Finding the stock image sweet spot in a changing world: Getty Images’ Arran Birchenough shares his insights

Arran Birchenough, the country manager for Getty Images in New Zealand, recently told StopPress that 2015 would be typified by changes in the ways that New Zealanders identify themselves.

“New Zealanders’ values and beliefs, expectations and preferences are as diverse as we are,” he said. “Shifts in demographics, gender roles, couplehood and family configurations, and ‘acceptable’ beauty- and body-types are now crucial to track, reflect, and refract on today’s visual stage.”

In a new promotional compilation posted to the website of Getty Images subsidiary iStock, these shifting trends are presented in a series of images that show how representations of people are being influenced by both the public’s evolving consciousness and developments in photographic technology. 

Birchenough’s observations and the iStock compilation do not however imply that brands should now feature a smorgasbord of imagery in an effort to serve as a catch-all for all segments of the market.

“Somewhere between the generic image and the overly-contrived shot lies the sweet spot that reflects the world around us as it actually is, with all of its variety and beauty,” says Birchenough. 

But given that there are so many variables at play when developing a campaign, Birchenough says that “finding that sweet spot can be challenging” and he provides the following advice to marketing managers:

“Diversity must be presented as a reality and an aspiration, simultaneously. Rather than looking at differences, the focus is on the things we have in common: a shared desire to celebrate the moments that matter. And it’s happening now. Social media is giving the individual the opportunity to be expressive the way they want to be. It actually allows more people to find others who are like themselves, regardless where they live.”

And if brands start paying attention and learning from social media, then Birchenough believes that “New Zealanders will reward marketers for embracing diversity in their advertising images.”

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