PMA announces new strategic direction and initiatives

PMAlogo_CMYK_small

PMAlogo_CMYK_smallSince early in January, we have been on a mission to determine the best way for PMA to move forward into the future. Our goal has been to recapture the vitality of PMA, and its ability to fulfill the changing needs of the photography industry. With that goal in mind, we have sought input and direction from hundreds of industry members, gathering insight into their business challenges and how PMA can help address them.

With the impassioned support of so many, and in conjunction with a very motivated staff and Executive Committee, we have conducted interviews, scheduled in-person visits and made phone calls. We have attended conferences all over the world; we have surveyed the industry; and we have gathered leading representatives from across the imaging spectrum for a two-day strategic retreat, held last month in Virginia.

All these efforts have provided us with a wealth of information. After carefully analyzing it all, together with the Executive Committee and staff, we have determined four key pillars that will be the cornerstones on which we will build the new PMA. We are delighted to say the PMA Executive Committee voted unanimously, on May 13, 2015, to move forward with this strategic direction.

PMA will:

• Empower businesses to effectively serve and sell to the consumer

We will provide tools and resources to help you build your business, and to increase consumer enthusiasm for photography products, services and equipment. Our goal is to create a better and more direct connection between consumers and service providers.

The first example of this effort is already well underway – it is our National Photo Month website, at www.natlphotomonth.org. This site offers a constantly expanding menu of photography tips and inspiration for consumers, as well as business tools and ready-made marketing materials for our members, to take full advantage of the excitement around National Photo Month. It’s also home to the first in our new series of photo contests. Prizes, awarded at both the professional and the hobbyist level, are worth up to $3,000 in each category. This site has tips and resources that can be used by PMA members internationally, even though its current focus is the U.S. National Photo Month event. After May, the site will transition to a permanent consumer-facing site, Celebratephotos.com, to keep the excitement growing worldwide on an ongoing basis.

Evangelize, advocate and promote overall industry interests

PMA will advocate on behalf on the industry to encourage positive press and government action in favor of photography businesses, developing an outreach strategy for educating and informing federal agencies about the real consumer benefits that flow directly from local businesses. We are already working in this arena, with the help of Don Kennedy from our U.K. office, on preventing the passage of legislation that would allow “selfies” to be used as passport photos. Similar legislation has been proposed in the U.S. and other countries.

• Provide knowledge and expertise, so the photography businesses can grow and thrive

PMA is poised to become the “go-to” resource for any and all photo industry related information. To accomplish this, we are implementing a new, online “knowledge hub” that will offer not only all the valuable content you’re used to finding in PMA Newsline, PMA Magazine, and on the PMA Podcast, but also analyst insights, resources and tools for your business, trend data, and marketing research information and reports from leading industry research firms, and more.

In addition, we are launching a new PMA website that will allow you to connect with the PMA communities you are most interested in. Here you will be able to interact with your colleagues across the entire spectrum of the imaging industry, and in any segment that interests you.

The greatest opportunity for learning and interaction will always be in-person events. PMA is currently planning the first of our next-generation photo business and technology summits, which will take place this fall in California.

• Create, support and promote industry-related guidelines and conventions

PMA will develop common conventions and guidelines that allow open APIs, standards and “future proof” interoperability to remove the barriers to greater consumer action around photo products and services.

In addition, PMA is further developing certification programs and best practice guidelines, as well as a ”train the trainer” program to help you and your staff become an education source for consumers. These will provide significant points of differentiation from your competitors, help you create greater passion for photography in your community, and give your business the edge it needs to grow to higher and higher levels of success.

As you can see, with these initiatives now in place, your PMA staff is already hard at work developing practical tools, resources and events to deliver on the promise they hold. We will continue to expand on these initial objectives as the needs of our members evolve.

We are so excited for the future, and we thank you for your enduring support.

Georgia McCabe         &      Gaby Mullinax
PMA CEO                            PMA President

Speakers signing on for Fall’s Mobile Photo Connect

Mobile Photo Connect

 MPC_panelists_052015

This year the annual Mobile Photo Connect will “take a deep dive into the driving forces behind today’s unprecedented surge in mobile imaging and visual communication, says organizer Suite 48 Analytics.

