Improve your image

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Chris Clark

Stock libraries are a useful way to source brand imagery: but they’re not without risk. We explore the problem with affordable stock imagery, consider premium and bespoke alternatives, and offer ways to avoid looking just like your competitors.

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Anyone who uses stock imagery will be acutely aware of how small the world of marketing is. We’ve seen it time after time: you’ve found the perfect image to represent the campaign or brand message, only to see that same image being used by a competitor just months or even weeks later.

What’s the risk with stock imagery?

The problem is amplified with affordable stock libraries, which offer no control over who else might use the same image to represent their company. Taking a gamble with stock imagery could lead to customer confusion, marketing embarrassment and even affect the success rate of your campaign.

An amusing example of this is the ubiquity of stock image model Rebecca Givens, deemed the “most famous stock photography model in history”. You may recognise her: 

Stock woman in a gif showing all the places she appears

Stand out: premium and bespoke imagery

If you are looking to differentiate yourselves on oversaturated marketing platforms, one method is to consider using more premium stock libraries. A lot of companies are yet to see the benefit of upping their image budget, which means that those who have enjoy a bigger pool of images to choose from. These savvy companies dramatically reduce the chance of seeing their chosen images appear elsewhere.

Premium stock libraries also offer ‘Rights Managed’ images which can ensure that the image isn’t used by anyone else (or at least not used within the same industry) for a set length of time. However, this can come at a hefty cost, with prices varying massively depending on usage.

Alternatively, the best method to guarantee you have imagery that is exclusive to you is to create bespoke images with a photoshoot. Photoshoots allow you to tailor the image to perfectly – and uniquely – represent the brand and product. 

Check popularity with image search

If your budget doesn’t stretch to those pricier options, you can always use one of the free reverse image search tools like Tin Eye or Google Image Search to see how popular an image is and reduce the chance you use the same image as a competitor. However, it is worth saying that neither of these tools can guarantee this 100%. 

Are you looking to improve your brand’s image through the quality of the images you use? Then, we can summarise the above with one piece of advice: the more you put in, the more you get out.

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