Reaching out to consumers in China successfully means brands and businesses have had to give their marketing strategies a local slant. To drive these messages effectively and efficiently, image selection has become even more important as it conveys congruency in culture with immediacy. Choosing the right ones requires particular care and attention.
Since 1993, PanoramaStock has paved the way for companies from the world over to tap into China, now the second-largest economy in the world. PanoramaStock has a library of over 10 million images for creative and editorial purposes — and China’s largest selection of stock photographs.
These images range from business and beauty to travel and technology. They are highly sought-after also because they feature the Asian-centric themes, including models. Using a model, for instance, supposedly doubles the impact of a picture that speaks a thousand words.
“Our roots are in China but our sights are set on the world,” says Avy Mao, chief marketing officer at PanoramaStock. “Content development is a key component of the company’s global strategy.” To achieve this, she and her team have worked painstakingly to roll out a two-pronged approach of expanding product offerings and enhancing user experience.
PanoramaStock currently works with 100,000 photographers from across 500 agencies, but the company constantly seeks ways to increase its image selection.
While the Eastern element is key, clients’ preferences tend to differ according to industries. Automobile companies veer towards scenic backgrounds, while FMCG goods show more interest in family and holiday themes.
One of the groups of photographers whose works are found exclusively on PanoramaStock is the China Photographers Association. This is China’s most influential photographic organisation, and consists of 50 photographer associations in various provinces, cities and regions, as well as over 15,000 individual members. Other partners include Masterfile (based in Toronto), Image Source (London), Aflo (Tokyo) and Topic (Seoul).
With a wide range of clients, including media owners, advertising agencies and ecommerce businesses, it is essential that the platform on PanoramaStock be both efficient and convenient. Frequent users are fed a stream of suggested images based on their search and purchase history.
The prevalence of digital portals and social media has also led to increased demand for images that are not only of professional quality but also imaginative and provocative. With post-production already completed for these images, clients can use them right away, says Avy.
This explains why established names in Chinese social media, notably Shijuezhi and Luojisiwei, have chosen to collaborate closely with PanoramaStock. Spurred by its clout as an up-and-coming force in the industry, the company is now ready to take on bigger challenges.
Early this year, the company launched Quanjing (its local name) — an app marketed at photography enthusiasts on Android smartphones.
Users can browse through a massive assortment of images across travel, fashion, food, home and sport, among other themes on their mobile phones. With tools such as image search, share and management, the app is an amalgamation of Instagram and Pinterest. Quanjing has been downloaded 200 million times and counting, and enjoys positive reviews on China’s app stores.
As the company shifts focus to the international market, it is building its standing in the world of photography. Recently, it joined forces with Travel with DJI, a smartphone travel-guide app, to launch an inaugural photography competition. As Avy sums up: “Everyone can be a photographer — even though only some will become professionals. So we wanted to create a space to discover and share this passion, where enthusiasts can receive recognition and value for their efforts.