Smart marketers put a lot of time, energy and budget into carefully controlling how their products are visually presented to consumers. Designers, for instance, labor endlessly over any changes to product packaging and the product itself, focus-grouping even the tiniest of tweaks. And ad production can involve sprawling teams of directors, photographers, lighting experts, stylists and prop designers who all labor to put the product in the best possible light.
But what happens when your product is seen in the real world, far from the best possible light? Specifically, muddy indoor light—average household light—and in an authentic context lacking the awesome perfectionism and state-of-the-art equipment deployed by pros?
Does your product still pop? Does it stand out? Does it still seem special?
As visually driven social platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr continue to grow, one thing is certain: Consumers, rather than marketers, are increasingly at the forefront of the visual presentation and dissemination of product images.
To give you a sense of just how prolific consumer-photographers have become, consider the fact that Canon, in its recently released 2016 Photography Trends Study, revealed that nearly one in four consumers (24 percent) are taking up to 300 photos per month.
Consumers are creating and sharing images of everything, constantly, which means that your brand is likely taking on a visual/social life of its own.
Until recently, to get a sense of how their brands appear in the real world, marketers had to use traditional social media listening tools to attempt to pick up on text mentions—captions and hashtags—referencing their products that might appear alongside consumer photos of those products on Instagram, et al.
But over the past several years, image-recognition technology has been growing in power and sophistication, and now marketers can easily find and analyze consumer images of