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Royalty free stock photography is great—it’s cheap, readily available, and quick to get. Using stock photography is a smart way to promote your brand, right?

Well, maybe.

The problem with stock photography is that it’s cheap, readily available, and quick to get. Under most circumstances, a single photo can be licensed over and over to every type of business under the sun. Unlike your brand, it’s not unique or exclusive.

Take our stock corporate scene above. You’ll find it used around the web. Depending on where, these nice people are known as consultants, sales associates, customer service representatives, accountants, auditors, advisors, marketers, communication pros, PR reps, engineers and database managers. They work in finance, IT, government, manufacturing, contracting, social service and hospitality. Here they are striking a deal, cooperating, executing a plan, congratulating a job well done, getting hired, getting promoted and heading out on maternity leave. They do it all, and more!

Next time we’ll look at some ways to make stock photography unique. For now lets take another look at our corporate scene. Here’s an actual Google image search that shows all instances and sizes of that stock photo: