Almost every advertising agency would agree to the fact that finding “Indian” stock images for an advertising campaign is quite a challenge. It’s not that the agency is not qualified enough to search images using the right keywords, or they wouldn’t think of doing a photoshoot. But, there are some strong differences of opinions when it comes to spending big bucks to buy those stock images. Why should we spend thousands of rupees to buy one single image? Why can’t you Photoshop an Indian face, or download from Google or click a photo from your phone? The clients have many reasons to justify the cost. But, what they truly miss out is the Opportunity Cost. This article would undoubtedly spark a debate on whether or not the “Indian” stock images are worth their price.
Before we start babbling on & on about the problems, let’s first define what we are talking about. Yes! Stock Images. Any image that’s in the form of photographs, graphics, illustrations, vectors, posters, presentations, and infographics, come under the title of ‘Stock Images’. Some artists create these images and upload them on stock images website for business, and some of us download them.
Stock images are mostly licensed for specific purposes either for editorial or commercial purposes. But, why do clients need stock images anyway?
Decoding the ‘Complex’ Brief
When clients send references that they “liked” from a competitor’s campaign, what the advertising agencies see in those references first are the “images”. Some references have an exclusive photoshoot that’s done for the campaign and some images are honestly cringe-worthy (from an artist’s perspective). Finally, when it’s time to brainstorm on the campaign, the copy team will probably come up with a headline that would go with any image, or it would end up being a typographic campaign.
So, the client didn’t like them at all. They are persistent to use Indian images, but they are not willing to spend on photography or buy expensive stock images. What’s the creative solution?
Campaign with regular stock images. No! It doesn’t look Indian at all! Campaign with a typographic design. Not at all! There’s no human element in the creative! Campaign with vectors. There’s no emotional appeal to this creative!
How difficult can it be for any advertising agency to understand a brief as simple as “I want something like this. Just take inspiration”? The challenges are real. The solutions are real too. But, the expectations and deadlines? Quite questionable! But too, there are some ‘rare’ clients who are practical and understand the glitches that ad agencies face. Now let’s take stock of the situation in the stock images industry so that the picture is clear for the clients (pun intended).
The Stock ‘Images’ Market
When it comes to stock images, advertising agencies face the ultimate challenge with the “Indian” faces. Every “Indian” client wants a cost-effective way to get the best results from their ad agencies, but leave behind some of the most crucial aspects of design.
Quick Stats: The India Stock Photography market had a total sales value of USD $84.94 million back in 2014, and increased to USD $104.34 million in 2018. It is expected that Indian stock photography will grow with a CAGR of 6.05%, and the market value is estimated by USD $157.41 million in 2025.
What boosts the stock images market in India? Boom! Digital & Social Media Marketing! Well, they are the frontrunners for sure, but with every industry today riding the ‘digital’ bandwagon, the need to establish virtual presence and carry forward that in the offline market is something every client wants to do. As compared to the global giants, the Indian stock images players hardly stand a chance, but when clients prefer more “Indian” stock images, the price is premium. It’s the simple theory of demand-supply that’s applied here which the clients understand pretty well, and advertising agencies need not explain. Nevertheless, the gap between ad agencies and clients regarding the understanding of the “stock images” situation seems to be a tad too high.
At 3 Dots Design Pvt. Ltd., we consider every option when it comes to ‘stock images’ and suggesting the best available strategy to the clients is what we do first. Be it for real estate, healthcare, automobiles or retail industry, the wide range of clientele whom we work for, are offered with diverse options of ‘stock’ and ‘photography’ options so that the most unique communication campaign is crafted for each one of them. If you still feel that the debate of ‘Indian’ stock images need to be taken on higher grounds, let’s bring in the creative cavalry.