Why is Stock Photography Bad for Business?

Recently I was talking to a friend who said he removed his profile from dating sites because every time he went on a date, the person he met didn’t match their photos online. And almost 99.9% of the time it wasn’t because the person got better looking since their last photo.

To put that in business vernacular — the product was misrepresented.

But a lot of organizations do the same thing when they rely too heavily on stock photography to represent their brands. And the consumer can see right through it. Sometimes it’s blatant — like the happy 20 something call center girl who represents a company’s customer support but when you call, you get the guy who sounds suspiciously like he’s not from anywhere even remotely close to around here.

As human beings we’re kind of hardwired to desire authenticity and when we don’t get it, we often feel cheated.  And when we feel cheated, we resent it. And when people get resentful… hide the computer keyboard.

There is a point when the consumer sees through the staged smiles and knows the perfect people are not really your organization. Today’s consumer demands authenticity. They want to build relationships with brands that are authentic and real. They want to see your quirks and oddities. That’s what makes us all unique and intriguing.

This is not to say that stock photography has no place in business today. Of course it does. Used judiciously it can be extremely illustrative. But if it becomes your steady diet, you could become those people on dating sites… like you lost touch with reality.

Today, with digital photography and a little planning and direction you can afford to economically portray the uniqueness of your organization, the variety and beauty of your people and the wonder of your products. And you can do it in a way that your competitors can’t touch.

At Hooker and Company, we use a variety of methods to capture the visual message of your brand, such as outsourcing or using our own talent and vast collection of photo and video equipment. In some instances we’ve helped clients create their own mini studios for tabletop shooting. Of course, stock photography is a consideration as well when budget and subject matter warrant. The bottom line is there are a lot of options to consider, and we would love to help you find the one that’s right for your brand.

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