Have you ever been on the hunt to find good-quality images of people of color but didn’t really have much luck? This founder is on a mission to help.
To change that reality and showcase representation, Steve Jones launched a diverse media agency embracing the distinct and touching stories of minority groups overlooked by the media.
The ideation for a media agency began in 2013. Jones’ career was small-business focused and aimed to help businesses build and execute high-impact experiences through engaging digital strategies. Over the tenure of Jones’ career, he noticed it was difficult to find great quality images of minority groups despite the heightened priority for diversity among people and corporations.
“We go to work, we wear suits, we dress professionally, we have different styles, and different ways that we look. Yet, there was no place you could find these variations in looks and people,” Steve Jones told AfroTech.
Once Jones closed his company, The Circl, in 2017, he decided to take his bookmarked idea and bring it to fruition. Jones launched pocstock alongside Tamara Fleming (Chief Content Officer) and DeSean Brown (Chief Relationship Officer) in 2019.
The media agency partners with Fortune 500 companies and global advertising agencies to amplify the stories of minority communities in all settings through curated stock imagery, personalized photo and video content, and encouraging healthy dialogue centered around diversity issues. The company’s mission is to ensure equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging are delivered through the positive imagery being produced.
“We want to make sure people of color are included in the mix. There are so many different places where we are fighting for representation. We are fighting to be valued, heard, and seen. We want to make sure we are one of the solutions for that representation,” Steve Jones told AfroTech.
pocstock Has A Growing Portfolio
To begin creating an immersive portfolio of content, Fleming introduced a library of photographers and directed various shoots for clients. The company has since expanded and now has a global studio team of over 600 contributors across 45 countries globally.
Now pocstock’s image library has expanded from 1,015 to 75,000 over the last two years. This feat made pocstock one of the largest Black-owned stock companies in the market, and Jones is proud of this growing catalog as it now gives Black people a counter-narrative to challenge negative stereotypes.
“If you think about all of the images that have been created about people of color black people, in particular Black men, over the past 50 years, it has always been a mix of negative or scary images that make people concerned about being in and around our spaces. It shapes how people look at us. And that is no accident that all of that content was put out,” Jones said.
He continued: “What we want to do is put out positive images, so we reject submitted images that have negative stereotypes and don’t display people in a positive light. We are providing a counter-narrative to all the negativity that has been put out about us over the years. As a societal problem, you’ll have fewer George Floyd’s and fewer lives being taken for granted. People start to see us as loving, meaningful human beings who deserve the right to live, the right to be heard, the right to be seen, and the right to be valued.”
The includeUS campaign is a part of pocstock’s mission to change societal narratives. The action-oriented campaign honors 50 history makers who deserve recognition for their impactful work spearheading future generations. The campaign also highlights Juneteeth, Indigenous People’s Day, and Women’s HERstory month, among others. The intent behind the slew of the campaigns is to not solely have a celebratory conversation but to also ensure there is accountability to the promises and commitments made to minorities, especially Black Americans.
“The point of our inclusive campaign is for action-oriented compensation. Each leader has a call to action to take those conversations and knowledge and go out into their lives, into their communities, and to their families to make a difference because we need tangible action that impact people of color,” Jones said.
The stock photography platform currently offers a subscription plan ranging from $30 to $500 per month catering to small businesses, agencies, corporations, and media outlets billed monthly or annually. Even for individuals seeking to purchase a single image or video, the platform allows users to do so for $25.
As pocstock looks ahead, they plan to add additional features to their platform beginning in the second quarter of 2022. The company will incorporate video and illustrations to the platform and expand the includeUS campaign.
To prepare for upward growth and mobility, pocstock hopes to raise one million dollars. Since August, the media agency has already raised half a million in funding and plans to reach its goal by 2022.