The conference moves to a larger venue, the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco’s Presidio Park.

“Mobile Photo Connect brings together entrepreneurs, investors and senior executives active in the global mobile photo and video ecosystem,” the company says, and will feature panel discussions on tomorrow’s use cases, monetizing photo engagement, disrupting through hardware innovation, and taking mobile photo startups through successful exits.

Initial speakers include:

  • Rajiv Vaidyanathan, Head of Product, Flickr
  • Joe Rago, Director Mobile Innovation Program, Walgreens
  • James Joaquin, Co-founder and Managing Director, Obvious Ventures
  • Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging, DJI
  • Vijay Vachani, Director, Partner Ecosystem, Adobe
  • Oren Boiman, CEO, co-founder, Magisto
  • Jackie Dove, Creativity Editor, The Next Web
  • Jan Senderek, Product Manager, Dropbox
  • Don Strickland, President and CEO, Strickland & Associates
  • Yi Li, CEO, Orbeus

There will also be three show & tell sessions in which 30 app developers will demo their wares.

Mobile Photo Connect is September 29, 2015. PMA is a media sponsor.

audience_and_panel2

 

International Photographic Council celebrates United Nations 70th anniversary

IPC UN

IPC UN

The Imaging industry joined with United Nations dignitaries to celebrate the UN’s 70th anniversary — and present the International Photographic Council’s Hall of Fame Award.

The award recognizes exceptional leadership and contribution to the imaging industry, and went to Fujifilm chairman and CEO Shigetaka Komori.

Cristina Gallach, the UN’s under-secretary-general for communications and public information, delivered a keynote address, and noted that “We have to tell stories, and as a big believer in the impact of the strong visual, I am convinced that photos are the best way to tell stories. Here, we all have an important role to play. Through your comrades, through the images you capture, you help us convey to the world, the messages of the United Nations.”

IPC and Lifetouch sponsored a UN photo exhibition, We The Peoples, showcasing seven decades of photography; it will open to the public on October 24, 2015 — on UN Day.

The International Photographic Council is a multinational, non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) of the United Nations, composed of representatives from every major sector of the photographic industry.
Founded in 1974, IPC is dedicated to increasing worldwide recognition of photography as a universal means of communication. IPC’s motto is “Peace Through Understanding, Understanding Through Photography, the Universal Language.” For more information, visit www.ipc-un-ngo.org.

Photo by Diane Berkenfeld — pictured among the many industry leaders in attendance are PMA’s Georgia McCabe, Gaby Mullinax, Amy Lestition Burke, and Wolfgang Abendroth.

Investing in Imaging

ldv summit

ldv summit

“New innovations are emerging every month and the digital imaging market is poised for exponential growth,” says investment firm LDV Capital. “Companies are struggling to leverage the right solutions to help them adapt and thrive in the new world.”

At its May 19-20 summit in New York, “the world’s brightest technology innovators:” will discuss trends and technologies in digital imaging and video technology, and “how their visions will transform visual communication and boost or disrupt your businesses.”

Sessions will look at Video, Visual Literacy, Content Monetization, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Satellite Imaging, Sentiment Analysis, Mapping, Commerce Imaging, Medical Imaging, Computational Photography.

Speakers are from firms such as Fyusion, MIT Media Lab, Microsoft Research, Dropbox, Cornell Tech, Flickr, Google, Yahoo, Magic Leap, HP, Vimeo, and Qualcomm Research.

Here’s more information.

 

Use Twitter to attract new customers for National Photography Month

Bernard Perrine is the CEO of Twitter marketing company SocialCentiv
Bernard Perrine is the CEO of Twitter marketing company SocialCentiv

Bernard Perrine is the CEO of Twitter marketing company SocialCentiv

Business Success Logo

May is National Photography Month. Since receiving that designation from Congress in 1987, it has been marked with festivals, photo contests and other celebrations nationwide.

Of course, the business of photography looks much different today than it did in 1987. After decades of growth, the camera market spiked late in the last decade and has been contracting by double-digit amounts every year since.

Some in the industry blame this fall-off on the emergence of the smartphone, some on yet other factors. Regardless of what is causing the problem, it is imperative that photo retailers, professional photographers and others in the field use events like National Photography Month to remind consumers about the fun and the benefits that cameras can bring to their lives.

