A great business is like a black and white picture

The photo above is three years old. I took it during one of my stays in Toulouse, my home town.

I love the black and white format. It does not just embody timelessness and elegance. It also allows a photographer to share their personal vision of the world in a simple way.

A black and white picture entices us to try and imagine what colors could have revealed. Its subject(s) and story become a relatable message that tugs at our heartstrings. And that’s why we feel compelled to tell others about it.

Successful businesses work in like manner. The people behind them are driven by so much passion, purpose, and love for human connections that they draw our attention like a magnet and make us want to recommend them to our networks.

Want examples? Check out Curagami, a company co-founded by my friend Martin Smith, a man whose commitment to excellence and serving others is unparalleled and contagious. And there is also Paper.li, the platform that Kelly Hungerford and a few others have helped take to the next level by listening to feedback and putting users to the forefront.

Beautiful pictures make people happy. Brands that care turn simple things into delightful experiences — every day!

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  1. says

    I couldn’t agree more Cendrine, both about the ageless charm of B&W photographs, and about how impressive Martin’s company is!

    I don’t do it all the time, but I love working B&W images into my blog post graphics.They’re not as common as other blog images, and I think that makes them stand out a bit more on social.

  2. says

    I think part of the allure of black and white photos is that they are often associated with history and that sparks our imagination. We think of what could have been and what might be. And I do think (no matter the age of the photo) that the simplicity leaves room for interpretation. No distractions, just what we perceive. It’s a powerful ally to tap into. If a company can take that simplicity and stir our imagination, it’s a win.

  3. says

    Love your paper.li example.  I use that platform and really appreciated the significant changes.  A perfect illustration of listening to your clients and implementing their suggestions to complement your own business vision!

  4. says

    I love black and white photos as well – it brings life to your imagination. I’ve seen where some older black and white photos have been colorized and it gives it a whole new look. I love the connection between the photos and business as well.

    p.s. One of my best friends from college did a summer exchange program to Toulouse when she was in high school :)

  5. says

    Cendrine – Love the analogy!  I never would have taken the time to isolate those qualities in my mind, but once you painted your own picture with words, it made absolute sense and was a unique way of helping people to create stronger content.  Beautiful!

  6. says

    Amazing image Cendrine!
    I love the analogy between photography and business. A photographer can paint a story with an image and create a connection with the viewer, much in the same way a passionate business owner can create a lasting connection with the customer.

  7. Jennifer says

    Wow, great point. I especially like what you said about black and white photos enticing others to imagine it with colors.  It also allows the audience to personalize it, as we all bring unique experiences, pasts, beliefs, etc. into every situation so one person may interpret the photo quite differently from another person once they imagine it with color! Hope that makes sense :)

  8. Elise Adams @LeesyAdams.com says

    Hey Cendrine–happy to find you again! LOVE the illustration of a black and white picture you use here. The intersection of marketing and CREATIVITY is brilliant–along with your advice to DELIGHT our readers/customers. GREAT article–happy discovery for me this morning!

  9. says

    Showing passion is such a smart thing to do, but it doesn’t come easy to everyone. But if people show and share their passions, it’s easier to connect with them and their business.

  10. says

    Hi Cendrine, if only I had read this earlier this week when you posted a picture of Toulouse on Instagram… ;) I guess it was Paris, shows how much I know. Black and White pictures remind me of a simpler time. It also allows for reader interpretation, as you said, and I really like that! I was just visiting with my mom and looked through some old black and white pictures and you are right, they are amazing. 

  11. says

    Images can create so many stories in our minds and all of them different from the next person. Making people smile is half way to making them remember you and the to share why they are smiling with the people they want to tell about you. Being friendly and caring is simple for businesses, not sure why more don’t do it.

  12. says

    Thanks to Cendrine for such kind words. We feel pretty strongly about her AWESOME skills too. Team Curagami made Cendrine one of our first Great Curator Profiles on Curagami (http://www.curagami.com/great-curator-profile-cendrine-marrouat/ ). Here is a little of what I said about Cendrine:

    “I like how HARD Cendrine works and how brilliant all her hard work is. Most of the smart people we know expect to work less thanks to their smarts. Cendrine doesn’t make that mistake. She works HARD, listens incredibly well, learns and then works harder.”

    Cendrine is the hardest working / best content curator we know (and we know a passel of ’em). Compliments and kind words mean the world to any #startup. Sharing Cendrine’s kind words and her linkage with one of our favorite “more with less” content curation tools (Paper.li) and their amazing community manager (Kelly) made team Curagami want to get up and run around the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC where we work in the Startup Factory space in the American Underground (and if that sounds like we are in the basement you win a cookie lol).

    Thanks Cendrine you ROCK :). Marty

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