Just a few weeks ago, more than 160 professional lab owners, general managers, and technical staff gathered in Rochester for our annual Kodak Pro Lab Workshop, which includes a blend of business strategy and technical sessions. As has become an annual tradition at the workshop, along with (sometimes bad) golf and Elvis sightings, we introduced the latest version of our market leading workflow software for professional photographic labs, KODAK Professional Digital Print Production Software (DP2), version 16.
While the full set of enhancements can be seen here, I wanted to spend some time on the Animoto Video Slideshow features for pro labs and photographers. With DP2 v16, we have added two significant enhancements to the Animoto Video Slideshow feature. Both of these enhancements are designed to create more selling opportunities for photographers and labs.
So what’s the value of the professional lab in offering these services, when photographers can work directly with Animoto on their own? It’s the combined benefit not of just what pro labs can help photographers do, but also how they do it.
In previous posts, we’ve talked about how soft-copy can drive hard-copy purchases. In this case, Animoto videos, showing professional content choreographed to impactful music, simply grab the consumer and make an emotional connection. Imagine a new bride and groom first seeing their wedding photos not as static proofs, but instead, as a series of images, set to beautiful music that conveys a story – their story. First come tears. Then comes the purchase – one that’s less transactional and more experiential. Pro labs can encourage photographers getting proofs to consider presenting them in this story-telling format.
With Animoto videos, pro labs can help photographers generate business as well. Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the more impactful ways of generating business among professional photographers. When photographing someone, whether it’s a wedding, a family portrait or school photography, there’s an inherent trust placed in the photographer. Pro labs can help create that word-of-mouth referral by working with their photographers to create a video, a digital album of sorts, to send to their clients as a “thank-you” following a photo session. Embed the name of the photographer, logo and contact information within the video, which at some point, will show up on the happy client’s social networking site. Once the video is posted, the client has essentially “endorsed” the photographer’s services to their friends and family.
What pro labs help photographers create provides an even greater return when how labs create Animoto videos enters the equation. Sure, with infinite time, professional photographers can create these videos on their own. But who has infinite time? By using a pro lab, the photographers free themselves up to spend more time shooting (and generating business) and less time behind the computer.
One Upload: To create Animoto videos, photographers need to upload images. By creating the videos through a pro lab, to whom they’re already uploading the images, photographers simply do one upload, rather than two. It also frees the photographer from editing and sequencing the photos, all of which take valuable time – time that the photographer could use to acquire more clients.
Turnkey Service: The pro lab will make the video format ready for client delivery – both in how the video is presented (format, labeling, cases), as well as a guarantee that the images in the video are color corrected and match all the printed output. The photographers simply deliver the video to their clients when it’s ready. Again, less time behind the computer, more time out shooting.
Pay As You Grow: Pro labs offering Animoto services through DP2 v16 can create a risk-free business model for photographers, which in turn, will create more interest and use of the service. Photographers only pay for videos sold to clients, or make a modest investment in videos for marketing purposes. We’ve made this even easier by adding the capability for the photographer to share a preview of the video with up to 30 of their clients to help facilitate sales of videos to a broader audience.
This value proposition means the photographer saves time and money while still receiving the highest quality output, which in turn, will help them grow their business. This is the same value proposition that pro labs have built their reputation and business on all these years: Quality – Convenience – and Value.