Guest writer Cheryl Faux explains why the best way to reflect your audience is to work with them.
As a young African American woman, it’s hard not to notice the lack of diversity in commercial media. Whether it’s in the imagery we commission, the work that’s produced, or the people behind the ads. Prior to joining the industry, I created a pamphlet called ‘Don’t Let Your Commercials Look Like Health Textbooks’. I did this because I was tired of seeing POC being added visually simply to fill a quota or make a brand or organization seem hip and cool.
If you were to pull up Google and search for tourist, backpacker, solo traveler, studying abroad or other travel related keywords, you’ll get thousands of images of people smiling in front of monuments and taking selfies. However, look a little closer and you’ll realize there’s one narrative that is noticeably missing — black women. The idea of black people, particularly black women from America, traveling internationally is so rare, the image isn’t even being produced in the plain world of stock photography. It’s not that these photographers and other creators purposely leave POC out of the travel narrative, they’re just content with their viewpoint and don’t realize that it’s only 2% of the big picture.
This limited perspective ladders up to the larger industry issue surrounding representation. With 63% of Millennials saying that the brands they buy reflect their own style and personality, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your content accurately, and authentically, mirrors the world of your audience. And the best way to mirror your audience is to work with your audience.
Millennials are not like their predecessors. Traditional advertising and media is not the answer. Only 1% of Millennials say that a compelling ad would make them trust a brand more, however 62% say that if a brand engages them on social networks, they are more likely to form a relationship. In addition, 60% of Millennials are involved in the process of creating and publishing content and 40% actually want to be involved in co-creating with brands.
It seems that in the hustle of the day-to-day work, the industry has forgotten that their audience is filled with more than just consumers, they’re creators too. They make films, shoot photography, write books, and paint canvases. So engage, nurture, and invite them to join in on your content creation process.
In that step where the traditional industry falls flat, EyeEm excels. Diversity comes in many forms: styles, people, buildings, cultures, perspectives. It’s representative of multiple facets — subjective and impossible to truly pin down. EyeEm understands that before anything else, they’re a global community of millions photographers. To keep their community engaged and happy, they fuel the photographer’s passion with things they love: photography festivals, awards shows, gallery exhibits, and more. From there, it’s a lot easier to open the door to connecting brands in need with photographers who want to share their creative perspective.
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