Ironically, one of the best avenues for using the beauty and power of pictures to generate photography-related business is a social media network that originally was a text-based medium: Twitter.

By limiting users’ posts to 140 characters, Twitter has perfected what’s known as “intent-based marketing,” meaning delivering advertising messages to consumers who have expressed an interest in a product or service.

Consumers use Twitter to express their thoughts and feelings in real time, something no other social media outlet delivers to marketers. People announce on Twitter that they are getting married, having children and a host of other important life events that can create business for people in the photo business.

Listen and engage

While Twitter represents a vast marketing opportunity, it can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Some 288 million monthly active users send out 500 million-plus Tweets daily.

Understanding the difference between how people use the service compared to other social media and search engines is the first step in sifting Twitter for business.

Twitter is all about conversation. A user who is announcing that her boyfriend had proposed might Tweet, “I am getting married!” But that same woman could use different language in employing, say, a search engine, where she might use a phrase such as “marriage photographers in Dallas.”

Finding business opportunities like this on Twitter entails monitoring what people are talking about – a process called “social listening” – and then moving quickly when good fortune arises.

An important element of a good listening effort is choosing the best “keywords” for a given business. Keywords are words and phrases that marketers seek in Tweets.

For instance, two of the most commonly used phrases on Twitter are “I want” and “I need.” Easy tricks can help narrow the list of Tweets to a geographic area. Searching Twitter for the keywords “I need photographer near: Dallas” provides a list of people in that Texas city who may require a studio’s services.

After picking keywords, the next step is gently joining the conversation that the person who could turn into a customer is having.

The “engagement mechanism” a marketer uses could simply involve sending a Tweet to the individual with a message that is relevant to what he or she is talking about.

For instance, if a Dallas resident announced her engagement on Twitter, a photo studio could reply with an offer of a 10-percent discount on its services for her wedding.

That discount offer is what’s known as a “call to action” – a reason for the bride-to-be to act immediately. Any outreach a business does on Twitter needs a strong call to action, because opportunities – in the forms of weddings, births or bar mitzvahs – can pass quickly.

To better catch a Twitter user’s eye, it always helps to include some of the photos one’s business works so hard to produce.

One study of Tweets by news organizations, for instance, found that adding a picture increased the percentage of Retweets by 27 percent.

While it’s important to know what steps to take in conducting a successful advertising campaign on Twitter, sometimes the best move is the one that a marketer does not make.

In this regard, it is best to avoid the use of software known as “auto-responders” to Tweets. Always have a human examine Tweets for relevance before replying to them.

After all, there is a big difference between a Tweet that proclaims, “The photographer took some sick photos at our wedding,” versus one that says, “The photographer took photos of someone getting sick at our wedding.”

Why not Instagram or Pinterest?

Twitter is not the only social media network that has attracted advertisers’ attention in the photography business. A pair of Twitter competitors, Instagram and Pinterest, has raised marketers’ antennae, largely because both focus on images and video.

To be sure, both of these platforms offer advantages that are hard to ignore. Pinterest should have close to 47.1 million active monthly users by the end of 2015, with about 83.3 percent of those users female, according to a recent eMarketer study. In December, Instagram eclipsed 300 million active monthly users, and a recent study says 53 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 29 use the service.

On the other hand, both Pinterest and Instagram pose challenges for marketers, especially for small and mid-sized businesses.

For Pinterest, part of the issue is how much growth it has in store. The site’s central function, which is acting like an online pin board, may not mesh with what large numbers of people enjoy doing, the eMarketer study noted.

The study also knocked Pinterest’s advertising products, saying they are “fairly limited” for now.

Instagram has several times more users than Pinterest. The problem, in the eyes of some observers, is that Instagram is becoming overly pricey to advertise on, much like its corporate parent, Facebook.

Conclusion

In my book, the best bang for the advertising buck on social media remains Twitter. No other outlet provides a window into people’s purchasing sentiments that is both real-time and so cost-effective, especially for small and mid-sized photo businesses.

And if that isn’t a pretty picture, then I don’t know what is.

Bernard Perrine is the CEO of Twitter marketing company SocialCentiv. He can be reached at bernie@socialcentiv.com.

