Have you ever been to the Chinese take-out restaurant down the street from home and noticed that the photos of their meals are the same as the photos you’ve seen at the Chinese restaurant around the corner from work? Doesn’t it make you stop and wonder, “Are these restaurants all the same?” Never mind the fact that the restaurant near home is called “China King” and the one near work is “Best Chinese Cuisine,” they must all be owned by the same parent company, right? I mean all the meals look exactly the same, so they must all be serving the exact same food.

Now stop and think about your own company’s marketing materials; then ask yourself, “Are we making ourselves seem generic in the same way as these Chinese restaurants?”

Well, if you’re using stock photographs on your website and in your marketing materials, then a safe answer to that question is, “YES!”

Stock photos are easy, they’re cheap, and they’re convenient, but in the long run how much are these images costing you? Think about the image below, where a stuffed chicken name brand company has used the same stock photo as the generic brand. The message is that what’s inside both boxes is identical, so why would a shopper buy the more expensive name brand if the generic brand is indistinguishable?

Name brand chicken and generic brand chicken are identical

Stock images will not only make an outstanding company appear common, but it also leads to a tendency to make the message fit the image rather than the other way around. Good marketing cannot be achieved if a website or marketing campaign is built around its images rather than a company’s message.

In order to create a successful marketing campaign, a company needs to stand out. It is an old cliché, but it’s true today as when it was first uttered, “It takes money to make money.” So, in this case, the wisest use of money when it comes to the images for a website or brand is to invest the money in a professional photographer that can create images that personalize your company.

Some of our very own clients found this to be sound advice when designing their websites, and the results provided an extraordinary view of their products and services.

For example:


Fusion Fitness Designs

Shape International

G L Summit Engineering

For a closer look at the use of custom photography, please visit the following:

One response to “Marketing Doppelgängers

  1. I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Google for something else. Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a great post and an all round enjoyable blog. (I also like the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment, but I have added your website to my favorites, so when I have time I will be back to read more. Please do keep up the awesome job!

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