A product photo is the online version of a store display
In today’s mostly online retail economy, a photo is the first touchpoint a customer has with a product. It is also a critical trigger of the purchase decision. If the brand does not control that first contact between a customer and a product, then who knows what can happen ?
In the brick and mortars world, brands vet each display. Product presentation and location has a critical impact on sales. A luxury brand does not sell its products in a gas station store, nor does a sportswear company want its clothes sold in the meat section of a supermarket.
Online, the same rules apply
However, without control, product photos can lead to a brand usurper selling counterfeits or grey market products. Or they can appear in less than satisfactory marketplaces, alongside questionable products.
Since the product photo is real, after all it was taken off the brand’s website, the consumer expects the product to be as well. Aside from the loss of income, the generally shoddy quality of fakes can spread long term damage to a brand.
Companies spend millions on the creation, development, and manufacturing of a product, another six figures on the release, planning, marketing, promotion, and placement of the same product. But absolutely nothing on the protection of the product photography, letting anyone steal them and use them however they want. It’s like leaving the front door of the warehouse wide open.
This is how pre-launch leaks occur, creating havoc in the supply chain, marketing planning, and competitive edge.
This is how millions are lost from counterfeiters who use company images to manufacture and promote their cheap copies.
This is also how the messaging is pirated and widely distributed before the brand is even aware of the damages.
(also read about Fighting Piracy and Counterfeiting with Digital Watermarking)
Mark and monitor
To protect themselves, the simplest and most effective solution is to know and monitor where product images appear. Mark them with a unique, indelible, invisible watermark and audit the internet for potential matches. Upon discovery, take appropriate measures if necessary. Simple and this is what Imatag does.
The solution is a thorough control of the photography supply chain. From its creation in the photo studio, its administration in a DAM, PIM, or CMS, its sharing for marketing concept and its publishing, each and every image of a company has to be protected. Company product and campaign images bring too much value to a company to be left exposed. They should be as protected as the product they help to sell.
Knowing where, when, how and by whom images are utilized, at every step, enforces compliance, reveals counterfeits and grey markets, detects product leaks, and supports brand optimization.