Of the various issues we face in our industry, image theft shouldn’t be one. Yet, it remains. I have seen it plenty myself. Whilst I have been at home these past couple of weeks, I have been contacted by a reader who explained to me that they know of a window company not only stealing images, but copy and branding as well.
The industry has a problem. What can be done about it?
With social media, you would have thought those thinking of stealing the images from other window companies would be scared off doing such a thing for fear of being found and punished. Obviously that is not the case.
The email that was sent to me also explained that not only images, but copy and branding were being copied from other companies. The emailer said that they had contacted the offending company to get them to reverse course, but to no avail.
In the past, when I have found our own company’s images being used by others I have confronted them in public, on social media, and usually that does the trick and the posts have been removed from social media and removed from their website. With this case, it appears that offending companies are becoming more brazen about this sort of thing.
As it stands, there is no industry body that covers this area of malpractice. FENSA, Certass or any other body wouldn’t really get involved with such a thing. It is down to individual companies to take action against the offending people or businesses to get them to regress on their image theft. Unfortunately, this takes time and isn’t always successful, as was the case in the email I was sent.
Image theft is lazy. Companies stealing other images that are not their own are simply shoddy and not running their own companies properly. The crazy thing is though, it’s not difficult to obtain decent images of your own work these days.
Do it yourself
The only issue installers have in collecting their own images is time. A busy installer doesn’t always get the chance to get out to site to take photos of finished work as they’re generally always quoting or out on appointments. We’re in the same boat. However, there are workarounds to make sure you get a steady stream of images to use.
A really easy one is to get your fitters to take a few pictures just before they leave site once the work has been completed. They are the last ones on site, but the first ones to also see it as clean as it well ever be as they’re the ones who clean it all down when they’re done. Most of us have a decent camera in our smartphones and can take pictures worthy of at least going on social media. Just ask them to a few pictures before they leave. Make sure they’re not standing in any reflections too!
I would also set up a company WhatsApp group. I know many of you will already be doing this. Any images taken by either sales staff or installers can be shared on the group and the images can be used from there.
Short of that, get your hands in your pocket and pay for a photographer to go out to a few sites every couple of weeks and take quality pictures of finished installations. Some installers may not be reliable when it comes to remembering to take pictures, but if you hire someone to do it then at least you know you’re getting quality images back for your money.
If you don’t want to spend money, or can’t rely on your fitters to take pictures for you, then you’re going to have to set aside an afternoon perhaps once every couple of weeks and go out and do it yourself.
There is no excuses for stealing someone elses images. It’s very easy to take good pictures with your thumb and a screen, to have to resort to stealing images from other companies is just poor business.
As for advice in getting another company to row back on their image theft, I have found humiliating them in public on social media works. But it may not for some, so please leave some tips for others in the comments section below on how to get offending companies to stop stealing images!
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