As you may have already guessed, we have dedicated a huge chunk of this issue to image storage and organization. While most of the imaging industry continues to go about the business of getting consumers to capture and print more images, we think there is a bit of a bottleneck developing further upstream that could eventually stop the flow of water altogether if it’s not properly addressed.
A very low percentage – we’ve seen figures in the 20-30 percent range – of consumers are backing up their images. The figure dips even lower when you ask those that are backing up if they have some kind of set method in place when it comes to organizing and easily retrieving their images, whether it be for printing or simply to share with family and friends. If these figures aren’t keeping you up at night you’re either a great sleeper or you’re contemplating a career change.
In the 35mm days this industry always placed all their chips on the “preserve your precious memories” part of the table and that clarion call has continued well into the digital evolution. And, I agree, that promoting photography/imaging as a way to record life’s precious moments for generations to come is certainly cutting to the core of this great technology. Why then has this topic of image storage and organization largely gone ignored in these circles? It’s been over a decade since the industry first unleashed consumer-level digital cameras on an unsuspecting public. Has anyone noticed they really took to it …that they started clicking away almost immediately? Well, ten years later they have amassed billions of images and apparently most of these people don’t quite know what to do with them all. Many have actually suffered through a hard drive crash (or two) that wiped years of precious memories away. Seems like all the industry did was essentially say, “We warned you. You should have printed those images.” Lame-O response.
When I think of today’s imaging consumer I’m reminded of the I Love Lucy Episode where she is working at the chocolate factory wrapping small pieces of chocolate. They start coming out slowly on the conveyor belt at first but eventually the belt speeds and the volume of little chocolate pieces quickly overwhelms Lucy and classic comedic chaos ensues. While it’s funny watching Lucy stress out over the endless train of chocolates (YouTube it, you’ll laugh again), the idea that this is what is happening to your customers with regard to their memories is troubling at best.
It’s time to really begin promoting the many means that are available to consumers today to help alleviate this problem. The responsibility lies with everyone – the press, retailers and manufacturers.
I’ve seen industry-wide promotions that push the idea that Photos Are Fun, Take Some and we just turned the page on May as National Photo Month. Well, how about Memories are Precious, Protect Them or Get Your Life In Order, Organize Your Memories?
More than being a duty, we see this as a tremendous opportunity, particularly for dealers. The pieces of chocolate are piling up and people are stressing out over their inability to keep pace. At least Lucy could eat a few. Can’t imaging most of your customers wouldn’t welcome a service that helped them remove this stress.
This industry has been talking the “precious memories” talk for many years. It’s time to walk the “help them preserve them” walk.
All that chocolate’s eventually gonna melt.