Fri, 05 Mar 2021 09:22:13 GMT
It’s becoming clear that creative teams and decision-makers in every industry have a new collective responsibility to direct their marketing campaigns in a more positive visual direction.
EyeEm are here to show you that, despite common misconceptions, there’s a new generation of royalty-free images breaking new ground in the space of visual marketing. If used strategically, they can be incorporated into a brand campaign of any size to produce better customer engagement and brand awareness.
As we look back through some of the pinnacle photographic moments of 2020 it’s clear to see that the visual landscape of marketing has taken a dramatic shift in response to the widespread call for diversity and positive representation.
“Why do brands continue to make poor image choices in the hope of increasing clicks?”
The powerful demonstrations that occupied streets across the globe following the death of George Floyd in May brought the demand for change and awareness about the importance of the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the decision making tables within brands of every industry and size.
This time last year, we explored how brands can make positive image choices to avoid stereotyping and racial discrimination when visualising the global pandemic. However, in 2021 we see activist, celebrities, and social influencers using their platforms to raise awareness about COVID-related Asian hate and discrimination rise in the USA raising the question: why do brands continue to make poor image choices in the hope of increasing clicks?
It’s well-known that people respond better to the combination of images and text, than text alone. For example, content marketing studies show that people follow instructions 32% better if they feature visuals. With this in mind, now is the time to be asking yourself - are you licensing images that will get the right message across to your target audience?
“People follow instructions 32% better if they feature visuals”
“We operate in an era where consumers are overloaded with visual content. Not forgetting the new digitalisation of our everyday lives in response to the global pandemic” says our head of marketing, Matthias Schaefer. “Therefore, it’s now critical that your brand catches the attention of your target audience within a matter of seconds - something that can only be achieved with the right images.”
Anyone who’s managed a blog or website knows that most stock images are thought to be overly impersonal and “salesy”. Not to mention the fact they’re heavily overused, and most of them are instantly recognisable by their cheesy, uninspiring ‘sameness’. For example, how many times have you seen the exact same photo of two hands cupping a seedling sprouting out of a handful of dirt? Too many, we’d guess.
“The new age of stock photos champions authenticity”
Choosing stock photos that are responsive to trending topics takes consideration. Stock photos were once designed to be vague and adaptable in order to appeal to a wider audience. However, what if we took a different visual path? What if you start using stock photos that don’t suck?
Our global community of professional photographers continue to upload visually outstanding, highly creative and premium-quality photos that are equally adaptable to various topics, industries, and platforms. The key to making stock photos work for your brand and avoiding that traditional ‘stocky’ look is learning the fundamental principles of what makes a compelling and contemporary image.
1. Pick Diverse Content
This still remains the most important change that brands can make to their choice of stock photos in 2021. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is not a trend, it’s not a box to be ticked, or a guideline for photo editors. Positive representation and diversity is an ongoing expectation of brands big and small. Many brands have used this opportunity to be vocal, we want to encourage brands to also consider their visuals. In 2021 your choice of images, stock or not, should reflect the diversity of our world whether it be racial, cultural, gender, disability, physical appearance, or age (to highlight just a few…)
Of course, achieving consistently diverse imagery is a complex task that takes constant learning and far more commitment than a few short term changes, however, it’s our goal to utilise our creative community all around the globe to empower brands with diverse, realistic situations shot by real people.
Practical ways to check if your images champion diversity:
Support creative talent: One of the first steps you can take toward diversifying your stock image library is by taking your eyes off of the images themselves and onto the creative producing them. EyeEm is built upon our community of photographers based all around the world, truly reflecting the diversity of the world and our experiences. Therefore, if you’re unsure of how to get diversity right, start by licensing images by a widely diverse collection of photographers.
