A chat with Josh Moore of Duoplus
NZ-based brands and agencies sourcing photos from international stock photo websites often have to settle for images that don’t feel like they were taken in New Zealand. Often it’s the diversity of ethnicities portrayed or the buildings in the background. This lack of authenticity can compromise the connection with the target audience. But perhaps more importantly, it also fails to reflect the diversity of NZ society and way of life.
Good marketing forms a connection with the target audience, and images people can relate to are a fundamental piece of this puzzle. As such, even if a photo is aesthetically pleasing and communicates the intended message, a lack of 'relatable elements' compromises authenticity and credibility – which, in turn, can cause the bridge between customer and brand to crumble.
"The biggest problem we find with using international stock photo websites is that the photos often don’t feel like they were taken in New Zealand," says Josh Moore, founder and head of marketing at Duoplus, a Hamilton-based digital marketing agency. Specialising in generating leads for clients to grow their businesses, the team at Duoplus is constantly on the lookout for great photography to complement the websites, social media ads, and a wide range of media collateral they produce… so that, as Josh puts it, "when a visitor lands on the client's website, we want them to quickly sense, 'This company looks good, I’ll contact them.’"
In Josh's opinion, the diversity of ethnicities found in photos from international stock libraries is a big stumbling block for NZ brands creating impactful digital marketing content. "Most group photos will have European people alongside African-American and Asian people, and while that is great for other countries, it doesn’t reflect NZ’s ethnic makeup," says Josh. "Our predominant ethnicities in NZ are European, Maori, Pacifica, Indian and Asian. So having diverse photos with these types of ethnicities together makes the photos feel much more relatable to New Zealand."
Another drawback Josh emphasises is the settings in photos. "Very few international stock photo websites have photos of houses or commercial buildings that look like New Zealand houses or buildings," he explains. "It can be the cladding, the windowsills, the décor, the trees outside, the street signs, the road markings – there are so many little aspects that make a photo feel local. We often don’t even think about these things, until we’re trying to find a photo on an international site and constantly think, 'It doesn’t look like NZ.'"
But why should one worry about whether a photo looks and feels like New Zealand or not? According to Josh, it comes down to authenticity. "The images we select for the websites and landing pages communicate a message much quicker than the text on the page does," he says. "So it is important they feel authentic."
This need for authenticity becomes even more crucial if, like Duoplus, we're dealing with local businesses serving a local market. As Josh exemplifies: "If we’re running a campaign for residential security systems, or house washing, or lawn mowing, but the image of the street or house we use on the website doesn’t look like NZ, it loses the authentic feel we want to portray."
In the competitive world of digital advertising, selecting photos that feel like genuine NZ can, as Josh points out, "help us make the right connection in those microsecond first-impression moments," therefore enhancing the results of a marketing campaign. "But beyond that," he continues, "images used in marketing, media and advertising should reflect the diversity of the society we live in. So having access to a photo library with diversity that feels like NZ society is extremely helpful."
Browse Excio's Library to find images that look like New Zealand, feel like New Zealand, feature New Zealanders, and were taken in New Zealand.