In an age where we are constantly bombarded with information, it has become a real challenge for businesses and brands to capture the attention of their target audience. Using images for your visual communication is a great way to engage your customers, we all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. But why is that?
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Humans are visual creatures with increasingly short attention spans, which means that businesses need to engage their audiences visually, and quickly. The good news?
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than words and they are much more likely to make an impact. In fact, while we may only remember 10% of information 3 days after reading or listening to a text, we are likely to remember 65% if the text is presented with appropriate images!
This phenomenon is called the picture superiority effect, and you should use it to your advantage!
The impact of relatable stock images
Now that we know about the power of images, we need to establish that an image is not equal to another image. Let’s do a little experiment, look at the two images below, which one is more likely to grab your attention and win your trust?
Both are stock photos, but there is a significant difference in how they make you feel.
Number 1 looks cheesy, tacky and fake. Not what you want if you aim to stand out.
Number 2 feels authentic and relatable, it conveys personality. This is a first step in building trust.
9 advantages of using authentic and real-looking images
Images can act as a bridge, connecting brands with their audiences on a more meaningful level. Let’s explore why using authentic and relatable stock images is key to taking your visual communication to the next level.
Build trust and credibility
“I don’t trust words. I trust pictures.” — Gilles Peress
At a time when consumers are increasingly skeptical of overly polished and idealised images, authenticity stands out. Using relatable images that look real sends a signal that a brand is transparent and genuine. This authenticity builds trust, which is the basis of any strong customer-brand relationship.
Create emotional connections
Images that your target audience can relate to have the power to trigger emotions. If people can see themselves, their experiences, or challenges in your marketing materials, it resonates on a personal level. It makes them feel understood and valued, creating a powerful emotional connection. This emotional connection can be used to build brand loyalty and advocacy.
Humanise your brand
Using relatable and authentic images humanises your brand. It reminds customers that there are real people behind your business. This human touch is particularly important in B2B environments, where personal connections and relationships factor heavily into decision-making.
Reflect diversity and inclusivity
Reflecting our diverse and multicultural society in your marketing materials is key to making your brand relatable. Using images that look real and show people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, ages and abilities not only broadens your audience, but also demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity and social responsibility.
Reduce skepticism and ad blocking
As we are exposed to more and more information on a daily basis, we become more skilled at blocking and ignoring ads that seem too commercial or intrusive. But when your marketing materials use authentic images, the user is less likely to feel as if they’re being advertised to.
Consumer tastes and preferences change over time. To stay relevant, your marketing needs to evolve too. Using images that look real and that reflect trends and social norms keeps your brand current and relatable. It shows that you understand the changing world and evolving needs of your audience.
“The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words.” — Elliott Erwitt
Images are powerful storytellers: They can tell a story at a glance. Make the most of it! By using authentic images, you can visually tell the story of your brand, your values and the people you serve. You can build a deeper connection with your audience when they understand the ‘why’ behind your business.
Want to learn more about how to effectively use images in your storytelling? Check out our blog post ‘8 Ways to Use Visual Storytelling to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy’.
Relatable images are sharable. When people see something that resonates with them, they are more likely to share it with their network. Just think of memes: They resonate deeply with their audience, which is what makes them so sharable. Authenticity is key.
Stand out in a competitive market
While everyone else might be using generic photos, your use of relatable stock images can make you stand out. It allows your brand to be memorable and distinctive in a crowded market. Dare to be different!
Leveraging relatable stock images for effective visual communication
The main takeaway? Using relatable and authentic images is a key strategy for success in the digital age. It fosters trust, emotional connections and genuine narratives, enabling you to create deeper relationships with your consumers.
By using images that look real and resonate with your audience, you’re not just promoting a product or service; you’re promoting a lifestyle, an experience and a sense of belonging. It’s a power that no brand should overlook.
JumpStory gives you access to thousands of authentic and relatable stock images to help you take your visual communication to the next level. Our curated library is made for you, with beautiful, 100% relatable people and emotions. Give it a try and see for yourself what real-looking and authentic images can do for you.
About the author
Maëlle is a content writer for JumpStory.