Choose to celebrate local differences: To avoid stereotypes and ensure your images represent diverse lifestyles you’ll need to take a closer look at your images. The finer details of a photo, are often what will give away where the image was shot. For example, consider a garden - the lighting or types of trees and vegetables will look very different depending where you are in the world. Your ability to spot and refine these details will show that you are a responsive and aware brand.
Don’t be afraid to be bold: Companies all around the world are being called out for dropping their commitment to using visual content that represents all types of diversity. If there has ever been a time to follow your creative convictions, it’s 2021. It’s better to make a statement, than say nothing at all.
2. Rethink ‘Authentic’ Photos
Websites that use images and videos featuring human faces (particularly those with a cultural relation to the website visitor) tend to receive greater rates of initial visitor trust than those that don’t. It’s even better if those faces are smiling as it has also been proven to increase marketing goal conversions.
The new age of stock photos champions authenticity and a ‘down to earth,’ imperfect feel. Consumers no longer buy into the fluffy, unrealistic, and ‘picture-perfect’ images. Instead, they have developed a discerning palate that desires images with a raw, real, and imperfect visual reflections of life instead of staring at the predictable and boring cliché visuals.
However, sourcing truly authentic visual content often evokes ideas of full-service photo or video productions. Although production is a great option for many brands, we’re here to tell you that although “visual authenticity looks different but it does not mean a rebrand.” Our creative community of photographers represent real people in real life situations, allowing us to take the ‘staged’ out of stock photography.
3. Use Premium Artisan Images
We recommend using photos that make a statement if you’re going to be able to stop consumers aimlessly scrolling through their social media feeds or skim reading your content marketing assets.
According to studies, two-thirds of online shoppers rated high-quality images as being “very important” to their purchase decision, over product-specific information, long descriptions, and ratings and reviews.
“Two-thirds of online shoppers rated high-quality images as being ‘very important’”
In the same way your target audience is bored of seeing the same predictable images, we aren’t interested in churning out as many images as possible to appeal to the widest audience. Stock photos are perfectly designed to be adaptable to various visual marketing campaigns, but that does not mean they have to be bland and non-creative.
Our roots as an underground art movement show up in the type of talent that we attract: photographers with a passion for their craft that shines through in their art. Rather, our photographers take genuine pride in the images they submit, and the difference in quality is immediately apparent to your consumers.
4. Use A Global Lens To Stay On-Trend
We know that the way consumers see the world is different in 2021. No matter the scale of your next campaign or the size of your company, choosing stock photos shot around the world will instantly elevate your brand image and build deeper trust with your target audience.
In the EyeEm Visual Trends Report 2021 we analysed how the emergence of mindful travel habits are set impact every industry. Using stock photos that showcase a diversity of locations indirectly offers ‘the world’ to your consumers.
Your image choices have the potential to create an empathetic brand voice that shows your consumers that you care about their lifestyle more than their purchasing decisions and that your brand is in tune with global conversations. In the light of the current uncertainty consumers face today, this is a marketing no-brainer.
We have always approached imagery with ‘lifestyle’ at the core. Due to the global nature of our photographic contributor base, our images are equally as diverse. Our contributors live and work in the captured locations, offering the local insight of their photographer’s eye, on the ground rather than an out-of-touch, fake representation of the world.
Our contributors live and work in the captured locations, offering the local insights rather than an out-of-touch, fake representation of the world. We welcome individuality and artistic freedom by encouraging our photographers to submit images from any subject or genre. Whether they are created with a smartphone or the latest Canon DSLR, our images are not manufactured like other “big box” stock companies.
In addition, our team of photo editors create carefully curated image collections and offer visual advice that will show you how to make better image choices without breaking your budget. Book a call with our team to find out an image license type that works for you and discover our full portfolio of creative solutions that will meet your current image needs and budget.
Find out more about our image license type that works for you and discover our full portfolio of creative solutions that will meet your current image needs and budget.
Want more visual marketing advice? Read our guide to developing your brand’s photography style to learn some quick and simple changes that will elevate your brand image.