A New Renaissance in Stock Content

What does it take to create the world’s most amazing and engaging digital experiences?

Technology? Yes.

Creativity? Of course.

But it also takes content—an unprecedented amount of unique, high-quality content.

Think of it this way: Global brands need to speak to millions of unique individuals. Reaching them all requires creating and delivering meaningful, personalized experiences at scale, with the right message, at the right time. All of this happens across an increasingly complex and cluttered landscape of devices, media channels and competing messages.

It’s fueling a new Renaissance in stock and other licensed content services. Brands, agencies and other content creators need a way to keep up. So smart, efficient use of this content is becoming a business imperative in three key areas: meeting the challenges of content velocity; communicating brand differentiation and authenticity; and creating legal peace of mind.

Content Velocity

Customers expect brands to provide them with personalized services on more devices and more channels. That means brands and agencies need to create timely, differentiated content across more media than ever before—a dynamic we call content velocity.

The result is a hunger not only for imagery, but for written content, video, motion graphics and beyond. Licensed content not only gives content creators a fighting chance at keeping up, but it also provides a high-quality, head start at engaging customers with new media and channels.

Fast access to on-brand imagery, for example, lets designers get started with real assets without having to wait for the photo shoot. Motion graphics templates support real-time video production without having to learn animation software. Editorial collections can help brands engage with timely cultural topics on social media.

An effective content strategy can also improve ROI. Smart use of stock content is typically more affordable than custom design and it allows brands to quickly iterate campaigns through A/B testing and get more from their advertising and media placements.

MediaMonks is a great example of an agency using stock as a competitive advantage. They provide both brands and agencies with production services. Their founder, Wesley Ter Haar, puts it this way, “If you look at Adobe Stock, the way it integrates into your creative work flow is a key component. It’s all about saving time and refocusing efforts on the end goal—creativity, design and UX. So, anything that you can integrate, anything that you can share and collaborate on just creates time. And time is money in our business. Anywhere we can shorten the time to get good work out in front of people is a huge win.”

Adobe Stock is designed to work as part of an integrated platform with our creative and marketing cloud applications, making it easy and efficient to locate, work with and purchase licensed content as part of the creative workflow. It helps content creators work faster, resulting on average in 10x efficiency gains over working with common stock image services.

Brand Differentiation and Authenticity

Of course, reaching customers in a meaningful way takes more than a lot of content. It should be high-quality, relevant and engaging.

The challenge of reaching audiences over social media are particularly demanding. In this space, brands need to engage with their audience in a world where everybody is a publisher, and attention spans are short.

Where marketers used to be measured in clicks or impressions, they’re now worried about dollars and actions. So it’s not enough for an image to work as a mere illustration. It needs to emotionally move somebody to perform an action.

That means creatives need access not only to high-quality imagery, but the kind of unique, timely, topical and emotionally engaging content that used to live solely in editorial collections for newspapers and magazines.

A great example is Dentsu Aegis Network, a global media group that innovates the way brands are built. They use Adobe Stock to keep imagery and other content fresh across multiple brands and channels, while decreasing production time. James Thomas, their relationship manager for creative brands, explains, “Everything starts with content, but Adobe Stock is not another stock image library – we see it as a content library. It’s 3D, it’s templates, it’s video, the premium and editorial collections are world class. Even the core assets are a very, very high standard.”

Authenticity is also critical. Brand content, creative and campaigns need to be consistent with their identity and personality across a multi-channel platform. So while brands will continue to develop original, signature assets and content as part of their key advertising and campaign activities, there’s an increased demand for stock content that works in alignment—across all their channels—while maintaining a consistent brand personality and voice.

Adobe Stock has evolved to meet this need for authentic, unique content in several ways:

Finally, for large brands and agencies, intellectual property and legal compliance is a real issue. With so many people creating and sharing content across an organization, it becomes difficult to keep track of what content has been licensed for what purpose. Global brands have the additional challenge of complying with geography-specific laws and cultural standards.

The penalties for making a mistake are increasingly steep. Misuse of an asset can not only result in legal liability and financial penalties, but public shaming and the kind of bad PR that can damage a brand’s long-term reputation.

So, it’s not enough to have simple access to a stock service. Designers at large brands and agencies need an integrated approach that tracks use of assets for compliance purposes and measures performance of an asset as it interacts with customers in the real-world.

That’s why Adobe Stock for enterprise offers unique features for indemnification, license management, rights-sharing, and support that make it the best choice for large global brands and agencies. Creative-rights sharing makes it easy to share images across projects and teams without needing to re-license. And worldwide archiving rights make it easy to back up your licensed images.

James Thomas of Dentsu Aegis adds, “For us, licensing is quite complex in a large organization like Dentsu Aegis. We have content going out on nearly every type of channel you can think of. Having a trackable, auditable license process is really, really key for us.”

Ultimately, an effective content strategy needs to help agencies and brands tell their story at scale. Whether reaching customers in new ways, creating engagement on a budget, or dealing with the complexity of a global marketplace, designers are demanding more from their stock services than just content. It takes speed and efficiency, integration with creative workflows, extraordinary quality and confidence in compliance to be successful in the era of digital experiences.