003 - Creating an in-store photo policy
I have been tossed out of more stores than I care to admit because they noticed I was carrying a suspicious and pernicious device. A device so controversial that I was forced to choose -- to stay in the store or to put away this controversial thing -- my camera. Now...as a store that is your right. But is it your policy? That's where things always get murky. Let's talk about having a photo policy, what should it contain, and how you enforce it.
Why do you need a policy?
- So you enforce either denying or allowing photography consistently
- So you encourage or discourage a desired action
- So employees know what to do
- So your staff can explain your decision to customers
Should you allow in-store photographs?
- Would it create a security issue?
- Does it create a problem with the way your business will be represented?
- Does it create a safety issue?
- Is there the potential of infringing on your intellectual property rights?
- Would it violate a reasonable expectation of privacy?
Why would you?
- Make it a business objective, marketing or sales strategy.
- Helps you build a community.
- Harness the photo sharing that already occurs.
- Promote your best customers & give them the opportunity to share the love.
- Improve your SEO and link backs.
- Feed your Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest sites.
- Market research on what customers like best.
What elements should your policy include?
- Is photography allowed?
- Under what conditions?
- If yes, how do we encourage you to use them?
- If no, why not?
- When might permission be revoked and by whom?
- What happens if you refuse to comply? (With an employee or another customer?)
- Who is the enforcing authority on site?
- What is the appeals/complaints process?
- What equipment does it cover?
- You can manage the process by creating areas favorable to photography -- better light and presentation opportunities.
- What is your flash photography policy?
- Advertise your photo op policy and preferred locations in store - "We smile for photographs"
- Don't tell them what to photograph. Many photographers don't want to be a part of your propaganda machine. They shoot what they want.
- Can you re-use photos with permission?
- How does the policy differ for professional photographers?
Call to action
Do you need a photo policy? Use the questions above to begin the conversation and a first draft. Let me know what you create.
What are the two things more important to your success than natural talent? Decisions and effort.
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