There’s so many for and against arguments it’s hard to take a side on this one, but it is a question that comes up a lot within marketing circles – is it a bad thing to use a stock image?
Well, as usual, the answer is, it depends.
The case for:
- if your budget is tight or if you have a specialised product or service where the chances of anyone else using the same stock image to promote their similar service is minimal, then sometimes stock images can suit your purpose (see my cute fox stock images as an example)
- if you’re preparing a presentation and it needs some life added but you don’t own enough images, stock shots can play a good part here
- you’ll get better engagement with your social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs – imagery can really bring these to life, so adding stock imagery can be a good way to achieve this without breaking the bank
The case against:
- at the end of the day we’re talking about your brand image. So using someone else’s interpretation of that might be at odds with your purpose. In the quickbrownfox case, we are unlikely to be able to get a suitable fox to provide an appropriate facial expression at an achievable cost, so in this instance it falls into the ‘case for’. But generally your brand will need to showcase a skill, a mood, your people or give an insight into your brand’s personality which should come from within, not from an image library trying to hit multiple marks
- photography is not as expensive as you think. At minimum, you need a hero image (or 2) and some support shots that help bring your brand to life so we’re not talking a 5 day shoot here necessarily. You will have invested in getting your logo, website design, copy writing, and collateral materials right – don’t let it all down with a stock image of ‘people shaking hands’ or ‘happy smiling corporate people’
- you will own these images and no one else can use them without your permission. So you won’t find your competitors using exactly the same shot to promote their (perhaps inferior) product offer
- imagery is emotive – it’s supposed to be. So make sure you don’t compromise on the emotion you evoke with your consumer – they’ll see right through it
At the end of the day it will come down to a combination of budget and intent. If you can, you should always aim to take and own your own shots. But for the right purpose and in the right circumstance, a stock shot might just do the trick.
Check out these paid sites for some awesome images: Shutterstock, iStock, GettyImages
and these free sites have some fantastic images to choose from too: Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels
We thought you might enjoy these helpful tips the folks at Marketing magazine shared:
What not to do in building customer relationships:
1. Don’t get their brand name wrong > Check the spelling of their brand, especially weird use of caps and their nuances (eg PayPal, quickbrownfox, eBay). Note that goes for the client’s name too!
2. Don’t quote price ranges > If you say the cost is between $500 and $800 – they’ll always hear the lower amount. Same goes for time frames. Use exact numbers to avoid disappointment all round
3. Don’t say ‘but’ > Using ‘but’ can sound like you’re not going to resolve the issue. Try using ‘and’ or moving straight to solutions “Monday isn’t possible – I’ll get priority on your project and have it by Tuesday 10am – is that ok with you?”
4. Don’t go in blind > Got a new client or contact? Don’t say “And what do you do?”. Do a little homework and then get them to elaborate…”From my research I understand you do X – tell me more”
5. Don’t put the ‘A Team’ on the project > Telling them they’ve got the ‘A Team’ suggests you also have a ‘B Team’ who they might get next time. Instead tell them your philosophy is to hire only the best people at what they do and you’ve cherry-picked the team members that will best suit this specific project’s needs to get the best result.
While most of us would never do any of the things listed above, I bet a few of you have had it done to you!
It’s nearly here! Time to kick back and relax and reflect on the year that was and take a moment for some serious R&R. But before you reach for that tempting glass of eggnog, here’s a few items you may wish to tick off your list…
Nurture your relationships
Now’s a great time to contact your clients (and suppliers) to do a yearly wrap up with them. Rather than making a last ditch effort to ‘sell them’, instead take the time to nurture your relationship with them. For your key clients, consider taking a gift in personally or inviting them to lunch/dinner/drinks. Take the time to talk about their year, their needs and their future so you can better understand their business and be of greater benefit to them in the new year
Spread the yuletide cheer
If you’re sending Christmas cards out, sign them personally and ensure they’re mailed by no later 12 December as many folks go on leave early as part of school holidays (plus many like to showcase their cards in their office). So if you’ve not already sent these out, it’s time to officially panic and get thee to the post office. If you’re doing an online version, try to make it feel personal and consider making it a little trickier than ‘here’s something we created in Word’. The idea is to let them know you appreciate their custom and value the relationship. Now is not the time to go all cheap on them
Don’t forget your staff
Make sure they know how valuable they are and how much you appreciate their contribution to the success of your business. Take the time to genuinely thank them (be it via a personal card with a small gift or a get together)
Let your community know your plans
Add a footer to your email with the office closure dates asap (as early in December as you can), send an email to your database advising office closure dates and how to contact you if there’s an emergency. And, if you have social media sites, make sure you notify that community too of your pending office closure so they are kept in the loop. Consider using a message scheduling program (like Hootsuite) to pre-load some messages prior to Christmas and over the break to keep your profile up without having to put the eggnog down
Get ahead of the game
Many businesses take this time period to wind down and take a holiday. If that’s not you, then use this unusually quiet time in the office to get ahead of the game and do some pre-planning for the next couple of quarters. Spend some time researching your competitors, other markets and your own plans to see if there’s an opportunity you can work into 2013
Then sit back with that eggnog and enjoy whatever time you may have to celebrate and reflect on your last year.