The new issue of PMA Magazine is here

PMAMagazine_Q1_Cover

The new issue of spreadsjpg-Q1PMA Magazine — Connecting the Imaging Communities is here! In this issue, meet PMA’s new leaders, President Gaby Mullinax and CEO Georgia McCabe, and learn about Coulter, PMA’s new management team. You will also see the excitement of the PMA 2015 Conferences in our story of the event in pictures.

Also in this issue:

Catch PMA 2015 Conferences speaker Heino Hilbig’s session on Youtube

Heino Hilbig

Heino HilbigHeino Hilbig of Mayflower Concepts presented a very compelling look at the real reasons behind declining camera sales — and how the industry should respond — at the PMA 2015 Conferences in January. If you missed it, you can join thousands of others and watch it on Youtube. Also, be sure to listen to an interview with Heino about selling cameras on the PMA Podcast.

2015 PPFA Annual Convention surpasses goals

PPFA_RGB_150

PPFA_RGB_150Several hundred members of the Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) returned from the annual PPFA Convention, held Jan. 25-28, 2015, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with new framing techniques and design ideas, marketing and business advice, connections with long-time friends and many new contacts from the worldwide framing community of retailers and suppliers.

For the fourth consecutive year, the PPFA Convention was hosted by the West Coast Art & Frame Expo/The National Conference, the largest annual show in the custom picture framing industry.

The PPFA Convention offered introductory to high-level educational sessions, with emphasis on framing techniques and designs to attract more customers. Networking events included the annual Welcome Reception & Vendor Showcase, a sneak peek of products offered at the trade expo.

keynote

Keynoter Suzanne Smeaton

Frame historian Suzanne Smeaton delivered a sparkling luncheon keynote address, as well as an education session; and was joined in the PPFA educator line up by several industry experts.

A major highlight of the event was the International OPEN and PRINT framing competition, with entries displayed on a gallery wall near the PPFA booth. Winners received checks and ribbons during the PPFA Member Meeting, an event that also included the Chapter Volunteer, Service, Leadership and Lifetime Achievement awards; introduction of the 2015-16 PPFA International Board of Directors; and recognition of many volunteer committee and task force members as well as outgoing board members.

The framing competition is always a highlight of the PPFA Convention

The framing competition is always a highlight of the PPFA Convention

Exams and courses for the Certified Picture Framer (CPF) and Master Certified Picture Framer (MCPF) designations were offered, along with a Recertification Course; and a course was held for those interested in becoming PPFA competition judges.

In addition, PPFA Chapter Leaders from chapters in the U.S., Canada and Australia/New Zealand enjoyed a half-day conference of their own.

Members also relaxed with social activities, including breakfast meetings, a Chinese dinner, and an evening of bowling.

“We’ve had wonderful feedback from our members, who agree this was our best Convention to date,” said PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF. “Our keynote speaker, Suzanne Smeaton, was excellent, our education sessions were top-notch, the competition entries were beautiful, and the always popular Welcome Reception & Vendor Showcase was another huge networking success. We all went home inspired, reconnected with our framing community and looking forward to a successful year ahead for our members.”

Plans for another outstanding PPFA Convention in 2016 are under way. PPFA also holds regional events throughout the year.

PPFA honors 2015 Award Winners

PPFA_RGB_150

PPFA_RGB_150

The Professional Picture Framers Association (PPFA) honored the following members during the PPFA Member Meeting, held January 25 at the PPFA 2015 Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nev.

PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF, presented the winners with their respective awards:

PPFA Lifetime Achievement Award: John Ranes II, CPF, GCF, The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc., Appleton, Wis.
A Certified Picture Framer and Guild Certified Framer, John Ranes owns The Frame Workshop of Appleton, Inc. in Appleton, Wis., with his wife, Sarah. Their shop has won over 90 framing competition awards, and has long claimed the title of “The most award winning frame shop.” The shop is an excellent example of Ranes’ expertise on marketing, promotion and diversifying into gift and accessory sales; and Ranes was an early pioneer in the framing industry to focus on marketing on-line.

