I’m sure you’ve heard the term “authenticity” crop up when discussing anything from brand positioning to marketing copy to content visuals. Authentic messaging first started gaining momentum in 2017. It was often highlighted as a media or marketing trend. What’s clear now is that authenticity was not a trend – it’s a movement, and it’s what is expected from consumers today.
Why Authenticity Matters
Particularly when it comes to marketing, consumers can spot BS immediately. In Mark Schafer’s popular book Marketing Rebellion — The Most Human Company Wins, he shares, “today, [businesses] are built on human impressions that help customers believe, belong, and find meaning.” This applies not only to marketing but to all types of content consumption. Audiences want to believe it, feel a sense of belonging, and discover meaning in content. To capture and hold someone’s attention in today’s visually crowded world, content needs to reflect the imperfect, yet emotionally compelling world we experience every day. A real, genuine message can be ruined by the imagery chosen to communicate that.
Arguably, the best way to achieve authenticity in your visuals is to incorporate real people in a real environment. However, it’s not always possible from a time, logistical, or budget standpoint to capture custom content. This is why content creators turn to stock media to help tell their stories. There has been a stigma in the past that stock media is wildly inauthentic. That’s changing. Stock media isn’t all cheesy shots of women eating salads in pristine, white kitchens. There is stunning content available that represents authentically if you know what to look for.
What Makes Visual Content Authentic
Here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for stock media content to help achieve authenticity:
Avoid overacting and exaggerated emotions
Toned down is the way to go. The reality is that most settings and interactions in stock media are at least somewhat scripted, but when directed and captured correctly, you wouldn’t know the difference. Look for content that is believable to create believable messaging.
Content should be evocative
Even though you want to avoid over-exaggerated emotions, authenticity doesn’t mean your content should be emotionless. Interestingly, a lot of stock media actors are real families or friends of the videographer, which can make those scenarios feel very real.
Represent a variety of people and cultures
Diversity matters. Your content and message will resonate with more people when it represents more of the real world. Diversity and inclusion should be limited. It applies to race, gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, and neurodiversity. Everything that makes us all unique.
Content should look unfiltered
This can apply to the cinematographic style (as noted in our recent 2020 Trends Guide) or to the style of the people and settings included. Overstyled settings and people are unrelatable. And since user-generated content is becoming the new standard for authenticity, if you can find stock content that is captured from the first-person perspective or on a handheld camera, even better. Plus, video can still be high-quality without looking like a studio set.
Deliver Real Content
When you choose Storyblocks Enterprise, you won’t have to search far for authentic content. We work with contributors around the globe to build our expansive stock video, audio, and images library and provide the genuine portrayals of people your audience craves. Let go of impersonal stock and partner with Storyblocks Enterprise.