If you are into photography, you would know what a shallow depth of field (DOF) means. Images with shallow DOF are more dramatic, and call us to specific things to focus on. What does shallow DOF have to do with publicity and branding?

Our human eyes are unlike zoom lenses on video and still cameras. Our human eyes retain sharp focus on all objects within their sights. Our brains do all the superlative processing to bring our sights and focus to specific people or objects, rather than our eyes. Therefore, when you try to look around you, you will notice that you can’t blur out the background when you are looking at an object in the foreground. Any “blurring of the background” is perceptual, as your brain shuts out the background.

The camera is very different. With zoom lenses, you can zoom in and out of a visual scene easily, without moving closer or away from the scene (unlike our eyes). And if you have tried photography, you would notice an “f-stop” number range on a camera lens. The lower the f-stop number, the more expensive the lens may be. For example, if you have a 50mm lens with a f-stop of 3.5 (or f/3.5), it will be much cheaper compared to a 50mm lens with f/1.2. The lower the f-stop, the wider the aperture can be open, allowing more light in, and more capable of creating images with shallower depth of field. Lenses with shallow DOF can blur out the background while retaining sharpness for foreground objects, and such lenses often are used for photographing people, products, flora, fauna, and so on.

What has shallow DOF lenses got to do with publicity? Plenty.

In many companies, it is relatively challenging to maintain objectivity when looking at our own products and services. We are immersed and entrenched in our own products and services, and invariably, our own unfiltered view of our entire product/service landscape, especially in relation to the rest of the world/marketplace out there.

But imagine the publicity consultant as your special purpose lens, the lens with the shallow depth of field, capable of zooming into to specific products/services, and helping you bring focus to them. A good publicity consultant not only brings expertise and experience to the table, but can also help you filter out the background noise of your competition, and the background noise of your other products/services, and bring laser-sharp focus to just the product/service you want to focus on for the moment.

Why is this important? When approaching the media or the consumers, all too often we lose sight of how important focused messaging can be. We may inadvertently cloud our messaging, hoping to bring the media and the consumers’ attention to everything we sell. But the human attention span is limited, and we need to zoom in and focus on just one product/service, with a refined message that would pitch a home run to the media, and to the consumers.

The next time you are carried away with a broad spectrum of fantastic products and services under your stable, bring in a good publicity consultant. The consultant would be your filter to the world, the zoom lens with the shallow depth of field, to help bring a single product/service, with a solid pitch, to the world. Amidst the noise out there, it may just be the home run you seek.