Above The Fray

If they like it, people enjoy seeing the same thing over again. They enjoy mimicking stuff they like. For the most part, this is harmless until you are trying to sell something. By this point you are battling up a hill where everyone has gathered to take the same photo.

Everyone takes the same photos when they travel to landmarks - a million photos of the Tower of Pisa, a million different poses of tourists either knocking it over or trying to stand it back up again. It has the efficacy of buying a postcard in the gift shop — the same image taken by different people.

Maybe they think it will make the experience more memorable - a way of keeping a travel diary. There are a lot of theories behind why we do it.

There is an account in Instagram called Insta_Repeat that points out how most people stage the same photos, edit them down to the same colors and compositions, and post them with pretty much the same hashtag collection. Some people are doing some unique things, but most of us are doing the same thing as everyone else and trying to sell it as art.

There I go with my pessimism again.

The reasons are easy on Instagram - photographers are chasing the “likes,” so they do what has already proven to get people liking. I doubt this will change anytime soon. You can see it on pretty much any platform - someone figured out how to get big numbers, everyone followed suit.

I work with a lot of outdoor brands who have a single aesthetic in mind. We’ve all seen it - the product in the wild, usually on a sandstone surface at golden hour with the colors maxed out to highlight oranges and blues. There’s often a woman wearing a beanie, draped in a woven blanket. #wanderlust #getoutmore

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Ppl in hats

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A new brand sees what another brand has done and they follow suit because they want the success that brand has seen. As a consumer, all of the visual clues are there to say “this is an outdoor brand” - that’s one less conversation they need to have to understand what they are supposed to do with the product. This seems beneficial until you are trying to determine which brand does what and who is different from the others in a particular way.

We were racing to the top of the hill; now we’re trying to dig out of a hole.

No one wants to start out their branding with something totally unique, so they hire the guy on Instagram who can make his photos look like everyone else’s. Also, he’s probably pretty cheap.

There is a reward to risk, but you first have to take a real risk.