A PPFA member for 36 years, Ranes has served as Vice President of the Upper Midwest Chapter in Minnesota and served three terms as a board member of the Wisconsin Chapter where he was an originating member. He served three years on the PPFA National Board of Directors and has served on the PPFA Education committee, the Long- Range planning committee, and the Advisory committee. Ranes has presented mat cutting classes and seminars in over 15 different countries, and is a global ambassador making tremendous efforts in bridging the gap between the US and European/International framing communities.

He has been one of the top educators and consultants for PPFA, the West Coast Art & Frame show, Décor Magazine and Expos, Fletcher-Terry, Tru-Vue, and Picture Framing Magazine and has assisted distributors around the country with educating customers at Open Houses events/
Ranes travels and visits other frame shops, seeking out ideas and sharing his own insights. This past year, he chronicled several shops and shared their stories in social media.

PPFA Paul Frederick Distinction for Leadership Award: Cliff Wilson, MCPF, Framed In Tatnuck, Worcester, Mass.
After 25 years in the computer industry, including years as the Director of Color Management for Eastman Kodak and Vice President of Engineering for a couple of companies, Cliff Wilson started Framed In Tatnuck in 2002 and has been building and improving the Best Frame shop in Worcester, Mass., ever since.

A long time PPFA member, he has been an active member of the New England Chapter, served as president, and held other offices. He has been an active participant in starting programs that he eventually put into place during his service on the National Board. His involvement at the national level has included the Nominating committee, Consumer Awareness committee, and Membership committee. He was instrumental in the development of the PPFA Member Advantage Program that he started in his New England chapter and brought to an international membership package.

A Master Certified Picture Framer, and an instructor at the national and chapter level, Wilson is known for his generosity and sincere regard for sharing information, ideas and techniques. He is a member of the Framers Corner Moderator team and contributes to questions and topics on the Forum, offering valuable information and insight.

PPFA Service Award: Greg Norris, CPF, Huntington Hall of Frames, Huntington, WV
Owner of Huntington Hall of Frames for two decades, during his past 10 years with PPFA, Greg Norris has been active in his Tri-State Chapter, including service as president. A Certified Picture Framer, he currently serves as a Director on the PPFA Board. He has been an integral part of the Membership Committee, leading to the new PPFA Member Advantage program of discounts from PPFA suppliers for members. An active member of the Chapter Relations Committee, he has worked tirelessly on the Chapter reorganization. He is a moderator and Board liaison on the Framers Corner forum, one of the most valuable member resources.

PPFA Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award: Cathy Coggins, Needle Craft World, Kissimmee, Fla.
An active member and board member of the Southeast Chapter, Cathy Coggins was instrumental in organizing and coordinating last Fall’s Framefest in Florida, a huge success that required many hours of preparation. She worked tirelessly to include all framers from across the industry, and to provide a welcoming environment for vendors to display products and meet new and current clients. A member of the PPFA Membership Committee and Chapter Relations Committee, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of PPFA and her Chapter.

Awards were also presented to outgoing PPFA Board of Directors members: Immediate Past President John Pruitt, CPF; Treasurer Mike Drury, MCPF; and Director David Lantrip, MCPF, GCF; and former PPFA Executive Elaine Truman  received an award.

“Congratulations to all of our PPFA Award winners,” says PPFA President Robin Gentry, MCPF. “PPFA is made up of many caring individuals who give freely of their time and expertise to grow the picture framing profession. A big thanks to these very deserving award winners for all they do for our association and our profession.”

The Awards and Recognition Committee is chaired by Linda Wassell, MCPF; with Adela Davis, MCPF; Harry Gaston, CPF; Meghan MacMillan, MCPF; and Anthony Tremonto, and PPFA Board liaison Carol Graham.

Robert Gulf, owner of Knollwood Art Frames in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., framed the awards. Larson Juhl donated the frames and Museum Glass.

On the PMA Podcast: PMA President Gaby Mullinax on the new PMA

PMApodcast_icon_sq

PMApodcast_icon_sqIn January, during the PMA 2015 Conferences, Gabrielle Mullinax of Fullerton Photo became president of PMA – where in the past month, a new CEO has been installed and a new management company has been hired to help create fresh growth and opportunities for PMA and its members.  In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Gaby talks about the recent developments, and all the changes yet to come, in creating the new PMA. Listen or download at www.pmapodcast.org, or use the player below.