Did you see the recent news announcement about Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg starting to put her brand on stock photos? You might be thinking “sheesh must everything be branded?” In this case I say “thank you Sheryl!”
If you haven’t looked for stock photography of women in a while, you might be surprised that there are very few images of women in business situations, politics, leadership or other “non mommie” images. There are also precious few images of older woman in any of the above.
Try this: do a Google image search for “professional women over 40” and you get mostly celebrities, with the first row being all Jane Fonda. But these celebrity images are faces, beautiful ones yes, but they are not DOING anything. What kind of message are we sending the next generation of women?
The photo in this blog is an example of what I got when I asked iStock (owned by Getty Images) for “professional women” – oh my.
Sandberg, and let’s admit Facebook is all about images, is in a position to know that stock images make up most of the advertising, sales materials, websites and yes Facebook content.
The success of her book “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” has really touched a nerve but maybe it also uncovered a lack of images she could include in her book too. This photography branding is being managed by her nonprofit LeanIn.org.
She has partnered with Getty Images, which is a main source of stock photography and they claim to have 2.4 million customers, many in marketing I would guess, including me.
What does your marketing depict? Maybe it is time to allocate some of your 2014 budget to gather more relevant photography of real people using your product or service – it will surely resonate with your consumers and make you stand away from the stock images of yesterday!
As I watch the Winter Olympics and see records fall and women enter the ranks of men-only sports (women’s hockey?) I know we are moving in a positive direction – but when we change the visual images with ones that are appropriate and empowering, well we will all have leaned in the right direction. And that direction is not lying down!