CEO Q&A: Jonathan Klein, Getty Images (Extended)

Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein speaks with Steve Barrett about the business impact of communications and incorporating social media.

Getty Images CEO Jonathan Klein speaks with Steve Barrett about the business impact of communications and incorporating social media.

How important is communications to Getty Images' business?
Communication is at the heart of our business – exceptional images and digital content have unrivaled power to tell compelling stories and inspire others. Our communications strategy and team play a vital role in our internal culture, as well as our communication and engagement with key external audiences. Our communications team is located across key regions: the US, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. I personally spend a large amount of my time on communications – both for internal audiences and externally.

What are the biggest communications challenges for the business? How are you responding to them?
Getty has expanded its product offering to include content such as video and music, as well as the creative and editorial stills imagery for which we are renowned. However, perception often still rests around the stills side of our offering.

Our customer base has also evolved. The advent of microstock means it is much more affordable for large or small businesses to communicate more visually and frequently. So we need to ensure we reach our existing customers, as well as new audiences, in ways that resonate. The challenge is to show our customers all the products and services we have to help them produce their best work.

This year, we've taken a big step in creating a unifying theme and corporate identity, which helped build focus. Utilizing this point of view as a framework, we are evolving our communications strategy to transcend all our brands and products, while emphasizing their key differentiators.
 
Do you use PR agencies? What trends are you seeing in the PR industry?
Yes, we work extensively with agencies in key markets and select the best of breed in each region. Our communications needs can vary from market to market – some countries are more mature than others and PR across the world is at different life stages.

Our agencies are almost like our local in-house team and work closely with our marketing organization and, of course, sales. In the US, we work with M Booth. PR agencies are also our customers. Despite being champions of communication, they haven't always been the most visual in their approach to how they communicate. But in the last few years, PR agencies are using a lot more visual communication, as well as music and video, to amplify their presentations and pitches.

We have also seen a greater demand for our photographers from b-to-b-focused PR agencies. They have become savvier at working with our editorial department around events such as product launches to ensure they disseminate a range of information about their client that includes visual components that better engage the media and audiences they target.

There is also an increased appetite from PR agencies for our content-management services, including our image.net service, which manages and distributes press materials to media. We recently partnered with PR Newswire to provide its customers with the option to include our creative imagery in the distribution of press releases.

How are you responding to the challenges and opportunities of digital and social media while retaining your heritage?
Given the nature of our business, it is incumbent upon us to embrace all communications platforms. Social media is now an integrated and essential component of our communications and an integrated approach to how we engage our customers, contributors, and employees is vital. Social media is no longer an add-on – just as online has become a de facto way to communicate, social media now also occupies a key role in effective communications.

Social and digital platforms provide a fantastic way to engage the industry, our customers, photographers, and media, but they also require an unprecedented level of vigilance, since consumers and the community now have countless platforms where their voice can be heard in real time. Furthermore, companies no longer fully own or control their brand. It's easier than ever for those that engage with your brand to heavily influence your standing and reputation. It is imperative for us to monitor, respond to, and drive the conversation around our business.


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