Stirring the Pot

Stirring the Pot


There once was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when consumers were pleased, even giddy, to simply share the pictures they captured by passing them around a room or by placing them in a photo album carefully left on a coffee table for occasional perusing.

That equation actually worked quite well for many years.

So, along comes digital technology in the late 90s and the opportunities to share images got a bit more complicated and a lot more interesting.

What's important to point out now is that a growing percentage of your customers today are no longer happy just passively participating in the sharing process. Now that it's getting easier and easier to be a creative producer of content, an interesting shift is beginning to take place.

Simply viewing this stuff isn't enough for many folks these days. Putting a personal stamp on memories and the manner in which they are shared is a burgeoning new market.

Take a look at what companies like Animoto ( and muvee ( are doing with their amazingly slick and mind-numbingly easy to create slideshow software offerings. It's almost unfair to refer to these services as slideshows as it does an injustice to what the final product actually is. They're actually little “life” movies or personal documentaries.

This is “Holy Grail” kind of stuff if you're in the imaging space. Taking folders of stills and mountains of video footage, that no one is seeing, and turning them into four-minute treasures is a potentially messiah-esque kind of service.

Yes, the photobook product is doing the same thing, I know, I know…didn't mean to leave that hero product out.

What this ultimately comes down to is empowerment. The consumer that gets all this feels empowered to tell their story in new and far more creative ways. And I'm sorry, this isn't altogether about demographics—this feeling of empowerment is appealing to everyone. When most of the work is done by someone else, being creative gets really easy and much more likely to surface.

I don't cook and have no interest in learning how to, but if you told me that all I needed to do to make Beef Wellington was to throw some beef, puff pastry and a few other ingredients in a bowl and stand back, I'd have it three times a week…at least.

The ingredients to the stories of your customers' lives are just waiting to be thrown in a big pot. I'm just sayin' you might want to let them know you have just the pot.


Michael McEnaney