Consider the pros and cons of utilizing stock creative resources before settling on them as a cost-effective way to build your new store’s marketing.
Today’s online stock creative resources make it really tempting to choose to execute acceptable, low cost advertising solutions for your new store. Readily available photography, videography, animation, graphics, music, audio and visual effects are all available at the click of a mouse. Yes, you can choose this route, but should you? The following is a short list of pros and cons to utilizing stock creative resources that I think may help you decide if this is the right route for your new store.
1. Low cost
This one’s a no-brainer. If you’ve been on the Internet at all in the past 10 years you’ve seen or probably downloaded a stock image for something. Stock libraries have come a long way in size, scope and quality level in the last few years. There are quality sites out there offering single still images for $20 or less. You also have the option of subscribing to sites that can drive this cost far lower depending on your needs and/or the time commitment in which you’re comfortable. Relatively similar pricing savings are available in almost all mediums.
2. Good quality resources are more readily available
Some of what were once the better, high-priced stock libraries have been brought under one roof and have made the competition for good quality work very price competitive as well. Gone are the days when the only inexpensive stock looked like something you could have shot yourself on vacation. Today, a quick search will yield more quality resources in more creative aspects of media than you ever thought possible.
3. Fewer limitations than in the past
Not that long ago, it used to be that you’d pay a premium for shots on remote locations or involving live subject matter. However, as competition has heated up over time, the restrictions and fees have rapidly dissipated. You’re not necessarily going to see or hear Hollywood level talent, but it’s also not necessarily at the not-ready-for-primetime player’s level it used to be either.
You also have a much more diverse selection of people available in stock than what I used to term the “country club families” that appeared in 75% or more of available stock creative resources.
4. Fast turnaround time
Turnaround time may be the single best reason for utilizing stock creative materials. Once you choose your image, video, animation, graphic or music online, you can have it paid for, in an advertisement and off to a publication, uploaded online or ready to air in sometimes a matter of minutes.
5. Ease of digital manipulation
Another factor in the consideration of stock are the tools available to manipulate the creative resources once they have been purchased. Manipulation tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and even downloadable audio editing software make it easier than ever to manipulate and essentially customize your stock creative purchases.
In my opinion, the best deal out there for great stock resources at reasonable rates are stock music sites. Many of the libraries available are massive, but easy to search by style, mood, tonality or genre.
1. You’ll have to keep your creative concept more general
Obviously, one of the limitations to stock anything is you have to keep your concept within the realm of what’s available. So, you’ll be saving a bundle, but you won’t be showing your new store or any specific physical attribute that may make it attractive to your potential customer. Utilizing stock, you’ll most probably be selling a concept or an image as it relates to your store or brand.
2. Others may be using the same resources
It’s less common than it once was, but there’s always a chance that someone else could use the same great stock photo, video clip or music you researched and purchased just as easily.
3. Better quality stock doesn’t always save you money
I’ve found that another by-product of the over-abundance of good available stock has been the lowering of prices for hiring your more than competent local photographer, videographer, graphic artist or music composer. Do your due diligence and give these vendors a call before you settle on the stock route. You may be surprised at how much more might be reasonably brought to bear in the way of additional creative thinking and unique execution opportunities than you ultimately realized compared to the limitations of a set piece of creative.
4. Factor in your research time
I can tell you from experience, you can spend hours and hours finding (or not finding) the perfect stock piece of material for a project. As I’ve already mentioned, there are many great resources out there. That means it takes that much longer to research them. The more you search, the better and faster you will get, but if it’s your first time or you do it infrequently, it may take you more time than you anticipated.
5. Beware of your usage limitations
More and more stock is available royalty free (without limitations), but as you search be aware that there are resources that are rights managed, meaning they will probably be higher priced and can only be used for a set amount of time. These pieces usually involve talent, but not always. Most all sites have settings that allow you to only search for what you want, be it royalty free, rights managed or both. Also be careful in licensing shots of public figures. The price may seem low, but that doesn’t include the subject’s (or the estate of the subject, if they are deceased) additional usage fee, which you are responsible for negotiating, most times, on your own.
When purchasing stock resources for your new store, you’ll also need to have a basic understanding of concepts like resolution when dealing with photography. Aspect ratios and an ability to deal with large file downloads when purchasing video or animation and the correct formatting when obtaining audio, are just a few examples.
That last paragraph probably scared you a little, maybe a lot? It is reality, but it wasn’t my intention to discourage you. Stock creative resources can be a great way to accomplish your new store’s marketing goals when you understand and accept both the upside and downside of utilizing them. I hope this post has helped you consider both sides.