictures. “Life is for sharing.” This is a topic that we’ll never be finished with. It’s always a challenge, but also a motivation to develop new ideas within this existing concept. At the same time, “Life is for sharing.” is a great theme. It’s a fantastic platform for telling new, interesting stories. After all, life is constantly changing.

Images make brands

Written by Hendrik Bruning, Creative Director at MetaDesign

Magenta is Telekom’s most striking visual element, but it’s not enough to bring people together. Authentic, believable images that tell stories about people – and what connects them – do this very well.

Hendrik Bruning
Images have always been a main element of brand communication. Today, they are more important than ever – because we have changed the ways in which we communicate.

For many years, every last detail of the visual aspects of brand communication was subject to brand design rules: from the position and size of the logo to the typography, colors, and imagery. This is how we ensured continuity and a clearly recognizable brand design. This was possible because the dominant channels more or less protected exclusivity. It was possible to plan and create advertisements, posters, and TV commercials that were absolutely perfect – and it still is today. They resemble a protected space for speaking to target audiences, a space that the customer had all to itself.

Hendrik Bruning

For some time now, digital channels have become one of the most significant factors affecting communication for major brands. There’s a lot of competition to get the target audiences’ attention on social media platforms, as this content has to face off directly against other content completely unrelated to the brand. These channels are full of images for this reason – people have short attention spans, and spend little time looking at each post. Content is usually conveyed visually, and everything else blends into the background. People no longer identify with the brand through the brand design in this context, but through the stories that the brands tell with their visuals.

Hendrik Bruning

Imagery and stories that are characteristic of the brand are becoming increasingly important. But how are they created? It’s a major advantage to keep image concepts as open and flexible as possible. Only a few very strong, independent constants should shape how the brand expresses itself at this level. If this is the case, it’s possible to create imagery covering all different types of themes, target audiences, and channels. This makes the imagery more versatile, and the image pool becomes a creative tool. An especially important aspect for international brands: It’s much easier to explain and implement this type of concept. Its flexibility makes it much more adaptable to respond to different regional requirements and target audiences, for example.

This is how images make it possible to create a consistent overall identity for the brand, even across national borders – an essential prerequisite for effective brand communication.

Images: Lovely accessories or a driving force?

Written by Dr. Christian Scheier, neuropsychologist

Images attract the eye of the viewer much, much stronger than copy.
Images
79 %
Copy
16 %
Brand
5 %
Average attention distribution
(1.363 ads, eye-tracking)
Images: Lovely accessories or a driving force?
Over the past several years and decades, using more and more images has become dominant trend in communication. Cover pages of newspapers like the New York Times, or of the German DIE ZEIT feature color photographs today, a practice practically unheard of just a few years ago (see Opam, 2017, for a clear example of this change). Images are also becoming increasingly important in marketing communication, even if their use is controversial. One common criticism is that pictures are just “lovely accessories” unable of having any lasting impact on people, and incapable of convincing customers to purchase a product or be loyal to a brand. We will look at the findings of relevant neuroscientific research to explore the question of whether – and how – images work in marketing communication.
Pictures attract a great deal attention straightaway.
It has been commonly known for some time now that images attract a great deal of attention early on – the so-called "picture superiority effect." A study examined 1,363 print advertisements with eye-tracking (Pieters & Wedel, 2004). Results showed that nearly 80 percent of the attention spent on print ads is focused on the picture, 16 percent on copy, and 5 percent on the logo. Images don’t just attract a lot of attention, they do it especially quickly. A person needs less than a second to comprehend an image of average complexity, while understanding words and copy requires much more time and cognitive effort (see also Powell et al., 2015). More recent research findings indicate that people can realize the essence of a picture in just a few milliseconds – about the time it takes to blink (Azizian et al., 2006; Larson et al., 2014). When it comes to advertising, it’s very important that the visual be very efficient: A person spends an average of just two seconds engaging with a print ad (online ads and posters are viewed for even shorter periods). Image help communicate messages efficiently – even in these difficult conditions.
People clearly remember visual content.
The picture superiority effect is also evident when it comes to memory. If someone reads an ordinary text, he/she will only remember a maximum of 10% after one day. If the key statements of the article are supported and enhanced by images, people will still remember about 65% of the content after three days (see classic study by Nelsen et al., 1976; Seifert, 1997). Similar effects were demonstrated for recalling media (Newhagen & Reeves, 1992) and advertising content (Childers et al., 1984), as well as content presented together with pictures (Eitel et al., 2013).
Pictures activate and convey emotions.
Both words and images can convey emotions, but the latter do so more directly, comprehensively and quickly. In a neuroscientific study, brain activity increased in response to emotional words and images (Kensinger & Schacter, 2006). In the process, pictures triggered stronger, more extensive activity in the brain than words. As a result, they can have a stronger, more convincing impact on the viewer. The emotions triggered by the images are often transferred to the advertisement as a whole (Mitchell, 1986) or the advertised product (Stuart et al., 1987).
People (tend to) believe photos.
People tend to believe statements more when they are illustrated using images – even if they have nothing to do with the veracity of the statement itself (Fenn et al., 2013). When asked to evaluate the credibility of statements, people often rely on a subjective feeling of truth (“truthiness”), or whether or not the statement “feels” true. Pictures impact this very feeling of truth, even if they lack any relevant information to substantiate whether or not the statement is true.
Visuals convey content.
Pictures are capable of conveying substantial content. This stems from the fact that they are processed in the visual areas or emotional centers of the brain, as well as in parts of the brain responsible for semantics. These areas decode the meanings of words and images – to the brain, for example, it is irrelevant whether a concept (e.g. friendship) is coded as a word or image (Kircher et al., 2009). At the same time, this means that images can be used to convey brand values effectively. This does require a precise understanding of the brand value and the relevant codes or images needed to activate this brand value – after all, images do relay more meaning than words (“a picture is worth a thousand words”).
Images are easy to understand.
Images are analogue in character, making them easy to understand without great mental effort – in countries around the world.

Pictureworld in action

Best-practice use of our images

Telekom pictureworld

5.000 special moments

Telekom PictureWorld
The Telekom PictureWorld online tool has over 5,000 images for use in all types of communication. All of these unique motifs were developed and produced exclusively for the Telekom Group – ensuring a strong fit with our brand. Our global rights of usage also ensure consistency in Telekom’s communication. Around 1,000 new images are added each year, each visualizing relevant target audiences and products, and telling many exciting stories. The images focus on private and business customers.
It’s possible to download all of them in a variety of different resolutions – from low to high, from JPG to TIF – as well as in color and black and white versions. The “My collection” function allows people to create their own albums and share them with other users. The tool is available free of charge to all Telekom employees and service providers. Registered users receive an e-mail newsletter to let them know when new photo shoots and themes are available.