Take Control of Your Brand's Imagery: AI Solutions for Today's Marketers

Jan 12, 2024

In this article we explain why AI imagery is your new ally for getting ahead in branding.

Written by: Layla Wei

-

Ever found yourself endlessly searching through stock photos, or stressing over the hefty bills from your last photoshoot, all in a bid to find that few images that truly speak for your brand? This struggle, balancing the high costs and creative limitations, is all too familiar to marketers and brand managers. But what if there's a revolutionary way to break free from these constraints?

Enter the era of AI-powered photography. This isn't just an alternative to traditional image sourcing; it's a complete game-changer. As someone who's navigated the challenging waters of brand content creation for a decade, I'm so excited by how recent developments in AI are transforming our approach to imagery, making brand visuals more authentic, relevant, and aligned with brand vision. In this article, we'll uncover how AI tools could empower marketers to take control of your brand's imagery, effortlessly and effectively.

The Real Struggle with Stock Imagery

I once worked on a healthcare campaign targeting audiences in four distinct markets. The task seemed straightforward: find culturally specific photography images that resonated with each demographic. However, the reality was anything but. We were constantly grappling with a paradox: the perfect model set in an irrelevant scene, or the right setting featuring an unrelatable demographic. This experience laid bare the inherent limitations of stock imagery.

Stock photos, while abundant, often fell short in reflecting the true diversity and nuance of a brand’s target audiences. It's not just about having a model that looks the part; it's about authenticity, about images that genuinely represent and speak to the people we aim to connect with. That's where AI stepped in as a savior. With advanced AI imaging techniques, we could finally craft visuals that offer a level of customization and relevance stock images could never achieve.

The High Costs and Complexities of Photoshoots

If stock library isn’t your game because your brand demands customization and quality, the default solution used to be a full production photoshoot. But photoshoot is fraught with challenges like coordinating locations, casting the right faces, and hiring a photographer along with a specialized crew - a logistical puzzle that was both time-consuming and costly. The complexity didn't end there. From securing approvals to managing the myriad of details on set, every step was a dance of precision and patience.

Financially, the costs were just as daunting. The bills for professional shoots can escalate quickly, not to mention the long turnaround time from pre-production planning to post-production touch-ups. Then there's the labyrinth of release forms, licensing, and rights management – a legal tangle that often slows down the creative process.

This is where the magic of AI completely transforms the landscape. By integrating AI into our image creation process, we were able to leapfrog from creative briefs to sharing draft imagery for brand review almost instantly. The cumbersome logistics, the prolonged timelines, the exorbitant costs, and the legal complexities – all were streamlined into a more efficient, cost-effective, and creative process.

AI Reshaping Brand Imagery

AI didn’t just solve problems; it opened new horizons for brand imagery. At the forefront of this transformation is the ability of AI to create highly tailored and culturally nuanced images. A standout example is seen in our work with Imvexxy.

For Imvexxy, a healthcare product for women in menopause, the challenge was to develop imagery that resonated with diverse groups of women across different ethnic backgrounds, with the creative concept built around women feeling like queens. Traditional methods would have necessitated photoshoots with different models with elaborate set design like a palace, a task both costly and time-intensive. AI, however, offered a streamlined and effective solution.

Utilizing advanced generative models like MidJourney, we were able to create a series of images in grandiose scenes, featuring women from various ethnic backgrounds. This was not just about altering physical appearances; it involved capturing the subtleties of expression, mood, and context that resonated with each specific audience. The result was a set of images that felt authentic, relatable, and delightful to the brand’s diverse audience.

Source: Imvexxy, created by the author

The success of this approach is a testament to the potential of AI in revolutionizing how we conceive and execute brand visual strategies.

Apart from MidJourney, there are also alternatives like Leonardo, Pika and many others. The differences and recommendations would be a topic for another day.

Perfecting Product Placement with AI If you’ve tried experimenting with generative AI tools for image creation yourself, you might have discovered their limitations, particularly when it comes to precise product placement. It's not uncommon to end up with images that are slightly off - extra fingers and limbs, or products held in unnatural ways.

Images created by the author with MidJourney

This challenge stems from the inherent constraints of current generative models, which often struggle to nail the perfect composition through text prompts alone. That's where the skilled touch of a digital illustrator becomes indispensable, bridging the gap between AI's potential and your brand's specific needs. Take the Imvexxy project as a case in point. We were tasked to craft a series of images that creatively highlighted the product, a gel capsule. To accomplish this, we employed a blend of multiple AI tools and classical image editing techniques. This approach allowed us to not only correct the quirks of AI-generated images but also to bring a level of finesse and customization that stock images couldn't provide and that even traditional photoshoots might struggle to match.

Source: Imvexxy, created by the author

This hybrid method offered an unparalleled flexibility. For instance, we could easily swap elements in the shot, such as changing the product packaging, without the need for an entirely new photoshoot. <show box with butterfly> For some consumer goods brands, there are also alternative AI tools that enable you to navigate product placement by uploading an image of your product and creating beautiful scenes, such as Pebblely.ai. This adaptability is a game-changer in product marketing, allowing brands to update and tweak their imagery quickly and efficiently in response to evolving marketing needs or product changes.

Streamlining Rights Management with AI Images

In the realm of brand imagery, both stock photos and custom photoshoots present distinct rights management challenges. With stock images, brands must navigate complex licensing terms, deal with non-exclusive usage rights, adhere to geographic and temporal restrictions, and often face limitations on image modification. Meanwhile, custom photoshoots involve negotiating rights with photographers, models, and locations, often leading to a web of legal and financial complications.

At AeroBoard, we are testing a significantly simplified approach to rights management. When clients engage with us, they receive unlimited, perpetual rights to use the images we create for commercial purposes, albeit without owning the copyright of the AI-generated images. This distinction ensures clients can fully leverage the images for their brand's benefit, while we maintain the integrity and control of our creative processes with AI, using ethical prompting without keywords mentioning copyrighted content or specific artists. (As a creator, I’ll do all I can to avoid sabotaging other creators!)

With cautious adoption of AI, brands can focus on creativity and impact, and skip the complex rights management issues that often accompany traditional stock images and photoshoots.

Embracing AI for Future-Forward Brand Imagery

So there you have it. The journey from pricey photoshoots and generic stock images to the dynamic world of AI-driven brand imagery is as exciting as it is game-changing. With AI, we're not just solving old problems; we're creating new possibilities – from smart product placements to hassle-free rights management. For marketers and brand managers, embracing AI means stepping into a future where brand storytelling is not only more efficient but also more captivating. The future of brand imagery is here, and it's vividly AI-powered.

Keen to see how this all comes together? Drop by AeroBoard's website. We’ve got some cool insights and in-depth looks at how we're making brand imagery smarter, more authentic, and a lot more fun.