We can never repeat it enough: images play an essential role in a company's communication strategies. From posters to television, magazines to the internet, visual content has long been cherished to convey the image and values of companies. We know that the advent of the internet has only amplified this visual bombardment and it is getting harder and harder to stand out. However, with the proliferation of images, a new level of distinction has also emerged: authenticity.
A study conducted by the 'Association For Consumer Research' explains that in contemporary times, authenticity is a key element of marketing and branding. This would be due to the many social challenges we are experiencing; whether it be climate change, financial crises, political instability or animal abuse, social inequalities, and corruption, transparency has become an essential condition for consumers who want to ensure the authenticity of those who they encourage.
While this transparency and reliability are to be demonstrated in the quality of the services and products you offer, it begins with initial contacts. Today, your website and your social networks are the most important points of contact for your potential buyers. In fact, over 50% of businesses use social media to attract future consumers. It is therefore essential to design your pages as best as possible authentically and truly. You can already understand how much stock images could significantly harm your company. But let's take a closer look by pointing out the major drawbacks of this strategy and what are the alternatives available to you.
Archive images can be purchased by anyone.
The first major drawback of the archive image is that you probably won't be the only one using it. Even if you believe the chances that your customers will stumble upon the same photo that you plan to buy are slim, think again. These photos are widely used. For example, the Shutterstock site currently has over 1.5 million users. With such a large number of users, the photo you'll choose is very likely to have been used before. This will not help you to differentiate yourself and show your uniqueness, on the contrary. Not yet convinced? So take a look at this example:
A simple search on TinyEye, a site used to trace images, allowed us to identify several places where the same stock picture could be found. It goes without saying that this is no exception: it is extremely rare that stock photo is not used elsewhere.
Lack of consistency and visual unity
''Brand consistency is key to gaining customer trust and increasing your return on investment. . And alternatively, an inconsistent brand image weakens the status of the brand and creates confusion in the market''. -Elise Dopson, Lucidpress.
Another obvious problem with using archival images is the difficulty of establishing consistency in style, colors, locations, compositions, and finally, the general feeling they give off. This inconsistency will quickly be felt by your customers as a lack of authenticity, will create a certain mistrust and even confusion.
An article commenting a study on the importance of brand consistency to customers conducted by Lucidpress is clear: `` Brand consistency is key to gaining customer trust and increasing your return on investment. . And alternatively, an inconsistent brand image weakens the status of the brand and creates confusion in the market. '' The problem with stock images is that it is difficult to match them and often this will be overlooked. Worse yet, you'll be opting for something fair instead of images that are perfect, consistent, and truly representative of your business.
Failure to humanize your business
Sometimes caught between contracts, deadlines, paperwork, schedules, appointments, and more, we can forget one of the most important aspects of the entrepreneurial world: it is above all a world of human contacts. The confidence of your customers can be boosted through pleasant contact and above all human relationships.
Nothing could be more unpleasant than an endless phone call with a robot offering us choices. We generally prefer direct access to another human. The same goes for the images that cover your virtual spaces: to see the face of your company is to see those who participate in it! By opting for photographs of your team, you humanize your business and offer a much better first contact to your future customers than with stock images.
A professional photographer as a solution... but not always.
Of course, it goes without saying that to demonstrate the quality of your business, the photos that adorn the official pages of your website or your events have every advantage to be taken by a professional photographer.
The photographer has one straight goal in mind: YOUR company's image.
He will work closely with the marketing team, giving you unparalleled custom images made specifically for you
You will be ensured to own 100% of the distributions rights of the photos
It will encourage local business
It will ensure the visual consistency with your web designer and make adjustments so your website parameters match.
Everyone has their own style, at Studio 55 we favor a friendly, pleasant, and human approach in order to bring out the best of your personality. But you don't always have to wait for a professional photographer to adorn your social media. In fact, don't hesitate to take pictures of your team yourself at events or at work to dress up your Instagram or your Facebook page. The amateurish shots also have their advantages: a frank authenticity and spontaneity that humanizes your business even more.
Finally, archival images can have some special advantages, but not to represent your business. Their handling and the time involved in research will be more likely to lead to an unsatisfactory result in addition to the many disadvantages they have in the face of authenticity. The logistics and costs associated with a professional photographer can sometimes seem inconvenient at first glance but be sure that authentic images remain a long-lasting and profitable investment, but above all a pledge of confidence and diligence towards your clients.