The Power of Authenticity in Visual Branding

Dupe stock photos vs adobe stock photos

There’s a trend, perhaps you’ve seen it – consumers now more so than ever crave authenticity from brands. The famous saying in marketing, “People don’t buy products, they join tribes,” has never been more true today. Consumers want to connect with brands on a deeper level, understanding their values and the people behind the products. One way brands can achieve this connection is through their visual branding, particularly in the images they use on their websites, product shots, and advertising.

For years, brands relied heavily on overly staged, overly produced stock photos, and more recently with AI-generated images, to portray a polished and professional image. While these images may be visually appealing, they often lack the authenticity that modern consumers seek. As a result, there has been a noticeable shift in recent years towards more natural-looking, or UGC (user generated content) shots that resemble real-life photos that regular people would actually take.

So, why is authenticity so important in visual branding? Here are a few key reasons:

Why Authenticity so Important in Visual Branding

Walking into my local H&M store, I saw large posters on the walls featuring models who were wearing their clothes. The photos did not appear to be touched up (the models had noticeable skin blemishes), there were bright flash points on their faces, indicating the lack of a flash diffuser, there were obvious shadows, the images were a bit underexposed… they appeared to be shot with a regular phone camera and not a professional camera that you would come to expect from a large brand. Also, the models looked more like regular people with average body types – not the tall, slender, chiseled specimens that we are use to seeing in clothing ads. All this, I believe, was deliberate, but why?

I believe it was an effort to create a photo that seems more familiar, as if one of their consumers took it on their phone.

So, why is authenticity so important in visual branding? Here are a few key reasons:

  1. Builds Trust: Authentic imagery helps build trust with consumers. When they see real people using your products or real scenes from your workplace, they are more likely to believe in the authenticity of your brand.
  1. Creates Connection: Authentic images help create a connection with your audience. When consumers see themselves reflected in your imagery, they are more likely to feel a connection with your brand and its values.

  2. Differentiates Your Brand: In a sea of overly staged images, authentic imagery can help your brand stand out. It shows that you are confident in who you are and what you offer, setting you apart from competitors.

  3. Increases Engagement: Authentic images are more relatable and engaging. They are more likely to grab the attention of consumers and encourage them to interact with your brand.

  4. Aligns with Modern Values: Today’s consumers value authenticity and transparency. Using authentic imagery shows that your brand is in tune with these values.

How Brands Can Create More Authenticity

  • Use Real People: Instead of models, consider using real customers or employees in your imagery. This adds a level of authenticity that is hard to replicate.

  • Capture Real Moments: Instead of staging photoshoots, try to capture real moments in your workplace or during events. These candid shots can be incredibly powerful.

  • Focus on Real Emotions: Authenticity is not just about the visuals; it’s also about the emotions conveyed in your images. Focus on capturing genuine emotions that resonate with your audience.

  • Be Consistent: While authenticity is important, it’s also important to be consistent with your brand image. Make sure your authentic imagery aligns with your overall brand identity.

Dupe stock photos vs adobe stock photos

Dupe vs Adobe Stock

I get it, we can’t always arrange a photoshoot every time we need to use an image.

So if you need stock images, check out Dupe.

Dupe look more like UGC (I think because they are) and natural looking. They look like photos you actually took, and therefore can offer a little more authenticity to your brand. 

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