With change as the only constant in today’s fast-paced business world, staying ahead of the curve takes some diligent effort. Your choice of language and images make or break your first impression—so it’s essential your messaging communicates that you’re not only competent but current too. Take a look as we revisit five of the most common business concepts, with a fresh filter for keeping your messages modern.
Forget lightbulbs and thought bubbles. Modern innovation is better depicted now in more tangible, practical, virtual forms. Think experimentation, prototypes and testing. Think also in terms of the end-user’s emotional response to the new experience: efficiency, security—maybe delight. Today we see innovative products released every single day, so even if ideation and “lightbulb moments” still begin the process, such images can feel dated and out-of-touch compared to those of actual technology or ideation-in-action.
Search Tip: Think through the emotion your innovations might evoke for example, happy, easy, worry-free, and try pairing “innovation” and “technology” with those.
Working together looks a lot different today than it did 10 years ago—and images of collaboration need to reflect these changes if they’re going to be convincing. Today’s teams are (literally) all over the map, meeting more often on phone calls and online than around conference room tables. Stylistically-speaking, fewer people are wearing business suits and cultural diversity is a given in every company. The images that resonate reflect a sense of curiosity and analysis rather than the stereotypical group of smiling coworkers.
Search Tip: Try “teamwork” and “collaboration” with other words associated with the outcome of your product or service like “efficient” or “fast” or “simple.” Or pair them with modern collaboration terms like “online,” “virtual,” “remote” or “global.”
Growth. Sales. Increasing Revenue. If there’s one concept every business wants to illustrate at some point, this is the one. And it can be a tricky one if you’re not going the typical rising-arrow-on-a-graph route, because it’s bigger and more conceptual than the others. But this is where metaphors come in handy when trying to illustrate broad concepts, like “seeing the forest for the trees” or “10,000 foot view” when considering the context and perspective a growth experience gives you. Think about growth in physical terms, too—and include more concrete words like “tall,” “giant” and “global” in your search.
Search Tip: Try playing off of themes that reflect what you’re trying to express. Free-associate around metaphors that work, and search related terms, like “redwoods,” “adolescent” or “skyscraper.” Abstract words like “experience” and “perspective” pair well with more concrete ones like “business” and “technology” and “huge.”
4. The Inclusive Workplace
Maybe you’ve already seen the Lean In Collection on Getty Images and iStock —an evolving look at the modern woman in all her multi-faceted, ever-growing power. Every organization can benefit from using images that celebrate diverse leadership and equal partnership in business and beyond. The world (and the office) is more inclusive today, and leading businesses reflect broad diversity in their visual communications.
Search Tip: “LeanIn” is a great place to start. You can also try pairing search terms like “female,” “mother” or “woman” with more nuanced adjectives like “powerful,” “character” and “strong.”
Entrepreneurship offers a powerhouse of inspiration. Because our most innovative business ideas can happen anywhere, we like to explore this theme in as many locales and in as personal a way as possible. Likewise, the small, tight-knit startup team at work—in a living room, a garage, a café—offers a compelling and intimate portrayal of the power and chemistry of inspired teamwork to build great things.
Search Tip: In your search, try pairing more abstract terms like “concept,” “idea” or “brainstorm” with more tangible terms like “team,” “meeting,” and “collaboration.” Combos of location words with more conceptual ones, like “car” and “thinking” will generate images that work—and throwing in a “startup” or “entrepreneur” doesn’t hurt, either.