Over the weekend I was kindly pointed to another company that for the second time, were using images from our outdoor showsite to advertise products as their own work. That person knows who they are. Thanks for the heads up, we’re on it!

Image theft and misuse is still a problem that occurs in the window and door industry right now. I am surprised that it still goes on. It has never been easier to take decent photos of our work than ever before. Even a good camera on a phone will do the trick. Yet, it still goes on. Most likely due to others being too lazy to get off their backsides and would find it easier to steal someone else’s instead.

That is why I believe that suppliers should have their own stock image library, for their customer to use. There does happen to be one or two that have started down that road.

Stock image libraries

One of the biggest companies already on this path is Deceuninck. They have a specific website for their Heritage Collection of windows and doors. On that website they have a media centre (which requires login) where customers can access an image library, presumably for them to use as they see fit, so long as they abide by the rules I guess. Not sure if there are any rules. But, the fact there is an image gallery at all shows they Deceuninck understand the needs of their fabricators and installers when it comes to promoting their products.

Liniar are another systems company that have their own stock image library, telling me that the have had that in place for 4 years now. Also, Residence Collection are launching a new website along with installer support strategy, and I am told that as part of that there is an image library where installers can access close-ups of products, lifestyle shots etc.

There aren’t many other dedicated image libraries from other UK glazing sector companies. I’m not sure why not though. There are a plenty of companies in our industry who benefit from lots and lots of installers who post their work on social media. I’m sure they will be building up a large and varied library of installed images. Wouldn’t this back catalogue make for a good basis for a stock image library?

This is something I strongly believe all suppliers should be doing. Yes it would be a large undertaking, time consuming more than anything else. But, if installers could have access to an extensive library I believe that they would be drawn to using these rather than scouring the web for work from other companies. Good for installers as they don’t get their work stolen, good for fabricators as it guarantees their work is being promoted.

Remember, this is all about reducing instances of image theft in our industry, as well as trying to promote products better.

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There are two ways a supplier can build up a stock image library. Firstly, going the direct route. They could employ the services of a photographer to go out to site and take professional grade photos, of a very high quality, of finished work to populate the image library. The cons though are obvious. This takes time, isn’t cheap, and the image files would be hefty and would likely require a boost to servers to make sure the service is fast enough for people to use.

The second option is to get installers to do the legwork instead. Get them to send in photos to suppliers. From there, suppliers can choose to use the best ones to populate their library. Much cheaper for the supplier. There are a few issues to work around however. Installers will quite rightly want recognition for their work. Will they be happy to let other installers use their images in their name to sell products? Image quality will be an issue. As good as some might think they are, professionals are professionals for a reason, and so will provide better images to suppliers than installers. How many sent in could actually be used? My guess is suppliers would have to get installers to sign an agreement for their images to be used.

An incentive may also be required, be it financial or product based. Installers will want to feel like they are benefiting by helping out their suppliers. Discounts on future invoices could be a good idea. Showroom samples wouldn’t be bad either. If suppliers can provide something in return, I can’t see why installers wouldn’t be willing to help build up an image library.

Stock image libraries could be one way in which to tackle the continuing image theft problem in our industry. Without enacting big changes in the way we curate and use images, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to effectively tackle the problem.

Do you think stock image libraries would work? Would you use one if it was available to you? All feedback and comments welcome via the section below.

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