A picture speaks a thousand words – and ensures the message remains.
Earlier this month, Keith Teo – Co-Founder of Raydar, a search aggregator for stock photos, spoke at Arcadier Inspire, a virtual summit and competition for online marketplaces. To date, Raydar has joined forces with AdZiggy, both firms striving towards a common goal to aid SMEs, small business owners and lone rangers to grow digitally. A passionate individual who aspires harnessing technology to positively change the fields of design and media, Keith discussed his challenges faced while starting up and provided valuable advice on visual usage.
Classic Challenges – Demand & Supply
As per any business, Raydar tackled the issues of demand and supply of its product – should they increase product supply or invest and reach out to more customers? More importantly, they knew clearly which complication to resolve first. For Raydar, Keith saw the value in increasing Raydar’s inventory and thus, supply of images was their main priority. This was aligned with his purpose of starting Raydar in the first place – for everyone to be able to access high-quality visuals with ease. With this mindset, Raydar stayed true to its starting mission and has since successfully acquired a comfortable stock of 120 million images, all whilst catching the eye of reputable online advertising platform, AdZiggy.
On the other side of the coin, every firm has the option to either focus on the local, regional or global demand of its product. Although there is no ‘right or wrong choice’, Keith especially advises firms to enter the market that holds the highest defensibility value for the company. As noted by TechCrunch, ‘competitive advantages’ drive a company’s success whilst ‘defensibility’ maintains the business’s winning edge over others. Some examples of defensibilities in the digital world are Economies of Scale, presence of a Brand and Network Effects – all of which act as routes to value creation of your product. Similarly, Keith believes that the progressive development of one’s product would ultimately prove more effective and defensible in the long run, as compared to price competition engagement with major industry players.
When building a marketplace or business, firms should also always ensure the sufficiently large potential market size within the industry – so as to not be limited by the subsequent restrictive small or niche market size.
Otherwise known as talent acquisition, Raydar is now under the umbrella of AdZiggy. Keith described this acquisition process as one that required much thought and contemplation. Besides having to consider what was best for Raydar’s employees, Keith also emphasised the significance of both the acquired and acquiring firms having similar goals in the long haul – for only then will there be cooperation and growth.
Using visuals – the effective way
Gathering from his expertise as a marketer, Keith provided advice on how to use visuals in an efficient and impactful way:
Since images are the features that first grab and hold a consumer’s attention, an image you use is the first impression the consumer will have of your product or brand. In addition, visuals convey the tone of a brand’s personality – is it bright and friendly or minimalistic and cutting-edge? This instantaneous effect of images thus emphasises that a copy text or tagline should complement an image, instead of the opposite.
Although it is not wrong to want to use one’s own images, Keith recommends this over the use of stock images only when you are clear of the unique personality you wish to portray to consumers. Otherwise, stock images are increasingly valuing and gaining ‘authenticity’ – a quality that is changing the stock image industry as more users seek further personalisation and personality.
As we put in effort in our product, so do photographers. Plus, to prevent having a lawsuit upon your hands, it is always crucial to choose stock images with the appropriate license or credit photographers when necessary.
Likening the search for the right image to digging for gold in a mine, Keith finally reminds us to ‘be agile’ and henceforth, open-minded as to how a visual should best be used. Sometimes, we have to abandon our preconceived notions of what we want the ‘perfect’ image to be as more often than not, we will come across images that defy our expectations and our sentiment of what is most effective. Therefore, Keith suggests the continuous work on a business’s marketing campaign or website landing page – to constantly test out which images best increase boost or conversion of one’s targeted page.
Watch the entire Arcadier Inspire Summit talk with Keith Teo: