In wake of data breach, PMA calls for industry initiative to provide secure imaging services; InnovationNow is the starting point

PMA Logo new Coulter 2015
PMA Logo new Coulter 2015

In the wake of leading North American mass retailers temporarily shutting down their photo websites due to a reported data breach at a third-party service provider, PMA is calling for an industry initiative to provide consumers with easy-to-use and interoperable platforms enabling photo enthusiasts to experience their memories anywhere, any time and to order innovative picture products securely and efficiently.

“The recent breach brought the online photo business of some of North America’s top brands to complete halt,” says Georgia McCabe, CEO and executive director. “As the only international photo association representing the creative and photo product industries, PMA stands ready to lead and to facilitate the transition to more attractive business and technological solutions.”
At the upcoming  “InnovationNow” Photo Business and Technology Summit, Sept. 27-28, 2015, at the Hilton Parc 55, San Francisco, Calif., PMA will provide a platform for top executives from imaging and retailing companies, independent experts, photographers and Silicon Valley technology firms to discuss new business models for the industry, as well as new and unique ways of serving consumers who experience their pictures on social and mobile networks.
The Background
“When the mass adoption of digital cameras began in 2000, many mass retailers relied on specialty companies to quickly start their online photo retailing activities and without the need to deal with the actual transactions, merchandising models and hosting services,” explains McCabe. “As a result, there has been no mass retailer taking the lead to drive these services forward. This temporary security issue should be taken as a wake-up call highlighting to the whole industry that a comprehensive business model is now long overdue. The rapidly evolving demand for providing relevant services to the exploding population of connected smartphone consumers is only a further call to action.”
The InnovationNow Photo Business and Technology Summit represents the necessary first step on a journey to inform, to ideate and to implement the kind of products, services, mass-market awareness and ease of participation that was responsible for driving the analog photo business to historical levels of sales and profitability.

InnovationNow is designed for leaders in the photo industry, and those who aspire to become industry leaders. Read more about the conference and speakers here. For more information and to register, visit http://www.pmai.org/register/.

Be ready for your future with PMA’s InnovationNow Photo Business & Technology Summit

InnovationNow 2015

InnovationNow 2015The greatest opportunity you will have this year to take your business to new levels of success is here. PMA announces the InnovationNow Photo Business & Technology Summit, September 27-28, 2015, at Hilton Parc 55 in San Francisco, Calif. – leading into Mobile Photo Connect in San Francisco on September 29.

No one needs to be told that our industry has undergone massive changes, and as technology continues its rapid and relentless march forward, radical and disruptive developments will not stop. It is for this reason that your participation in InnovationNow is critical to the future success of your business. Designed for leaders in the photo industry, and those who aspire to become industry leaders, InnovationNow will gather in one place the people who can help you discover, understand, and apply what you need to know to reinvigorate and drive future success for the photo service and products market in today’s connected world.

Micah Solomon

InnovationNow keynoter Micah Solomon is one of the world’s leading authorities on customer service, company culture, and the customer experience.

Keynoting the conference is Micah Solomon, one of the world’s leading authorities on customer service, company culture, and the customer experience. He’s an award-winning, bestselling author, consultant, and keynote speaker. Solomon is a regular contributor to Forbes.com and his expertise has been featured in Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CNBC, and the Harvard Business Review.

A business leader and entrepreneur himself, Solomon built his own company into a market leader in the manufacturing and independent entertainment field and was also an early investor in the technology behind Apple’s Siri.

Among many other top speakers at InnovationNow are:

  • Robert Nunn, co-founder and CEO of Digital Yearbook Page, as well as co-founder of Live Portrait, a service created for professional photographers that uses video to enhance the value of print – instantly turning the client’s photograph into a live video moment that will be cherished for years to come.
  • Dr. Reiner Fageth, Head of Research & Development for CEWE, which boasts 11 highly technical production operations and a staff of around 3,200 employees in 24 European countries.
  • Marion Duchesne, CEO of Mediaclip. Founded in 2005, Mediaclip is a privately-held company headquartered in the heart of Montreal.
  • Kevin Gilbert, an award-winning photojournalist, teacher, entrepreneur, and now Digital Memory Evangelist for Mylio, Gilbert has been shooting news and features of the world for over 30 years.

The conference will include several networking breaks that will allow you the chance to do business and interact with other attendees. In addition, it will feature The Out of the Box Awards, being presented on September 28 – the final evening of InnovationNow and just before the start of Mobile Photo Connect – at a reception being hosted jointly by both conferences. This exciting evening will honor some of the brightest, most innovative and creative thinkers in the photo space as they are recognized for their achievements. Learn how they focused not on challenges, but on solutions, and by doing so created greater opportunities for us all – and leave inspired to think outside the box about your business.

Designed for leaders in the photo industry, and those who aspire to become industry leaders, InnovationNow gathers the people who can help you discover, understand, and apply what you need to know to reinvigorate and drive the future in today’s connected world.

Make the most of this opportunity by attending both InnovationNow and Mobile Photo Connect – a special discount is available for attendees of both events. For more information and to register, visit http://www.pmai.org/register/.

We look forward to seeing you there!

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

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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.

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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

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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.