Focus on Photo Simulations

STEALTH CEO Sean McLernon recently stirred things up a bit with an article in Inside Towers. We repeat it here, and ask: what do you think?:

I’m launching a new campaign: say no to PhotoSims, and I’d like to enlist your support!

But first a bit of background: I think we can all agree that technology is an amazing thing. Photo-altering software has allowed companies like mine to create wonderful simulations of future concealments. They help us paint a picture of the possibilities. This is a good thing.

But used incorrectly, this is a bad thing. A photo-simulation that someone perceives as a “guarantee” is akin to an airbrushed cover model: both bear little resemblance to reality.

Our company originally offered Photo Sims to help overcome resistance to the unknown. As a category leader, we thought they would make a big difference. Now, we’ve trained customers ask for them to get an idea what antenna concealments might look like. Resulting photos are intended to be directional tools – but they become the single biggest generator of disappointment since the Cubs.

Our artists labor over these images, working hard to ensure textures and colors closely match reality. But too often, the image becomes the epitome of over promising and under-delivering.

Nowhere is this tool more abused than in simulating what a tree will look like. Ansel Adams couldn’t find more beautiful trees than some of the PhotoSims I’ve seen. Imagine the disappointment when installers erect Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. Imagine the calls that come to our offices, then.

No more! There is a way out. Just say “no” to simulations. That’s what we do with increasing regularity. Instead offer a picture of real, live installed sites. Better yet, take your prospect to a site. Shoot a short video and email it.

Meanwhile, strict prohibitions should accompany any and all PhotoSims. And they should never be the sole proof point for a customer or landowner. Again, site visits are the best way to set expectations. Save yourself grief by locating an existing, concealed site near your client, and meet them there.

Still committed to “Team PhotoSim?” Fine. We get it. And the fact is, we still produce them weekly. We strive to be accurate; we include all sorts of notes. We, like you, can’t entirely escape them.

But just remember: Kate Upton without her makeup is still a very lovely woman. Your real life concealment will look great (if we built it) – it just won’t look exactly like the PhotoSim in your in-box.