The problem with stock images

We’ve talked about how to make your brand launch successful in the past, but one thing we haven’t yet discussed is how to ruin your brand with stock images after we stop working together.

See, when we work together, we go through a comprehensive process to develop your brand.

We unearth your brand’s unique positioning.

We find out how you want to be remembered.

And I craft your brand with those considerations.

I even give you social media templates that help you stay on brand, plus stock photos AND typically my clients will also take their own brand photos.

Unearth your brand personality to stand out. Take the FREE Brand Archetype Quiz!

Silver laptop with a web page pulled up that says "Brand Persona Quiz."

I create your brand, then pass it on to you. After that, it’s up to you* to stay on brand.

And stock images are one of the fastest ways to derail your brand.

Take Unsplash or Pexels, for example. Both are great places to go for free, royalty-free stock images.

But the problem with stock images is that you can’t simply type in your search term and download the first image you find. The ones I give my clients are carefully and meticulously curated.

*and your team, unless you keep me as a designer on retainer!

You have to stay true to your strategy, even (and especially) with stock images.

Let me illustrate an example.

Let’s say you’re writing something that needs an image. It could be an email, a blog post, or a long caption on social media.

And you’re talking about work. So, naturally, you’ll look for work-related content on Unsplash.

Here are a few different images that come up when I search “work from home”:

Now, none of these are bad, per se, but they don’t adhere to my brand…

…And they very likely don’t adhere to your brand, either. They don’t tell a story. They could be any brand, which means they’re not the brand we built together. 

So, what are you supposed to do instead?

This is a visual world, and your brand photos only take you so far.

So the way I see it, you have three options.

Option 1: Go Deeper on Free Stock Image Sites

Keep scrolling down until you find an image that adheres to your brand’s strategy we laid out. Find the mood that matches one of your main archetypes. Look for your brand’s main colors. Search until you find something that fits. This is where you refer to your moodboard or the arsenal I provide and ask yourself, “If I dropped this in here would it flow?”

Option 2: Use a Different Search Term

The image doesn’t have to match your written content. In fact, it’s much better to find an image that matches your brand than it is to find an image that aligns with what you’re writing about.

STOP. Read the above again.

It’s much easier to find an image that matches your brand than it is to find an image that aligns with your content. It’s also MORE important to stay consistent with your brand.

If your archetype (either your primary or secondary) is the explorer, an image of nature will work, regardless of what you’re actually writing about on your blog, emails, or captions.

Option 3: Pay for a Subscription to a Different Stock Image Site

This is the option I recommend, because it’s one additional way to stand out. Unsplash, and other free resources like it, are really popular, which means the images on their site are used by a lot of different people who represent many different brands.

The Stock Image Site I Use and Recommend

I am a member of Editorial Stock Images, and I recommend them if you’re looking for a way to use stock images that align to your brand.

Memberships are really reasonable, and can help you stay on brand, stand out, and stay memorable to your audience.

Whatever option you choose, I encourage you to spend a few extra minutes ensuring that your visual brand aligns with the brand strategy we built together.